Displaying ads are by far the easiest way to monetize your website. A staggering amount of blogs and websites are created with this singular purpose in mind – publishing good content, generating organic traffic, and getting paid for displaying ads on web pages.
WordPress gives you many tools to accomplish all this in a seemingly natural way — publishing (it’s the most popular CMS in the market), search optimization (we’ve got great plugins like All-in-One SEO Pack and Yoast!), and plugins to display your ads.
In this listicle, I have compiled the six best WordPress ad management and optimization plugins for your website. My criteria: 4+ stars in user rating, active and consistent plugin updates, decent support, and of course, great code.
Active Installs: 20K+
“You won’t find a simpler way to run 3rd party ads on your website.” – Plugin description page in WordPress.org Repository
That’s it. WordPress Ad Widget is the easiest, most intuitive and user-friendly plugin for ad placement on a WordPress website.
The plugin lets you drag and place a widget on a sidebar and upload the ad you want to display on it. You can also place banner ads or ad server code like Google Ad tags.
The best thing about this plugin is the lack of a confusing interface – in that there is no interface at all. That means no management on admin side on your part – just a simple, plain widget that displays ads in a sidebar location.
Active Installs: 10K+
For the control freaks, this is the ultimate, mobile-optimized advertising solution. The plugin is available for free, with premium extensions (add-ons).
You get the ability to create, manage, and display unlimited ads; group them together (for rotation), save ad drafts, set a display schedule and expiry dates, and much more.
The ads can be placed practically anywhere – within header, footer, sidebar, content, feeds, 404 pages, and anywhere else; there are a number of triggers, ad-hiding from bots and those of specified user roles (e.g., you can configure it, so registered/premium users of your website don’t see the ads).
Supported ad types include anything you can create (Rich media and images, Plain text, HTML/JSS/PHP, et al) along with ads from servers (Google AdSense and others) and affiliate networks.
Pretty comprehensive, and optimized for performance to boot! What’s not to love?
Active Installs: 50K+
AdRotate is all about keeping things simple.
The plugins comes packed with easy-to-use and smart ad display and management features like grouping, rotation (JS cycles for dynamic ad groups), advertiser editing/management, geo-targeting, highly responsive widgets for mobiles and tablets, network-support for Google AdSense, DFP, etc., email notifications, periodical, exportable statistics, user-based ad coupling, time schedules, expiry, and ad restrictions, unlimited widgets capable of displaying multiple ads in grid/ column/ row formation, ad placement via shortcode, PHP, or widgets, and so much more.
AdRotate Pro is the premium version of the same plugin. Users can migrate to it from AdRotate (free) with AdRotate Switch.
It’s a sophisticated power-house that manages not to be overwhelming.
Active Installs: 20K+
This is another wily ad placement/ management plugin, especially for AdSense or Contextual Amazon Ads (CodeCanyon product for affiliate marketers) users.
The plugin gives you complete and total control – display ads via PHP, shortcode or widget, grouping, ad blocking on specified devices/ user roles, multiple display options (pages/ posts/ specified exceptions, and more), alignment and CSS based styling, and automatic display settings for automatic ads (pulled from referrer/server networks).
It’s even more comprehensive than described here, but it’s worth the effort spent in understanding all the controls.
Active Installs: 8K+
This is a forked version of Quick AdSense plugin which, as of May 2016, hasn’t been updated in over two years. It’s developed in collaboration with Quick AdSense’s author Todd Garland (WP Username – toddynho) by Developer-Extraordinaire Rene Hermenau (Mashshare social buttons fame) and WP-Staging team.
A reboot on the classic Quick AdSense (that still has over a 100K+ active installs!) is WP QUADS. And it’s a magnificent beast, for starters.
The plugin packs all of the previous plugin’s features, along with easy import function and some amazing performance, translation, security, and script error improvements.
Features include dynamic positioning within posts/pages (specific placement or randomized) for all referrers and ad networks (not just Google Adsense), up to 10 ads/page (3/page for Google AdSense), and easy enabling/disabling controls.
It’s a beautifully designed plugin. You’ll love it.
Active Installs: 200+
Although not an ad serving plugin, AdPushup is unique in what it offers — it allows web publishers to perform A/B split testing on ad units to maximize their ad revenue.
Its features include layout configuration and visual ad management, UX optimization, smart (continuous/ automated) optimization, and awesome analytics to measure your ad performance and revenue.
You can get the plugin for free, and all the features with a free sign up account on adpushup.com.
These thoroughly tried and tested plugins should help you monetize your WordPress site better by making it simpler to serve and optimize ads.