How to add a WordPress Advertising Plugin to your association or chamber website

How do I advertise on WordPress?

Displaying ads on your membership site can be an excellent source of revenue for your organization. Two of the most common options for advertising on an association website, are Google AdSense and direct member advertising. Either of these can be added to your site using a free widget that is already included with WordPress or a WordPress advertising plugin. 

If you are just getting started and only have a few ads to post, scroll down to ‘display ads on WordPress to see how to show ads in your site’s sidebar using the free ‘Custom HMTL’ WordPress widget. The ‘Custom HTML’ widget can be used to display either direct member ads or ads from a Google AdSense account.

To give you more control over ad placement and help manage your ads, there are a variety of WordPress advertising plugins to choose from that can be found in the WordPress plugin directory (external link). Here are some features to look for when researching the best WordPress advertising plugin for your association website: 

  • Display random or selected banners in pages or posts
  • Automatically disable ads after they expire
  • Use shortcodes or widgets to put ads on your site
  • Advertisers can add/edit/manage their own ads 
  • Accept online ad payments (if cost is not included in membership package)

Where to display ads on WordPress site?

Ads are commonly displayed in the sidebar of a site. Direct member ads can be displayed in your sidebar using the ‘Custom HTML’ widget. Member ads submitted as an image file ( .jpg or .png ) can be uploaded to your media library for display in your sidebar.

  • Go to Media >> Add New and upload member’s ad.
  • Click on the media file and copy the file’s URL. 
  • Go to Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress admin area.
  • Add the ‘Custom HMTL’ widget to your sidebar.
  • Paste in the file’s URL. Be sure to wrap it in an image tag <img src=”” /> as shown below..

That’s it! The member’s ad will now be displayed in the sidebar of your site.

The simplest way to add Google AdSense to your sidebar is also to use the WordPress ‘Custom HTML’ widget.  You will first need to create an AdSense account and setup ad parameters within your AdSense account. 


Once you have created your AdSense code: 

  • Login to your website.
  • Go to Appearance » Widgets in your WordPress admin area.
  • Add the ‘Custom HMTL’ widget to your sidebar.
  • Paste in your Google AdSense code.

Your AdSense ads will now be displayed in your site’s sidebar.

Adding ad space to your theme

Some themes include space for ads which makes it easier to insert ads without the need for a WordPress advertising plugin. However, if your theme does not include dedicated ad placements, not to worry. Just make sure the ad plugin that you select has shortcodes built in. This will let you insert ads anywhere on your site that you can enter a shortcode.

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How to install a WordPress ad plugin

With no shortage of WordPress advertising plugins available in the marketplace, we encourage you to try out more than one to see which works best for your project. That being said, below is a tutorial on how to use one of our favorites to help get you moving in the right direction.


The Advanced Ads (external link) plugin has all the features an association needs to get started, including an addon for selling ads (external link)

To get started: 

  • From your WordPress admin area, go to Plugins >> Add New.
  • Install & activate the Advanced Ads plugin.
  • To create your first ad, go to Advanced Ads >> Ads >> New Ad.
  • Here you can upload your ad image, set an expiration date and adjust the ad position.

Next select the ad placement based on where you want your ads to be displayed on your site using the plugin settings or by manually adding the shortcode to a page or post.


Once you have saved your changes, your ad will be displayed on your site.


One of the reasons we like this particular WordPress ad plugin is that it can be used to display Google AdSense as well as direct member ads. Before you can start using AdSense ads on your site, you will need to create an AdSense account and set up ad parameters within your AdSense account. You can see detailed instructions from here: Setting up a Google AdSense Ad (external link)

Once you have created your ad, go to Advanced Ads >> Ads >> New Ad and select the Google AdSense option to enter your code. Select your ad placement as shown above and save your changes.


How do I get advertising on my website?

Direct Member Ads

One of the best ways to start earning ad revenue from your association website is to invite your members to advertise. Create multiple levels of membership where the higher levels include ad space on your site. This will encourage members to join at the higher level. Plus it’s a great way for both new and existing members to get in front of fellow members. 

Reach out to local businesses, even if they have not joined your organization yet, they may still want to get in front of your members.

Add Google Analytics code to your site and start tracking your site’s monthly visitor count. This is valuable information to have on hand when approaching potential advertisers.

Create an advertising rate sheet. Do this ahead of time so that you are ready to send it on request. 

Set up a schedule for removing ads once they have expired. If your ads plugin does not let you set an expiry date, be sure to calendar manual renewal reminders and removals as needed.

How much does Google AdSense pay per click?

Google AdSense can sound like an easy way to bring in revenue from your membership site. However, it’s important to be aware that the success of your ads depends heavily on your site’s traffic.

AdSense ads can pay anywhere between $2 – $15 per click, but the average is typically less than $1.  Industries vary, but the average click thru rate (CTR) reported by webmasters (external link) is 1%-2%. So as an example: If you make $0.80 per click, with 100,000 visitors per month, a 1% CTR will earn you $8/month.

As you can see there is a lot to be considered when adding advertising to your WordPress website. There are some great plugins that make ad management easier, but you do not need anything too complex to get started. 

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