Making money with WordPress for beginners

WordPress is one of the top blogging platforms, powering millions of blogs all over the world both for fun and for profit. Businesses that want to advertise their products use WordPress because it’s easy, highly configurable and easy to adapt to the company corporate look and feel. Many bloggers also use WordPress thanks to the many monetising possibilities available, specially for those who are tired of advertising using Google Adsense and want to branch out into affiliate marketing or other advertising networks such as Chitika. The following are some tips on how to make money from yoru blog.

Adsense, Chitika and other ad networks

Despite what people seem to think, AdSense is not the only PPC network you can use on a website, but it’s probably the easiest to get into and implement along with Chitika. If you are using AdSense using the Google Affiliate Network is often a good idea, since all your earnings will go into the same account, making reaching payout much easier. You can use both at the same time.

  • Google Adsense: Context advertising, for maximum CPC set your ads to display images only, since those are the highest paying. You can have 3 AdSense units per page.
  • Chitika: Chitika works by matching ads to the search query the user entered to reach your page, and its previous search history. It usually has very good results if your users come from organic search and websites related to yours, not so good otherwise.

Choosing the right template

One of the most important things to keep in mind when trying to monetise a WordPress blog is choosing the right template. Not all WordPress templates have been designed with advertising in mind, and while widgets and plugins allow for almost any professional template to display ads, it’s always better when the design is able to complement your ads and place them on the most profitable areas without detracting from the user experience.

The following are just a couple of ad friendly templates:

aggregate wordpress theme Aggregate, by Elegant Themes is a highly configurable professional WordPress template that includes advertising slots and easy to use advertising widgets to put your own banners. You can change colours and background textures for almost anything, along with the fonts, which means you can use the same template in many different websites and they’ll all look unique.

Wordpress template typebasedTypebased is also very configurable and incorporates several 125×125 Banner slots. It also offers a fully featured custom administration area, allowing you to configure the template without having to touch the code for anything.


Plugins are also a necessity if you want to make money from your blog, since they will allow you to manage your advertising and place the most relevant ads for your content. With plugins you can also sell your own website’s ad inventory to third parties, and use alternative advertising networks that are more profitable than Google adsense, or even run short term affiliate marketing campaigns. To get you started:

  • Ad Injection allows you to insert ads in the middle of your posts, with quite a lot of options to configure exactly where they will appear.
  • Advertwhirl allows you to rotate ads and choose what percentage of views gets each ad on a particular location.

There are more ad management plug-ins with additional functionality and extra features, but these two are free and have a low learning curve, which is perfect if you want to focus on writing and not on managing your ads.

Global affiliate accounts

If you want to get some money from referring affiliate sales to merchants, but don’t feel like starting your own affiliate business and signing up to lots of different networks you can instead join one of the affiliate platform aggregators that, in exchange for a cut on your affiliate fee, will monetise as many links on your site as they can, collect the affiliate fee from the respective affiliate program and pass you your aggregated share. Handy if you don’t want to wait until you reach payout level on 20 different affiliate programs, or if the merchants you like to recommend don’t have publicly available affiliate programs.

  • Skimlinks will automatically transform all your product links into affiliate links, and even can be configured to add affiliate links to specific keywords.
  • Viglink is similar to Skimlinks but they have different advertisers, so it’s worth experimenting which one brings you more sales or has the advertisers you’d like to recommend.

Amazon associates

Amazon has a quite decent affiliate program, and they sell much more than just books. Joining is easy, as long as you have a website that follows their affiliate terms of use, and they offer an easy interface on the Amazon website to create links to any product, along with widgets and other advertising material. The payout is quite low, so it may be worth signing up just in case.

Using all of these tools and services to monetise your WordPress blog is within reach of most webmasters, even if you are not a developer or technologically savvy, because WordPress has plugins to do the hard work for you. This way you can make some residual income with minimal effort and focus on what you enjoy: writing.

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