Creating Eye Catching Banners

Everyone with a web site should have at least one banner - for banner exchange programs, advertising on other sites, and targeted reciprocal banner exchanges. So, what do you do if you have no experience in creating an eye catching banner? Read on...

Banners are a mini advertisement with ONE purpose - To get the viewer to click on it! (Of course, you may use banners to brand your name, but ALL banner creators want the viewers to click it!)

Animated banners have proven to be clicked more often, but you have to be careful they don't drag a pages load time down too much, or surfers may be resentful. Some animation can be downright ugly, so be careful not to go overboard.

So, how to get people to click your banner, animated or not? Remember some of these key factors:

  • A quick load time is imperative. People won't wait to see what you banner says, so make sure they don't have too. You can do this by limiting the colors you use in your banner, and by the size of the banner. ("Average" banners are either 400x40 pixels or 468x60 pixels.)

  • As mentioned earlier, you want the viewer to CLICK the banner, not read your sales pitch, mission statement, etc. A short one liner with a great incentive for them to click may work best. Don't write:
    "FREE MONEY - Click Here!"
    if you're advertising your secretarial service, because such trickery usually only backfires. On the other hand, if you're promoting your expertise in finding lost money, that may not be a bad line.

  • Some people are turned off if your business name or product name is not in the banner, and will not click through. But I think the majority of people click on banner that pique their curiosity, so you may or may not want to include this infomation.

  • One thing you should include is your URL, especially one that is short and memorable, if you want to brand your web site address.

  • Contrasing colors will help your banner stand out. As a firm believer in having all of your marketing materials work together, try to choose colors, and a 'look', that match your web sites own colors and look.

  • Writing "Click Here" somewhere on the banner has helped countless banners by clicked a little more then others. By reminding readers that yes, this is a clickable graphic leading to something you're intested in, you'll get that many more hits to your site.

  • A newer trend is to use things that look like the things we click on our computers everyday - windows to type in, drop-down screens, etc.

    Having a nicely designed banner is very important - just as having nicely designed business cards, brochures, flyers, and web sites are of utmost importance. Remember, the key is to get them to click, and look good doing it.

    By Julie Tillman-Frost Copyright 1998