As nearly every blogger on the planet is aware, Passion Fruit recently switched how they are doing things and now charge a monthly fee.  Sure they offered a discounted annual rate to those who were already using their service, but if you are like me, the price wasn’t worth it, or, like many of my friends, you paid it even though it was too expensive for a lack of better options.

Ditch Passionfruit and Run Your Own Ad Shop

I moved to Adproval, but it’s such a new service that I have found it still has far too many kinks to work out.  I also found that their set up was confusing for those who were wanting to buy my ads and it ended up causing a lot of problems.  I quickly saw my ad sales drop.

Well, this month, I had had enough.  There just HAD to be a better option out there.  But I still didn’t want to pay for Passion Fruit.  I just can’t fathom paying that much each month when my ads are so inexpensive.  I’m not getting a million hits a month (I know, shocking!) so it just isn’t in my budget minded (read: cheap) self to pay that kind of money each month.  So what was I going to do?

Well, I discovered a well rated and well praised ad plugin called Ad Rotate.  Granted, it means I had to build my shop from scratch (as service I now offer as a custom item) but it means I have complete control and the only money I pay is my PayPal fee.  A fair bargain to me.

However, I did find that the plugin was a little confusing to learn at first and the plugin’s website did not explain things well in my opinion.  Once you know what to do, it’s BEYOND easy to use though, so I figured I’d share a little tutorial on how to use it so y’all can use it too!

First: Download the plug in.  It’s available HERE, or you can search it in the plugin area as adrotate. Once downloaded, activate it.

It will be available in your left hand WP dashboard sidebar. screenshot Now, you need to set up how you want your ads to work.  This plugin rocks because you can create ads for anywhere on your blog, but this tutorial will focus on sidebar ads.   So, for that, you will want to create a “group.” So click on the “manage group” option.

namegroup

Name your group.  I recommend setting it to “block mode.”  This will show a block of ads in one area.  But you can also set it up to switch between ads and control how many seconds in between each one etc.  For now, set it to block mode and then adjust the rows and columns to fit your sidebar.  I personally set my 200X200 ads to 6 rows, 1 column because my sidebar is only big enough for that.  But smaller ads can be adjusted accordingly.

adsizeYou can choose to add in what size your ads are.   This will determine the size of the ads once they are visible.  For instance, I have different ad size options available, so I have created a group for each ad size I have.

You can also control which pages your ads show.  This is a great feature if you want to charge difference prices for ads seen on your home page VS other pages of your website or blog.

selectadsfornewgroupIf you have ads already added, you can pick and choose which ones belong in your new group.  If not, you can add your new ad to a group once it’s created.

adtrackingandID

In your manage groups screen, you can see how your groups are doing.  This will show you what groups you have so that you can make adjustments to them if you want, and how many impressions and clicks each group has so far.

You will also see the column that says “ID.”  That is the group ID number you can use in your sidebar widget.  Should you make a group for ads that go somewhere else on your side (such as below a post or in a footer or header) you can use the short code found on the right side of this same list.

 

Now, let’s make an ad to put in our new groups.

Go to your left sidebar area again and click on “manage ads.”  Once there, we’re going to click on “add new.”

BE SURE TO TITLE YOUR NEW AD!!!!  I recommend putting the name of who bought it, like “A Boy, A Girl, and the Marine Corps.”  Something to help you know which ad it is.  This is important because once it’s created, it’s just going to show up by this title on the manage page.

Next, you need to fill out the “Ad Code” box.  This code is going to select the format for your ad.  You can create text only ads if you’d like, but since most people choose to buy an image ad, we’ll set that up.

autofilladcodebox

Option two on the right side of the Ad Code box under Basic Examples is going to be best for an image ad.  Simply click it and it will auto fill the appropriate code into the box.

The next step is to enable tracking.  Click the URL box and then copy and paste the website URL that you want your ad linked to.  Then select banner to add an image.  Now, if you have me build your ad shop, your images will automatically load into your media files via the form I set up for your sponsors, if you are building your own, you an manually upload a picture from your sponsor once you click the button.

linkadScroll down to the Schedule area.  Here you can select what dates the ad will be visible le during.  My ads run for 30 days at a time, but you can have it be whatever you’d like.  This is a great feature if you allow people to purchase multiple months at a time like I do.

setstartandendtimes

Before you save your ad, scroll to the bottom of the page and select which group it belongs to.  Then save.  Now your ad is ready to be seen on your sidebar.

pickgroupforadNow, you can head into your widget area and you will find a super handy widget available for your sidebar.  Remember that ID number that is shown next to your new groups of ads?  That’s all you need!

widgetsetupI have one widget for each of my groups that all show six ads at a time.  I gave them titles like “Top Sponsors” and such, but you can leave them blank if you’d like.

 

That’s all there is to it!  I use this widget and my Papal business account to sell my ads and control them.  This handy app will let you know when your ads are about to expire by changing the color of the ad in the “Manage Ads” screen.  You can control size, placement, and duration so easily.  And just as easily, you can make changes to your ad shop without much fuss.  There is a paid version of this app, which I’m sure, is well worth the money, but the free app does just fine for me at this point.

I hope you enjoy using the app!!!  You can setup your very own, custom ad shop without having to pay a monthly fee to Passion Fruit or mess with difficult free services that don’t have what you need.  I am LOVING it.

To help manage my ads, I have created a template which you can DOWNLOAD HERE.  The single template includes large, medium, small, and social media shout outs on one page for easy viewing and updating.  The individual templates manage each size separately.  All templates have pages for each month through June 2014.

To view my Ad Shop click HERE

To view my Blog Services and review my policies click HERE

If you would like to hire me to build your ad shop click HERE