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What an effective banner should look like?

| Andrzej Herzberg | Web Development

A good banner is one that works – irrespective of message, color combination or graphic.  If it motivates readers to click you have success!   To measure a successful ad one only has to look at the number of click through rates (CTR) it generates.   Below are pointers to keep in mind when developing that winning banner,  Joomla site or template.

Banner Message

Create a message that will entice action. Do not use the company name, what you are selling as you want to heighten their curiosity as to what is behind the box e.g. free banners for Joomla sites or 30% off their insurance. If you do use your brand name you run the risk of them assuming they know your brand, therefore they won’t be interested.

The message needs to be short, immediately understood and call them to action by using any of these keywords e.g. free, save, % off, new, limited offer, sale etc.

The banner message needs to be reinforced by the page you are directing them to within a Joomla site. This page closes the deal. If your banner is a free banner for Joomla sites then the page needs to contain content on what is being offered, and more importantly how to get it. For ecommerce stores the link is easier as the sale banner click through will take them directly to the relevant product page in the online store.

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Website Placement

In Adwords you have no control over the placement of your advert. You will only receive information on banner placement in a report later. However, where you can control your banner placement ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many other banners are on the page?
  2. In which sections of the Joomla template do they appear?
  3. What is the style of the ads?
  4. Do they stand out or are they muted?
  5. What is the content of the page that you want to advertise in?

Joomla templates make it easy for the non-technical marketer to add banners to their websites, irrespective whether you are selling a particular service or product on online stores.

Call to Action

Have a clear and immediate message that will create a sense of urgency. Limited offer means that if they don’t act now they will be losing out. Human nature finds this hard to resist. Submit buttons are an example that we are all familiar with, even though it is not a banner. A successful banner should shout out what the action is you want the reader to take.
Excellent examples are:

  • Last Chance
  • Press Here
  • Click Here
  • Try This

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KISS Principle

The Keep it Simple Stupid principle is a favourite of every savvy marketer, as it ensures that you have kept the following in mind:
What is your ONE message? This is not the place for multiple messages. You have a very short window to grab their attention and get to them to click on your banner.
The headline is EVERYTHING. It needs to be short, to the point, enticing and get the message across at a glance.
Do the visuals support your message? The message and the visuals mustn’t compete for attention. The banner placement is also important. Above the fold is the ideal position at the top or on the left hand side.
Test to ensure your banners works by ensuring that the hyperlink goes to the correct page or product in the ecommerce store. If you are offering something for free e.g. free banners for Joomla templates, then the click through should take them to a page that explains how to get the free banners for Joomla templates and immediately get going.

Type and Fonts Styles

All Joomla template designs include a set of font styles in the Joomla site design for headings, sub headings and articles. However banners do not have to comply with this restriction, as banners are in effect images.

Select only one or two fonts and preferably two fonts that complement each other.
Also take into account the audience you are appealing to. If for example your banner is to encourage older visitors to purchase, using a larger font size would make the message stand out and thus easier for them to action.


Graphics are used to grab the attention of the viewer using a combination of color and images that tie in what is being sold. For example if the banner offers promotion    for cosmetics then the graphic should include a link to Joomla sites that is easily and quickly recognisable.

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Power of Color

A lot of research has gone into understanding how we respond to colors and the impact it has on advertising. Using the correct color or combination of color can increase your success rate by making your banner stand out from the rest.

Color – Its impact, meaning and symbolism

Color and its meanings are determined by cultural norms and vary from country to country. For example in Japan white is associated with funerals whilst in the west, white is associated with weddings and purity. If your banner or Joomla template has to have cross-cultural appeal in a local context, do keep these norms in mind when considering color and how they will be interpreted.

Blue is the most popular color that is associated with trust, dependability and commitment. Most investment companies, banks, insurance companies use blue for their corporate colors as a result. But not all blues are equal. Brilliant blues are dramatic and dynamic that encourages exhilaration. Blue is also gender neutral as both male and females love this color.
Meaning: In western culture blue is soothing, pastel blue indicates a baby boy. In Scandinavian countries it is associated with cleanliness. The Chinese ascribe blue to immortality.

Red is a stimulating color that is exciting, energetic and encourages confidence and action. 
Meaning: Red is associated with danger, passion, stopping, love, Valentine’s Day, Christmas (if used with green), communism. In eastern cultures red is used for weddings, happiness, celebration, good luck, long life. In Mexico when red is used with white it’s associated with religion.

Yellow is mostly associated with sunshine, optimism, enlightenment and happiness. Yellow activates memory, encourages communication, and creative thought. Yellow is an excellent color for call to action buttons.
Meaning: In Mexican, Egyptian and Ethiopian cultures yellow is associated with mourning. In western cultures yellow is the colour of sunshine. It is associated with happiness, joy and energy.

Green is the balancing color between the warm and cool colors in the color wheel. Green is the colour of balance and harmony that helps to reduce stress. Most hospitals use green for this very reason.
Meaning: Stands for money in the US. St Patricks Day, Christmas, Environmental Awareness and the military. In France, as well as in China, green is not seen as a good color for packaging.

Color Combinations

According to the Outdoor Advertising Assoc. of America (OAAA) the highest visibility color combinations to use are those mentioned below. Even though these are recommended for outdoor advertising, the principles remain the same on a website, if not more so, as you need to stand out from all the other banner ads and content in a smaller space.

  • Black on yellow
  • Black on white 
  • Yellow on Black 
  • White on blue
  • Green on white

If the above doesn’t fit into your desired combinations, look at the color wheel for inspiration. A color wheel indicates the importance of contrast, hue and value when selecting a foreground/background color combination. By selecting contrasting colours, these are colors that are opposite one another on the color wheel, for example red is in the warm part, whilst blue is in the cooler section will ensure a dynamic banner.

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Banner Sizing

A wider ad is preferable as it is more easily seen, as well as providing more space for your design. Check whether the width of the column in a Joomla template will hold your banner. Smaller ads load easily, as long as they are sized at 10k-15k bytes.

More than one banner design

When undertaking a banner campaign design a number of banners with different graphics and message but research indicates that users will no longer click on a banner they’ve seen before. Keeping it fresh will encourage more click throughs. You can do this by designing different banner ads for different sites and changing them around. This will aid in determining which of the banners, on which sites are more successful than others.


We have discussed a number of elements to keep in mind when designing the ideal banner ad. Banners work and the simpler, the better. A great banner will have a good call to action and content that easily gets the attention of the users. Banner ads is an effective way to generate traffic for your website. There are a number of sites that offer a free banners, check our free banners for your Joomla site.