The purpose of the promotional link-buttons is to provide illustrated links to one’s website without having to use a textual hyperlink or a link description in many languages. Such "buttons" can be more visually stimulating (and therefore attract more attention), flexible and easily interchangeable (they do not have to be permanent), user-friendly (the user intuitively clicks on them) and they do not require much editorial intervention. During the last EUROPA evaluation in 2008 when users were asked if they use these buttons to access related information through the homepage of EUROPA a staggering majority of them said "no" as they thought that they had to do with pre-paid commercial advertisement. This is the reason why it was decided not to include them anymore in the EUROPA homepage and the Commission site homepage. However, it is left up to the individual webmaster's discretion to decide using them when it is thought useful for specific sites and in particular instances.
Link-buttons can be used for the promotion of your new website.
The buttons always have to be of the following dimensions: width=150, height=56,
They should always contain an alt text,
They should be of high quality but light,
If text appears on them, then the buttons need to be provided in all linguistic versions or at least the linguistic versions of all the pages they appear in.
The design/development of a link-button precedes the date of the beginning of the site’s online campaign. All the actions described under “Steps” should be complete before the link-button is used online. The same button can be used several times in the same way, according to promotional needs and the topical nature of the site promoted.
You can subscribe banner advertisement on other web pages against payment. Banners are advertisement areas, mostly at the header of the web site. There is one disadvantage with the banner ads, they are so prevalent that they might be ignored or, as previously mentioned, percieved as pre-paid advertising. That is why you could use a targeted ad which is aimed at a specific audience. On the search engines, there are the advertisers that pay to have their ads displayed when a user searches a specific keyword or set of keywords. On other sites, a targeted ad may always be displayed on certain topic-specific pages of a site, or have a higher frequency of display in the rotation on that page (Bare in mind that many sites displaying banner ads have a banner rotation program. The banner rotation script can present a different ad each time the page is visited).
Before the design
- Think of what your needs are for the promotion and make sure the text you have planned to appear on your button can be translated or matches the text on your website.
- Make sure you choose a design (colours, shapes…) that matches your site’s look, logo/visual identity
- Ideally ask the designer who designed your site to also design your button. In any case, make sure you arrange the design in advance.
- Ask the designer to design your link-button, following the specifications under “Description".
- Once you have finalised your button, send it and all its linguistic versions to COMM EUROPA Management. In your e-mail indicate the filename you would prefer for your button and its linguistic versions availability.
- The button will be saved centrally in Documentum under http://europa.eu/images/promo/ or http://ec.europa.eu/images/promo/, and the filename(s) and complete path will be communicated to you. Once you’ve got the complete address reference, fill in this Word document, replacing the text in grey italics. Then, you should place an announcement on the collaborative site of the EUROPA Forum with the word document attached for dissemination within the webmasters community.
- When you get requests from people to link to your site using one of your buttons or when you ask others to link to your site using your button(s), you should provide them with this document containing the complete HTML mark-up code(s) to include in their page(s) or simply the code itself as follows (replace italics by actual text): <a href="complete URL of your site/page to be promoted"><img border="0" src="http://europa.eu /images/promo/your file name" width="150" height="56" alt="alternative text in relevant language"></a>
- You can provide “how to link to” instructions in the FAQs section of your site or attach them to the Word document you send containing the linking codes. An example of “how to link to” instructions can be found on http://europa.eu/abouteuropa/faq/q43/index_en.htm.
- DO NOT under any circumstances send the actual link-button to anyone you want to provide a link to your site (unless the promotion link-button is placed in a closed environment within an EU Institution/DG/Service – for example the intranet(s)). You will lose track of how many people you have sent it to, and if at any point your site changes name or you need to change, update or redesign your button(s) for any reason, you will have to chase people in order for them to replace the button(s). In the event of a button’s update, change or redesign, you just have to communicate the new button(s) to COMM EUROPA Management with the relevant filename(s) of the button(s) that need to be replaced, and these will be replaced centrally. This way, whoever has linked to your site using your button(s) (via the above-mentioned code) will now have the updated button(s) on their pages.
- Provide a copyright notice in the relevant FAQ and explicitly warn the users of the implications/disadvantages of copying the actual buttons rather than using the code
- You can provide a preview of your button(s) on one of your site’s pages or provide the relevant preview link to the users (i.e. http://europa.eu/images/promo/filename).