One of the most common problems for Etsy shops: my banner, what about it? Do I have to spend money on a professional one or fancy software? Just how important is a banner?
A banner is your shop face, a part of your brand and so if you'd like you can spend money on one. There are many banner makers on Etsy, you can buy premade banner 'shop sets' and can get custom designed one that are just for you. The premade ones are usually inexpensive but you may come across it in another shop unless the seller states it is an OOAK (one of a kind never to be sold again) banner. However there are so many banners available that the chances of running into the same one in many shops are pretty slim.
If you're like me and love to create things on the computer - but don't have any fancy software - you can still create simple but effective banners with simple programmes most of us have. MS Paint, basic photo editing software and word pad. What I do is set the Etsy maximum banner size limits as defined by Etsy and then work from there, often copying, pasting and hopping between programmes. I like to add photos to my banners so I play with the colour balance, saturation, temperature etc. in the photo editing software.
My own banner results are not artistic brilliance but they're functional and they serve their purpose!
Plus, if you do like to make your own banners you have the tools at your fingertips to change your banner at will, make holiday banners etc.
You can also download free software to play with, such as paint.net - which has more options than MS Paint has (layering is one feature). I haven't tried this programme though, i'm a die-hard MS Paint dinosaur!
For those curious, the banner in my shop is not one I created, it was one I fell in love with from an Etsy graphics shop (no longer selling on Etsy).