Banners were one of the first ways of making money from your hobby website, however they're not so popular now since most surfers don't even look at them. In fact, the click-through rate (the percentage of visitors who actually click on a banner) has steadily dropped, from around 5% 4 years ago to less than 0.5% now.
In the Traffic-Building volume of Make Your Site SELL! 2002, Web banners are called #1 "Time and Money Wasters." Save yourself months of poorly spent time. Read this essential manual first. You'll find out much more effective ways to spend your advertising dollars online.
If you have highly relevant, cleverly designed banners, you can beat the odds. However, you need relatively high traffic to actually make more than pocket change. In fact, most banner advertising companies prefer to only pay for actual sales (even click throughs are no longer attractive, since many people click through because they are paid to, and not because they intend to buy anything).
There are standard sizes for Web banners...
468X60 - the most popular size.
234X60 - half banner.
120X240 - vertical banner.
120X60 and 125X125 - popular button sizes.
88X31 - micro size.
If you want to do some banner advertising or simply swap with another site, you have three choices...
1) Experiment with building your own from scratch
If you want to build the banner from scratch in a graphics editor, here are some things you can do when designing to ensure clickability...
- Keep file size to no more than 10K if possible.
- Make sure it's easy to read, with one uncomplicated, legible font.
- Finish with a call to action - i.e., "Click Here!"
- Use some form of animation - movement catches the eye.
- Tell just enough to pique visitors' curiosity so they'll want to click and learn more.
- Create a sense of urgency by stating something like "Last Chance," or "Limited Time Offer."
- Try trick Web banners that resemble Windows dialog boxes, scroll bars, submit buttons or blue-colored underlined hyperlinks.
- Studies have shown these colors work the best: Orange, Green, Red, Blue, Black and Purple.
2) Create free Web banners from generic templates
Another option is to simply customize a generic template. There are many free Web banner generators that will help you create banners quickly and easily...
Make all you like free. You have to register first to get a password. In seconds, you can create top-quality, optimized banner ads that are perfect for your favorite banner exchange, a paid banner advertising campaign, or anywhere else.
Use the online Web banner generator or download the free templates to your computer (right click with your mouse and choose "Save Image As..."). Use your graphics editor to add your own text. This takes a little more effort, but a graphics editor will usually do a better job of adding customized text than an online service.
You can download some free Web banners and modify them to your liking. Simply place your cursor over the banner of your choice and click your right mouse button. In most browsers, this will bring up a window that allows you to select the "Save Image As..." option. You can then save your banner to a directory of your choice. All banners are 468x60 pixels and in GIF file format. Open the saved banner file in any graphic program and put your own text on it.
This service provides dozens of paid and free banner templates and lets you customize them online.
3) Contract the job out to professionals
This is an online marketplace for graphic design. Entrepreneurs and businesses who need things designed - from logos and stationery to websites and brochures - simply post what they need and name their own price and deadline. Once posted, over 87,000 designers from 150+ countries around the world will submit actual designs - not bids or proposals - for the buyer to review until they find the "the one."
99designs.com provides a useful service. It connects thousands of passionate designers with small businesses and individuals who need design projects completed. Simply post your design brief and multiple designers from around the globe will enter the contest by submitting different designs for you to choose from.
Web banners still remain an important "branding tool." Make sure your banners look decent and professional. If not, customers will assume the same of your company.
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