So, let’s say that you have a website or product that you want to purchase advertising for. Unless you really want to limit yourself to purchasing text link ads (which are being frowned upon more often) you need to get yourself some banner ads.
If you are artistically inclined, there are several ways to go about creating your banner ads. Some of my favorites are Photoshop (fairly expensive) and it’s open source alternative, Gimp (Free). I’ve even seen some people that have made pretty darn good banners with Paint. Another free alternative to check out is Paint.net. I’ve been told it’s a little bit like Paint on steroids. Either way, the bottom line is that you can make your own banners.
In many cases, the actual creation is easy. Simply open up your graphics editor of choice, create a new graphic of the correct size, and go to town creating the image. For me, it’s the image creation that is difficult. I don’t have the skill to make what I see as a professional image.
So, what do I do? I buy the talent of someone else. There are many, many places you can purchase a little graphics labor. My personal favorites are the forums at Digital Point and Sitepoint. Both have an abundance of talent and some of the work that comes out of there is of an elite quality. Of course, the more you pay the better the talent that tries to earn your money. A typical 125×125 ad of better than average quality will set you back at least $50. But it is certainly worth it to have a quality professional image to use in your advertising campaign.