Monetizing is a big part of website management. While some bloggers keep their sites ad-free to retain focus on the content, many blogs and websites start as business ventures with profit as the goal. Space on the website is made available to advertisers, and the sale of ad space is a major revenue stream for these websites.
To be able to keep all the revenue earned from the ads, most websites wish to cut out payments to the middleman. To do this and to be able to choose when, where, and what ads to display, you need to take ad management into your own hands.
Ad management is no walk in the park, especially for bigger websites with elaborate sales programs and large sales teams. Neither is it rocket science. You need a strategy in place, as well as the skills to implement it. The strategy is likely to keep changing, which means undoing and redoing all the changes on your WordPress site multiple times. You can make it easier for yourself by installing plugins.
Plugins can take on many of the tasks needed to manage ads on your website. They can create ad zones on your websites within which advertisers can choose to display advertisements. By adjusting the settings of these plugins, you can manage the size of the advertisements, the display period and track payment by the advertisers, and how the ads perform. They save time and put you in control of your ad space.
If you merely want to place an ad in the sidebar, the default setting in WordPress will do the job for you. If you want a more prominent place for the ads, like within a post, or if you are not inclined to share your advertising revenue with any ad management service, then you’ve got to use code or a plugin.
Also, keep in mind that ad management plugins will only help to manage and maximize ad space utilization. To get advertisers to flock to your site, you will still have to do all the hard work to sell ad space.
OIO Publisher will help you to get the maximum mileage out of your ad space with the minimum effort. With a single license to cover all your websites, you can run third party ad networks beside your own.
OIO Publisher is an Ad Manager that can load as a plugin on your WordPress. A multisite network can use this plugin effectively, but it cannot be activated for the entire network. It will have to activated on a per site basis. If your theme does not support widgets, then get ready to paste some codes into your theme. OIO’s ad code will have to be added to your theme manually.
Using the plugin, you can create an ad zone and add a default ad that will fill in nicely until you receive advertisements. An ad zone widget is available for display in the sidebar. The price / duration combination for the ad zone can be set in the admin area. Multiple payment options are available, though the recommended payment option is via PayPal.
You can customize the number of ads that are to appear in an ad zone, fix a price for it, fix the duration for which it is to display, allow subscribers to renew, automate rotation and do some targeting.
AdSanity is a plugin that makes ad management plain sailing for your WordPress. Designed to be simple, this plugin makes putting out an ad is as easy as adding a post. Two custom widgets that are bundled with the plugin can be used for displaying single ads or ad groups.
The ads can be published with or without an expiry date. The plugin keeps track of the views and clicks the ads receive. It provides stats on how your ads are performing and you can customize the reports to suit your requirements.
This plugin is the top pick, if you want to keep your ad management simple, without going into too many options and settings.
Price: Blogger’s License at $29 per year, Publisher License at $69 per year and Developer License at $129 per year.
WP Pro Advertising System
WP Pro Advertising System is a leading advertising plugin on CodeCanyon. The plugin is chock filled with features and is highly customizable, making it a worthy contender for the tag ‘All in One, All-purpose Advertising Solution”.
If you want ads to display for certain categories only, you can make the banners category specific. HTML5 banners,
device detection, ad scheduling, ad block detection, and auto updates are all packed into this plugin. Banner size can be varied and banners can be added using widgets, shortcodes or iframes. If you want to add advertisements to your MailChimp newsletters, you can do that too. It is compatible with Visual Composer and Slider Revolution.
18 pre-defined display options make ad zoning easy for you. Ads can be interspersed in the posts, made to peel from the corner, fly in from any corner or popup anytime. The post or page background can also be transformed into an ad.
A single click leads to a great deal of information being saved – the city, browser, IP address, platform and the country details. All find their way into real time stats displays using Google Analytics. And the plugin puts all the control over the advertisements of an entire multisite in the hands of the administrator.
Purchase Price: $29
AdPress is another leading ad manager plugin available on Code Canyon. Setting up your entire sales campaign is possible with just a few clicks. Zoning can be done with widgets or shortcodes. It comes with an Ad Designer that helps in previewing your ads.
Use AdPress to sell ads based on rotation, page views or clicks. Insert Call to Action ads and allow clients to add a message while purchasing ads. Ad requests can be approved automatically or approved after scrutiny. Users can sign up and then purchase ad spots from their profiles on the dashboard. So no middleman commission is payable.
Each ad is tracked and analytics charts are generated, which can be accessed by both the Admin and the purchaser. The purchase history of each buyer can be generated and targeted selling is possible. The plugin is fully integrated with PayPal and can handle PayPal refunds.
Paid add-ons allow functions like insertion of ads by third parties like AdSense.
Geo Ads Switcher
Geo Ads Switcher, with one click installation and activation is designed to work with any WordPress theme or plugin. Ads can be placed almost anywhere on the website.
Most ads generally have a targeted audience. With the help of a simple drop down country selector, you can target your ad country wise, from among the 200 countries listed. Further, you are not restricted to just one country. You can place 5 countries in each widget and with the 5 available widgets, that’s a total of 25 countries you can target.
Google DoubleClick for Publishers
Once your website is up and running and you have earmarked the areas for ad space, find buyers for the ad space. Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers Small Business can pitch in here. This is a web based tool that is integrated with AdSense.
You can run a competition for the best ad spots on advertisement placement services like Adsense and other third party advertisement networks. The most lucrative ad for that spot will be clicked and displayed. And for this Google will not reduce the winning price or take any cut from it. The service is free up to 90 million ad impressions.
It is slightly complex to get it started off on your site, and it is a take it or leave it offer from Google. You don’t get to negotiate terms and Google can unilaterally vary features or disable the service for not sticking to their terms. Given all this, it is still a good service for small businesses which find themselves holding unsold ad space.
To make it easier to work with this plugin, you can install a free plugin DFP Ad Manager. The streamlined traffic flow, inventory management, performance measurement reports and revenue maximization, make Google DoubleClick attractive. Web, mobile and video advertising can all be managed from one place. Numerous settings are possible which help you to control many details, such as the number of times a visitor sees an ad. Settings will also help to target visitors based on criteria like geography, time or age. You can preview anything that you have created before putting it out for viewing by visitors.
The premium version is available and more suited for websites with a detailed sales program and large-sales teams.
You can make banners of any size and place them anywhere using widgets, PHP or shortcode. With the help of data gathered you can see how each ad is performing for any time period. Ads can be set to expire automatically when the duration is completed.
The premium version packs in a lot more features than the free plugin. Purchasers can add, edit and mange their own ads and mask ads so that they are not detected by ad blockers. And you can choose to be notified by email or by push notifications on your mobile.
Live preview, device detection, Geo Targeting, scheduling ads for specific date/ hours, advanced analytics (including Google Analytics) are additional features packed into the premium version. While multisite is supported in the free version, network activated cross site adverts are possible only in the premium version.
The cost for the premium version starts at $29.
Advanced Ads is yet another free and popular plugin with which you can add, manage and test ads on your website. Ads can be created in the same way as creating a post. They can be grouped for easy rotation and scheduled for display.
You can select the type of ad that you want to create. So you can have ads that enable code and affiliate links to be added or ads that enable dedicated support for Google AdSense Banners. It can pick up ads from other plugins like AdRotate and Simple Ads Manager. Creating Ad Groups will allow ads to share the same settings.
A wide range of display settings is also offered. The start and expiry time can be fixed, banners can be auto injected, ads can be displayed in templates or in post content and individual pages can be retained as ad free. Display can also be made to depend on type of post, category, and can be hidden from bots.
A pro version that allows enhanced features, including additional placement options is available at a starting price of $29.
WP 125 is a free WordPress plugin made specially to handle the 125 x 125 banner slots that are common among websites. A simple user interface makes it easy to add and manage advertisements. Ads can be displayed in one or two columns, and in any order.
If you wish to display an ad that is unlike the default format, you can uncheck the default box and then use CSS to style ads the way you want. A default ad can be created on a page or a message can be created as a placeholder for empty ad space and linked to the default setting.
Once the number of days the ad is to be displayed is entered, the ad will automatically be taken down on date of expiry. After that, it is archived for statistical purposes or for a rerun at a later date. An email notification can be ticked to prompt you to send a reminder to the advertiser. The plugin will also keep track of the number of times an ad is clicked.
A simple, fuss free plugin for effective ad management.
WP-Insert is an ad management plugin that is designed to work with AdSense. As the name suggests, it allows you to insert an ad anywhere on the site. Using an intelligent midpoint detection algorithm, you can insert an ad right in the middle of a post or page. Or use a widget to insert it in the sidebar.
For more control over when and where to place the ads, you can insert ads within the theme files. Google Analytics code can be added easily and any embed code can be put into the header and footer area. Moreover, you have the choice to style ads the way you want.
The efficient algorithm is intended to prevent slowing down of the site. All the legal riders that generally accompany ads are included in a template for ready use.
Geo targeting, Google Analytics and A/B Split Testing can be used to assess ad performance and develop strategy for advertising.
Ad Injection is yet another free plugin with functions almost similar to the previous one. It allows you to insert an ad anywhere, including into existing pages and posts. The number of ads that can be inserted in a post or page can be restricted based on the length of the post or page. And if you want to screen visitors by age, IP address or referrer, you can do that too.
The ads can be positioned and spaced as desired. Temporary content like sales offer or announcement or upcoming events can be added at the top or bottom of each post. Primarily intended for inserting adverts, it can insert almost anything else – email optins, header and footer blocks, tracking scripts or social buttons.
Advanced settings are possible with this plugin – stopping ads after a certain length of the page is scrolled, fading the archive options, altering the ad preferences for individual posts, restricting ads by post or page id, suggesting alternate content for visitors who are blocked by the screening settings and inclusion of widgets conditionally based on author, category or tag.
This free plugin has a load of features and tons of options which can be controlled by settings. So, if it is high degree of customization and a great deal of control that you want, this one is for you.
WordPress Ad Widget
WordPress Ad Widget is easy to install and use. Make sure that your ad blocker is disabled before you install it. The user interface is intuitive, and you can easily add banners, Google ad tags, and other codes.
This plugin allows you to place an ad in the sidebar by simply dragging a widget into it. You can place ads at the bottom of any content. You can also adjust some basic settings, like resizing to maximum width, the name of the advertiser, and the option for the ad to open in a new window.
Here are some more plugins that serve specific functions:
- Corner Ad lets you display an ad in the top corner of your website. When the mouse hovers over it, it can expand from the corner to be readable and then shrink back when the mouse moves away. Before you install this one, keep in mind that Flash is required for proper display.
- Meks Easy Ads Widget can get you multiple ads within a widget. Put spaces like your sidebar to good use by packing in more ads.
- BugMeBar lets you add a bar at the top of the web page by pushing down the header. The viewer can dismiss the bar.
- Foobar enables you to add a bar to the top and bottom of your screen. It uses conditional logic so that it can be displayed on some pages and not on others.
- nBar lets you add any number of bars to your header and footer.
- Amazon Link can add the link to products of any Amazon domain to your pages, posts, templates, and widgets. You can also add images and custom templates.
- 60 Second Ad Manager is quick to install and easy to operate. It supports multiple formats and employs the familiar drag-and-drop feature.
Which One Is Right for You?
While this really depends on the size of your website and the complexity of your advertising program, some simple pointers are possible. Try AdSanity or WordPress Ad Widget if you want to keep it simple. If you need loads of options and a good deal of customization, Ad Injection or WP Pro Advertising System can be your choice. If you are sticking to 125 x 125 ads, your choice is obvious. Go for WP125.
Drop us a line if you have found something outside of this list that works well for you.