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I see this question a lot on Reddit, and I believe the confusion arrives from people signing up for wordpress.com rather than wordpress.org.
I started on a wordpress.com site, and if you even want to monetise your blog, I would recommend starting out with wordpress.org. You can migrate your site, but I found it really stressful since my tech skill are nil.
Yes, you can put ad on both wordpress.com and wordpress.org websites, but I believe wordpress.org ads are extremely limiting and would need million of views to make any money.
How to put ads on a WordPress.com blog
If you have a wordpress premium website, you can run WordAds advertisements.
Should you want to make more than a couple of pennies, you’d need to upgrade to a business account, at which point it all starts to become quite expensive. It would be cheaper to move to a self-hosted site.
For those that are content with ad-words, there’s an ‘earn’ section on the WordPress dashboard.
In terms of CPM, WordAds is similar to AdSense, but users are required to click on ads for you to make money – they work on impressions. CPM is usually about £1.50. Hardly lifechanging, I think you’ll agree.
How to put ads on a WordPress.org blog
Step 1 – Wait until you have traffic
Adding ads to a website can seriously slow it down, and as we know, whilst a fast page speed won’t automatically rank you, a slow site is likely to be overlooked by Google because it leads to a bad user experience.
Until you have around 30K views, you’re unlikely to be making a lot of money from ads anyway, so it makes sense to keep your site speed as fast as possible until you start getting a lot of sustainable traffic.
This is less of an issue if you plan on getting traffic to your site in other ways, but in my experience, optimising your site for search is the easiest way to get a lot of traffic, since it doesn’t require you too much outside of creating content.
Step 2 – Apply to Adsense
I have an article here on whether or not Adsense is worth it, but you probably need to apply to Adsense regardless of whether you plan on displaying their ads.
A lot of premium ad networks require that you have an Adsense account in good standing before they’ll accept your site.
Step 3 – apply to your chosen network
Many people recommend Ezoic if you have around 10K pageviews per month, but I’ve read a real mixed bag of reviews, so I waited until I had the 30K page views per month required to get accepted by Mediavine.
Once you hit 100K page views a month, you can apply to Adthrive.
the more premium networks are fully managed, so you have an ad manager that’ll hold your hand through the whole process.
Step 4 – Put on ads and make money
It’s impossible to say how much a website can make from ads. CPMs range from £1.50 to £40, so with 30k pageviews a month you could make anything from £45 to £1200 a month.
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
WordPress.com is free. But because it’s free, it’s limited. There are paid plans, but they end up getting pretty expensive in comparison to a self-hosted website.
There’s a lot of stuff about wordpress.com being free to take down your site and stuff, but that doesn’t really bother me.
What bothers me about wordpress.com is:
- Limited analytics
- Limited plugins – there are things similar to plugins, but wordpress.org is whole other world
- Limited themes – you can pay for third party themes if you pay THREE HUNDRED POUNDS.
- You have to pay to remover branding and ads (that you receive no revenue from)
wordpress.com is PERFECT for people that want to have a blog but have no desire to monetise it. And I mean NO DESIRE. That’s not the same as telling people that you don’t care if you make money or not, but secretly hoping you’ll go viral overnight.
WordPress.org is a little more complicated to set up, but there are thousands of sites that will help you do this. I would advise you to follow along with a video – this is a good one.
The benefits of self-hosted wordpress.org sites
- Waaaay cheaper than a business account with wordpress.com, but there’s no free option
- Every plugin you could ever desire
- Every theme you could ever desire. I highly recommend GeneratePress. I use the free version.
- You can monetise however you like
- You can set up an online shop
- You have multiple analytics options. I just use Google analytics
Do wordpress.org sites make more in ad revenue than wordpress.com sites?
Yes. Apparently you need 25k page views per month to qualify for Adwords, with it’s rappy CPMs.
What are the benefits of putting ads on my WordPress blog?
Ads are a great way to make passive income,
While it’s true that writing articles isn’t passive, you can write an article this year and make thousands of pounds from it over the years.
The more content you add to your site, the more traffic you can get.
A lot of bloggers say that relying on ad revenue is a bad business idea, because it relys on you getting a lot of traffic.
I get that. I struggled for many year to get a handful of pageviews a month. But learning how to get traffic is a skill that take time to learn.
When we first start, we fear that we’ve wasted money on hosting for nothing, but if you put the work into learning how to do keyword research, and write a lot of content, you will get traffic. It can just take several months to start building.
Also, just because you put ads on your site doesn’t mean you can’t also monetise in other ways. Ads are just the most passive way.
How much traffic would I need to make money from ads on WordPress?
I’m an eternal pessimist, so I like to low ball here. I’m also happy to live on minimum wage i it means I can work at home for myself, so I think it’s exciting when websites earn £1,000 per month.
So, if we assume a low CPM of £5, we would need 200,000 pageviews a month to make 1000.
That sounds so out of reach for beginners. It sound pretty out of reach to me, but it’s totally possible.
One of my keywords has 250,000 searches per month that I could potentially get. I saw it on Google Search console the other week and couldn’t believe that quarter of a million people had searched that keyword.
That’s just for one of my hundreds of keywords. Don’t convince yourself that not enough people would be interested in your niche. Just keep creating that content.
Also, a CPM of £5 is very conservative. Even a CPM of £10 is pretty common, so then we’re down to 100k pageviews.
Considering that it’s not unusual to have a CPM of £20 on some ad networks, you may only need 50k views per month to bring home £1000. Double the number of articles you have, and you could double your income.
I know that it sounds like a long road if you currently don’t have a website. That’s why I advise that you don’t think about monetisation or pageviews until you have a decent number of articles.
I don’t expect to not look at your stats – I look at mine way too often – but just don’t allow them to get in your head. I had 100 articles up before I saw 30 views a day.
One hundred articles.
For thirty views.
If you love writing, I SWEAR it’s the best way for us to make money, or least be one income stream, because generating traffic means making more from ads. And the way to get more traffic to to write more.
Are there any problems with putting ads on WordPress blogs?
There are rumours afoot that Google doesn’t like ads, but it’s unlikely that it will actually penalise you for displaying ads on your site.
Unless, of course, you have a lot of ads that interfere with user experience. We’re all used to seeing ads on websites, so most people don’t really care unless there’s a distracting amount.
Ads do slow your site down though, especially AdSense. More premium networks work hard to help increase pagespeed, because it’s in their best interest for users to have a good experience on your site.
Adsense doesn’t really care about user experience, so they don’t help with pagespeed. I would avoid until you’re out of the sandbox stage, and actually have significant traffic.
Final thoughts on putting ads on a WordPress blog
I know that a lot of people see bloggers putting ads on their sites as cheating, because it’s a low effort way to monetise.
But from a user’s perspective, it can be a far better experience than having course pushed down their throats, affiliate links to products they don’t need, and constant popups with calls to action.
It’s certainly not easy to gain the traffic you need to make a significant income from ads, but for those niche sites that don’t have great affiliate opportunities, they can be a great monetisation strategy.
There’s a myth out there that you need a million different strategies to get a lot of traffic, but you don’t. All you need to do is create a lot of useful content.
Easier said than done, and you need a hell of a lot of patience, but the traffic will take care of itself.