Thinking Strategically about the Placements of Your Calls to Action

[tentblogger-vimeo 16401284]

[Like the quality of the screencast? I use the Screenflow app for it!]

Challenge Type: Strategy, Feature
Time Required: 5-10 minutes, minimum
Impact: Large, since calls to action could get people to subscribe to your blog, purchase products, or create visits to other strategic websites!

Creating “Calls to Action” is something that you constantly want to be thinking about in terms of your blog, the design and layout, and the way your visitor and readers engage with your content.

A “Call to Action” is essentially something you want your readers to do after they read your content or engaged with your website. Things that could possibly fall underneath this would be:

  • Buying a product
  • Subscribing to your blog
  • Following you on Twitter of Facebook
  • Visiting another strategic website

And more. One of the most fundamental calls to action is getting your readers to Subscribe to your blog. This is critical in terms of growth!

So, thinking strategically about where you place those calls to action is vitally important. For me, I feel like I should offer my content first before asking them to do something in response. I’d rather make sure that my readers consume the content and if they feel it was valuable for them to then subscribe to my blog and/or do something about it.

That’s why I am placing my call to action (in terms of subscribing) right after the content and before the comment section:

Think strategically!

As you can see I’m asking them a question first and if the answer is “Yes!” then they can click the link to subscribe to my blog (and other ways as well).

So, how are you thinking strategically about Calls to Action? What will you do to change it?

  • Tom Jamieson

    Hey John! I agree with you on the part about the subscription. I have recently revamped my call to action with regard to this. Like you, I pose a question and then provide links for subscription. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!

    • John Saddington

      sure thing tom!

  • Craig Allen

    That’s a great idea to put a call to action in your author profile. Dare I say…genius?

    • John Saddington

      ;) perhaps. just some 101 strategy. :)

  • Peter P

    I’m always very intrigued with learning how people react to and use online content.

    To me, ‘author boxes’ and ‘calls to action’ are annoying little ad’s which hinder me from being able to find the content I want.


    I’m not normal! (apparently)

    I have just redeveloped a sales site using WordPress and this post has actually got me thinking about ways I can get people to take that last step and actually purchase a product.

    Thanks, John.

    • John Saddington

      sweet! you’re definitely a nice bonus to the community. i like your differing perspective!

      • Peter P

        I used this post this weekend to try to ‘improve’ my personal blog (

        I tried to use your advice combined with the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin to add a call to action in the header, which changes once the visitor has been there 5 times and then at the end of the post… which I’m considering making change when the user has been there x-number of times.

        Thanks, John.

        PS I actually came here today to see if you had some good advice or systems for navigation around past posts.

        • John Saddington

          hmm. navigation. yum.

          • Peter P

            In my opinion, someone needs to come up with something dramatically different and new in terms of navigation.

            It’s not just being able to find your way around a site, it’s being able to quickly find what you actually want.

            We need to get Apple onto this. It needs their kind of revolutionary, game changing thinking!

            • John Saddington

              haha. apple does everything right… right? ;)

  • Brian Notess

    Hmmm challenging readers to modify their theme files: bold.

    Here’s one I did successfully in Standard Theme: (note: I am not a developer so I probably did a bunch of stuff wrong)

    INSIDE: the tag

    <img src="/path/to/your/image.jpg”>

    Something to get your attention
    <a href="/yourcalltoactionpage”>A call to action

    Then added the following to my custom.css

    .cta-thumb {float: left; border: 1px solid #b0b0b0; margin: 0 10px 10px 0; height: auto; width: auto;}

    .author_info {height: 122px; position: relative; margin: 0 0 20px 0; padding: 20px 25px 10px; background-color: #fff; }

    I had to specify the author box height for some reason.

    Someone in the Tentblogger community will surely correct me if there’s a better way.

    Although I got it to work, I’m still strategizing about what best practice will be for my blog with calls to action.

  • Kyle Reed

    I like it John.
    Quick question, how would I change the gravatar image that is there into an RSS feed image? I guess really where would I need to do that in the code on the standardtheme.php page?

    • John Saddington

      it’s based on your gravatar. you could create a new email address and image there.

  • Larry Hehn

    Great suggestion, John. It just makes so much sense to do it that way. I just changed mine over. Thanks!

    • John Saddington

      sure thing larry!

  • Daniel Decker

    Strategy is where it’s at. :)

    • John Saddington

      because it’s awesome to have some strategery. ;)

  • Rodlie Ortiz

    Wow…what kind of editor do you use that it gives you the line numbers? Seems handy.

    • John Saddington

      I use Coda, from Panic.

  • Jeff Ferguson

    I love this post and I want to try and implement it. I would like to put my call to action in the author box like you have it. However, I am not sure where to updat the code. I have Standard Theme but since the editor in WordPress doesn’t have line numbers I am unsure as to where to update the code. How can I do this?

    • Peter P

      The authorbox is generated in the file ‘standardtheme.php’ which is in the ‘lib’ folder.

      Search that file for ‘function standard_author_box()’

      and you can edit the code underneath that.

      • Jeff Ferguson

        Thanks Peter! I would definitely consider myself a novice at this. I found the code for the author box, however what part of that code can I change? Where should I input the information that I want. I tried this last week and I received an error message. Do I just replace everything under ‘function standard_author_box()’ or is there a specific place under that where I should edit the code? Sorry if I am a little slow at this.

        • Peter P


          That all depends on exactly what you want to do.

          If you no longer want any author info in the author box, you can safely remove everything beneath:

          and down to above the directly above the

          I’d suggest taking a backup of the file first.

        • John Saddington

          what code editor are you using? it should provide line-numbers,

    • John Saddington

      ah, you’ll have to get a code editor to do this.

  • Calum Henderson

    Hi John,

    Thanks again for the helpful advice. I just started a new Christian hospitality blog with my wife and we’re aiming for 50 twitter followers plus subscribers, and we’ve just placed a call to action box below the author box in the single post view. Hoping that this will help our goal.

    I’m really appreciating all the awesomeness that you’re pumping out John. Keep it up brother!


    • John Saddington

      sure thing calum!

      nice job on the cta!

  • Rick Smith

    Great stuff..! I had wondered how you changed the author box, because I wanted to do it!

    Any chance you could post a screen shot of the code (showing where / what to change) in the standard.php file? I couldn’t really make it out on the screen cast. (I want to be sure I don’t jack anything up!)


    • John Saddington

      haha. i’ll show you this week.

  • Rick Smith

    Any change you could do a post showing how to put adds before and after your posts…..(I see you have one at the top of the post.)

    • John Saddington

      you don’t need to do this yet.