It's true... Study after study looking at eye tracking in natural-use situations and click-thru rate statistics, have shown there really is such a thing a banner blindness.

"What is banner blindness?" you ask? This is when website users, despite their surveyed insistence to the contrary, ignore advertising or even important content that happens to look like advertising or that's placed where you'd traditionally find them, as in the header (Hmmm... what's that light blue thing at the top of this page? LOL).

Several solutions have been proposed, from the unethical disguising of ads as alert boxes to the more rational use of text links over slick graphics, better integration into the content areas (but it shouldn't look the same), and mixing it up instead of repeatedly presenting the same advertisement.

All of these work, but while the first may get you extra clicks, it obviously fosters resentment and the only call to action the visitor will be taking is closing the window! Let's focus on the others then, shall we?

This first tool allows you to easily create a list of ads or other content (maybe a quote, for example) which are randomly displayed wherever you can put a widget — you decide how many in any given spot.

The probability of clicking on a banner drops from a maximum of 2.7% to less than 1% at the fourth exposure. --DoubleClick ("Banner Burnout")

Note: You will need a widget-ready WordPress theme and version 2.8+ to use this multi-instance widget.

BONUS: This plugin also comes with a shortcode [randomads count=1] which you can place within a post or page to randomly display a specified number of ads.

The second tool lets you place ads (again randomly selected from a list you set-up) just under the comment form. This is an area of your blog that should get viewed often and which people are not accustomed to seeing anything but a call to action, namely, a submit button for their comment.

Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe. --Jakob Nielsen

You can set differing numbers of advertisements, etc., on a per-post/page basis, or even none at all, by using a simple custom field (cfooter) to override the default from the plugin's admin panel.

Given the research, it only makes sense to put your ads or email list sign-up forms in the sweet spots and to keep them fresh. These two WordPress plugins are designed to do just that!

My plugins usually go for at least $17 each. However, given their shared purpose of fighting banner blindness and banner burnout, I've decided to package these two together. And to make it a no-brainer in doing so...


Your Favorite Software Developer,

P.S. - Want to see them in action?