As a webmaster, you likely use advertising as your primary source of income.    Therefore, it is critical that before a website is ever built, you should strongly consider what sizes will make the most sense for your website.

Undoubtedly, you will have ads both above and below the fold – meaning above the bottom of an open browser window when your site’s web page first loads.   You will also be able to make these placements either text or graphical display ads.

Standard ad sizes are generally guided by the Internet Advertising Bureau and even though there are many, many sizes, the most popular for web publishers and advertisers are the 728×90, 300×250 and 160×600 (or 120×600) ad units.

This isn’t to say there aren’t other well-placed sizes that earn a LOT of money. But these are the most popular ad unit sizes in use today.

Marketing with banner ads is gaining in popularity once more. A few years ago, banner advertising was a key method for marketing your business on the internet, but two things happened that caused banners to get a bad name.

Firstly, everyone was using banner ads and websites became over saturated. Colourful flashy banners in all shapes, sizes and locations cropped up on every website you looked at. The pages became so very crowded that website owners stopped placing ads and visitors stopped paying any attention to them.

Secondly, the arrival of Pay-Per-Click meant there was a new kid on the block and in the beginning, PPC was a cheap and easy way to drive traffic to your sites.

However, we have come in a big circle. There are now fewer banners on sites – at least good ones – we still ignore the bad ones. And with search engines being increasingly particular about what you can advertise through the paid search and content networks, pay-per-click has thrown a huge number of businesses and internet marketers out of the game.

Web marketing with banner ads can be a very powerful strategy. The traffic is relatively cheap, you can target specific websites to place your ads on, even using Google Image Ads (so any site that shows Google ads will accept your banner image ads). You can even target your competitors website, since they will be a good match for your own prospects.

Done well, marketing with banner ads is once again a very good way to generate highly targeted visitors and leads.

The most your should expect to pay for your banner advertising is $1-$4 for 1000 impressions – that is the cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Build relationships with the site owners, never pay rate card prices, always negotiate during testing and for longer term campaigns. Rate cards are just a guide, shop around and propose a buget – ad managers usually have a 40-50% discounting window.

When you are choosing sites for marketing with banner ads, make sure they have good quality content on there. Some websites are there purely to pull in cash from advertising and won’t convert very well for you. Don’t just go on the rates. Sites that show fixed rates are probably just cash cows.

Make sure also that your ad is not only relevant to the sites’s visitors but that it has a chance of standing out. It must be placed ‘above the fold’ and using a innovative design that either sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb or blends into the main content so looks less like an ad.