Earlier today, the Ninja made an important point about buttons on your blog: he said that users have an expectation about the kind of response they get when they interact with a button.
In a world where engagement is the blogger’s ultimate goal, we can take this one step further. We can see buttons as the mechanisms by which users effect their engagement—whether they’re clicking Subscribe or Comment or Share or Download or Buy, users enact engagement on your blog using buttons.
This is, primarily, why it’s important to use the correct—honest—words on your button: as the Ninja says, verbage sets an expectation that your conversion process must fulfil.
Another consideration is usability. The poor average reading levels of many web users, coupled with the distractions and limitations we all face as we use the web, suggests that we should keep button text as straightforward as possible. There are also standard web conventions for many interactions, and it makes good practice to consider those, too.
But there’s another element of engagement that we should consider when we look at button text, and that’s your brand.
If buttons are the ultimate point of engagement with your blog, they may well be the ultimate point of engagement with your brand, too. So your button text needs to be honest, clear and brand-appropriate.
Does your button text reflect your brand?
For most bloggers, honesty and clarity are brand values, so a button that invites users to sign up for an email newsletter with the words “Subscribe now” is probably pretty brand-appropriate.
But, depending on your brand and your audience, there may be other options, including:
- Sign up now
- Sign me up!
- Subscribe me
- Let’s do it
- Bombs away!
That last example is a real-world example: it’s from the subscription form on Ashley Ambirge’s The Middle Finger Project.
As the Ninja alluded in his post, the button text you choose will always be seen in context, so you can shape it according to the surrounding calls to action. That said, it’s true that readers’ eyes may be drawn to buttons before they’ve read any surrounding text, so there’s a very strong argument that your button text should make sense independently of that text as well as within it.
Of course, “making sense” is relative to your audience: what makes sense to you may baffle me. So while some may argue that a text input box followed by a button that reads “Bombs away!” is not prescriptive enough—not a strong enough call to action—Ashley may reply that her readers get it, well and truly.
Moreover, we can imagine that those who do get it also get a kick out of clicking a button that reads “Bombs away!” rather than boring old “Subscribe.” Maybe “bombs away” is within their own personal vocabulary; maybe it simply resonates with them—tickles their fancy, or gives them a chuckle.
I wonder how many people are smiling as they’re clicking Subscribe buttons on websites right now? If your blog’s users are having a positive physical response to your brand as they’re interacting with your blog, that may well dictate something about the emotional depth of that engagement, and its potential to evolve into lasting loyalty.
A tall order?
This isn’t to say that your button text should always make people smile. Obviously that’s not appropriate for all brands or contexts. But words do solicit feeling, so a consideration of users’ feelings—which will, after all, affect their eagerness to undertake the interaction your button is inviting—is important.
Would you rather:
- Get started, or
- Buy now, or
- Become a member, or
- Join us, or
- Create an account?
Your answer probably depends on the site’s purpose and brand. And what about your blog? Is the text on your buttons consistent with your blog’s brand? I’d love to hear in the comments whether you’ve considered buttons as a branding element.