A couple of days back I linked in a speedlinking post to a WP plugin called WP Text Ads – a plugin that allows bloggers to sell their own text links. In that post I asked if anyone had used it and offered to publish a review of one if anyone wanted to write it.
Ryan Imel from who reviews WordPress themes and plugins at Theme Playground kindly offered – here’s his review.
After kicking around WP Text Ads on my blog, I think it’s one of the best all around plugins for WordPress I’ve used, let alone reviewed. And if you get nothing else from this review, know this – Text Ads is fun to use.
It’s really fun to manage your own text ads.
The first thing I noticed was that updating aspects of the plugin on the Dashboard didn’t require a refreshing of the page. It updates and you save your place on the page. This is a huge timesaver. When will the rest of WordPress operate this way?
*Cough* 2.3 *Cough*
Note: Remember to activate all three plugins when you add this one. That’s two widgets and the main plugin.
The spread of the WP Text Ads control panel is very nice; it is usually very explanatory, walking you through the different steps of setting up your ad system. The way you are able to customize the emails that are sent to potential advertisers right from your WordPress Dashboard is awesome; each scenario is covered and you can craft your message specifically for each one. I wish the ad forms were are customizable as the emails are, thoughÖ
I would have liked to see more instruction on the control panel page about how to drop text ads in at different points of the site. There is a sidebar widget included (which works well) but it took a little digging to find the right call for text ads to display anywhere. Found answers at the WP Text Ads site under ìDocumentation.î
The display options are nice, and very welcome to extra little additions to the default code. For example, on my blog I added an extra list item at the end of the unordered list which said ìAdvertise Here.î This way every listing also gives the option to buy advertising for that particular spot.
All ad sales are done via a popup when someone clicks ìBuy a Text Link Ad.î There may be some usability issues here, so it might be worth adding a page to your blog with advertising information on it. On that, it would be nice to have the option to add the advertising form to a page within the site. Some visitors may have popups disabled and never see the ad, or just click it closed out of habit.
The way Text Ads keeps your database of advertisers organized is very intuitive and a breeze to navigate. The only option I found missing is one to manually add advertisers. It seems that even if your agreement is made in some way other than the ad forms on your site you still have to go through the dance to get it into the system.
SHOW SOME RESPECT
One of the respectable things about WP Text Ads is the form built into the control panel for sending feedback to Alex Choo, the author of the plugin. I can’t imagine how many very basic ìHow do IÖî questions he will get through this form. He’s a very brave one for making it that easy to contact him, but more power to him. It’s a very honest way to do plugins; I get the feeling he really does want the user to enjoy and appreciate his plugin.
The limitations of WP Text Ads Free Edition are worth mentioning, but it’s very cool that the Choo kept it so only the number of ads available is limited. No features are held back. In my case, I choose to purchase the license for the sake of taking full advantage of all the ads available in the Standard Edition.
While Choo claims that he doesn’t intend to replace Adsense with WP Text Ads, I can see it heading that direction. It’s much more appealing to me to have prices which I set and ads displaying exactly the way I want them to than to receive relatively less from Adsense and have little control over what ads display.
I guess the next question is: how long until full on graphics are supported? Just let me know, Choo – I’m in.