CrankyAds is an advertising plugin for WordPress blogs and I thought I would give it a review. I don’t run ads on this site, but many clients do and for years I’ve been recommending Max Banner Ads as a way of managing your adverts, but this doesn’t allow you to take payment, manage campaigns or have many other statistic features that can be required.
CrankyAds is a WordPress plugin so installation is a breeze. Just download from their site and then in WordPress go to Plugins > Add new. Select Upload and browse to the zip file to upload, and then select Activate.
When returned the plugin page, a nice Start here message is shown under their plugin:
I’m a little disappointed that for a free plugin they’re not in the WordPress.org plugin repository, as it would make installing it, and updating it, easier, but that’s not unusual.
Clicking on the Start here take you to the settings page. However you have to either register an account or sign in with your current account details. Registration is done on the settings page and is quick and easy. Once done you are taken to the Zones setup page. Zones is a familiar term if you’ve ever used advertising software and essentially refers to the regions or areas of the site you want to sell ads on. So you may have a header zone, a sidebar zone, or a footer zone. What is nice is the page shows a couple of YouTube videos walking you through step by step how to step up zones, which you can open in a new window to follow along.
Adding a Zone
This is as simple as giving the zone a name – like Header zone, a description and then selecting whether it is to have image ads, text ads or video. Then you set the size, the amount (and currency) that you want to charge for that ad space, and the duration that charge is for (i.e monthly).
If you want you can have multiple prices for a zone, so if they sign up for a year instead of monthly it would work out cheaper.
You can also have multiple ads per zone. This is especially useful for sidebar 125×125 ads where you might have 4 or 6 ads slots, not just one like in the header.
Once done you have the choice of adding a widget to display the zone or you get given the template code to add to your theme in the exact location you want the ads.
Below is a screen shot of the default ad in my sidebar on a test side, and also the auto-generated page a potential advertiser is taken to when they click on an ad.
If there are more zones than just one, the plugin highlights the zone that the person had clicked so they know which one is relevant to them.
If they like what they see they can click Order now. They are required to login to (or register for) CrankyAds as that is where their (and your) campaigns are managed.
There’s a lot to like about the plugin.
- It’s free and doesn’t add any branding to the zones (it does on the advertise page, but as advertisers need a CrankyAds account this is no problem for me)
- Setting up an account is quick and straightforward
- Adding and configuring zones is really easy and the preview shows you what you’re getting so there’s no doubt
- Makes taking payment really easy
- Advertisers have control over their ads without any involvement from you
- You can allow advertisers to have multiple campaigns per ad slot they buy
- You can upload your own ads/campaigns to fill in the unsold zones with your own, perhaps affiliate, ads
- The upcoming marketplace will make it easy for potential publishers to find your site. For this CrankyAds will take a portion of the payment as a fee, but ads sold directly through your site do not incur this fee of course
This is more of a wish list than a cons list.
- The plugin should be in the WordPress.org plugin repository (apparently it will be soon)
- There should be other default locations built in. Max Banner Ads uses hooks to allow you to select to insert ads within a post or at the end of a post, or just in the first post etc. This would really help people with no technical knowledge to insert ads in their desired location
- The automated Advertise here page should have configurable design or at least an option for dark websites. I would like to be able to change the colors, wording on the button and add some other text at the beginning of the page
CrankyAds is a great, free, easy solution to adding adverts to your site and making it easy for advertisers to sign up completely hands off for you. You can download it here