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Laser Sharp Images - Banner Design Tips


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Laser Sharp Images located in Pasco County, Florida, wants to share with you ourTop Tips for World Class Banner Design. It is not just a matter of Build it and they will come anymore. The typical consimer is bombarded by 3,000 to 5,000 advertizing messages in one form or another per day! You have a very short span of time to catch your potential customers eye, that is where world class banner design comes in!

Top Tips for Banner Design

1. You have 1-3 seconds – Make the most of them

There is a lot of competition for our eyes on a typical web page. You have a small window of opportunity as a potential customer glances across a web page for your eye to capture his or her attention and successfully invite them to stay watching and get your full message on your web banner ad. Make sure your banner design catches their eye, delivers an effective message, and gives them a clear call to action.

2. Nothing beats a great eye-catching punch line!

When thinking of the copy for a banner; you need to spend a lot of time in creating a catchy phrase, something that will arouse the interest of the viewers and entice them to click on the banner. The punch line should be a small phrase, just a few words and should be visually appealing (correct usage of colors and fonts).

3. Effective message

A successful banner has excellent copy. Be sure to spend ample time thinking about what would interest the surfer. Another rule of thumb for good copy is to keep it short and simple. The text should support the banner punch line and should be informative and practical, making the viewer curious or bringing out a smile. It should provide the motivation to cause a surfer to click on your banner to learn more.

4. Include your logo and web site URL in banners

If your ad campaign is a brand building exercise, it is advisable to include BOTH the logo and the web site address in the banner. For other types of banners, you might like to include the two, but make sure that they don't dilute the banner punch line or the copy. If you are, it is best to keep the logo and the URL together either on the right or the left side of the banner. The logo should be made small and the URL can be displayed in a very small font size.

5. Old techniques still work!

Advertisements have overused the word "NEW", or the phrase "New and improved"... but it still sells! Similarly on a web banner, nothing attracts a visitor more than the word "FREE"! It provides an incentive to potential customers when they click on the banner. Make sure that you deliver what you have promised in the banner - and point it out quickly on your site; or the visitor would simply click on the "Back" button of their browser, never to return again. That is called a bounce rate, when a customer pops onto your site from somewhere and leaves without even looking at another page.

6. It may be a cliché, but...

Statistics show that the best call to action on a web banner is the trite phrase "Click here". Its very presence increases the click-thru rate by almost 20%. The phrase should be displayed long enough (2-3 seconds), preferably in the last frame of an animated banner and can itself be animated - made to blink or change color.

7. Web banner file size

The ideal file size of a web banner is 10kb or less - the smaller, the better. The reason is since banners are generally displayed at the top of web pages, they should load before or with the main page text and grab the viewers' attention immediately. Banner file size depends several factors: the length of the animation (in case of Flash), the amount of animation, physical size of the banner etc.

8. How long should an animated banner run?

Studies have shown that a typical web surfer spends less than 10 seconds looking at the top of a web page. Thus, a web banner has to display all its content in this time. The call to action, which would usually be in the last frame of an animated banner, should be displayed within this time frame, else the banner loses its efficacy.

9. Staic banner or animation?

Animated banners generate almost 30% higher click-thru rates than static banners. The main drawback is that animation results in larger file sizes. However, optimizing an animated .gif banner by decreasing both the number of colors used and vertical color change, one can bring the file size below the required value.

laser sharp images static banner samplelaser sharp images animated banner sample

10. Use of photos in banners

An important point regarding animated .gif banners is the use of photo-realistic images. The .gif images can contain only 256 colors and image compression process works best when the image has large areas of single color. Since photos are complex images, iresults in large file sizes. So, it is advisable to either avoid the use of photos in animated gifs or keep the animation to a minimum, if photos are employed. Using Flash, we can embed photos as jpgs, which is the correct compressed file format for photographs and other complex images, and we can correctly control the compression levels of jpgs. The text or even the photo can now be animated.

11. Using Flash

Flash has thrown open a complete new area in web banner ad design. Flash animations are much smoother than animated gifs and the file sizes are a lot smaller. Flash banners can also be made interactive, involving the visitor directly. Banners developed in Flash generate higher click-thru rates than animated gifs.

Does this mean that the days of animated gifs are over? The answer is Yes and No! Displaying Flash banners requires a plugin on the viewers' system. Not all surfers would have this plugin (though the percentage of such users is decreasing by the day). When you submit a Flash banner for a banner ad campaign, you are asked for the animated gif version as well. Animated gifs still have a strong place in your nammer ad mix!

12. Simple Blue underlined text

Web surfers understand blue underlined text as links. If you know that the banner would be displayed on a web page with white background, you should created a banner with blue underlined text, preferably not anti-aliased, written in common fonts such as Times, New Roman, Verdana or Arial. The banner thus "merges" into the web page looks like a part of the content. Though this might be considered tricking the surfer, it would be forgiven if you deliver what you have promised in the banner.

13. Several banners for a single ad campaign

Unless you have done thorough research on your audience preferences and behavior patterns, its highly unlikely that a single banner would be sufficient for your ad campaign. We believe that you should start with 6-10 banners. You should keep rotating the banners and as the ad campaign progresses and you'll come to know which banners are generating higher click-thru rates. It is imperative that you track the success of each banner in terms of CPMs, CTRs and CPCs.

14. Relevant and appropriate content in banners - not XXX

Make sure that the pictures displayed in the banner are relevant to the products/services you are offering on your site. A woman in a skimpy bikini or less would surely attract the attention of some male surfers and get a click but, if your site sells electronic goods, the visitor is sure to leave your site before making a purchase. You, thus, end up with high-click thrus and negligible sales. And worse it may alienate some potential visitors from actually visiting your site.

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