I went looking for banner maker software the other day.  First I looked at free online banner makers, because I’m cheap that way, but most looked either broken or like dodgy email harvesters.  The better ones required a fee to actually download your creations, and they still looked like dodgy email harvesters.

So I went looking for dedicated banner making software and found two that caught my eye:

  1. Banner Maker Pro – is an old friend.  I used an early version of this over 10 years ago, and only abandoned it when I quit using Windows computers for the Mac.  I missed not having it.  BMP is easy to use and even I could make a banner pretty quick. I’m really glad this is still around.
  2. Banner Design Studio – this is new to me.  My preliminary look around suggests it comes with a lot of extras.  If I was going to sell stuff or sell ads that might be important.  If I had a local directory and was selling banner advertising on my own site it would be important.  The screen shots of the UI look like something I could master.  At the sale price it might be worth it.

I used to run a banner exchange.  I have an eye for banners and advertising. I rarely click.  Here are my observations.

  • I’m blind to most Text banners and links.
  • I’m blind and annoyed by too many slick banners plastered all over the page. It’s just noise.
  • I’m really annoyed at anything that pops up and overlays the content of the page.
  • Auto playing video ads are the Spawn of the Devil.
  • I do notice one or two modest graphical ads on a page, tastefully presented and not too corporately slick.
  • Slick ads don’t get my attention, they are a dime a dozen.

My take away, is to do the opposite of conventional wisdom, use only a very few ads per page and make them look neat, workmanlike but somehow homemade.  That’s the stuff I notice.  That makes me curious.

I have four reasons for eventually wanting to make banners:

A.  At some point I’m going to have several websites plus this blog.  I want to somehow share traffic between different parts of this blog and those other websites.  I also have causes that are important to me and friends who have websites that are important and I want to share traffic to them.

B. I’m old school, I think websites like my directory and all organizations, causes, movements, should offer a couple of different size banners and buttons that other webmasters can use to link back. They may never be used, but then you never know who is going to really dig what you are doing and link back so give them options.

C. Graphical banners are good for branding. Better than text.

D. I have banner rotation ability built in to my scripts or as a plugin.  I might as well use what is sitting there for free.