Picking the right Adsense plugin for WordPress
Did you know that WordPress plugin directory lists 13 Google Adsense plugins? Well, actually there are more.
Why, oh why? I mean, we all love the idea of getting paid for something we do anyway (like blogging), but it’s not like there are hundreds of people blogging their way to the riches – if even fake Steve Jobs with his million of hits per month cannot afford to quit his day job… well, my personal chances are limited.
The question stands: why are there thirteen Gogle Adsense plugins for WordPress?
I get intrigued by these things, so I decided to go through them all.
Per-plugin summaries below are somewhat chaotic (I am not a review professional), but you may want to keep an eye on the following list of key features that emerged in the process:
- support for non-Google services
- inline ads
- functions for template integration
The rest is… bells and whistles. Diferent people will attach different weight to them.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Adsense Manager
- 2 and 3 Adsense Deluxe+
- 4. Adsense Earnings
- 5. Adsense Beautifier
- 6. Adsense Click Tracker
- 7. Adsense Widget
- 8. Adsense Logger
- 9. Adsense-Paster
- 10. Author Adsense 2.0
- 11. GARR – Google AdSense Referral Rotator
- 12. Adsense Sharing Revenue and Earnings System
- 13. Ad Rotator
- 14. WP-AdsenseProfit
- 15. Adsense Inline
- 16. Adsense Injection
- 17. Mighty Adsense
Plugin author,Martin Fitzpatrick, recently went through the adventure of being banned for life by Google for this plugin. Thankfully, once he got to talk to a live person, the whole thing was straightened out, and the current version (2.4) is safe to use.
A developer smart enough to piss off Google… that sounded strangely appealing, so this was the first plugin I tried.
The plugin is in active development, and I would expect current negatives to be dealt with shortly – keep an eye on it!
- you can embed the ads in your posts or into your templates
- for the ads embedded into your posts there is a set of fine-tuning options (show/not show in the ads in search results, archives, etc.) – well thought through!
- you can define many parameters of your ads without leaving WP
- supports a default parameter set
- allows to simply paste Google-generated code snippet, thus protecting you from the time lag between Google API changes and subsequent plugin releases.
- automatically generates widgets for all your defined ads
- allows for extra HTML markup around your ads, or even alternative ads (although does not explain how this feature works)
- there is a nifty feature that allows you to paste Google-generated code snippet and have the plugin take it apart so that you can edit it locally. Unfortunately, right now (version 2.4) this plugin is a bit behind the API – Google has changed the way it defines “channels”.
- there is no documentation (that I could find). Even the “help” link built into the plugin page did not help. [this is probably a side effect of the ban – the author had little incentive to publish a good support page if he was pissed off at Google]
- the plugin automatically generates widgets for all your ad styles, whether they would fit your sidebar or not. That clutters my widget box. I’d rather have a checkbox to define if I want a particular style as a widget.
- Ad colors box is rather primitive compared to what Google offers. If you cannot do a better job… why do it?
I honestly hope the author will catch up with the world now that he is back in the saddle again.
2 and 3 Adsense Deluxe+
This is a classic Open Source plugin: one guy improving and building on the effort of another. That’s how we get excellent software for everyone! (I won’t be looking at the original Adsense Deluxe).
The author also publishes a useful standalone Adsense preview tool – you may want to bookmark it even if you choose a different plugin.
- Very well documented plugin with plenty of relevant links in its options page. You get the feeling that you know what you are doing.
- You gust paste Google snippets – there is no “in place editing” (unless you want to mess with the code). Very straightforward.
- Add the ads into your templates (functions are provided) or into the posts.
- Easy to use control for showing inline ads in single pages (I wonder if it , archives
- Adds a menu item into WP editor for inserting inline ads easily
- Inline ads work in Pages too! (functions work everywhere, of course)
- Makes sure you are Ok on Google ad-per-page limits
- “Just paste the code” approach allows for using services other than Google
- No widget support
- Maybe it’s me, but I had little success invoking the inline ads manually. Thankfully, there is an easier way – just use the menu!
Not and Adsense solution, but a nice helper: it shows you how much money you’ve made!
- Shows on its own page
- Adds data to your dashboard
- Even provides a function for embedding the data into the templates!
- you cannot switch off “Daily AdSense Earnings” on your dashboard. I can easily think of a scenario when you would NOT want to share that data with everyone who sees your blog’s dashboard.
This one is (was? – see below) more of a helper than a real tool. Adsense Beautifier would take the code generated by Google add its own snippet, and spit out the result for you to use however you like (paste and publish via Adsense Manager or Adsense Deluxe, for example).
The extra code would put a pretty image next to Google ads – a nice way to attract more attention to text ads or link blocks…
All in all I think that while this was a useful tool in the past, now with the image ads and the changes to Google TOS it is not really worth the effort or the risk.
Yep, another “helper tool”.
Do your click through numbers reported by Google look fishy? Want to do the counting yourself? This is the way.
- uses Google Analytics with its oh-so-pretty reports
- this tool is NOT precise: its author promises about 10% variance. I doubt you can use it to argue with Google (if your relationship comes to that).
For me personally this one falls into the “why bother” category.
Would be a nice complement for Adsence Deluxe, if not for the problems.
True, but… for starters yo’d have to find a better text plugin than the standard one, unless you enjoy trying to guess if you ad is in “Text1”, “Text2”, or “Text3” widget.
The plugin does not play well with PHP 5 (although a loyal user has posted a fix in one of the comments).
Personally, I could not get the AJAX part of it to work in the management interface. So I gave up.
Oh, and you can only have one of this widget.
- A lot of thought has been put into the reports – you actually get some data potentially very useful for ad optimization.
Personally, I am going to see if I can extract all same info from Google’s Reports – a lot has changed since 2005…
– this is a “my first plugin” equivalent of Adsense Deluxe. I looked at the code and the author definitely gets my respect for its quality.
- implements random rotation of several different ad formats
- you would have to manually edit the plugin file.
Too simplistic, too much work. Great starting point if you want to write your own simple WP plugin. Too much work for a casual (or professional ) blogger.
Where I come from one of the golden rules is “Never have any financial transactions with the family. Even when everyone win, someone will be unhappy”
A group of people blogging together is like a family, and often is as precious. So when those adsense dollars start rolling in, you want to be fair at splitting the. You’d be amazed how little it takes for resentment to build.
Author Adsense is a solution, of sorts. It will totally kick ass by version four or five. Today it requires that you modify your templates.
- can split adsense revenues among multiple authors
- assigns a % to the admin – to cover blog costs, etc
- well documented, make sure to read the FAQ
- you will have to edit your templates. Are you comfy with PHP?
Some day this will either merge with an existing moron-friendly adsense plugin , or will grow into one. And every blog with more than one author will want it.
11. GARR – Google AdSense Referral Rotator
Google referrals are a special category of ads, and this little widget can be used to rotate all four of them randomly.
- extremely well documented
- straightforward and easy to use
- if you want to stick with one specific referreal… fill up all four fields with the same ID
- there can be only one!
I am keeping this one.
In fact, I am probably going to dissect it in my spare time just to see how it works!
This is an improved version of Author Adsense described above.
The one true improvement is that it shows each contributor his/her earnings. Very useful, but I still hate the need to edit the template.
13. Ad Rotator
From the days of WP 1.5, this is a less sophisticated but clearly reliable way to serve ads from multiple sources. All you have to do is add one function to your template and create text files with ad code snippets ion your server. The function will randomly inject one of those files into your blog (at the function’s location in the template.
- well documented
- handles multiple ad sources
- requires template modification
- uploading text files and then managing them on the server… is soo not elegant.
In its day this was probably the pioneer. Now you can get the same results with a better UI from other plugins.
Now this is a minimalist plugin! There is no user menu and there is no functionality by default either.
You have to edit the source code (a minor edit), and then you will have a single function which you can reuse in your template to show how much money you have earned with Adsense. That’s it.
Well documented and to the point though. Some people will want just this.
The most interesting part about this plugin is what you see when you follow a non-valid link on its author’s site. Now that is educational.
15. Adsense Inline
This is an amazingly functional plugin for being Phil’s first effort at extending WordPress. It adds an item to your editor menu, and the item injects a tag into your post that later is replaced with your Google Ads. That’s it.
Not revolutionary today, but was quite an achievement in 2005.
- Well documented
- Inserts the ads straight into your posts
- no function for template extension
- no management of multiple ad formats
- does NOT keep track of Google ad number limits for you (danger!)
- you have to enter your Adsense ID into the code of the plugin manually. Not a huge deal, but scary for some people.
Today there are better options. I bet some of them were inspired by Adsense Inline!
This is brilliant! The author had a very clear understanding of what he wanted, and he created a perfect solution.
The problems (two of them):
a) an existing blog with lots of content and no desire to change the templates
b) banner blindness: if there are same-shaped banners in the same spot all the time, regular visitors get used to itand just ignore them.
The solution: automatically inject random ads at random spots! Simple is beautiful.
- decent documentation
- totally idiot proof: no template or code changes
- multiple options for controlling randomness applied via a user-friendly menu and special comment tags.
- plays well with Google TOS
- I just wish it got integrated with some template-based plugin to keep common track of ads displayed (for Google’s sake).
I am keeping this one. I’ll have to put some work into defining my ads though – there are limits to how intrusive I want them to be, banner blindness or not.
17. Mighty Adsense
A solid Ad manager with support for multiple code snippets (up to 10) and optional template integration.
Maybe it’s my “review fatigue” talking, but I am less impressed with it then I should be. Well, it is sort of like Adsese Deluxe+, but with slightly less flexibility. Or maybe I am just tired.
- Inject ads into posts or add them into your template
- User-friendly configuration screen
- Decent documentation
- “Reset to default” option – this is a unique one
- “Clicks Tracker” – gets the data from Google, not from a script.
- No widget, although with the included template integration function you should be able to cook one up if need be.
- I think the UI could be prettier. But I am spoiled and tired.
Here is what I am going with:
- Adsense Deluxe + as the main engine. (keeping an eye on Adsense Manager)
- Adsense Earnings – to stroke my greed.
- Google AdSense Referral Rotator – as a referral widget.
- Adsense Injection… – some day really soon.
There is a need for two things:
- Merge Adsense Injection with a more “conventional” adsense plugin, or at least make them all use the same mechanism for tracking the number of ads deployed.
- A nice adsense widget.
- You can get it done manually by pasting google code snippet into a Text widget.
- Even better, you can use a template function with one of PHP widgets – that way it will be counted towards Google TOS limit.
- I wonder if GARR can be nehanced for this purpose though…
So, what did I miss?