Consider Ad Placement even for sites without advertising

This may sound stupid, but when you're working on a new design for your site, even if you don't plan on running ads. There are very few circumstances on public facing sites that I wouldn't apply this rule and there are two main reasons why.

First, you never know what might happen down the road. You might get a great offer to put ads, the traffic to the site may require you to start making money to cover costs or you may decide to sell the site to someone that wants to put ads. If you design with ads in mind, you'll have an easier time fitting the ads into your site.

You know how time consuming it can be to get every element of your page in just the right spot and looking right in different versions of Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, Opera. Sometimes you think you're going to completely wear out your CTRL and R keys. You don't want to later find out that you have to do it all over again because you can't fit the ad you want, without breaking half your pages.

Second, most web pages contain more information than just the primary page content. Since it's common for visitors to have wider screen resolutions, and you don't want to have your content area too wide (makes it more difficult to read), you'll likely ad other elements to the page.

Some of the other elements will be your site branding and navigation, but you can also use ad blocks to advertise your site's content. You can rotate new or featured content in ad blocks for example. Might as well stick to standard ad sizes when you place elements. One less thing you have to worry about.

So the next time you're designing a site and carving out little sections for different page elements, ask yourself questions such as: Where would ads work best? What ads would I like to put here? Will the ads fit in my page layout or should I make columns/sections wider or narrower so that ads will not look like an afterthought?

For example, lets say you're working on a blog design and you want to determine how wide to make the post area. Putting ads inside your blog post works well, so try to size it with ads in mind.

One common format for inside blog posts is the 468x60 pixel banner. You want to make sure this element is wide enough to accommodate it. You also don't want it too wide that the banner looks too small.

If you are putting the ad within your entry text, you might want to consider putting a rectangular ad in the 200x200, 250x250, or 300x250 range. You'll want to make sure you design for the right size ad block and that you have enough room to the side of the ad for your content. Don't let the ad push your content down. Make sure you place your content above the fold.

Side menu areas are good locations for skyscraper ads such as 120x600 and 160x600. Wide sidebar areas can be set up to fit 250x250, 300x250, 336x280 or even a row of smaller button ads.

Those are just a few examples using some common ad sizes. Below you'll find a list of standard ad sizes.

Standard Ad Sizes

Rectangular and square ads

Width x Height AdSense
Large Rectangle 336 x 280 yes
Medium Rectangle 300 x 250 yes
Square 250 x 250 yes
Small square 200 x 200 yes
Rectangle 180 x 150 yes

Horizontal Banners

Width x Height AdSense
Leaderboard 728 x 90 yes
Full banner 468 x 60 yes
Half Banner 234 x 60 yes

Vertical and Skyscraper Banners

Width x Height AdSense
Vertical Banner 120 x 240 yes
Skyscraper 120 x 600 yes
Wide Skyscraper 160 x 600 yes
Half-page 300 x 600 no

Buttons and Bars

Width x Height AdSense
Button 1 120 x 90 yes
Button 2 120 x 60 no
Micro bar 88 x 31 no
Micro bar 88 x 31 no
Micro button 80 x 15 no
Square button 125 x 125 yes

If you use AdSense, you can view the available AdSense formats.
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