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Site Promotion Tutorial
Part 7 - Banner & Button Exchanges

Introduction

In part 6 I showed you how to promote your site by writing e-mails and articles. In this, the final part, I will show you how you can benefit from banner and button exchanges.

What Is An Exchange?

The most common type of exchange is a banner exchange so I will concentrate on this first. Basically a banner exchange is a large system where you can have your banner displayed on other sites.

You sign up to the exchange and give them the URL of your banner. Then you receive some code to put on your site. This code will display another banner from the exchange on the site and log the view. You will have an account where all the times a banner is viewed on your site is logged. These are known as banner impressions.

For every impression you earn you will be given a number of impressions on another site. This is usually done at a ratio of something like 2:1 (for every 2 banner impressions you display on your site you receive 1 impression of your banner on another site). This sounds a bit unfair but the site running the exchange needs a lot of bandwidth and resources and the spare impressions are used to display advertising banners. You may find rates as good as 10:9, though, where only 1 in 10 banners are taken by the exchange owners.

Why Should I Join an Exchange?

Some people wonder why a banner exchange is worthwhile if you only receive 1 banner impression for every 2 you display. You could be using this space on your website for paid advertising, making you money.

The main reason for doing an exchange, though, is that you are getting for free what could cost you a lot of money, advertising on another website. You are almost sure to benefit from an exchange, especially if you can design a very effective banner.

Another reason for joining an exchange is that you do not always have do give up your banner or prime advertising space. It is because of this that many new exchanges have been set up dealing in button and box advertising. These are much smaller and can be placed in navigation bars or just at the bottom of pages.

Banners, Buttons and Boxes

With all the different options for exchanges, what are they all. Banners are the standard 468x60 pixel images you see at the top and bottom of most websites. They are by far the most popular way of advertising on the web.

Buttons are 88x31 pixel images. Being very small, they are usually found under navigation bars or in clusters at the bottom of pages. They are becoming more popular as a method of advertising.

Boxes are usually 120 pixels wide and can vary in height. They are usually found in navigation bars or next to the banner at the top of a page. They are not particularly popular way of having an exchange but are an excellent form of advertising.

Exchange Tips

There are literally hundreds of exchange programs on the web, going from large networks, with millions of member websites, right down to tiny exchanges with a few members. Their display ratios vary greatly also, sometimes even being a 1:1 exchange!

Finding the right exchange program for your website can be difficult but it is usually better to go for a specific exchange which is related to your website because you are likely to get a much higher click through rate (the chances of your banner being clicked on (usually around 1%)). With the big exchanges, although you are categorized, you have less of a chance of having your banner clicked on.

Another useful tip is to get as many impressions as possible. Even if you think that your advertising space is too valuable to give up you are never going to get a decent amount of visitors through the exchange unless you get a lot of impressions. Put the code on every page of your site so that you get as many as possible.

If you don't have one already, you should get a counter or tracker which tells you
the referring URL of your visitors (the site they have come from). Sitemeter is an excellent option. Although, this will allow you to see where your visitors have come from it will not tell you if they came through the banner exchange. If a site appears that you don't think you have a link on, visit it. If you see a banner or button from the exchange you are a member of then the visitor probably came through the exchange. Most exchanges also offer statistics that will tell you the number of impressions and clicks you have received.

Finding Exchanges

Finding exchanges is actually the easiest part of using an exchange effectively. You can just do a search on a search engine. Another way of finding them is by looking at the banners and buttons on other people's sites. These will sometimes have a link under them to the exchange. You can also move your mouse over the button. The URL displayed in the status bar will tell you where you can find the exchange.

What Now?

After these 7 parts of the promotion tutorial you should have a very good idea of how to promote your site. Now you should just continue the promotion process, as if you stop your visitor numbers will fall. If you work hard you can be assured of having a popular site.

You must not forget, though, to keep developing your site and adding new content to make visitors want to come back again.

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