Chuck V. Heintzelman Jr.

PW:I understand you run a banner exchange called LinkBuddies. Can you tell us a bit about it?

CH: LinkBuddies is a FREE banner exchange. It's family safe and is packed with benefits for the LinkBuddies participant. 'Target Marketing' and 'Hourly Targets' are just two of the tools that helps participants 'zero in' on their marketing efforts.

The goal of LinkBuddies is "to bring the world to your web page." To help reach this goal, I'm constantly updating and adding new features and resources to help people promote their web site.

One of the newest and most exciting features is the LinkBuddies referral system. When a member refers a new member to LinkBuddies, the referring member receives 10% of that new member's page visits as additional advertising. This stays in effect for as long as the pages are active.

PW: I have been following Link Buddies a lot in the last few months. How many members would you say it has now?

CH: There's currently about 3,000 members. Anywhere from 10 to 60 new members sign up each day.

PW: Do you know what the average click-through rate that your members get on their banners?

CH: I haven't written a program to poll all member data to determine what the average is. But I've seen 25:1 click-thrus. It seems that the best sites generally are around 40:1. There's a large group in the 60:1 - 100:1 range. A few sites have lower click-thrus in the 250:1 range.

PW: What would you say is the best way to entice people to click on banners?

CH: There are four things I think are important.

First is a "call to action" the banner should say "click here" or have a button to click on or some other indication to click on it. A small animated "click here" on the banner is especially effective.

The 2nd is the to have a clean, crisp looking banner that is pleasing to look at. This may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of unprofessional, thrown-together looking banners I get. The banner should not be too busy with information or animation. Nor should the banner be so boring that it won't catch the surfer's eye.

The 3rd is to have an element of mystery on the banner. Something that makes the user want to click and discover more. Don't tell the whole story on your banner, just try to get them to your web site. Your web site is where the presentation is, not the banner.

The 4th item I think is important is to use power words like NEW and FREE and words on your banner that evoke an emotion such as EXCITING or AMAZING. The ad copy on your banner is very important.

PW: We all know the importance of making small (byte wise) banner. Now that GifWizard has become a "paid only" service, how would you recommend people shrink their banners?

CH: I provide this service for FREE to members of LinkBuddies that request it. Although GifWizard costs now, the price is very reasonable, and just shrinking a few banners every few weeks doesn't add up to much when using GifWizard. Another tool to try is Ulead System's WebRazor I've tried their trial version and have found it excellent.

PW: Do you have any final tips for our readers?

CH: It's important to remember that web site promotion is an ongoing process, especially banner advertising. Statistics should be checked frequently. Different banners should be measured against each other. A banner that is effective today, may not be half as effective two months from now.



  • LinkBuddies
  • GifWizard
  • WebRazor
  • Promotion World

Don't consider a small sampling of 100 to 500 banner displays as an accurate measure of how your banner is doing. Samples should be at least 5,000 impressions or higher.

Banner advertising is just one of the many promotion tools that are available. I suggest that everyone peruse through the LinkBuddies site or the Promotion World site to discover some of the many promotion techniques that are available and then make use of all the tools that you can.

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