Buttons When I was masterminding at the Ritz recently, Chris Haycock of CliqTo told us how changing the text on a hotel website button increased clicks by 45% in the first ten days. He admits that more influences might be at play, and the long-term results are not yet known.

The original button just said:
Details & availability

The new button includes a calendar icon, and says:
Show availability
Hotel details, map & prices


Before and after

Read the full story on Chris’s website

A 45% increase in clickthroughs in 10 days is pretty impressive. But why is it happening?

You might already know that bold graphic buttons work better than text links. You might also be aware that some colours work better than others – the best is a colour that contrasts with your brand so it stands out (test it on your own site).

In this case, the colour and format is much the same.

It’s the call-to-action copy that makes the difference

It’s known that people are more likely to do what you want when you actually tell them what you want.

Traditionally, when you put a dotted line round a coupon, it’s been found that people are more likely to cut it out when it also includes an illustration of a little pair of scissors and/or the words: ‘Cut here’.

It’s also claimed that people are more likely to dial your phone number when you add the words: ‘Call today’ or ‘Call now’.

But there’s been a shift

When you order people about, these days, they are less likely to take action. You have to be more subtle, and grant them the power.

For example, ‘Continue’ and ‘Next’ buttons seem to work better than ‘Read more’. This is because instead of being a top-down instruction from your brand, it respects the reader and gives them the option of taking the next step.

Choose your worms carefully

It’s also important to vary your language depending on your audience.

For example, in UK e-commerce, the words ‘Add to basket’ are most common. In the rest of the world, it’s ‘Add to cart’.


There’s a great article about this here

In summary

I suspect more people click Chris’s button because instead of passively saying ‘Availability’ it says ‘Show availability’. ‘View availability’ might also work.

I think ‘Check availability’ would also be worth trying, because ‘checking’ is a little more active than simply ‘viewing’. It’s more assumptive – it assumes someone is further along the buying process. Rather than just viewing what dates might be available, they are checking whether the dates they want are available.

As with anything, you need to test and retest to find out what works best for you.

photo credit: Buttons, oGLOBO via photopin (license)

To receive advice like this direct to your inbox, sign up to my Writing Without Waffle tipsheet (top right)


Jackie · November 17, 2015 at 9:18 am

Some other examples:

– By changing the ‘Checkout’ button to ‘Continue’, Best Buy added $300m to their sales. For the full story, read this article from 2009

– Schuh altered its product page call to action from ‘Buy now’ to ‘Add to bag’. This led to a 17% increase (Econsultancy)

– By changing the call to action from “Order Information and Prices” to “Get information and prices” a real estate website increased their conversions by 14.79% (Content Verve)

Jackie Barrie · March 5, 2020 at 7:57 am

Mira Crisp changed a CTA for Ford and got a $1m ROI lift. Changing ‘request’ to ‘get’ sent brochure downloads through the roof.

Comments are closed.

Skip to content