A guest article by Korah Morrison. Share your article by following the guest blogging guidelines.
I think the Internet is unanimous in the opinion that adverts are annoying. They’re distracting, often intrusive and slow down web pages enormously, all for very little compensation for the website owner. In fact we need to only look at the growth of digital on-demand TV subscriptions to show how much we as a society had adverts – we’ll do literally anything to avoid having to watch them. If you are getting fed up with adverts on your web page, there are ways that you can use coding tricks to make them less intrusive, some of which I’m going to discuss here.
1. Avoid using auto-start on audio ads
If you’ve ever been browsing the web in the early hours of the morning and come across an auto-playing audio ad while wearing headphones, you’ll understand why it’s a bad idea. They signal one thing: the web master doesn’t care about his audience and therefore you should avoid that website. It’s true that these sorts of ads generally pay the most money per click, but the reason for that is because advertisers know that they annoy people.
It’s a much better idea to agree to only host adverts which the visitor has to click on to hear or watch the advert. This will stop your visitors being startled and having to search through all of their tabs to find the website which is the culprit of hosting such annoying adverts. The money that they bring in really isn’t worth annoying your visitors that much!
I often see online games audio ads that say “Choose your character”, “Choose your gun” or something like this. This is really very annoying.
2. Have smaller adverts
You should be very careful when changing the size of adverts, as if your advertisers have paid for a certain size they expect that size to appear, but if you can it’s a good idea to have very small adverts which don’t distract too much from the web content. It’s a good idea if adverts are always the smallest part of your web page; they shouldn’t be larger than any images or banners that you use, for example. If they are too big people become distracted and your web page becomes cluttered, once again giving the feeling that you care more about ad revenue than the user experience.
3. Use ads of a similar color
Your ads should fit into your web page, and the best way to do that is to make them the same color as the rest of your layout. While some people will say that ads should stand out so that people click on them, I honestly think that your users will appreciate the effort you have gone to, to make their experience better. If they fit nicely onto your web page people will be more inclined to visit your website in the future, rather than if you have gaudy images all over the place.
4. Avoid pop-up ads
If you are currently using pop-up ads, disable them straight away. Please, on behalf of everyone who visits your web page I implore you to remove them. They are often riddled with viruses and usually only advertise scam websites, so if you host them you send a clear message that you care about money and nothing else. Do they pay well? Yes, they do. But is it worth alienating your users over? No!
The argument that there are always pop-up blockers isn’t good enough: you should do whatever you can as a website owner to make the experience of your visitors better, and not rely on them to try to make their own visit more enjoyable. Like here:
5. Select the pages you will have ads on very carefully
Make sure that you choose which pages will display your adverts very carefully. If you have a category and sub-category system, you might choose to limit your ads solely to the main category page rather than having the sub-categories filled with ads too. Or else you might choose that your home page will be the only page to have ads, as it will get the most views.
This will show your users that you aren’t all about money, and rather care about what they see on a web page. You can always trial this method and include ads on more pages if you find that your revenue is too low with them only on select pages.
6. Locate ads in the top right-hand corner
I’m not entirely sure why but we have come to accept that ads should stay in the top right-hand corner of the web page. By keeping to this rule people know exactly where the ads are on each page; nothing is worse than preemptively clicking part of a page before thinking about it and coming across an unexpected ad.
7. Keep banners at the bottom of the web page
If you need to include banner ads, make sure they are at the bottom where they aren’t going to bother anyone. To be honest banner ads are associated with lower-quality websites and so they will make your site seem less professional, but if you have to include them you might as well try to hide them as best you can. Having them at the sides is a big no-no!
Editor’s Note: What do you think are the best practices of using adverts. Share with us.