I'm currently doing some IA work on a website, and I'm putting together, along with a 'lexicon' of sorts, a series of rules for the application of words for our content editors. Currently, we have marketing teams from all over a large company, and too, sometime from outside the company, 'immovably telling' our content editors the copy that they should use to encourage actions. As a result, the site is endlessly inconsistent (part of the IA work will cover standardising patterns in the language used - 'apply, not enquire' for applications, 'whether to use Submit vs Send'), and so hard for users to 'learn' because of either language used ineffectively, or just the wild difference in the language used.

Long preamble aside, I'm looking for something I can reference, read, or even just for some advice on how to start writing a guide to curtailing this stuff.

Critically, I want to be able to put some rules around the grammar used on objects and areas on the site our users are expected to interact with.

Something like:

Heading - Tease or Explain Offer but include central Object/Noun to Orient Reader

Body - Lorem Ipsum Batman Clifton Nixon Shipment Flipside Brixton Plankton

CTA Button - Resolve Heading/Repeat Object in Heading/Give Action to Heading, etc

Hope that makes some sense. What I'm dealing with now is stuff that looks like this:

Header - In the Community

Body Copy - Go Team Go!

CTA - Find out More

Which just reads like dada.

1 Answer 1


I think there is a clue in the name, Call To Action.

In your example, the call to action for a page about an online community would be "Join our team" or "Sign up" or "Join our community" -- so the rule would be that there should be a verb and a reference back to the content of the headline and/or page.

There's an excellent article by Paul Boag with 10 guidelines for creating a good CTA.

In a nutshell: define your product, persuade people they want it, make sure they can see the CTA.

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