Higher Conversions With Buttons?

There’s a lot of common wisdom online, but can you always trust that wisdom? Apparently not when it comes to ‘click here’ buttons and the thought that they don’t convert well. Peter Da Vanzo wrote a short post on the v7n blog entitled Big Shiny Buttons: Click Here! in which he mentions how his own test results indicate those buttons generate higher conversions.

We’re left having to think about the reasons for the higher click throughs and one probable reason would be buttons make for a stronger and more direct call to action than a text link which can more easily get lost in the sea of links usually found on any given web page. Buttons when used sparingly will certainly stand out and call our attention to them. The more attention they get the more likely someone will click one and increase the conversion of that button on the page.

I think too that some of the wisdom against ‘click here’ buttons has more to do with the ‘click here’ part than the button itself. ‘Click here’ makes for horrible anchor text when it comes to seo since there aren’t going to be many people, if any, who are seriously searching for the words ‘click here’ when they visit a search engine.

It did get me thinking how Peter conducted his test and whether the increased conversions were due to moving the action call from a text link to a button and not so much because of the actual words used in each link. While I can offer no proof at the moment I would suspect that a ‘buy now’ button or a button with the words ‘make more money’ would outperform the ‘click here’ button and generate a higher click through. Varying the text in both buttons and simple text links does lend itself to more testing to learn in better detail what might be the factors when it comes to conversions.

It would be interesting to compare a button vs a text link using the same text and also compare buttons to buttons with different text. Perhaps we could find text links written that are so compelling they outperform some buttons. And there is likely a point where the text on any button becomes to much to make it an effective converter of traffic. Another possible test would be to compare button sizes to find if there is an optimal button size beyond which conversions decrease.

I’d also be curious to see the site where the test was conducted. How many buttons were there on the page? Did the buttons draw attention and conversions because they were the only ones on the page and naturally stood apart. I would think that you could only get away with so many ‘click here’ buttons before they all began to compete for your attention and conversions actually decreased. If 20 buttons all asked you to ‘click here’ which one would get the most clicks? Contrast is one of the basic principles of design and while one button contrasts greatly with a large amount of text, one button doesn’t contrast well when there are two dozen other buttons sitting next to it.

As Peter himself mentions in the comments to his own post that the type of visitor you have may also influence which link will have the higher conversion rate. That wisdom against ‘click here’ buttons did originate with webmasters and web designers and web marketers all of whom tend to have a lot of experience online. Speaking for myself I want to know where that button takes me rather than only be directed to click it. Less savvy web surfers may appreciate the extra direction. A high tech site might be better off with more detailed anchor text.

No matter what you think of Peter’s test of how you interpret the possible causes or reasons for it’s results, it’s certainly interesting to see some common wisdom proving not to be so wise after all. Given how important conversions are to running a successful website I’d like to see more tests conducted and more results across a larger variety of sites, visitors, and link text.

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