If you run a WordPress blog and you have been approached by someone wanting to do some advertising with you but you aren’t sure the best way to go about it, I have you covered in this article.

While this might not be the best way, because arguably that would involve insertion orders, large budgets, third party impression tracking, possibility for day parting, advanced reporting, dedicated staff, and the like.

And it certainly isn’t the simplest approach which would involve collecting your money, adding a sidebar text widget, placing some HTML code, and keeping an eye on the calendar, then emailing the avertiser when the ad expires.

You can do that, but there is another way that is still quite simple, but offers a little more sophistication. And you can do it without knowing the Internet Architecture Board standards or having to define the scope of a media buy in an inertion order.

Let’s get into it.

Define the ad spots: Use IAB banners sizes! 

Tip: Visit IAB’s Wiki to learn more about most commonly used banner sizes

Now, first you need to decide where you plan to include the ads, and what ad sizes that you want to use. This is no different than the planning that you might do when setting up AdSense on a web site.

You might have a 468×60 banner in the header or the footer. Perhaps you want to run a 300×250 ad within the posts. Maybe your WordPress theme is wide enough to support a 728×90 across the top or bottom. Or you might even have room for a giant 300×600 ad size in the side bar. Even a grid of 125x125s might be your thing.

You can even create a custom size, because really, you are in full control here. I would personally recommend though that you stick to the sizes that AdSense uses, for two reasons.

1. Advertisers most likely already have creatives of those sizes, because they are industry standard.

2. Plus, you may want to either rotate in some AdSense ads into an ad slot, or even pre-fill an ad slot with an AdSense image ad so it’s not empty.

You can create an “Advertise Here” link under each ad that links to your contact page, then you can just work with people directly for negotiation. It wouldn’t be as effective as having a full page detailing your web site stats, demographics, pricing, ad spots, and availability, but we’re just starting out right?


Free advertising plugin for WP

Setting Up Adrotate To Define Ad Placements And Spots.png


There’s a really cool plugin for WordPress called AdRotate that is available for free. There is also a premium version with some decent feature upgrades as well, but we’ll focus on “free” here.

Some advanced placements: Using grids for your Ad placements

You can safely skip this section if you don’t want to go into advanced placements right now

With the Adroate plugin you can optionally create “ad blocks.” These are used for grids, so, let’s say that you want to have a 2 by 2 grid of 4 125×125 ads in the sidebar. You would first create 4 individual ads, then assign each ad to its own group (explained below.. The next step would be to assign those groups to a “block,” and add the code to display the block into the blog’s sidebar. Then each individual ad may, at random, take a different spot in the grid after each page refresh.

  • There are also “groups” which are optional. This allows you to assign more than one ad to the same individual spot. So to carry on with the sample above…

If you had 8 125×125 ads but only wanted to show 4 at a time (in the 2×2 grid. then you could assign 2 ads per group. Then, upon each refresh, each “group” would be placed in a random spot in the “block” (grid., and then one random ad (from the 2. would be placed in each spot in the grid.

Now, groups don’t always have to belong to blocks. You can have a group of 2 or more ads that occupy just one spot. Upon each page refresh, a random ad will be displayed. You will find that over time, each ad gets close to equal placement.

Let’s keep it simple: Adding new Ad placements using AdRotate

If the idea of blocks and groups makes this confusing, ignore them. You can keep it very basic and just use the “Manage Ads” functionality and ignore Groups and Blocks altogether.

When adding a new ad you:

1. Give it a title
2. Place in the ad code (HTML/JavaScript are allowed.
3. Decide whether you want the ad active immediately after saving
4. Ignore the “Advanced” stuff unless you underdstand and would like to use click tracking
5. Optionally modify the schedule (Important: the default expiry date will be less than 3 months away, so be sure to correct that if need be. If you plan to run the ads indefinitely, just set it to a date with the year far off in the future.)

You can also control max impressions at this step if you are selling based on CPM, rather than date.

6. Optionally assign the ad to existing groups (you can also do that later, or not at all.
7. Save the ad
8. Place the code

You are given a shortcode that could either be placed in pages, posts, or widgets. Also provided is a PHP function that will output the same thing, but is to be used in template files.

If you ARE using blocks that is the code you place. If you are using groups but NOT blocks, you would place the code generated after creating the group. If you aren’t using either groups or blocks, then just place the ad’s code that gets generated.

The basic process: Overview

Once everything is setup, and by “everything” I mean:

a. your “advertise here” link pointing to your contact page
b. the AdRotate plugin installed
c. default ad slots are in place

… then here’s the basic process when someone contacts you to place and ad:

1. get the payment and the ad code (HTML or JavaScript only.
2. place the ad in the AdRotate management tool
3. that’s it!

I hope that you found this helpful. You see, you can be one of those folks that sells ads on your blog without having to know all the fancy stuff. Many larger blog and web site owners have a dedicated team to handle media buys and advertising, so don’t think you have to get there during your first rodeo. The steps outlined here provide a huge start for you in the world of direct ad sales on your WordPress blog.

Baby steps will get you in the big leagues if that is your ultimate goal, but in the beginning (and always., providing excellent content on a cosistent basis should be the main focus. Do the rest when time allows.