One of my most popular posts in this series, at least according to WordPress Stats, has been the first one that really focused on one type of plugin, 8 WordPress Plugins for Ads. The reason for this is fairly obvious, even the most casual blogger hopes to make at least a little money from his writing. And after all, everyone knows how easy it is to write and sell stuff. Just ask the professionals.
Back in reality, most people won’t be able to make a living at blogging, but it is possible to have some money coming in. It has been just over 2 months since that first post on ads, so I thought it was time to take another look at what is out there right now.
WP125 allows you to easily place the popular 125×125 image ads in your sidebar. It gives you another entry on your Dashboard menu after Settings, where all the options and information for the ads is entered. It also creates a widget that controls where in the sidebar the ads appear, but that is all it does.
Setting up the ads is remarkably easy, you have the choice between 1 or 2 columns of ads, how many ad slots will appear, the order the ads appear in, and any title you want to appear on the ad widget. There is also a place for a link to a sales page, where you can put things like ad rates, and you can set it to email you so many days before an ad expires.
Actually adding the information for an ad is also easy. You need who it is for, which is use for the title of the link and the alt tag of the ad image, which slot you want it in, the URLs of the advertiser and the ad image, and the expiration date. The ad can be set to never expire, or to expire automatically after 30, 60, 90, or 120 days, or on a specific date in the future. A very nice piece of flexibility. You can also toggle the plugin tracking how many times the ad is clicked, useful for setting rates and convincing people they should pay you.
A very nice feature of the plugin is the window it puts on your Dashboard with your QuickPress and Right Now windows. You can easily check the start and end dates and number of clicks the ads have received, and it has buttons right on the window to take you to the Add, Manage, or Settings pages. And for those that want to place ads somewhere besides the sidebar, the author provides 2 pieces of PHP that you can stick in your template where ever you want, if you are comfortable messing with code.
All in all, a very flexible, nicely designed plugin that does what it is supposed to. And makes it pretty easy to do at that. The documentation is pretty good overall, with just one problem on the link from the plugin pages. The file that opens in the lightbox is not formatted, so it is hard to read. But the same information is at the homepage, which is also linked.
MyAdManager is designed to give you complete control over 125×125 ads on your blog. It gives you a widget for your sidebar to place ads there, with a flexible size for larger or smaller sidebars. It also divides the ads into two types, Home ads for your own site and Outside ads for ads from other sites.
The set up for the ads is easy, you just need to put in the links to the ad image and the target URL, then set the duration and the type of ad. The choice of duration is limited to either 7 or 30 days, but Home ads do not expire at all.
The best part of the plugin is its integration with PayPal. You can create a page using a shortcode that has a form for visitors to place ads on your site automatically through PayPal. They can choose between the 7 or 30 days paying according the prices you set on the options page. This can make running 125×125 ads almost painless, without having to go through an outside service. You would have to keep an eye on the ads of course, since the images are served from the purchaser’s site and are live as soon as they are paid for.
A very nice plugin, the biggest limitations being the low number of options for ad duration and the lack of a review for new ads if you use the auto-buy set up. If those 2 things do not bother you, it is a very good option for running 125×125 ads on your own.
Author Advertising is most useful for multi-author blogs, where you want to allow each author to get his own income from ads. The set up is actually fairly involved, since first the administrator needs to set up the basic plugin, including determining the information each author needs to input.
The documentation is very comprehensive, including a PDF manual that is included in the plugin zip file and linked to from the configuration page. The PDF includes some nice examples of setting up Adsense, Amazon.com, and generic affiliate accounts. It also has some useful ideas for using the plugin for guest authors or banner links.
This is not an easy plugin to set up, even following the pretty thorough instructions. It may take an attempt or two to get it going correctly. And the author warns that it will not work correctly on some themes that are out there. But if you have a multi-author blog you want to monetize, this is one option you should check out.
So here are three ways to put some ads on your blogs, and with some luck, and traffic, make some money from it. But there is more to making money on your blog than just putting up the ads.
Problogger had a couple of good posts in February about using ads well on your blog: 7 Reasons not to have Empty Ad Spots on your Blog and 5 Ways to Make an Empty Ad Slot on Your Blog Work For You. After reading those, spending some time in the Problogger archives looking at related posts is probably time well spent. There is some good advice there for most blogs.
These plugins make putting the ads on your site easy. The hard part is generating enough quality content to draw and maintain the traffic needed to make the ad sales worthwhile. That takes practice and work.