educational

My First TGP: A Banner Blitz

Stephen Yagielowicz

I thought I was done with this series, but a few of my readers have noticed the lack of banners on My First TGP, and asked about if, how, where, and why I would implement this tried and true marketing tool. Here's a few thoughts on the subject, and one of my favorite techniques.

Frankly, banners were not an integral part of the original plan for My First TGP. While I had considered their use, they are in my opinion no longer the most appropriate vehicle for directing the prospect to the sponsor due to their declining "click appeal," and so I had simply planned on incorporating odd-sized graphics, buttons, and text links instead. Many Webmaster's feel they can't live without banners, however, and for them, I'll show you two great ways to use banners – both to generate, and profit from your site's traffic:

Banner Exchanges
While I have used the SexSwap banner exchange in the past (and received good results from doing so), I decided to give Sex Tracker's banner exchange program a try this time around. I first considered doing this when I signed up for the Sex Tracker counter and noticed that the signup form included a check box that would streamline the process, and so signup was a breeze. This is fortunate for the user, as having the counter on your page is a prerequisite for using their banner exchange.

For those unfamiliar with this free traffic generation tool, the premise is simple; your site displays a banner for another site, while another site displays a banner for yours. A small snippet of code is the mechanism for this exchange, and I installed it at the bottom of my main TGP page, alongside the Sex Tracker counter.

When comparing the Sex Tracker banner exchange to SexSwap's, two major differences are immediately apparent: where SexSwap will host your banner for you, the Sex Tracker exchange requires you to host your own banner, increasing your bandwidth usage - but they also allow you to use up to three different banners pointing to three different URLs with an option to let the system automatically "weight" the banner with the highest click through rate (CTR) more than the others. You may alternately specify the weight of the three banners manually. For those in need of an explanation of the term, "weighting" is a way of specifying the display frequency of your banners, i.e., one of your banners will be displayed more than the others. This is a great feature, and a decent trade off for hosting your own banner.

Now that I've placed a traffic-generating banner on My First TGP, it's about time to implement a revenue-generating banner as well…

Taking A Spin Around the Block
One of the great features of AutoGallery Pro is that you can specify "List Breaks" or HTML insertion points according to their position within the gallery listings, say after the 5th, 10th, and 20th listing, for example. You can easily change the content of these "List Breaks" from within the online admin area, and they can contain any HTML you would like to use, such as a banner. While I haven't actually tried it, I'm willing to bet that PHP includes and JavaScript could be inserted through this function as well. This opens up the possibility of adding banner rotation scripts, rather than simple static banners to your gallery listings. I have other plans for the content to be included into these List Breaks, however, and so looked for an alternative means of displaying banners. A solution was not hard to come by.

Consider that in order to maximize their profitability, traffic pumps such as My First TGP need to rely upon repeat visitors. This means that if you do not update your banners fairly regularly, that the prospect will continually be exposed to the same advertisement, and if a click-through and ultimate sale is not made initially, the odds of it happening later are greatly reduced. As one of my goals was to make this site as easy to maintain as possible, I looked for some help.

While using a banner rotation script would help ensure that a different banner would be displayed upon each visit, it would do little to guarantee the "freshness" of the banners in the display pool. Another issue was that unless a JavaScript solution was implemented, only one banner would be displayed per visit. As many surfers have non-JavaScript capable browsers, or will even surf with JavaScript disabled, this was not a perfect option, and a more cross-browser approach would become highly preferable. Here's one way that I solve all of these problems.

By using a frameset to display My First TGP, I am able to rotate my banners in a fixed position at the top of the page. This is done through running through a series of separate pages, each of which contains a single banner, and uses a timed META refresh tag to cycle these banner pages in a loop. This is a much more stable and browser-friendly implementation than scripting could provide, and allows the use of all sorts of "rich media" to be displayed in addition to banners.

The surfer can fully utilize the site, and will be exposed to as many ads as I wish to display, during the time he spends surfing the listed galleries. In the example you can see here, I run through seven pages, each displaying a True Cash "Banner of the Week" ad. I used this program for my example because not only does their design team produce high quality ads that "pull" but because they are updated regularly, and hosted on their own bandwidth. Offering something for nearly everyone, this is a simple yet elegant solution to the problem at hand.

Here is the frameset code that I used to implement this strategy:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>The Smut Factory : Thumbnail Gallery Post</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<FRAMESET rows="90,*" framespacing="0" border="0" frameborder="0">
<FRAME name="banner" target="_blank" scrolling="no" noresize marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" src="http://thesmutfactory.com/banners/banner01.html">
<FRAME name="tgp" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="yes" noresize src="http://thesmutfactory.com/tgp/">
<NOFRAMES>
<BODY>
<P>This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them</P>
</BODY>
</NOFRAMES>
</FRAMESET>
</HTML>

Here is the first of the included banner pages. Make sure that the last page points back to the first, so that you maintain an uninterrupted "loop":

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<META http-equiv="refresh" content="100; URL=banner02.html">
<STYLE>
A {text-decoration:none} A:hover {text-decoration:none; color: red} </STYLE>
<BODY topmargin="5" leftmargin="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="5" text="#C0C0C0" link="#FFCC00" vlink="#FFCC00" alink="#C0C0C0" bgcolor="#000080">
<DIV align="center">
<CENTER>
<TABLE border="4" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="1"><TR>
<TD width="468" valign="middle" align="center" height="60" bgcolor="#000000">
<A href="http://www.youngchicks.com/?ref=2623" target="_blank">
<IMG src="http://banners.truecash.com/yc.gif" alt="Click Here NOW for Young Chicks!" width=468 height=60></A></TD></TR></TABLE>
</CENTER></DIV>
</BODY>
</HTML>

This is one of my favorite little tricks, and I hope that it will give you a few new ideas that you can use on your own site. Try it yourself and see!

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