Calls to action (CTAs) help people complete a task or action. They’re most often found in buttons, but can sometimes be linked text. On a website, they might guide people toward finding information or making a decision.
Regardless of the format, a CTA should set the expectation of what happens next, whether it’s leading someone to get something done, learn something valuable, or fix something quickly.
CTAs aren’t fancy, nor should they be. They take someone from point A to point B. They should be clear, concise, and predictable. The other content on the page or screen should communicate the overall message—the CTA shouldn’t do any heavy lifting by itself.
A good rule of thumb is to write your CTA as if the reader will only read the header and the CTA. They should work together.
Keep it short
Our designs are mobile-first. Make CTA text as short as possible without sacrificing clarity.
Shorter CTA text also helps with translation. CTAs in English are often longer when translated into other languages.
- In most cases, start with an action verb. This helps users understand where they’re likely to go and encourages them to go there.
- Avoid product names unless it’s necessary to add clarity (or you’re taking a customer out of a current product experience and into another one). They take up precious CTA real estate.
Don’t overcomplicate the action. See our tips for writing small
For buttons, brevity ensures the button will fit properly in visual designs, and prevents the text from wrapping on mobile.
- Keep CTAs brief, especially for buttons. Two words is optimal. Three is OK. On rare occasions, you can use 4 words to flex, like if you have one headline and multiple CTAs on a screen and need to add clarity.
- Length for CTAs in buttons should be 24 characters max, regardless of word count (exceptions may be made in languages other than English).
- Schedule a phone consultation → Schedule a call
- I’ll enter my information → I’ll type my info
- Tell us what you think → Give feedback
- Run accounts receivable aging summary → Run report
If your CTA is a link, there’s a little more room—if you really need it.
- Write the link to be large enough for people to select—at least 8 characters.
- Don’t write link text longer than 6 to 8 words (about 55 characters).
For more about formatting links, go to Links
Be clear about the action
Be as specific as you can with CTA language so people have a clear idea of what they’ll be doing next. Describe what actually happens when people use the button.
For example, if a button is sending someone to fill out a form, you could say something like “Get started.” This lets them know that they’ll need to take action on the next page.
- When possible, use verb + noun construction.
- Use descriptive text for links. Try to set contextual expectations about what’s behind the link.
- Avoid Next or Continue if a more specific word would do (Send, Start, Sign up). An exception to this would be multi-step flows, like doing taxes or when we want customers to focus on the step they’re on in the moment.
- Don’t use specific actions (Click here) or locations (here). See also: Learn more, click
Never purposely mislead someone or use confirmshaming tactics. See guidelines on emotional design for more.
- Create project
- Get started
- Buy now & save
- Review order
- See how our rates compare [link]
- Click here
- Get your FREE trial now!
- I don’t want to save money
Use sentence case
Sentence case is easier to read and understand, and it aligns with the Intuit brand and our voice and tone. Don’t use all caps (unless you’re saying OK). It feels like yelling. Learn more about capitalization
- Start free trial
- Send email (or just Send)
- Give feedback
- Start FREE TRIAL
- Send Email
- Give Feedback
Stick to plain text
In CTAs, the words do all the work. Don’t use emoji or punctuation in CTAs.
CTA text shouldn’t be formatted, either—that means we don’t bold, italicize, or underline. The words themselves should be precise and presented in a clear enough way that they shouldn’t require any additional emphasis or special treatment.
- Get started
- Let’s go
- Create invoice
- Add bill
- Prepare 1099s
- Connect sales channel
- Browse categories
- Pay contractors
- Get your FREE trial now
- I’m ready!
- Yee-haw, let’s go 🐴