Once you’ve put in the hard work of building a website and managed to generate a substantial volume of traffic to it, displaying ads is an excellent way to bring in consistent revenue. However, it can be confusing to figure out the best way to include ads in WordPress.
Luckily, there are multiple ways to do so – some trickier than others – that will put you on track. Google AdSense is likely the most recognizable website monetization platform, but there are several ad manager plugins that take care of the process from end to end, as well as the option to source ads from a variety of other available platforms.
In this article, we’ll give an overview of the pros and cons of displaying ads, and three ways to include them in your WordPress site to start making money online. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Ads in WordPress
Digital ads typically generate revenue based on either impressions or engagement. This could mean that you make money when a visitor clicks an ad (Cost Per Click), or when a certain number of visitors view the ad (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions).
Ads are often seen as one of the easiest ways to monetize a website because they require little effort on the part of the website manager who displays them. However, WordPress websites – especially blogs or other text-heavy content sites – are also well-suited to other strategies such as affiliate marketing, membership subscriptions, or even e-commerce.
The focus of this article will be on visual ads that visitors can see and interact with, such as:
You’ll need to spend some time deciding which type of ads will resonate with your audience if you want the best results (i.e., more money).
Understanding the Pros and Cons of Including Ads in WordPress
If you’re savvy and driven enough to do it right, including ads on your WordPress site will enable you to make money in your sleep. They’re also cost-effective. Basically, you’ll only need to budget the time you spend building a fantastic site that attracts lots of visitors.
There’s also the benefit of engagement and insight into how your target audience behaves. The additional data you’ll access through advertising will help you tailor your efforts to what your visitors want to see and what gets them clicking.
This is the dream, of course, but there are some drawbacks to be wary of as well. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma surrounding advertisements in just about any medium. The problem stems from how ads can be perceived as ‘pushy’ and disrupt the user experience.
If you’ve ever been in a high-stakes sales environment – a car dealership, for example – and been bombarded with offers from over-enthusiastic salespeople, you may know the feeling. You don’t want your site to be off-putting or aggressive, so finding the right balance and being tasteful with which ads you display is key.
Ads can also take time to perform. You can’t expect to get rich overnight.
The income you generate from ads will be proportionate to the volume of loyal visitors you bring to your site, so if you’re still building your following, initial returns may be quite low. Focus on delivering quality and growing a committed audience – and manage your ad revenue expectations accordingly!
3 Ways to Include Ads in WordPress
As mentioned above, Google AdSense is the go-to platform for setting up ads on your site. That’s not to say there aren’t other options. In fact, there are plenty of WordPress plugins and other networks you can source them from. Take a look.
1. Sign Up for and Connect Google AdSense
Google AdSense is an all-in-one platform that has essentially become synonymous with website and digital content monetization today.
It enables website owners to display relevant, flexible ads on their sites that generate income using a Cost Per Click (CPC) model. Google leverages its extensive ad database to make sure the promotions are contextual and complement the users who come to your site.
For example, if you run a fitness blog, the ads will be for athletic apparel, workout supplements, and so on.
The main benefits of Google AdSense are:
- Ease of use
- Multiple ad formats
- One account for several sites
- Monthly payment
Signing up for AdSense is super easy, too. Check out Google’s guide on how to do that first, then follow these steps to connect your WordPress site:
- Locate and copy the string of code from the Connect your site to AdSense page. Be careful to only copy the snippet right now – do not click on the Done button or close this page.
- Next, head to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance > Theme Editor. Choose the Theme Header file from the menu on the right.
- Now paste the code immediately above the </head> tag, click on Update File, and navigate back to your AdSense account. Then you can select Done.
Google will review your site – which usually takes a few days – and notify you by email when it’s approved. Then you’ll be ready to select an ad unit and embed the actual ad code. Check out WP Engine’s comprehensive tutorial on how to do this once your site has been reviewed.
2. Use a WordPress Ad Management Plugin
WordPress plugins are extensions that add specific features and greater control to the front and back ends of your site. There are dozens of ad manager plugins to choose from, but we’ll just mention a couple of the highest-rated here.
Ad Inserter works alongside Google AdSense to incorporate promotional content just about anywhere on your site:
With Advanced Ads, you can also connect your site to Google AdSense:
It includes WordPress blocks for incorporating ads in your content as well. You can rotate or schedule ads strategically to prevent stale or irrelevant promotions from lingering on your site.
Both of these plugins boast excellent reviews, are regularly updated, and fully supported.
3. Try Alternative Ad Networks
There are also alternatives to the mighty Google AdSense – ad code can be sourced from competing networks. Some reasons you might want to consider these options include if you’re struggling to get your site authorized by Google, prefer less stringent terms of service, or simply want to see if you can obtain a more significant revenue share.
Here are some of the more well-known and reputable advertising sites to leverage:
- Media.net: A contextual ad provider run by Bing and Yahoo and considered the largest competitor to AdSense.
- PropellerAds.com: An up-and-coming monetization platform known for pop-under ads.
- RevContent.com: Specializing in native ads that match the style of your site.
- Bidvertiser.com: Rather than auto-displaying ads, this site sells ad space to the highest bidder – a prime strategy to maximize the value of your ad space.
- RevenueHits.com: A newer monetization platform that focuses on optimizing ad placement on your site.
The integration processes for these platforms vary. Learn more by visiting each site.
There are many factors to considering when deciding whether to feature ads on your WordPress site. This strategy can help you generate passive income, but may be off-putting to some visitors. However, one of the most important choices will be the method you use to display promotional content.
In this article we went over three ways you can include ads in WordPress:
- Sign up and connect Google AdSense.
- Use WordPress ad management plugins such as Ad Inserter or Advanced Ads.
- Try alternative ad networks such as Media.net.
Do you have any questions about displaying ads on your WordPress site? Let us know in the comments section below!