Continued from page 1
Don't camoflague your banners =============================
Many banners co-exist in harmony with design of site they are displayed on. While this makes site look better, it also prevents anyone from noticing what poor advertiser is trying to say. Instead of allowing your banners to fade into background, do everything possible so that they will stand out. Make it clear that your banner is something that should be clicked, not merely stared at.
In practice, this goal can be achieved by utilizing Windows-style navigational elements, notes instructing users to "click here" and colors that contrast with those used on site. The result won't look like something you'd want to frame and hang on your wall, but it will be effective.
Easy with graphics ======================
Pictures of attractive persons or tropical islands may be nice to look at, but they also increase time it takes for your banner to load. If your banner is placed near top of page and doesn't appear instantly, audience will scroll down page and never see it. Images also take up quite a bit of space and may force you to limit amount or size of text used in banner.
A good rule of thumb is that unless picture is somehow essential in convincing user to click, drop it. When advertising a sweepstakes, adding a picture of a pile of cash can feel like a good idea. However, in many cases a text screaming "WIN $10.000" would be just as effective and would load up much, much faster.
Cut to chase ================
Banners are not TV commercials. You'll have to continuously fight to get attention of your audience and you'll also need to fight to retain it. Long-winded advertisements that take ten seconds before even mentioning what is being advertised may work on TV, but not on Internet.
Following these instructions, which essentially tell you to create banners that look simple and perhaps even a bit unprofessional might seem foolish. But simple, straight-forward banners that stand out get clicked on.
Banner advertising is not a beauty contest. It's a selling contest. At end of day, what matters is whether your banners helped you make a profit, not how cool they looked.
Lauri Harpf runs the A Promotion Guide website, where he offers free tips on how you can use banners, search engines and other methods to promote your site. His site can be found at http://www.apromotionguide.com/