Keeping Web Sites Fresh
Self-banners should not blend into your site. They're designed to stick out. Often, the more provocative they are, the more they'll get clicked. (When in doubt, try questions.) Colors that work best are yellow, red and black.
Place self-banners in the middle column of your site, one at the top and a different one at the bottom. Once you master standard self-banners, test them in the left and right navigational columns as well—these typically are some of the best-performing banners, but they tend to take more tweaking.
Some folks use self-banners to highlight Web site exclusives or feature best-selling products. Others use them to focus on specific areas or pages, such as overstock and clearance sections. Try both and see how they work for you.
Be sure to include a tagline and alt text (those words behind the picture) beneath each self-banner. About 5 percent of the folks who automatically tune out self-banners will click on this type.
Collectibles Today (www.collectiblestoday.com) and Countryside Gardens (www.countrysidegardens.com) both do a great job of using self-banners. Collectibles Today tends to use simple (no animation) banners in odd shapes and Countryside tends to use animated banners in traditional shapes.
When you make your self-banners, develop a rotation. The rotation for a typical site is about 30 banners (don't worry, with a software package like Fireworks you can whip off 30 banners easily in a morning.) Have your techies set the banners so they refresh each time a new page loads.