Nobody clicks on a banner that is not visually appealing. Nobody clicks on a banner that is on a page that it does not seem to relate to either. For instance a banner selling dog food might look kind of weird on a page that sells fake diamonds. The intelligent and humanly intuitive placement of a banner on a web page is what is needed to give it the best chance of receiving some clicks.
The most stunning banner ads are usually the hand made ones. Anyone with computer knowledge can learn how to make a very basic banner ad. To code the banner, simply combine the HTML tag for a link with the HTML tag for an image. You can create the necessary graphics using a simple computer art program, like Paint Shop Pro. Keep in mind that you don’t need to animate this banner. In fact the less animation the better or the search engine spider may read the banner as a frame containing blank space which is poor SEO.
Basis banner ads are so easy to make you can make sores of them for your site in less than an hour. Do-it-yourself banner ad sites work really well for most people, but if you like you can also hire a professional ad designer. You can get a professional banner ad for $50 on a place like http://guru.com or http://elance.com or you can spend upwards of $1,000 depending on what kind of designer you hire to work with.
Still it seems silly to hire someone when it is possible to get good results for free. There are hundreds of Web sites that offer tools for free banner ad creation. These automated sites provide you with all the mechanisms that you need to make your own banner ad, such as backgrounds and fonts. Some of these sites will simply generate a banner for you. Some require that you do a banner exchange with them in return for using their services.