In love! In love with a WordPress plugin! No, they’re not paying me to say that, although I do have a coupon you could use if you feel like getting the plugin: OIO Publisher(affiliate link).

I’ve been searching for a no-frills, easy to use ad management solution for WordPress for ages, and never managed to find one. First, I tried Google Ad Manager but I needed 20 tutorials and still didn’t have their system down with all their terminology and complexities. Plus, I needed to make it client-friendly by setting up lots of blank ad spots in case the client got ads in the future so I wouldn’t have to continue to be involved by adding code to their theme files. I timed myself, and setting up the Google Ad Manger for a client took at least 8 hours.

Later, we started looking around for an automated advertising solution for our own site, WPGarage. I looked through other sites that were offering ads, and a bunch of them were using the OIO Publisher system. I tried looking for the plugin in the WP Plugin Directory, but to no avail. I then went to the OIO Publisher site and realized it’s a premium plugin for (gasp) $47. But, what choice did I have? Burnt out from Google Ad Manager and the free WordPress ad manager plugins that always manage to be missing some major feature, we decided to try it out.

And here’s what I learned about the OIO Publisher Ad Manager plugin:

Total setup time: 3 hours.
Basic setup involves setting up ad zones for banner, text, sponsored posts, or custom ads through the admin setup panel and then entering the ads for each zone. Then, you take the output code of each ad that they give you and add it to your theme files.

Admin Setup Panel: It took a little while to get used to the admin panel. For example, where are the statistics hiding? I eventually found the stats under Purchases > Banner Ads > Active. Not so intuitive and it would be nice to have a separate stats section that is easier to access.

Automated: I think one of the best things about the plugin is that you can set it up to act as a sales manager, taking orders from advertisers, and processing their orders. You can see it in action on our site. OIO accepts PayPal, Google Checkout, and a bunch of other payment options.

Here’s a screenshot of the Advertise Page on our site: