Modern Web design emphasizes harmony between words and images almost as much as successful combinations of form and function. Next-step graphics are among the most prominent examples of this marriage on your practice website.
Also called calls-to-action (or CTAs), next-step graphics are a key tool for capturing users’ attention and driving them to make a decision that aligns with your practice priorities. In most cases, these decisions include:
- Learning more about your practice
- Discovering one or more of your services
- Contacting your practice through the website
Of course, simply throwing a few links with pictures on them is not an effective strategy for creating high-impact CTAs. Instead, follow these simple rules for creating great next-step graphics:
1. Put CTAs Where Users Can See Them
Next-step graphics often complement the banner of a website. Usually, this means they are positioned just below the banner while still being entirely or partially visible above “the fold” (the invisible line dividing the portion of the Web page a user can see without scrolling down).
In some cases, users benefit from seeing more than one series of CTAs. On the home page, this could mean placing several examples of your leading services near the top of the site, followed by a few calls-to-action at the halfway point or lower to draw attention to practice-specific elements like financing options, awards, links to your bio page, and more.
Positioning of the CTAs is ultimately dependent on how the graphics augment the design and user experience of your website. They should fit the aesthetic of your site seamlessly while providing visitors with clear information and direction.
2. Watch Your Words
Both the imagery and text within a call-to-action are typically smaller and more digestible than the banner. However, this in no way means that next-step graphics are less important.
In a recent study of click tracking on several of our clients’ websites, a significantly higher number of users interacted with the CTAs over banners with links. There is no definitive reason for this, though potential explanations include:
- Specificity: Next-step graphics often signify particular examples of a service, whereas banners gravitate more toward "bigger" concepts behind the images and taglines
- Accessibility: When the banner is large, the smaller calls-to-action may load first – with site speed becoming a major consideration for earning Internet users and search rankings, keeping the design manageable is crucial
- Usability: Websites with rotating banner carousels require users to adjust for speed and readability – CTA buckets are generally stationary
- Digestibility: The text accompanying next-step graphics is naturally succinct – banner text can afford to be longer and less direct, which could translate into more visual attention but fewer clicks
So, never forget that although your banner might be the first thing visitors see, the CTAs complementing that feature are so rooted in navigation that the smaller buckets might ultimately be the items visitors use. Therefore, the language of the graphic should be useful, too.
3. Pick the Right Number
CTAs should provide users choice while also directing them to the most valuable types of leads for your practice. The advent of smartphones has led to the development of another consideration: symmetry.
With their smaller screens, mobile devices accommodate less of your website design. If you chose an odd number of CTAs, visitors on a smartphone might see a series of side-by-side graphics followed by a solitary graphic surrounded by negative space. While a desktop computer might present this display as a single row of images, mobile devices divide it into sections – the balance between these sections should be consistent on any device.
Selecting the most important graphics reflects not only your priority practice areas but the value proposition to your prospective client. By highlighting four to six of your top services through CTAs, you instantly define what your practice does and funnel receptive visitors to pertinent information that will ideally convert them into leads.
Would you like to learn more about how your Web design affects the success of your online marketing? Please contact Page 1 Solutions online or call (303) 233-3886 today for a free evaluation of your practice website!
By Maarit Kaaihue, Creative Director, Page 1 Solutions