Well, they’re more like images that look like buttons 😉
So, I figured, why not try them out myself for my brand-new Medium account?
Well, I have now created my own set of buttons, using Canva.
The Need for Custom CTA
If you’ve been around Medium, you know that a lot of writers use calls to action (CTA) toward the end of their stories. Most writers use text-based CTAs where they’ll type out what they want readers to do.
These CTAs vary depending on the writers and their goals, but the three most common CTAs you see around Medium are these:
- Writers ask readers to become Medium members to unlock unlimited stories using their referral links. Only writers accepted into the Partner Program have these unique links, and they earn a small commission when a reader becomes a paid Medium member using the said link.
- A writer may ask a reader to join their newsletter.
- A writer may also ask a reader for tips.
Medium has built-in systems to promote these features, but they’re laughably ineffective because of their terrible UI.
For example, the tip feature? Do you even know where that is? It is a teeny-tiny round button with a cute outline of a hand and a heart… like… D’fuq dude?
How do you expect anybody to even see that, or know what the hell that is when they see it, let alone click it and actually tip a writer???
So, a lot of writers will actually type out their CTA. Here’s an example of a typed-out CTA I often use in my main Medium account:
If you’ve enjoyed reading, please consider becoming a Medium member using my referral link.
But wait a sec, are you new to Medium by any chance? If yes, then you’ll find this ultimate guide for Medium newbies most helpful.
And if you’ve yet to join Medium, then you can do so now by clicking the button below. It costs $5 per month; cheaper than a Starbucks latte or a Netflix subscription!
Why Use Buttons?
Typed-out CTAs are fine, and considering I have several referrals, they do seem to work.
The problem (which isn’t really a problem so to speak) is that they’re oh-so-boring!
I don’t always mind boring. Sometimes I write pretty serious stuff, and I don’t want to kill the mood by using funky CTA buttons.
But other times, when I’m writing about lighter subjects, some cute buttons may just be the trick to get more folks to click on them!
And that’s why, when I saw Linda’s buttons, I wanted to make some for myself!
Let me show you how to do it yourself, with my favorite online graphic design tool — Canva!
But before that, if you’d rather just buy some buttons instead of making them from scratch, then click this link to my Gumroad product. You’ll get 15 buttons for tips, email subscriptions, and Medium referrals, 5 for each type, both static PNG files that you can use as-is, AND links to the Canva templates in case you want to customize them yourself 🙂
How to Design Custom CTA Buttons for Medium With Canva
These are the steps:
- Open up Canva (or create an account if you’re not on Canva)
- Create a new design with custom measurements: (800 by 100 pixels)
- Design your button
- Download it as a transparent PNG file
Here’s a video of the design process. If you like to read through tutorials, then scroll past this video for the written instructions.
1| Open up Canva
Canva was created by the Aussie entrepreneurs Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams, back in 2012. The basis for the product was to empower everybody (designers and non-designers alike) to create anything they want!
In any case, to design buttons with Canva, the first thing you need is a Canva account. It’s free! That said, I want you to download these Canva buttons as PNG files with a transparent background, and transparent backgrounds are only available with a Canva Pro (paid) subscription.
But, worry not my dear compadre. If you do not plan on using Canva often enough, then all you have to do is sign up for a 45-day free Canva Pro trial 🙂 Just make sure to cancel your Pro subscription before the trial is up, and you won’t be charged a dime!
When you’re ready, open up Canva on a desktop browser.
2| Create a new design
When you go to Canva, you’ll spot a deep-purple button on the top-right corner that says: “Create a design.”
This should show you a pop-out list of some pre-made options for a new design, but at the bottom of that, you should see another option that says “Custom size.”
Click “Custom size,” and now you should be able to enter a custom width and height for your design. Enter 800 in the width field and 100 in the height field. The default unit should already be set to “px.”
Once you have entered both the width and the height, a previously grayed-out button right underneath that says “Create new design” will turn purple and become clickable. Click it.
This should open a new design in a new tab in your browser.
3| Design your button
This process is totally up to you. Canva comes with a ton of shapes and graphics, so you can play around with them as much as you want!
For this tutorial, I’ll show you how to design a simple but pretty button, like the one you see below. You can follow along if you’re new to Canva.
- The main design panel is on the left; you should see options such as “Text,” “Elements,” “Photos,” and more.
- Click on “Elements” from this panel, then click or drag a square shape to place it on the design.
- Use your mouse to extend the sides of the shape to the edge of the design.
- Click the shape to select it, then click the “Border style” button from the top menu bar, and give it a corner rounding of 50.
- Now change the color of the shape. To do that, 1) click the “color” swatches option, 2) click “Add a new color,” 3) click “Gradient,” and then, 4) set the colors. For this tutorial, I’ve set the first color to #ffec9a and the second color to #fad5ed.
- Now, add a textbox. Click “Text” from the left menu, and then add any of the text styles you want (the plain ones; not the fancy, already styled ones.)
- Edit the text. I’m using “Send Tip” for this tutorial.
- Now style your text. I’m using the font “Archivo Black” for this button and a font size of 48.
- Make sure to center the text box in your design.
- You can also change the text color; for this, I’m using the color #292929.
- You can leave the button as is, or add some flourishes. I’m going to add a heart shape for this button, between the words “send” and “tip.”
- Place your cursor in the text-box, between the words “send” and “tip.” Then add a few spaces (using the space bar of your keyboard) to make room for the heart shape.
- Go to “Elements” on the left panel, and then type “Heart” in the search box. Click “Enter.” This will pull up Heart-shaped elements for you to choose from.
- Choose a shape of your liking, then insert it into your design by clicking or dragging it.
- Position the shape in-between the two words. You can resize it to your liking - by making it bigger or smaller until it looks good to you.
4| Download the button as a transparent PNG file
As the subheader suggests, you’ll now download this button. Remember, to download it as a transparent PNG file, you’ll need to be on a Canva Pro account. You can get a 45-day free Canva Pro trial here.
- To download, click the “Share” button at the top-right corner. Then click “Download.”
- You should see some download options here. Make sure the file type is selected as PNG, and then check the box that says “Transparent background.”
- Then click “Download.” The button will be downloaded into your computer as a PNG image.
How to Add the Button Image to Medium
This is simple enough, and if you’ve been on Medium for any length of time, you should be able to easily accomplish this.\
Just keep a few things in mind:
- You have to remember to hyperlink your button image with a link; I’ll show you how. Because if you do not link the image to anything, then it’ll just be an image without purpose. Your goal is for your readers to click an image that takes them somewhere - an email subscription page, a tip jar, a Medium referral page, or whatever have you.
- You should also make sure to add an Alt text describing exactly what a reader should expect. Tell them to click the image and also share what link they should expect to visit.
These are the steps:
- On a Medium editor; click the “Plus” sign where you want to insert the button image, and then proceed to add the image as per usual.
- Once the image is there, click to select it, then on your keyboard, click “Ctrl + K” if you’re on a Windows machine, or “Cmd + K” if on a Mac.
- This will pull up the link option for the image. Add the link where you want your visitors to go. Then click “Enter” on your keyboard.
- Then select the image again and then click “Alt text” from the options available. Add a descriptive Alt text; something like: “Click this image to leave a small tip.”
And you’re done!
That ends this tutorial; hopefully, you’ll find this useful 🙂
And remember, if you’re not so keen on designing your own buttons from scratch, feel free to buy some CTA buttons for Medium from me for only $7!
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