You need to create a small 125 x 125 pixels square ad for your blog if you want to use ad networks and link exchanges like
CMF Ads, Adgitize, Project Wonderful, Technorati Engage, Yahoo Publisher Network (US only), Google Adsense, Blog Ads, Spottt and 125 Exchange. (Publisher Spot will give you reviews of ad networks if you are interested in finding more).
So, how do you design an ad that says what you need to say, fits into the small space while still being readable and attracts people to your blog?
First, you can make your own ad. It isn’t really hard if you just get some freeware and work on it a bit. Or you can get someone to make an ad for you.
Free 125 Cards will let you create one on the web too.
Second, know what you really want to say. What is the most important thing you want to say for your site? Don’t put too much into it, don’t make a complicated message. Consider that you have about 1 second to catch their eye and tell them why they should click your ad. Not much time is it? But, don’t get scared off. You don’t need to get everyone and anyone to click on your ad, just the people who will actually be interested in what your site is about.
Once you have gotten this far it’s time to consider the design itself. Keep it simple and clear. You can go with dramatic colours but chances are your ad will appear with other ads (all using dramatic colours).You might look around at other ads on other blogs and see what colours catch your eye. Maybe its not about dramatic colour but the graphic they use or the words? Make notes about what ads you look at.
Every ad is that same square shape so how about using a white background and have a circle or triangle inside it, something to make your ad appear to be different from the standard square. Or, how about framing your ad in a different colour? Sharpen focus onto your ad by giving it a framed border you can even have corners that narrow in like a real frame on a painting. Read more about using colour on: Color Me Clickable.
1. The blended technique
This technique sets the ad unit’s background and border color to the same color as the page background color. The title is then in either traditional hyperlink blue or in another color used for page links.
2. The matching technique
If your logo is green, you might try matching both the border and background of the ad unit to the same green, then use the page background color as the ad unit’s text color. You aren’t introducing new colors, but matching the on-page colors, and this makes the ad unit more noticeable than the blended technique.
3. The complimentary technique
This would use new colors not currently on the page, but colors chosen to complement the colors that are. There are many tools available online to help you figure out what colors complement the major color elements on your page. You can leave the border hidden and use the complementary colors for all the text, or use those complementary colors in the ad unit’s border and background, as well.
4. The contrasting technique
This isn’t used as often, but there are publishers who find contrasting ad units perform the best. For contrasting colors, think bold, bright and, most importantly, obnoxious.
Some people suggest you use the word ‘free’ in your ad. I don’t. I tried it and found no difference. In fact, I have had far more interest from my current ad than the one which proclaimed “Free Writing Exercises”. Also, it made me feel cheap and I didn’t like that feeling. I put time into my site, it’s not an ad farm and the content is all done by myself, originally me. Yet, that “free” ad made me feel I was promoting a splog (spam blog).
Don’t use too many words and make sure they are easy to read. Don’t have them too small or to blurry from trying to fit them in. Come up with something very short and yet descriptive of your blog. If you really want a challenge see if you can be witty too.
Use a graphic and words together, but make sense. If your graphic has nothing to do with your site it makes a confusing kind of ad. One thing I have noticed are that having eyes in your ad will attract reader eyes too. Think of a way your ad can interact with other ads which may be beside it, on top of it or under it in a blog sidebar. I’ve seen one which has a bug with it’s legs up in the air, as if pushing the other ad off. It caught my eye. What else have you noticed in your own wanderings around the web?