Tell people what to do on your website

There is a really simple rule in all advertising where you want a response from the reader, whether that’s a print ad, classified, Yellow Page ad or even your website. The rule is this…

Ask the reader to do something

In marketing books they call it a “call to action”. Whatever you want to call it, research says loud and clear that when you tell someone what to do they are much more likely to do it.

When it comes to your website, the conventional wisdom is to put this call to action at the top of the page or “above the fold” where it’s clearly visible without them having to scroll down the page. However, I’m an advocate for putting my call to action at the bottom of every page.


Because people need to find out a little about you and what you offer before they’ll take action. To do that they typically scroll down the page and read (or at least look at the pictures). Hopefully by the time they’ve reached the bottom they appreciate your expertise and understand how you can help them.

So what’s the next logical thing that they should see?

Instructions for the action they need to take to benefit from your product or service. So that’s the logical place to put a call to action. In a world where your competitor is only a mouse click away, if you make them work to get back up to the top of the page, they’ll likely forget why they are scrolling to the top of the page before they click anything.

Here’s what one experienced web developer found out with a little testing…

For a lead generation site we had a nice tight form with benefit statements alongside and it was doing quite well. After some debate, the media was added to a test page which forced the conversion actions to below the fold. After over a dozen rounds of testing, a very clear pattern emerged: conversion rates were higher when the call to action was below the fold.

No one could believe the findings. So another dozen rounds of tests were implemented. The results did not change.

What’s the takeaway?

Forget about what the experts say. Think like a customer. Put yourself in their shoes and go through your site like they would and do what makes sense.

In the case of your website, it just makes sense to put a call to action at the bottom of every page.

Sidenote: If you liked this blog post you’re mostly likely to share it after you’ve just finished reading it; not before. Notice how I’ve put my “Like” and “Share” buttons below. See them? It makes sense to have them here, doesn’t it? Implement this on your site and please share this post with your colleagues using the buttons below. (That’s my call to action.)

Eric Brown of BodyworkBiz (an online massage business resource) also owns Thermal Palms, Relax to the Max, World Massage Conference and Massage Therapy Radio. Sign up for the free BodyworkBiz massage marketing newsletter at


You can now find me on Twitter @ericupsidebrown
Erik Dalton Techniques at Indiana State University | Eric Brown, BodyworkBiz Blog - 2 years ago
Loading Facebook Comments ...

2 thoughts on “Tell people what to do on your website

  1. I do agree about the social media share buttons. Makes sense and I’m going to change the position of mine. I do wonder about the call to action when people are viewing the site on a Smartphone. I’m constantly getting calls these days from people who are looking at my website on their Smartphone and all they look for is the phone number. It’s obvious when I talk to them that they haven’t read anything about me or what I do. If my phone number were further down the page, I think I would lose them.


    Eric Reply:

    You are absolutely right Jyoti. That’s another issue and another important rule: If there’s information that people typically look for make it as easy as possible for them to find it. People who are looking for massage in Sedona for example, aren’t looking for lots of content about massage, the benefits of massage or the history of massage in Sedona. They are likely looking for a phone number for a therapist that is accessible to them (distance to travel is a key buying criteria). Not to mention that many visits to your site are from existing clients who have lost your phone number and want to contact you for an appointment. So having your location and contact information at the top of each page just makes sense. Here are some examples of sites that do this:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *