What are banners and why do I need one?
My Blog is now 10 months old 🙂
(Yay!)- So yes! I’ve been blogging for just under one year. This morning I was thinking about my first few weeks after I entered the world of blogging. (Hello steep learning curve!) I had a lot to learn and I knew that I wanted to succeed and succeed well. So I studied and read several other blogs. I read hundreds of articles about how to blog, how to design your site and how to monetize your site.
The advice was plentiful – and mixed. Generally in life, whenever there is mixed opinion about anything, it means that no one really knows what the correct answer is.
The source of my confusion was this question: Should I or should I not add banners to my new site? This really should have been straightforward. In fact, it shouldn’t even have been an issue in the first place. But it was. I’ll explain…from the beginning.
What are banners?
Banners are ‘clickable’ images, usually squares or rectangles dotted around the page of any website. They are used for advertising and are mostly placed at the edges of the page by the site designer. Banners may be static (a still image) or animated. (flashing, glowing, appears to be moving)
When a reader clicks on a banner, they will get taken to a new page as advertised by the banner. The whole purpose of a banner therefore is to attract attention and prompt / tempt the user to take action and click on said banner.
What are the advantages of banners?
If you want to make money online, you need a website. (Yours or somebody else’s). Most people online are searching for information and will almost certainly end up reading a chunk of text or watching a relevant video on some website. When they are done, they will be gone. So before they leave your site forever, you need to provide as much opportunity as you can for them to get to your sales page.
This is where banners come in. Banners can be used to take up every last bit of free space that is available on the page. While your reader is reading / watching their video, you can serve up a banner on the side and advertise / sell goods to them. And profit. Banners are all about making money. Nothing else.
So a combination of good relevant content for your reader and a relevant banner advertising relevant goods will lead to a sale. $$.
Banners come in various sizes. From tiny rectangles to good sized larger squares. This is great because it allows you to fill up as much or as little space as you need to on each page.
Beware though, do not overdo it. Some readers have trained their eyes to ignore banners as I discuss below.
What are the DISadvantages of banners?
Banners are plain ugly. This can be a direct result of poor design skills on the part of the banner creator. Sometimes, in an effort to attract attention, designers go overboard or throw all common sense regarding beauty and aesthetics out the window. Depending on your banner setup, you may find an ugly banner on your page. Like this one from webmaster.net
Banners are distracting. This can be frustrating for your reader if they are attempting to remain focused on a single task. If the user experience is disturbed to any extent by a less than pleasant experience, you may never see your reader again.
Banners eat up your white-space. The more white-space that you have on your pages, the more successful your site will be. White-space means just that: white space. Areas on the page where there is no text, no images, no nothing. Its very pleasing on the eye and adds to a pleasant user experience. Google’s homepage has lots of white-space.
So why all the confusion about banners then?
Well, one school of thought reckons that as a beginner blogger or website owner, you should only ever focus on one thing: Providing great content.
Forget about banners, forget about monetizing, forget about advertising. Just serve up that great content that your readers are looking for. Once you have a steady flow of visitors to a busy well-filled site, begin monetization with the addition of banners or whatever monetization technique you want.
Why you MUST HAVE banners on your site
The other school of thought is this: (and my preferred option) Make money from day one.
Put up the banners and put them up from day one. Imagine you’ve got 2 sites. One has banners up and the other doesn’t. Which site will make you money?
Another way of looking at it is this: If you start by adding great content first, at what point exactly do you become ‘ready’ to add your first banner? Is it when you hit 2 visitors to your website per day? 200 visitors per day? 2000 per day? When?
The top of every post on my site has always had a banner. In fact, I rotate several banners here so you will see a different banner each time.
All along the sidebar of each page on this site are banners. My articles are generally very long. This one is over 900 words long! So I have 12 banners running down the length of the side of each page. Again, I am rotating different banners here. 30 different banners to be exact.
What is banner blindness?
Some ‘GooRoos’ believe that we are all suffering from something called ‘banner blindness’: We have all gotten so used to seeing irrelevant banners on web pages that we either ignore them, never click on them or both. I disagree.
“The right banner, served to the right person at the right time will result not only in a click on the banner but an actual sale.” – Ugo Okonkwo
You need to get your banner out there.
Have you got your site up and running yet? Have you got your banners up? Are you rotating banners? Comments are welcome.