I recently had a client who needed a simple way to add clickable image ads onto his site using widgets. He also wanted to be able to track clicks so that he could charge the advertisers. That doesn’t seem too much to ask, does it? But when I searched the Plugins Depository, more plugins were set up to work with AdSense or other affiliate advertisers than to allow simple self-hosted image ads. The plugins were either extremely complicated or so simple that they didn’t have the features I wanted. I finally decided to settle with AdRotate.
There is a free version and a paid version. For the sake of this tutorial I will be using the free version. One of my few complaints is that the free version shows all the tools for the pro version, but I can completely understand why the developer wants to do this – to sell the pro version. For the sake of simplicity though, it makes the admin panel pretty confusing. There are a lot of great options with the pro version and at a one time cost of only 25 Euro for a single site, it’s not a bad deal.
The features list is huge and includes the following for the free version:
- self-hosted banners and text links, Google AdSense and many other affiliate marketing companies
- the ability to show one ad, rotating ads, or a block of ads
- the ability to place ads in widgets or within posts/pages
- click tracking & impressions with graphs
As you can imagine, the pro version has even more great features including ad scheduling and the ability to let users see stats for their own ads.
My tutorials below will give you an idea of how the interface works.
Tutorial Part 1: Easily Setting Up One Image Ad
Tutorial Part 2: Setting Up a Group of Rotating Ads
Overall, I think AdRotate is a great plugin and easy to use if you can ignore all the extra options you don’t need. A way to hide the extra options in the admin would be nice, but again, I completely understand why the developer wants to show those.