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Banner Ads For The Uninitiated

By Tim Priebe

If you’re going to advertise your website on other people’s websites, at some point you are going to have to design a banner ad of some sort. Whatever the size and shape, there are some standard issues with every banner ad.

First, it will either be animated or not. If it is animated, your two biggest options are either a Flash banner or an animated GIF banner.

Animated GIF banner ads can make for a slightly smaller file size if your banner ad doesn’t run for a long time before repeating. If it does run for any length of time, a Flash banner ad quickly becomes the winner as far as smaller size and less time to download. Also, animated GIF banner ads are less versatile. You can either click on the whole ad, or not click on it. With Flash banner ads, you can do things like “shoot the duck” or “punch the monkey” where the ad itself is a little game. This type, while not appropriate for all types of sites, has recently had a surge in popularity.

The other option is, of course, a static (non-animated) banner ad. If you are paying for the banner ad, this option will likely be a little cheaper. That’s cheaper to produce and cheaper to use when you buy advertising.

When you create your banner ad, you really do not want to cram a lot of text in there. The mantra of this, as with many things, is KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. All too often people try to fit way too many things in their banner.

First you will need the title of whatever you’re advertising, whether it’s your website, a product, an event or a service. You will also need some sort of picture to go with it.

Before you go any further, stop. It’s entirely possible that you’re done. If your title and picture are enough by themselves to interest people and entice them into clicking on your ad, then don’t add anything else to it.

If you feel that it’s absolutely necessary, you may need to add one or two lines of text. If it’s an event that you’re advertising, go ahead and put the date in the banner ad, so people know before even clicking if they are available or not.

A banner ad is more of an emotional enticement than a logical convincer. What I mean by that is that with that limited amount of space, you are much more likely to be able to convince people to click on the ad by appealing to their emotions than you would be by appealing to their logic. If you want to appeal to their logic, do so on your website that the banner ad actually goes to. In the ad itself, use pictures and words that appeal to emotions.

Tim is the author of Webifiable – Plan, create and maintain your web site the right way and is owner and senior web designer at T&S Web Design. He also maintains a blog with free website advice for small business owners,




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