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“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to make you see.” – Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim

Let’s face it. No matter how fantastic the web design is, if you have wimpy – or worse, deterring – copy, no one is going to click beyond the page they land on. No one is going to click to find out more.

Words have power. They can move, persuade and inspire – or they can detract, aggravate and make people run in the other direction. Your vocabulary is a power-tool in your tool belt.

When you are creating a website, it is doubly important to use the right wording on buttons and calls to action. If you want people to click, you have to convince them to take action.

Cheat Sheet

Persuasive copy and strong design are a powerful combination. Commercial websites, especially, benefit from this one-two punch as visitors are driven down the sales pipeline from initial entry to purchase.

In an ideal world, a designer will always have a skilled and experienced copywriter on each project. But sometimes you’re stuck writing your own copy for website buttons and calls to action. Below is a little cheat sheet of 20 words that will get attention and get clicked on.

Some might call these trigger words or action words – but I call them power words, because they have a powerful impact on your audience.

  1. Discover
  2. Guaranteed
  3. Easy
  4. Money
  5. Value
  6. Security
  7. Advantage
  8. Proven
  9. New
  10. Critical
  11. Free
  12. Improved
  13. Instant
  14. Personalized
  15. Private
  16. Result
  17. Shocking
  18. Save
  19. Solution
  20. Unlimited

Of course, there is more to effective copy than memorizing a few power words. Understanding your audience is absolutely the number one top priority with any website – whether you’re working on a client’s site or your own.

Start With Your Purpose in Mind

What, specifically, do you want your audience to do? Call a phone number? Fill out a contact form? Buy online? Sign up for a webinar?

All of your calls-to-action should drive to this end goal.

What is your audience’s pain point?

Consider your audience’s desired outcome and what the website will help them achieve. How are they seeking to change their lives or make things easier?

Is your audience on the website to find a product to solve a problem? Are they there to get to know more about what the business or non-profit does and how they do it? Are they there to find a location or see a menu?

Hold the Audience’s Hand

With a button or a call to action, you have extremely limited space to convince your audience to click. Tell them exactly why clicking will benefit them. “Click here” just doesn’t cut it.

For example…

Wimpy copy: Click here for a reportsuperhero

Power copy: Download your free, personalized report instantly

Wimpy copy: Why you should buy from us

Power copy: Learn about our guaranteed results

Wimpy copy: Click here to purchase

Power copy: Get our proven solution

Prompt Your Readers

In this HubSpot post, the author shares compelling evidence that verbs move more people to action than any other part of speech. In fact, it’s worth noting here that verbs generate more shares on Twitter, too.

Use verbs generously to improve your website’s click-through rate.

Words to Stay Away From

One of the tenets of sales is “people do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure.” And it’s true that if you use pain-based words in headlines, it can convince an audience to read on. They want to discover how to avoid that fate.

Throw this rule out the window when you are writing copy for website buttons and calls to action.

When people are confused or scared, they say no. All calls-to-action should be pleasure-based. You are enticing – not scaring.

Avoid words like:

  1. Bad
  2. Sell
  3. Difficult
  4. Fail
  5. Basic
  6. Objections
  7. Cheap
  8. Lose (unless losing is a positive – like weight or worry!)

Match Made in Heaven

When strong design and compelling copy are combined, magic happens. Design is made more effective, copy is brought to life and the audience responds.

Use power words in your website buttons and calls to action. Avoid pain-based or wimpy wording. Use copy to your advantage and you will convince your audience to take action.