If you want to fully monetize your WordPress or other blog by selling advertisement space, like 125×125 blocks, links, or paid posts you need a system to take ad submissions and payment, but also to automatically place and expire the ad placement on your blog or web site. OIOPublisher does all that and more – automatically, you just need to set it up.
First – let me be up front about this. OIOPublisher offers a WordPress plugin, but can (and does) also work with any other type of web site or blog, like Drupal, Xoops, Mambo, Geeklog, or even hosted blogging platforms like Blogger, Blogspot, MSN Spaces, whatever you have. OIOPublisher is NOT free – but you pay a ONE TIME FEE of $37, and that includes future upgrades. You may be put off to pay $37 for a WordPress plugin or any system like this. So was I, I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth and I won’t have to pay for future versions! I use WordPress – so I’m going to talk about the OIOPublisher plugin that am using. If you’re using another blog system or CMS OIOPublisher will work for you – but for my instructions your mileage may vary!
I noticed that most even semi-popular blogs have some 125×125 block ads in their sidebar, and they are selling spots to make money each month. I’ve thought about this for some time, but who wants to keep track of payments and ad placement and expiration? On the flip side of that – who wants to pay a service 50% of the ad revenue just for managing the ads? The other day I came across this post by Toast Egg & Me about selling Direct Ads with OIOPublisher. I went to the OIOPubisher web site and read about what they had to offer and it sounded really good. I would have liked to see some screenshots of the ads on a blog in action – so I kind of took a leap of faith when I signed up and paid my $37. I mean, they have a demo – but I only understand it now that I’ve setup the WordPress OIOPublisher ad plubin on my blog. I would rather have seen screenshots with annotations detailing the adspots and showing examples, etc. I’ve never paid for a WordPress plugin before, but what I’m about to show you should blow your mind! I’m going to take you through the process of OIOPublisher installation and how-to get it up and running as if you just purchased the WordPress plugin and were following an install and setup guide. This will give you a good idea of what’s possible and help you make the decision of you should spend $37 to get it for your site.
Installation of the WordPress OIOPublisher plugin is the same as any other. Extract and upload to your plugin directory and enable in your dashboard. Once you do this the setup process begins. The readme file in the docs folder was very basic – mostly installation stuff. I learned what I need to know for setup by fumbling around. Once the plugin is enabled, you go to the “Business” tab in your WP Dashboard. The first tab you see “Business -> Business” has a setup checklist at the bottom of the page you’ll need to view. In the ‘Overview’ the only thing you need to pay attention to (assuming your plugin works) is #4: your header has wp_head() and your footer file contains wp_footer() before continuing. In the ‘Purchase Module’ section – you need to do #1, #2 and #3 – enable your paypal email, set the prices, add the code (or widgets) to your sidebar. You’ll notice I skipped the step #5 in ‘Overview’ – the API key. You don’t need this to sell ads on your site, just to connect to the OIOPublisher Marketplace and list and sell your ads there. You can do that later – right now we’re just concerned with getting the ad system up and running.
In “Business -> Settings” you need to add in your paypal and payment info:
On the same page setup your advanced settings such as approving ads before payment is allowed, allowing the purchase of links after content, allowing people to ‘subscribe’ to the same ad spot (renew automatically), and whether to disclose paid posts (and what to say).
In “Business -> Settings -> Posts” (or Links, Inline ads, banner, or Custom) you’re going to set the pricing and options for the various types of ads you wish to sell. I want you to note that you can set not only the price and duration, but also the size if you want to go with something different other than the standard 125×125. You can also set how many you want and how many rows and columns. I choose the standard 4 block and standard size. You can rotate them, or keep the same for payment duration, use nofollow (or not), you even get to set the spacing and a default image. You have an incredible amount of options.
The other ads are very similar with great options. With link you can sell link right after content (per post), or in your sidebar (a paid blogroll), or even just a link on your homepage. You can even do paid reviews and paid posts. Bye-Bye Review Me, who needs you anymore? One really cool thing I’ve not seen before is the “custom ad” option. It’s great that you can create custom ads and sell them – maybe someone would want a “Peel” ad in the corner, or a special footer or header ad. But there’s a field I wasn’t expecting. Take a look at this image and see if you can find it.
Hopefully you saw the “download file” field at the bottom. How awesome is that! You can actually sell ad ad spot that has a zip file attached. So if someone wants to market their free ebook, you can take that advertisement as well AND have their link go directly to their ebook. This is pretty darn flexible!
Within the “Business -> Purchases” tab you will manage and approve ads when they come in. If you need to approve a purchase you’ll click on the appropriate option for the type of ad – link, banner, custom, etc. But I posted this images because I wanted you to see that you could “create a new purchase”. In other words, you can manually create an ad if you want at any time. This is handy if you give away an ad spot in a contest (like I did), but it’s especially useful if you need to place an ad where the person couldn’t pay you by paypal (or you maybe traded or bartered ads or services).
In the “Business -> E-mails” tab you’ll find that you have complete control over all the emails that are sent out to customers placing ads, from purchase, to payment and renewal (and more).
Before you setup your site to show the ads the last thing you need to do is enable the tracking and reports (if you’re going to use them). You’ll find this option under “Business -> Tracker”. You can leave most other options alone for a future date if all you need to do (initially) is get ads up and running on your site.
Now go back to the “Business -> Business” tab and on the ‘Setup Checklist’ on the bottom of the page choose a link in #3 to setup your ads either manually or using widgets. Once you do this you are ready to sell ads!
The system as it stands is fully capable of selling ads and more. Out of the box the only thing that I really didn’t care for was the fact that I didn’t have any obvious setup options to control my purchase pages. The basic information was there, but I couldn’t add in a header or footer, or pertinent information to give someone enough information to be able to make an informed decision about purchasing an ad. I posted in the forum and got a pretty quick response. Simon (the project owner) responded and gave me two options. The first was to modify the purchase pages themselves (which I did). I added a header graphic to each page, which is clickable to take people back to my blog home. His second option was to change the purchase URL in the plugin to point to a custom advertisement page. What I did was setup this Advertise with Us to fully explain all the types of adverts to everyone. It, in turn, points to the actual OIOpublisher purchase page. This involved modifying the includes/output.php file and changeing the purchase.php URL’s to point to my new Advertise With Us page. I would not attempt this unless you are proficient in both HTML and PHP.
Simon writes in his OIOpublisher blog that he realizes documentation is sparse, and creating robust docs and instruction to setup and use OIOpublisher are now a high priority. At $37 OIOpublisher is worth every penny only providing the ability to sell ads on your site. I haven’t even begun to scrape the features of the API and other abilities. You can advertise and sell your ads in the OIOpublisher marketplace, you can even post and reply to their jobs board (beta) and participate in ‘conversations’ via OIOpublisher groups. Both of these features aren’t used much quite yet. But it’s easy to see the potential. Imagine posting a “job” looking for people to write content for your site instead of begging for a guest poster? Imagine posting a ‘conversation’ from 10 blogs – ongoing – in your site dynamically without having to individually post on the meme over and over again manually? OIOpublisher will sell you ads, but if these current and future enhancements are what I think they are – it will finally connect bloggers in a way that mybloglog, blogcatalog, bumpzee, technorati, entrecard, text link ads, review me, and all the others only wish they could!
One last disclaimer…I found OIOpublisher through the post on Toast Egg & Me as mentioned earlier and I purchased it last night. I set it up and had default ads running and purchase pages in under two hours. If fact it’s taken me longer to write this massive post about OIOpublisher than it did to set it up. This is not a paid review, and all the details you just read about were my first impressions of the product since first setting it up. I’m sure you’ll read many future posts about it from me. I’m very curious to hear if you like it as much as I do – or if you are using something (to sell and manage ads) that you consider better (or worse). Please comment now!!
Oh -and if you read this far to the end of the post I’m going to reward you with one tidbit of incredible information. You can use OIOpublisher on an unlimited amount of web sites! That’s right. Pay $37 one time, get future upgrades, forum support, and you can use it on as many web sites or blogs as you want. This is great for me since I have an entire network of sites!