I found quite a few plugins out there but not a single one I installed on my sandbox machine worked the way that I thought it should until I ran across one called Max Banner Ads. This is a free plugin that is made available as “review-ware” to the WordPress community. From the minute I activated this plugin it has worked exactly the way that I thought it should. One of the biggest considerations I have when using an unfamiliar plugin with WordPress is how easy am I going to be able to demonstrate this to my clients so that they will be comfortable using it.
The beauty of this plugin as opposed to our internal ad server is that I didn’t have to go in and modify the theme at all. Basically the plugin allows you to add banners wherever you want them to go. There are 4 pre-defined positions already setup, you can add a new position if business picks up. The 4 predefined locations are 1) Top of the Posts 2) Bottom of the Last Post 3) Within a Post (usually under the page title) and 4) Show as a widget. I really like the ability of dropping in several widget ads and being able to move them around to accommodate for the other widgets the client has requested.
The Max Banner Ads plugin not only serves ads exactly where you want them but it also gives you some metrics for your ads so you can track how well they are doing. Granted, I have seen more elaborate traffic analytics but for most small business clients this should do the trick.
Some other things that I like about the plugin are that you have the option of loading a banner add by uploading it from your local machine, which is what a vast majority of my clients are going to want to do in the first place. It also allows you to display remotely hosted graphics if you run into a situation like that.
Again, I have been using the free version of this plugin, I noticed that there is a link located below the ads that you can remove if you decide you want to buy the pro version. I think the price for that plugin was in the neighborhood of $50, which isn’t half bad if you are looking for a solution to serve ads inside of WordPress. The best part, it’s simple to manage.