*There may be affiliate links in this post. (Please see our legal pages, link in the footer, for more information.)
If you’re looking to make money blogging one of the easiest and most passive ways is to display ads on your blog. So I’ve written a step by step tutorial on how to get ads on your blog, particularly how to set up Google Adsense on WordPress!
After the success of my previous post ‘The basics of blogging ads’ it seems that so many of you have been waiting for me to write this post so here it it!
Full disclosure, I actually wrote this post whilst I was installing Google Adsense ads on my blog, so you get an accurate representation of how easy or difficult it is for a newbie blogger (I have since updated the post with relevant info where needed).
Ready? Let’s start making some passive ad money!
Why did I choose Google AdSense?
Well, I knew I wanted traditional PPC and PPV ads as opposed to the affiliate link creating type of ads, which narrowed it down to four different ad providers.
I was left with a choice of:
I immediately decided against BlogHer/SheKnows/Momentum because they have a few sign-up requirements and you have to enter a contract. Since I have never had ads on my blog before I didn’t want to be stuck with them if I decided they weren’t right for my site.
So it was between AdSense, Media.net or Sovrn. Honestly, I choose AdSense because it’s the most well known. That is the only reason.
As far as I know, the payouts for each of those networks aren’t particularly higher than another, nor is each one any easier than the next to install so I just thought I would give AdSense a go!
If I don’t like it, or don’t earn any money then I can try the other two. But realistically until my pageviews reach a level where I can be part of a more premium ad network, having ads on my blog is more about learning and earning a tiny bit of money. My earnings from ads are not going to change my life right now!
Applying was really straight forward but to ensure you are accepted you must have:
- A Google account (ideally it’s the one attached to your blog and Google Analytics account)
- Be over 18
To increase your chances of being accepted, ideally, your blog should have:
- Content (I had over 15 posts when I was accepted)
- Contact me page
Setting up and applying for Google AdSense
Go to the Google AdSense page and click sign up now. Then fill out the form.
The only part I found difficult was when you had to insert the provided code into your website’s header. Luckily I now know exactly how to do this and can teach you too!
Step 1: Copy the code provided
Step 2: Head to the admin part of your WordPress site, the part where you actually write your posts and edit your site.
Step 3: Go to Appearance, then Editor as shown below with the red arrows.
Step 4: You should now be on a page that looks like the screenshot below. Don’t forget I have the Divi theme installed so my editor may look a tiny bit different than yours.
Step 5: Find your header section and click on it. You should go from the first screenshot to the second screenshot below.
Step 6: Then you want to find <head> and </head>.
There may well be text already between those two tags and that’s okay.
Step 7: All you have to do now is copy and paste that code between those two <head> and </head> tags. Make sure you DON’T paste it in the middle of any code already there. So I pasted it literally just before the </head> tag. Then click update file.
Step 8: Go back to your Google AdSense application and tell them you’ve inserted the code.
Step 9: Sit back and wait for your approval to come into your email inbox!
Update: Now I’ve been blogging a little bit longer than when I wrote this post I want to write a quite note about inserting code when you don’t have a child theme.
Don’t panic, I will explain this super easily for you!!! (Child themes made me break out in a cold sweat of fear and lack of understanding as a new blogger, so I understand how complicated they might seem!)
Basically, you need to get a child theme if you want to insert any code like I did above. The reason; because otherwise when you update your theme (which will need to happen) you will lose any code that you’ve inserted. I found this out the hard way when I updated Divi and suddenly had no ads…
Now you could make sure you just reinsert any codes after updates, but I’m not recommending this because basically it’s not best practice. Instead speak to your hosting provider and your theme creator about getting a child theme set up. If you’re super non-techy you might be best to just pay someone like iMark Interactive to set it up. Honestly it’s like a 20 minute job now I know how to do it, but when I was a newbie it seemed unbelievably complicated!
Once you’ve been approved; inserting Google AdSense ads on your blog
Now it’s time to make some money, hopefully…
There are a few different ways of actually getting the ads onto your site.
Method One: Use a plugin
The majority of research I read, bar the stuff actually on the Google AdSense site, was around two years out of date. Hence why this post is so desperately needed!
However, one relatively easy way of getting the ads on your site seemed to be to just install a plugin. The plugin everyone and their dog was recommending was ‘Quick AdSense’ unfortunately this no longer exists.
Instead, we now have ‘AdSense Plugin WP QUADS’ which has been called the new and improved ‘Quick AdSense’.
I have decided against the plugin route because ads can already slow down the speed of a site and I don’t want the added burden of another plugin to boot (plugins can also slow down site speed). However, if you desperately wish to use a plugin to get AdSense then ‘AdSense Plugin WP QUADS’ seems to be the one you would choose. Just remember I haven’t actually used it so I have no idea if it’s any good!
Method Two: QuickStart
UPDATE: I do not recommend QuickStart, continue reading to find out why…
I believe this is a new feature that Google AdSense have just brought out, because previously they had their own plugin that you could use to position ads.
I’m going to give this a go. (By the way, I’m actually writing this post in ‘real time’ so I’m literally about to see if I can get this to work).
According to Google AdSense Help:
“QuickStart uses the same code that you put on your site when you connected your site to AdSense to show ads. We call this type of code “page-level ad code”. One big advantage of page-level ad code is that once you put it on your page, you only need to flick a switch in AdSense and ads will start to appear automatically.”
So to enable QuickStart and Page-level ads, go to the menu in AdSense. Click ‘My ads’, in the drop down you should see ‘Page-level ads’, click on that bad boy.
At which point you will be taken to this screen.
See at the top right-hand side it has a button saying ‘Turn on all formats’ click that and it should work.
However, I got crickets…
Now it’s possible it is working and for some reason I just can’t see the ads. It may be that it takes a few days for it to be fully visible. Or it just isn’t working…
Either way I’ve left it on and I shall monitor it and report back in a few weeks! If you happen to see any ads that aren’t either in the sidebar, within a post or below a post please tell me (either comment or email me at [email protected]) and then I will know if QuickStart is working!
UPDATE: QuickStart did work and it did display some ads but it put them in literally the worst places possible and made my site look super spammy. So I have disabled QuickStart which is really easy. If you have a look at the screenshot above you should be able to see QuickStart ads near the top. Go along and there is the slider on/off button (half will be blue if it’s currently turned on). Just click that slider to the other side and no more spammy looking QuickStart ads!
So I do not recommend QuickStart ads because they looked so bad and completely ruined the site experience for my readers!
We all know that loads of bloggers out there offer amazing freebies.
Like they should be charging level of amazing.
There are free courses, ebooks, worksheets, cheatsheets, resource libraries, challenges, the list goes on and on… All to help you get better at blogging!
Often I will come across these freebies about two weeks after I needed them. I mean isn’t that always the way.
But not anymore.
I have created the Ultimate List of Blogging FREEBIES which is packed full of over 100 blogging freebies (think free ebooks, worksheets, cheatsheets, courses, resource libraries, challenges, swipe files) created by 50 plus top bloggers.
So you will have everything your need to start and run a successful blog in 2018!
Just sign up below for access, or visit Ultimate List of Blogging FREEBIES for more info!
Method Three: Creating Ad Units
UPDATE: This is the method I recommend!
I think this is the way most people think about Google AdSense. You create an individual ad in your Google AdSense account, then some code is created and using your awesome coding skills (of which I have none) you place the ads where you want them.
From what I can gather you have to place this code on every part of your site that you want the ads. So for example, if you only want ads on your sidebar then you place the code within your sidebar section and your sorted. However, if you want the ads dotted about within posts and text on pages then you would have to add each ad individually. Hence why many people use a plugin for getting ads within their posts because it cuts down on time.
But as I didn’t want another plugin slowing down my site its time to get friendly with very basic code insertion and take some time to populate my site with ads.
How to create an ad unit
Step 1: Hop over to your Google AdSense account, click ‘My ads’ and in the drop down you should see ‘Ad units’, click on that.
Then click on the button saying ‘+ New ad unit’ in the top left-hand corner which should take you to the page below.
Step 2: I went for the ‘Text and display ads’ so click ‘SELECT’ on the first box and you get this screen.
Name: Name it whatever you like, ‘Ad 1’ will work it’s literally so you can identify it.
Ad size: I went with ‘Automatic size Responsive’ which just means the ad will adjust its own size according to where it’s placed. So if someone is viewing on a mobile the ad should still look good, or if it’s placed in a sidebar it should fit correctly.
Ad type: I went with ‘Text & display ads’
Text ad style: Here you can just make text ads look a bit prettier if you choose. I fiddled around with the colours so any ads would fit in with the branding of my site and choose a nicer font, that’s all.
Custom channels: I left this well alone because I didn’t fully understand what it was and didn’t want to mess around with any crucial settings. (Anyone want to explain this to me please do!!!)
If no ads available: I went for ‘Collapse the ad unit, otherwise show color’ and placed my brand colour there. This is a personal choice and just pick whichever option you prefer.
Step 3: Then click ‘Save and get code’ and copy that code. Don’t worry if you close the box, you get this code anytime by going back into ‘Ad units’ and clicking the ‘Get code’ under your ad’s name.
Placing an ad unit into your sidebar
This was actually super easy and resulted in my first working ad, YAY. Now just remember that I run the Divi theme from Elegant Themes so your site may look a tad different to mine. (Update, I’ve now switched to the Extra theme from Elegant Themes which is amazing, but I recommend both and you can check out Extra and Divi from Elegant Themes here they makes creating a professional looking blog super easy with no coding needed!!!)
Step 1: Make sure you have the ad unit code copied, you should do if you’ve been following the section above.
Step 2: Head over to the admin site of your WordPress site and click on ‘Appearance’ then ‘Widgets’
Which should take you to this screen.
Step 3: Place a new text box in your sidebar section. You can drag and drop. So it should be looking something like this.
Step 4: Click on the ‘Text’ tab rather than the ‘Visual’ tab and copy and paste your code. It should be looking like this.
Then just click save.
Step 5: Head over to a page on your site that has a sidebar and admire your new ad!
Placing an ad unit within a post
This is personally my favourite place for them to go, I think they just kind of blend in nicely. I’ve popped an ad right below this paragraph so you can decide for yourself!
I’m not going to use screenshots to explain how to do this (unless you desperately want them in which case tell me in the comments or via email to [email protected] and I will update this post). Mainly because if you have a blog you should already be pretty familiar with writing blog posts. Plus there are a few different ways to create posts using the Divi theme so I don’t want to confuse anyone. If you’re writing awesome posts then keep going your way!
But basically, find a post that you have written or are in the middle of writing. Find a spot where you wish to insert an ad. Switch over to the ‘Text’ tab rather than the ‘Visual’ tab and copy and paste your ad unit code. Save and update or publish your post.
Give yourself a pat on the back for successfully inserting an ad unit within a post.
Bonus ad unit placement for Divi/ Extra users
So if you are using Divi or Extra from Elegant Themes there is something else you can do that’s real nice and easy and puts an ad unit at the bottom of every post!
Step 1: Head down to your ‘Divi’ section and click on ‘Theme options’.
Step 2: Click Ads which should take you to this screen below.
Step 3: Ensure ‘Enable Single Post 468×60 banner’ is enabled and copy and paste your ad unit code into ‘Input 468×60 adsense code’. The screenshot above shows my page with these two things already done.
Remember because you are using a responsive ad unit it will fit happily into that Divi space because it will change size to fit where needed.
Then ‘Save Changes’ and you’re all done!
Woohoo you should now have Google AdSense ads on your blog!
Best practice with ads
Previously Google AdSense would only allow you to have a maximum of 3 ads per page. They have since removed this limit but just be wary that ads do slow down your site speed and can affect user experience so take it steady with the number of ads you place on your site.
I’ve also found this post by Tori from ‘Chase the Write Dream’ that has some great tips that might be worth implementing if you aren’t seeing much dollar rolling in from AdSense. Be warned it is quite an old article and I haven’t actually tried any tips myself, but could be useful if you’re a bit further along your blogging ads journey!
So there we are folks. I’m hoping you’ve now got Googe AdSense up and running and have a basic understanding of how to insert ads onto your blog! How did you find the process? I must admit it was a nightmare for me trying to figure it all out but hopefully if you’re using this post it will be a bit easier for you!
Any questions please comment below or send me an email at [email protected]
Plus, if you have found this post useful could you share it on Pinterest, it would really help me out 🙂