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Monday, Aug. 13, 2007 at 7:39 am

Stop Being a “More-on”!

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
August 13th, 2007

Impotent call to action hyperlinks like “read more,” “click here,” and “submit” sometimes make me feel embarrassed for the website owner. They should know better.

On Lost Remote, Don Day’s TV blog, he got me thinking again about calls to action:

“Don’t be a “more-on” ….That’s a mantra I repeat in our newsroom often. Why it’s so easy to write a generic, cookie cutter web tease that says “for more on this story, log on to our website at klmn.com.” Dumb. Very few viewers will actually follow through.”

Dan is right and what he says applies to the Web.

Persuasive call to action hyperlinks should include an imperative verb and a benefit.

For example, which hyperlink is more persuasive: A or B?

A. Steve found an investment secret that changed his life. Read More

B. Steve found an investment secret that changed his life. See how Steve doubled his income in one year.

This technique is easy to learn. So, please, stop being a more-on!


P.S. There is a framework for thinking about writing effective calls to action. Would you like to learn more about registering for our Persuasive Online Copywriting seminar?

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Comments (22)

  1. That’s a million page view tip ! Thanks for making it clear enough that even a more-on like me can see the light.

  2. Right – hopefully once and for all this will get my clients usability expert to shut up and let us build their site to make them money. Will let you know the results

  3. We run into a very similar thing in our scripts — especially event and retail copy. It usually presents itself as “and more” though. As in, “…thrill rides on the midway, mouth-watering food, prizes, AND MORE!”

    What we’re really saying is, “and more stuff not important enough to mention!”

  4. It’s important to also note that such lead-in and/or continuation anchor text isn’t just an important area to make calls to action compelling for human users. Planting targeted keywords within internal linking structure is also an easily overlooked item for SEO.

  5. Usability experts should recognize this as a scent of information issue.

    SE marketers should see the search engine results implications.

    Copywriters should see the need for clarifying benefits.

    This should be taught as “Online Writing: Obvious 101.” It’s so often neglected that when “online gurus” want to have any graduate level discussions I’m tempted to send them back for remedial 101 courses. If you get the fundamentals right the rest will follow.

  6. Great piece. Ironic that the last link in the P.S. is a rhetorical question rather than an imperative. Isn’t the copy writing rule of thumb to avoid rhetorical questions for fear that the unspoken answer might be “no”?

  7. Ed,

    Good question, but keep in mind that Jeff’s post is all about which calls to action (in this case, links) one highlights. You’ve hit on the irony, but here’s the intent:

    Had the entire sentence been linked, it would have seemed more rhetorical. Instead, Jeff is making the point that linking “learn more” would have been less valuable than linking the relevant part of the sentence — which, by the way, doesn’t include the sentence that surrounds it (i.e., the question mark isn’t linked).

    More to your point, though, context is everything. Besides, I’ve yet to meet a copywriter who doesn’t appreciate rhetoric. :)

    So, calls to action should correspond the goals of one’s audience at a given stage. For example, see how the calls to action change once you click through? Now do you see why I linked what I did in the previous sentence?

    Great question… Hope this clarifies a bit.

  8. Great post.

    I’d add that saying ‘Read More’ reminds them that they’re reading, which sounds like work.

    Even an avid reader like me would prefer to “See how Steve doubled his income in one year.”

    Thanks!
    Brian

  9. I find myself a forced More-on at times.

    For instance now, the project I’m working on pushes a ebook and the client wants to link to their archive of other tools and ebooks with a single link. I only have a fixed amount of characters to use because of web guru and graphic genius limited me to 10 characters I can use. The best response I have got so far is from the words

    “See others”

    I’m hitting my head against the wall with this one. I’ve begged and pleaded with the client to give me just 5 more characters, but no dice. This isn’t the first time, it happens often.

    There are millions of resources I use for my copy writing, but I have never seen a resource that provides ideas based on numbers of characters. That would be a god-send.

  10. Great title! ;-)

    Anyway good stuff. Hadn’t really given it much thought, so I have been using the More-on approach quite often. But definitely will change that now. Even though It will be a challenge sometimes to keep the sentences short and not too repetitive with words…

  11. Great tip there! I really haven’t thought much about that until I read this post. “More on” feels like reading an elaborate version of a summary, which in most cases, rather misleading.

    Yeah, with a catch sentence to lead the readers to the full text version, I am pretty sure the “conversion” is at least 50 to 60 percent than just using plain “more-on’s”!

    Totally agree!

  12. @ P.J. Man

    I have seen some testing done on the use of an ellipsis (…) in short character situations (ala AdWords) and it produced a substantial improvement in CTR. It’s from the guys over at MindValley Labs
    http://blog.mindvalleylabs.com/marketing/google-adwords-tips-an-awesome-new-formula-with-impressive-results/

  13. Jason: great blog post man! I’m going to try it right away!

  14. Great tip… “more-on’s” begone.

    “How to’s” rule!

  15. This is a great post, really good observation. I think any time you can simultaneously provide better information to the user and improve your SEO, it’s a double-gimme. One caveat: I wonder about the potential to abuse this and clutter up your copy unnecessarily. At times, less really is more. (But you don’t have to call it that).

  16. [...] came across a really good copywriting post at Grokdotcom, Stop Being a “More-On”. This argues for eliminating the web copywriting cliche of ending a paragraph with a hyperlinked [...]

  17. [...] to think any of the above suggestions are very effective since there’s no call to action. You can read the full article here . They suggest that your hyperlink should be persuasive. So instead of [...]

  18. [...] waste hyperlink words on non-descriptive or generic words.  Make links keyword rich and ensure that customers can predict where the link will take them.  [...]

  19. [...] waste hyperlink words on non-descriptive or generic words.  Make links keyword rich and ensure [...]

  20. [...] Usability guru Jakob Nielsen recently wrote about his research about the importance of keywords in your hyperlinks. Jeff Sexton shares how to write more persuasive hyperlinks and calls to action so you don’t sound like a “more-on“. [...]

  21. This is a great way to have visitors checking other webpages and staying more on a site.

  22. Contest are just a way of Marketing.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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