11 Quick Ways to Insert Ads into WordPress… and Increase Your Income This Year
Seems like there are never enough hours in the day to keep your business running, doesn’t it? Between actively working to complete projects while trying to drum up new clients, it’s difficult to think that there’s more you should be doing to boost your revenue stream.
One surefire way to keep your income in the black is to diversify. But if you’re already feeling tapped out, I’d suggest you take a look at a (mostly) passive option for generating income for your business: monetizing your WordPress site.
There are a number of ways you can make money from your website—like creating and selling ebooks or plugins—but those take time and active promotional energy on your part. Instead, why not insert ads into your WordPress site? They’re a fantastic and relatively hands-free way to make money on the side while you maintain focus on your main hustle: building beautiful websites.
Let’s take a look at 11 quick ways you can insert ads into your WordPress site and start passively generating income this year.
The Keys to Successfully Monetizing Your WordPress Site
Who doesn’t like the sound of passive income generation? While it might not be enough to provide you with a full income for the year, it will most likely be enough to help you pay off some of those ongoing business expenses you accrue throughout the year.
Now, for many people interested in monetizing their WordPress site, the first place they turn to is Google AdSense, which seems the logical choice. Google’s tools play an important role in helping websites get found in search and, later, in helping users determine what’s happening with the traffic that pours into them. That being said, AdSense isn’t necessarily the best ad generation tool for everyone.
So, what are your options? For starters, you could take the one most people are familiar with and rely on AdSense to provide ads from random advertisers. You could opt instead to actively sell ad space to sponsors, partners, and other users interested in advertising on your site. Or you could just run your own ads.
In addition to sorting out where you want to source ads from, there are a number of other considerations to make when choosing an option. For instance:
Where do you want to insert ads on your WordPress site?
- In the header?
- In the footer?
- Before or after your blog post content?
- Within your blog posts?
- Before or after blog excerpts?
- In the sidebar?
- In some other widgetized area?
- In the WordPress admin dashboard? (Yes, that’s possible.)
Size & Shape
Ads don’t always have to be a small box tucked into the sidebar. Depending on the tool you use, you’ll find that there are sizes, shapes, and orientations (horizontal vs. vertical) that you can select from so long as they make sense for the allotted space within your site.
An important point to remember here is that even though you’re not responsible for designing third-party ads, you should still take time to select the parameters by which the ads will fit. You’ve worked hard on your site’s design and it would be a shame to let all that hard work go to waste by allowing an ill-fitting ad to be thrown in there.
There are typically three options: text-only ads, display (image) ads, and rich media ads (which includes video).
This one’s a must. If the tool you use to insert ads into your WordPress site doesn’t provide for mobile compatibility, skip it or hide those ads for mobile visitors. Again, you never want a contribution from a third party to disrupt the user’s experience.
For some of you, just finding a reliable ad plugin may be all you need starting out. But once you start to see revenue coming in with each impression (view) or click, you’d be wise to make use of custom targeting settings. You can use things like geotargeting to deliver specific ads to visitors based on their location or you can tweak settings related to demographics to maximize results.
You’ll also want to check your ad delivery system for built-in analytical capabilities. Although each tool will offer a way to track clicks, you might want something that conveniently pulls those stats into WordPress or that comprehensively tracks more activity surrounding the ads than just clicks.
Google has a great video on the importance of using analytics to optimize your on-site ad placement and usage:
It may take some time to figure out where ads belong on your site for optimal performance. You don’t want people to automatically gloss over them while trying to get to your content or, worse, get annoyed with the overabundance of ads that they ditch your site altogether. As always, it’s about striking a good balance between putting your content out there, but to not do it in a way that’s disruptive to the experience.
A/B testing is something to think about if you want more control over which ad sizes, locations, or content get displayed based on visitor behavior.
Although each of these considerations are valid, not all of them will be important to you—especially if you’re just looking for a quick way to make money on the side. Just know that, when you’re ready, there is a lot you can do with ad revenue generation in WordPress.
Quick Ways to Insert Ads into Your WordPress Site
There are a number of ways you can go about quickly getting ads up on your WordPress site. AdSense is one of them. Selling ad space to third parties is another. And you can either manually insert the AdSense code into WordPress or you can use a plugin. Do you know what’s right for you?
Let’s explore your options.
Manually Add Google AdSense Code
For those of you who don’t want to add another WordPress plugin to your site, you can instead generate a code within Google AdSense and then add it to WordPress. While implementation is easy enough, the amount of control you have over ads placed on your site may be limited and the insights you get about clicks and impressions will force you out of WordPress and back to Google.
If you’re comfortable with that tradeoff, then I’d suggest you check out this tutorial. It will walk you through the steps of setting up your first Google AdSense ad, getting the code, and inserting it into WordPress.
If you’re looking for a plugin that comes chock-full of options, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to providing users with different placement options for ads, this plugin also comes with a number of choices for how to insert them. So, if you’re more comfortable adding code into a widget, prefer using embeddable shortcodes, or want to use a PHP function call, the choice is yours.
For those of you who want to create your own advertisements and serve them to different users on your site, you’ll want to use a plugin like this one. Not only does it give you an easy way to insert ads right from the Widgets section of WordPress, but it gives you full control over defining which ads get delivered to different users based on their status (logged in vs. not) or behavior (visited from link, using certain browser, etc.)
Here’s another opportunity to push your own ads; only this time, these ads will be served within the WordPress dashboard to your clients and other users. If you’ve always wanted an easier way to promote your business or a hands-free approach to upselling your services, this plugin is probably the tool for you.
As I mentioned earlier, there may come a time when you want to take your on-site advertising efforts to the next level. That’s where a premium plugin like this one comes into play. You can create ads, schedule them, provide translations, A/B test, and get super-granular in who you target.
This plugin is strictly for those who want more control over their Google AdSense ads. You can select ad positioning within and around your content, use responsive ad layouts, and also choose which devices you want to disable ads for.
This no-nonsense plugin not only aims to make the process of adding third-party ads from AdSense, Amazon, DoubleClick, and other platforms easy, it also includes enough customization capabilities to rival premium ad plugins. You can place ads on any page, in pretty much every spot on the page you want. You can also disable ads on certain pages or based on other conditions. In addition, you can sign up for their Selling Ads add-on and allow your users to purchase ad space, too.
Here’s a plugin that simplifies the process of inserting ads within your blog posts. You can customize all of the criteria that matters most to you right from within WordPress. As a nice little bonus, you can also view and manage your ad’s analytics and A/B testing right from within the same WordPress module.
Have a network of sites you want to show the same ads on? This plugin will help get those high-quality branded ads out across all sites and in spots above and below your content where visitors are most likely to find them.
I’d have to say that this is the simplest of all the ad plugin solutions on this list. It only works with Google Adsense and it makes the process of getting ads onto your site a breeze either through the use of a shortcode or by calling the PHP function from your theme’s file. So, if you’re new to this and want a hassle-free way to get started, look here first.
Want to invite users to submit their ads for placement on your site? This plugin gives you the power to do just that while also being able to set the percentage of profit users get for each impression or click earned from their ad placement (while you take the rest!)
Note: We originally developed this plugin here at WPMU DEV, but we no longer update it. Feel free to download the plugin code from our GitHub repository if you’d like to develop it further.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to start passively generating income from your WordPress site so you can maintain a laser-like focus on your work? That sounds like a good plan to me.