When you run a WordPress site, most likely you will need to monetize it in some way. While you can put ads one by one on all pages, it’s much easier to get some of the many WordPress ads plugins, configure it, and wait for the money to pour in.
The good news about WordPress ads plugins is that definitely there is no shortage of them. There are dozens of WordPress plugins – free and paid. Basically, depending on their purpose, there are several groups of WordPress ads plugins – for publishing ads, for selling ads, for affiliate sales, etc. In this article I’ve included a couple of plugins from each group.
1. Adsense Made Easy – Best Simple Ad Inserter
Almost any blog – big or small – uses Google Adsense ads. This is why let’s start this list with an Adsense plugin. Adsense Made Easy isn’t the most comprehensive ad plugin for sure but it’s probably the easiest and even people with no technical skills at all won’t have problems with it.
The plugin does one simple thing – inserts Adsense blocks of ads in places specified by you, such as the sidebar or in posts themselves, etc. Of course, there are many other ways to place Adsense ads on your WordPress site. However, if you don’t have the skills to mess with template files, a simple and straightforward solution, such as Adsense Made Easy, is all you need.
There is a Pro version with many more options, so if you want more power, subscribe to the developer’s mail list and you will get it for free.
As you can guess by its name, AdRotate is one of the ad rotation WordPress plugins. This group of plugins allows to reuse the same ad space with multiple ad blocks. After you configure the plugin, you will be able rotate different text ads and banners in the same spot – each time a page is loaded, a new ad will show.
The plugin allows to tie different banners to different parts of your site. For instance, if you have a tech site, you can choose ads about mobile devices to be shown only on the pages in the Mobile Devices section, not in Web Design, for example. The plugin also has a good stats functionality.
3. WP Advertize It
If you are looking for a more sophisticated ad placement solution, then you might want to check WP Advertize It. This plugin allows to insert ads anywhere on your site – in posts, in sidebars, below title, after first paragraph, before/after content/comments, etc. You can have multiple ad positions and you can also choose which pages (or groups of pages, such as Categories, Tags, Homepage, etc.) and post formats (image, video, text, etc.) ads are displayed on.
4. Simple Ads Manager
Contrary to its name, Simple Ads Manager is everything but simple – it has lots features and is not the most beginner-friendly plugin but the learning curve is worth it. Similarly to the ad placement plugins, this one allows you to choose among multiple possible ad positions, called Ad Zones but it also allows to set ad rotation.
In addition to the basic ad placement functions, Simple Ads Manager allows to block ads display based on various criteria – i.e. when a particular number of impressions/clicks is met. The plugin also offers lots of stats, so you will always know how your ads are performing.
5. Adspace Platform
While the plugins up to here were about simple ad placement, if you are not happy with what ad networks serve you but want to sell ad space directly on your blog, the Adspace Platform plugin can do the trick. This plugin uses the Adspace MarketPlace™ platform, which means with it you can buy and sell ads directly on this platform.
The plugin also allows to handle payments via PayPal, Google Checkout and all major credit cards. With this plugin you can sell impressions, clicks, or set a price per ad per month.
6. OIOpublisher Ad Manager
Unlike most of the other plugins on the list, the OIOpublisher Ad Manager plugin is a paid one ($47) but if you are serious about selling your ad space on your own, this isn’t a huge investment. OIOpublisher Ad Manager offers really a lot for the complete management of the ad selling and publishing process on your sites and if your ad space becomes popular among advertisers, you can make really a lot of money.
Among the notable features of OIOpublisher Ad Manager is the ability to sell paid reviews in addition to text ads and banners. You can also use it to sell digital products. Since this is a paid plugin, you can also bet it comes with a lot of documentation and a forum where you can get help, if you need it.
Most of the other ad plugins on the list and otherwise support multiple ad sizes but since 125×125 ads are especially popular among bloggers, the WP125 plugin offers only this size. Nevertheless, this plugin has a special place among WordPress ad plugins. WP125 might not have a gazillion of features but it has everything you need to run and manage 125×125 ads.
You can choose to display ads in one or two columns, in random order or not, track clicks, set expiry dates for ads, etc. It’s a small and neat plugin you will certainly appreciate.
8. WP Auto Affiliate Links
Affiliate sales are one of the most profitable ways to monetize your site. However, adding affiliate links manually (and keeping them up to date) is a tedious job that can take all your time. If you want to streamline the process, you should get a plugin that does this automatically.
WP Auto Affiliate Links is one such plugin. With it you just specify the keywords you want to add affiliate links to and the plugin automatically adds these links to your posts, everywhere the keyword is found.
As you guess, with popular keywords the number of automatically added links can be huge, which isn’t good. To avoid this, the plugin gives you many options, such as to limit the amount of links on a page. There are many more options the plugin offers but I will mention only a couple, such as the ability to cloak links, or to make them nofollow/dofollow.
9. AffiLinker Affiliate
If for some reason you don’t like WP Auto Affiliate Links, another plugin that does a similar job is AffiLinker Affiliate. This plugin also automatically creates affiliate links from keywords but it has some other cool features as well, such as Link Clouds (where all the links in the cloud have your affiliate link included).
There are many more cool features, such as the ability to restrict where links are shown, or the numerous customization options but one of the really nice features of this plugin is that it generates links in such a way they are not indexable by search engines. This way you don’t have to worry your affiliate links are counted as outbound links (even if they are nofollow) that will hurt your rankings with search engines.
The previous two plugins were about affiliate sales from your site. However, if you have a product to sell and you want to run an affiliate program on your WP Site, then you will need the Affiliates plugin. With Affiliates you can register new affiliates, track their sales and commissions, and manage any aspect of the activity.
The plugin comes with a Pro and Enterprise versions, as well as many extensions, such as Affiliates Extra Fields, or Affiliates Products. Additionally, Affiliates can be integrated with numerous e-commerce plugins.
With so many WordPress ads plugins, it might be hard to choose which ones to use. Of course, you can’t use them all because when you place too many ads on one page, the effect drops and you risk penalties from search engines (not to mention how irritated your users will become!).
Therefore, pick a few plugins you really need, run them for a while, see if they perform the way you expect them to and if they do, keep them. If they don’t, just try other plugins till you find the ones that work for you. Of course, if the ads you run are not well targeted, no matter how sophisticated the plugin is, your revenue will not be satisfactory. Actually, it’s more important what ads you run then how you run them, but it’s a pity when you have good ads and don’t have the right plugin to run them.