AdSense Manager 3.x is the latest update to the popular WordPress ad management plugin. More than a normal gradual update, version 3.x represents an almost complete rewrite to support a number of changes in the Google AdSense service and the recent explosion in new blog-targeted ad networks. As of writing, AdSense Manager 3.x now also supports Adpinion, AdRoll, AdBrite, Commission Junction, HTML Code, ShoppingAds and WidgetBucks.
Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

The new widget advertising network from WidgetBucks has been getting popular recently for the higher click through rate and potential earnings. To maintain the amounts advertisers were willing to pay, they recently switched CPM ads for international traffic. Unfortunately this means that non-US & Canada visitors get lower earning non-targeted ads.

Until WidgetBucks targets non-US/Canada traffic better or provides Google-style “alternate ads”, it would be useful to be able to show something else to non-US/CA users in an attempt to maintain relevance.
Read the rest of this entry »

Users of the AdSense Manager for WordPress may be interested in an update from Kaspars Dambis which brings Google’s new Rounded Corners and Ad Slot Ids. These features will all be rolled into the updated AdSense Manager v3.0 coming shortly, but in the meantime Kaspar has provided a download of the updated plugin.

AdSense Manager v3.0 should be along in the next week, so if there are any other updates you would like to see let me know!

To keep hosting costs on this site down (following the loss of Ad income) the following WordPress plugins are now unsupported:

AdSense Manager, Blog Juice, Blogtimes with Icons, IM Online, Infocon Widget, Quick SMS and Update Manager.

All the above are now hosted on WordPress Extend.

The one exception to this is Throttle
which currently remains at home here while I complete the FAQ files.

Most mobile providers provide a method for sending SMS messages to handset by email, although many do not publicise this capability. Messages sent to these specially formatted email addresses are forwarded directly to your mobile device. In effect this service gives you free SMS messaging from PC to mobile phone.

It can take time to get this information direct from your mobile provider, so I’ve compiled a database of all known SMS Email addresses used by the major international networks.

To get your own personal SMS Email address, use the automated form to generate your own personal address.

Ever find yourself wanting to copy emails from one Outlook account to another? Say maybe someone moves on to another job and you want to keep a record of what’s been done, or your company is reorganised and departmental emails need to be seperated up.

If you’ve ever tried to do this in Outlook 2003 you’ll have been banging your head against a wall trying to figure it out. It may be that newer version of Office provide this function automatically (I don’t know, I use OO.org) but many offices do not upgrade to the latest Office software regularly. For that reason, here’s a step by step guide to save you half an hour of your life.
Read the rest of this entry »

The new plugin download interface, hooked into wp-plugins.org adds extra incentive for plugin developers to use SVN.

There are a number of detailed SVN guides available, as well as an entire online book. But for casual plugin developers wanting to get the benefits of using the system most of the information is over detailed or not specific to the wp-plugins.org system. This tutorial covers adding and updating plugins through the wp-plugins.org SVN.
Read the rest of this entry »

While getting started using the new wp-plugins.org SVN I was looking for a quick way to download the contents of an SVN to local disk. This can be useful when doing research on methods employed by other plugins or for getting a local development copy where SVN access is unavailable. Under KDE you can normally access any remote location using the standard URL format. For example, an SVN (using the svn://) protocol would normally be accessed using the URL style svn://svn.wp-plugins.org.
Read the rest of this entry »

AdSense Manager 3.x has now been released. Please see the updated instructions.

The instructions below will guide you through the first steps of configuring Adsense Manager 2.x.

Getting Ready

Before you can do anything else, you will first need to set yourself up with an AdSense account and install the AdSense Manager plugin.

  1. Download AdSense Manager.

Take the downloaded file, unzip and copy the adsense-manager directory into your WordPress plugins directory at /wp-content/plugins/. Access your WordPress dashboard, and go to Plugins. Click ‘Activate’ to install and start AdSense Manager: you’re now ready to set up your account and ad details.

Setting Up Adsense Manager

Once installed the first step is to set up your Adsense ID to enable Ads from your account to be displayed. To do this, go to Options » Adsense Manager.

Main Options Panel

Enter your Google Adsense Account ID in the box provided. You can get this from your Google Account Settings.

Below here are the settings for Be Nice! a method for supporting development by donating a % of your Ad space and Alternate Ads to raise funds for AdSense Manager. This new method is completely compatible with Google’s T&Cs and all ads are hand-selected and guaranteed to be family friendly.

Thanks for your ongoing support: the income generated in this way allows me to dedicate time that would be otherwise spent on a bar job.

Just enter a % value indicating the proportion of ads you wish to use to support us. If you enter 0 only your own ads will be shown (no hard feelings) but please consider donating instead.

Create Ads

You’re now ready to add new Ads to your site. There are a number of different types of Google Ad units available (Advert, Link Unit, Referral) and a number of ways to generate Ads (AdSense Manager Unit, Direct Code, Code Converter). The first is the simplest and should suit most small blogging sites.

Manage » Ads

Main Settings

To Add a new Ad Unit simply scroll down the Manage Ads page to the Create New form.

Basic Settings for All Units

First you need to enter a name for your Ad unit. Names are restricted to alphanumeric characters (i.e. a-zA-Z0-9) and the “-” character, however if you enter anything else in the Name field it will be converted automatically for you. Keep it short and simple.

Next you can enter a Channel ID from your Google account. Channels are an optional Google feature for tracking which Ads are generating most clicks. Unfortunately because of the way Google works you have to copy and paste your Channel ID from generated code on the Google website. See tips and tricks for a quick way to do this.

Product Selection

Product identifies which kind of Ad unit you are going to insert into your site. At this point you can choose between a standard Ad unit, Link unit or Referral. There is also the option of a Direct Code Ad. Each of these is covered below.

Adverts & Link Units

The final step for basic setup is to choose the format and dimensions of your Ad/Link unit. You can follow the link to see a list of available formats on the Google AdSense website.

Ad Unit

Note that both of these options allow you to “Use Default” as the setting. See the default settings section for tips on how to use these. If you’re unsure whether it’s worth it: Defaults give you the power to switch the colour of all the Ads on your site in a single click.

Link Unit

Colour Settings

Colour settings allow you to configure how adverts appear on your site. These are configured in the same was as on the Google AdSense website – simply enter the hex colour code (e.g. FFFFFF for white, FF0000 for bright red, etc.) into the box provided. You may want to check your theme’s CSS file and copy the colours direct from there.

Ad / Link Colour Settings

Again, as with format settings, you can leave these blank and AdSense Manager will use any default settings you have configured.

Referrals

Google AdSense Referral units are links or buttons that direct visitors to signup for a number of Google provided services, including Google software (and Firefox).

Create Referral Unit

Unfortunately because of the way that Google Referral code is generated, it’s not possible to provide a list of options to build a Referral Unit.

Instead, once you have selected your Referral type (Text or Image) you need to then enter your CPA code. You can find this in your Google generated code: simply copy & paste it across into this box. If you are using an Image Referral (i.e. a button) you will also need to choose the correct dimensions at which the unit is to be shown.

I’ll continue to look into improving the interface used to generate Referral Ads. If you find it too much trouble to copy and paste the CPA code/etc. you can instead use the Code Converter feature to import whole sections of Google AdSense code in one go.

Direct Code Ad / Code Converter

Direct Code Ads are useful if you either want to use online Google AdSense code generator, or if you are using an alternative Ad system (not Google) and want to use AdSense Manager to position your ads. To use, simply choose Direct Code Ad from the Product list and paste your code into the box provided.

Direct Code & Code Converter

However, for users of Google AdSense there is another powerful tool available. By checking the box underneath the code area you can have AdSense Manager convert your code into a managed ad unit – taking on your defaults, and being configurable through the Manage Ads interface.

This is a simple way to ad previously generated code to AdSense manager, as well as a good (simple) method for importing Referral Ads.

Advanced Settings

All types of advert have additional “Advanced” settings shown on the far right hand side.

Show Inline Ads

Advanced Settings

Here you can choose which pages Inline Ads (those that you add to your posts using the <!–adsense–$gt; format) will appear on. Sometimes you may not want them to appear on your front page (to prevent showing too many Ads on one page) or your may want to hide them in archives. The default settings have them visible everywhere, but you can configure this if you wish.

HTML Markup

Advanced Settings

If you want to control the positioning of your Ads more carefully you can add HTML markup into these boxes and this will be inserted before/after your AdSense code. For example, if you want to float your Ads left (and have the text wrap to the right) simply enter: <div style="float:left;"> into the HTML Before box, and </div> into the HTML After box.

Alternate Ads (Optional)

Advanced Settings

Google allows you to specify an URL for alternative Ads to be shown when it cannot find anything relevant for the page you are displaying. If you want to specify one, simply enter it here. Alternatively you can specify a solid colour to display.

Default Ad Settings

An additional feature of AdSense Manager is the ability to set up Ad defaults. These settings are used as the basis for all your adverts and provide a way to change multiple adverts at once. For example, you can set up your Ad colours as defaults and then change all your ads simultaneously if you update your theme.

Default Ad Settings

To set up your Default Ad settings click on the “Edit” button on the top line of your Ad list. Scroll down to the Edit form and enter your values in the same way used for creating Ad units.

Once you’re finished click Save changes »

Ad Management

Once you have a few blocks listed, you can manage each block using the buttons provided on the right hand side of the Ad list. Details of each of these are given below:

Manage » Ads

Clicking + generates a copy of the selected Ad, which can then be reconfigured with any necessary changes. This is a good way of setting up a series of similar Ads for example. Note: You can also do some similar things with <a default settings.

Set Default sets which Ad unit will be used by default on your site. When adding AdSense Manager code to your site (or in your posts) you have the option to either specify an ad ID or to show the default. If you opt to show the default Ad on your site, you can then cycle through different Ad configurations by changing the selected Default Ad here.

Positioning Ads

Widgets

If you have the Sidebar Widgets plugin installed, each Ad block will appear on the Widgets configuration page to be positioned as you like. Each Ad will appear with the name of the block in the title.

Ad Widget

Drag onto your sidebar and position as you want.

Sidebar Modules (K2)

Because of a limitation in Sidebar Modules you cannot configure them in the standard way for Widgets. Instead, from the Sidebar Modules panel, create a “AdSense Ad” module and tag it with the name of the Ad block which you want to display in that position.

For example, if you have an Ad block named #myfirstad, you can place it in your sidebar by creating an “AdSense Ad” module and naming it “#myfirstad”. Note that you can add anything else you want to the name of the Ad as long as the name is included, preceded by the # symbol. Once created you can configure the module as normal.

This support is currently experimental so please let me know how you get on & I’ll work to keep improving the interface where possible.

Posts and Pages

You can include Ads into your Posts and Pages using the code below where “name” is the name of the Ad block you have created.

<!--adsense#name-->

You can also display the default Ad in your posts and pages by omitting #name. Doing this allows you to switch these Ads simply by switching the Default Ad in Manager » Ads.

<!--adsense-->

Of course any Ads in posts update automatically when colours or layouts are modified.

Code

You can include Ads in your non-Widget blog adding the code below in your WordPress templates. For example, a good place to add Ads might be sidebar.php.

<?php adsensem_ad('name'); ?>

Again you can display the Default ad by omitting the ‘name’ e.g.

<?php adsensem_ad(); ?>

If you want to avoid errors when you disable AdSense Manager you’ll want to add a function check to the above code. For example:

<?php
if(function_exists('adsensem_ad')){
adsensem_ad("name");
}
?>

<?php
if(function_exists('adsensem_ad')){
adsensem_ad();
}
?>

More

If you have any further questions on using Adsense Manager or have suggestions for modifications, simply leave a comment & I’ll get back to you.

Increasing traffic is the measure of success for a website. More visitors equals more exposure which in turns generates more income. However, if you have hosted your site on a low-end package you could get hit by excess use charges just as your start celebrating your success.

Here at mutube.com the combination of 4,625 visitors (8,531 hits) a month and popular free downloads quickly helped trip our 1Gb bandwidth limit.

In this article I’ll look at how I’ve used the combined power of Apache Server and Coral Cache to distribute all kinds of requests away from your server transparently.
Read the rest of this entry »