What Is a Website Banner?

Written by alex smith
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What Is a Website Banner?
Web banners are the billboards of the Internet. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The term "Web banners" has been around the Internet for years. If you are unsure of exactly what they are and how they could help your business, you are potentially missing out on large profits for Web surfers. Educate yourself on Web banners to make your website a more powerful tool.

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Description

A Web banner is a graphical advertisement. It is usually a static picture or short animation designed to capture the attention of a viewer and entice him to click it. Once clicked, the banner's hyperlink will take the viewer to the website than the banner is promoting. Banner space is sold on larger websites to help maintain costs and increase profitability, while the purchaser gets the benefit of increased Web traffic to his own site. There are probably a few banner ads on this page right now.

Standard Sizes

Web banners come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few standard sizes that are required by many companies selling banner space. A standard banner measures 468 by 60 pixels -- pixels are the tiny dots that make up an image on a computer screen. Larger leader board banners, found on the top and bottom of a page, measure 728 by 90 pixels. There are also skyscraper formats, which are vertical banners measuring anywhere from 160 by 600 to 120 by 240. Finally there are several sizes of small buttons, measuring anywhere from 125 by 125 to 88 by 31 pixels.

Standard Formats

Static banners (those with images that do not move) are usually created in JPEG format because of its high quality and low file size, making it one of the most commonly used image formats on the Internet. Moving banners are often animated GIFs. GIF is a lower resolution format that allows for multiple frames of animation without dramatically increased file size. Banners programmed in Flash have also become common, allowing for much more complex animation as well as interactivity.

Making the Most of a Banner

The best way to generate banner clicks is to fill it with useful, but brief, content. Do not add more information than is needed to get your message across. Likewise your use of colours and images should be designed to attract attention, but should not overwhelm the content. Animated banners, whether GIF or Flash format, have been show to produce up to 30 per cent more clicks than standard banners. In general, provide a clean, attractive, professional looking banner that you would want to click if you saw it. If you would click it, other people may as well.

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