This past December, we had the pleasure of chatting with Michelle Madhook of SheFinds on blogging strategies for one of Coutorture’s BlogTalkRadio Seminars. During our conversation, Michelle suggested the idea of banner exchanges. A banner exchange consists of trading an advertising-type banner with a blog of similar traffic and/or topic. Don’t know how to create your own banner? Follow these easy tips.
1: Make blogger friends! Enjoy a blog but have never spoken with the author? Email, leave comments and do a shoutout on your blog. You’d be surprised how far a link goes!
2: Compare traffic stats. Unless you have a great relationship with the author, don’t ask for their stats outright. Use Alexa to compare their traffic to your own. Both blogs should be relatively similar in the traffic neighborhood. The purpose of a banner exchange is for both blogs to mutually benefit from the visibility, and that becomes difficult if one blog has significantly less traffic.
3: Ad sizes of 728 x 90, 300 x 250, and 160 x 600 work best. Don’t try to create anything too flashy, detailed or animated if you’re new to creating your own graphics. Be sure to stick to your blog’s branding (ie colors, logos, font styles).
4: If you don’t have access to Photoshop, there are other graphic creation and photo editing tools out there. Danae of Knickers uses Picnik, and Photoshop just launched a free online editor called Photoshop Express. If you have access to Photoshop but are unsure of how to use it, Network Partner Lyon of Beauty Secrets Revealed and Let’s Go Shopping has created a Photoshop Tutorial e-book available here.
5: Create an agreement. Determine how long the ads will run and where they will be placed. Above the fold ads (the portion of the page you see when the site loads) are preferred but the space should be reserved for paying ads. Make the agreement fair and equal.
6: Don’t over extend your efforts. Focus on one or two banner exchanges for a couple of months, and then target new audiences. There are more than enough blogs on the internet with unique readers to keep your banners circulating.