Six Ways to Optimize CTAs in Your Blog Posts

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04.03.2013By

When you think about calls-to-action on your website, you typically think about landing pages. For example, your donation page, or your email sign-up form.

But how often do you think about the calls to action in the blog posts you’re publishing each week?

What’s that? You don’t have a blog for your nonprofit? Briefly, a blog is one of the the surest, and fastest way to more than double your website traffic, and increase your email list.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s get one thing straight: there is only one purpose for your website, and that purpose is to encourage people to act. Whether it’s making a donation, joining your email list, signing a petition, or changing a habit, the purpose of your website is to encourage actions.

Now, you already know about optimizing calls to action on your landing pages. But how do you optimize calls to action in the blog posts your writing each week?

Here are 6 simple ways to improve the calls to actions that exist with in your blog posts:

1. Be Clear About Your Objective

What do you want your reader to do? Do you want them to subscribe to your email list? Share a petition with their friends? And what’s the most likely action they’ll take? The more clear you are about what you want them to do, the better.

2. Know the Difference Between an FYI and a CTA

There are two reasons for linking text in your blog post. You either want to provide more information about the particular idea (FYI), or you want readers to take action (CTA).

FYI links help keep your blog posts short and concise by linking to additional information instead of including it in the blog post. For example, rather than explaining what anchor text is, I can simply link to a definition. I don’t need to make a big deal about calling your attention to that information; I can just provide a link within the text.

CTA links lead the reader to the place where you want them to take action. This is where you DO want to make a big deal. Make a point of explicitly calling out the CTA. For example, “Click here to sign the petition.”

3. Optimize How You Target Links

Links open in one of two ways:

  1. Within the same browser window (_self)
  2. Within a new browser window or tab (_blank).

Generally speaking you want to FYI links to open in a new window, and CTA links to open in the same window. This way, you direct the reader down the path you want them to take.

If they click on a CTA link, you want them to keep going, with no other options. If they click on an FYI link, you keep them on your blog post so that they can still click the CTA.

4. Include CTAs at the end of blog posts

People are more likely to take an action if they’ve received some value in advance.

If you ask them to sign a petition at the beginning of your blog post, you’re asking them to make a leap of faith. But if you build an argument for the cause first, the petition will makes sense as a natural next step.

5. Embed Forms Directly in Blog Posts

Another approach is to include a web form or widget directly in the blog post. This removes the potential hurdles of clicking through a link to a new web page.

6. Use Google Analytics

Finally, make a point of measuring what works for your audience.

You can do this by creating goals in Google Analytics. Each time someone completes a goal, a conversion is logged in your Google Analytics account, allowing you to compare different CTA methods.