A popular way to monetize a WordPress blog is through display ads. These usually include banner ads provided by affiliate networks or display advertising platforms (such as Google Adsense).

If you have one or two ads on your site, it may be easy to insert the ad with a text widget. but if you have multiple ads on your site, it can be difficult to manage without a dedicated ad management plugin.

In this article, I’ll show you three WordPress plugins you can use to manage your advertisements on your site. And the best part: they are all free.

They vary in their level of complexity. The more complex it is though, the more control and options you have over your advertisements.

So I’ll start with the simplest, and work my way to the more advanced.

1. WordPress Ad Widget

The WordPress Ad Widget plugin is a simple, barebones ad management plugin. There are not many options, and no ad management dashboard. But if you don’t need anything special, it makes displaying ads on your site quick and simple.

The plugin adds two new widgets for you to use in your sidebar.

The first is a widget to display HTML or Javascript ad code. This is great if you are using Google Adsense or another ad network and receive a Javascript code you need to insert. The second widget is used for image ads. These are useful for when you receive an image and a link (such as from an affiliate network). The widget lets you upload the image, and then specify a URL to link the image to.

As I mentioned earlier, the WordPress Ad Widget is quite simple. So if you are looking for a more advanced option, you should consider the next two plugins.

You can learn more about WordPress Ad Widget here.

2. Simple Ads Manager

Simple Ads Manager gives you more options and functionality than you’ll find in WordPress Ad Widget.

Instead of simply uploading ads to a widget, you now have an interface to upload ads with.

The main element in Simple Ads Manager is the Ad Place. Each Ad Place is a group of ads that you can upload and place on your site, either through a widget, a shortcode, or by adding PHP code to your theme. You can also assign each ad a weight. Ads with a higher weight will be shown more often.

In addition, Simple Ads Manager lets you create Ad Zones. Each Ad Zone lets you specify what Ad Place will be shown on what type of page or post. For instance, you can specify a certain Ad Place for category pages, and a different one for 404 pages.

Lastly, you can create an Ad Block, which is a grid of ads. You can specify how many rows and how many columns each Ad Block has.

You can track all of your advertisements’ hits, clicks, and earnings to see which are your best performing ads.

Finally, a feature I found extremely useful, is the auto-insert ad functionality. You can have the plugin automatically insert ads into posts or pages before and after the content, as well as in the middle of content.

You can learn more about Simple Ads Manager here.

3. AdRotate

AdRotate has similar functionality to the Simple Ads Manager plugin.

AdRotate also lets you schedule ads. So if you know certain ads perform better at certain times, you can schedule those ads to only appear at that particular time. Then show a different ad during the off hours.

You can also specify how ads rotate. You can either show one ad at a time, and a new ad will appear on refresh of the page. Or you can have the ads rotate at a predefined time, such as every few seconds.

Like Simple Ads Manager, you can also create an ad block to display ads in a grid format. When uploading ads, you will also be shown a preview of the ad, making it easy to check that the advertisement looks correct before making it live.

AdRotate also has a pro version available, which gives you even more control over your ads. For instance, you can target ads based on the user’s location. Your advertisers also have access to their own dashboard where they can add and manage their own advertisements on your site, as well as see statistics for their ads.

You can learn more about AdRotate here.

Have you used one of these plugins before for managing ads on your website? Or do you use a different plugin? Share you thoughts in the comments below! 

Brandon Yanofsky is a WordPress developer and entrepreneur. You can read more of his WordPress tips and tricks on his site myWPexpert.com, or check out his WordPress maintenance service at WPRadius.com.

The post 3 of the best free ad management plugins for WordPress appeared first on Torque.

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