ads

As bloggers, we have to spend a lot of time writing.

We also have to spend a lot of time moderating comments, following other blogs, reading emails, upgrading plugins and for some, finding advertisers.

So who wants to waste more time on setting up those ads?

WP125

ads-wp125

Download WP125.

Advantages

  • Calculates advert end date and automatically takes it down. When you add an advert, set how long you want to run it for and the plugin will automatically take it down for you when it’s run is over. No counting dates or setting reminders!
  • Easy to set up and choose the layout. You can choose the number of ads and columns from the plugin options, and it writes the HTML for you.
  • Deactivate ads, don’t delete. Easy to re-add an old advert this way. I use it to set up 4 “Default” adverts linking to my Advertise page, and reactivate them when there’s a free space.
  • Click counting. Only drawback to this is that the URLs change to redirects. It makes things look a little shady to me, so I don’t use this feature. That’s just a personal preference though. The functionality works perfectly.

Disadvantages

  • Only 125×125 ads. As the name would suggest, it’s only for 125×125 ads. If you want to use Adsense or another size of banner, you’ll need a different tool.
  • Ad links can’t be given titles. Not sure how many people would use this feature, but I’d like to be able to give readers a few words about what the ad is for.

WPAds

ads-wpads

Download WPAds.

Advantages

  • Works for banner ads, Adsense or any other type of ad. You’ll never have to change plugin to add a new type of advert.
  • Counts views. Counts the number of times an ad is shown, and can be automatically removed after a certain number of views.
  • Weigh ads in the same zone. You can place more than one banner in the same spot, and use weights to choose how much each ad will be shown.

Disadvantages

  • Write your own HTML code. You have to write the code for the link and image yourself. Not difficult, but a nuisance.
  • Blog ads tend to be sold by the month. The view counter is an interesting idea, but ads in the blogosphere tend to be sold by the month, not by the number of views.
  • Hasn’t been updated since January 2007. That’s not to say it won’t work in WordPress 2.6, just that you shouldn’t expect any new features, and if it needs a compatibility update in the future, you might be in trouble.

ISIS Ads Management

ads-isis

Download ISIS Ads Management.

Advantages

  • WordPress widget. Very easy to setup for any blogger. Just drag the widget to wherever you want in your sidebar.
  • Drag-and-drop re-ordering of ads. The zones system in other plugins works well, but it’s just not as cool as visually dragging and dropping the banners into the order you want them.

Disadvantages

  • Take down the ads manually. There is no system for automatically taking down the ads, so you’ll need to resort to your calendar.
  • Only 125×125 ads. Works great for regular blog advertising with 125×125 ads, but you’ll need a different plugin for anything else.
  • Widget-only. Not all themes use widgets, so it may not work on your blog.

Other Options

OpenX – The Swiss army knife of ad managers. Might be a little over the top for simple blog advertising, but have a look at their huge list of features. It does everything you could hope for.

UBD Block Ad Plugin – Similar to WP125, but with less functionality. Does have a very cool preview tool though, and some great videos showing you how to use it.

AdServe – Provides real time reports for your advertisers, but has only been tested up to WP 2.3 so far. Also allows you to put your ads directly into posts.

Feature Wish List for Ad Managers

There were some features that I didn’t see in any of the plugins (Except maybe OpenX!), but would love to have. If anyone has seen a tool that can do these, I’d love to hear about it!

  • Email reminders when advert is close to expiring. The WP125 plugin does a great job of working out the end-date of ads for me, but I still have to ad that date to my calendar so I know when to follow up with those advertisers about renewals. It would be great if a plugin could create those reminders for me!
  • Future schedule ads. The plugins do a great job of putting multiple ads in one zone, but what about setting up one ad to be added as soon as another goes down?
  • Upload ability. The plugins above all ask for the URL to the image, so you still have to fire up your FTP client. Would be much handier if the plugin could handle the uploading for me.
  • Default ad option. When I have an empty space, I put up an image linking to my Advertise page. It’s easy enough to set these up as normal adverts in each of the plugins, but you have to do it 4 times, and re-add the advert each time a space appears.

Overall, my favorite was WP125. It’s simple to use, and has the most useful features for me. What do you use to manage your ads?

(Disclaimer – The owner of the WP125 plugin, Matt Harzewski, is a friend of mine and has an advert here at the minute, but I was using the plugin before he could buy the advert, and you can see from this post why it really is my favorite!)

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