How to Add Google AdSense to WordPress

Wondering how to add Google AdSense to WordPress?

The glorious moment has arrived: you've been approved by Google for their AdSense program. Now you need to know how to add Google AdSense to WordPress. Be sure to remember that Google runs the show, and that you have to follow their rules, or they'll ban you from the program. They're pretty hard nosed about it too. They are always policing the sites with AdSense ads on them, and they're quick to issue bans. Google does not allow you to simply start again with a different account if your account is banned. You only get one bite at the apple. If you get banned, it's for life. Communication with Google is very difficult or impossible, and reinstatement of a banned account doesn't happen very often!

Make sure you have a Google approved privacy policy somewhere on your site, and that a link to it is displayed on every page. That link is commonly put in the footer or in a sidebar. You can take a look at the privacy policy on this site, but keep in mind that it's up to you to make sure your site's privacy policy is acceptable. Don't just copy the privacy policy here and assume you're covered. When you add Google AdSense to WordPress, you create a possible stream of income from that site. If you fail to abide by Googles terms and conditions for AdSense, you create the possibility you'll lose that stream of income!

Getting the AdSense code from Google

How to add Google AdSense to WordPress screenclipWith that said, the first thing you need to do is log into your shiny new Google AdSense account. Once you've logged in, click on “My Ads” in the menu at the top of the page, then click on “New ad unit”. This is where you'll tell Google what size and style ads you're okay with, and where you want them located. If you'd like a closer look at any of the images on this page, click on that image.

Give your first ad a name, so you can identify it later.

Note that your ad has to fit the space you have available, so if you have a sidebar that's 160 pixels wide, a 300 x 600 skyscraper ad won't fit. Typically, different sizes of skyscraper ads are used in the sidebars, and leaders are used in your footer or perhaps at the top of a post or page. The responsive size ads adapts well to changing screen sizes, as some of your visitors are using tablets or smartphones to view your site, not just laptops and desktops. If you haven't already, refer to the getting started with AdSense information from Google. They make recommendations there about the best ad sizes to use, whether to use text or display ads, etc. After all, who knows how to add Google AdSense to WordPress better than Google itself!

Once you have your ad named and you've chosen its dimensions click on “Save and get code” at the bottom of the page. You'll see a little box appear, filled with something that looks like a lot of gibberish. Copy the gibberish to the clipboard, then go to your site's admin area.

… and finally, how to add Google AdSense to WordPress

Selecting the position for AdSense adsOnce there, click on Appearance > Widgets in the left (black) sidebar. In the right column, find the area you'd like the new AdSense ad to appear (left or right sidebar, footer, etc), and click on it to expand it. Next, look for a widget named Text toward the bottom of the left column. Click on that widget and drag it to the location you just selected and expanded. The widget will lodge in that location, and you can click on it to open it up to show a blank editing area. That's where you'll paste the gibberish code you copied earlier. Note – even if you are well versed in writing and modifying code, you cannot modify the Google AdSense code. If you do, Google may ban your AdSense account.

After pasting the code, click Save at the bottom of the Text widget, and wait. It can take several days for Google to visit your site and determine what you're writing about. Once it has done so, it will begin sending ads tailored to your content or to your visitor's browsing history.

You can see what your site (and its AdSense ads) look like on different size devices by resizing your browser to see how the ads adapt to different size windows. Alternately, you can download and run the free Opera Mobile Emulator to see what your site and its ads will look like on various devices you specify. You should also make use of Google's free above the fold tool to make sure you have a fair amount of content immediately visible when a visitor lands on your site. Google will take a dim view of your site if there's very little content and lots of ads when your site first opens!

What kinds of ads will Google show my visitors?

Note that you don't have much to say about the products and services that Google advertises on your site. The title of this page, “Wondering how to add Google AdSense to WordPress?” is a little misleading – Google is going to show ads which it thinks are related to the content of your site. Alternately, they'll or they'll show ads that are relevant to your visitor's browsing history. For example, your visitor may have been shopping for a red leather recliner a week ago. Even if your site is about roller skates, Google may show them an ad for a red leather recliner, since they indicated an interest in one a week earlier.

Allow-and-block-adsense-adsAll you're doing is letting Google know how much space you're willing to rent, and the locations for that space. Within limits, Google selects an ad as they see fit. Google pays you a bit each time one of your site visitors clicks on one of their ads. With luck, those bits will add up.

Controlling the content of AdSense ads

Google does allow you some control over the content of the ads they display on your site. Login to your Google AdSense account and click on “Allow & block ads” in the top menu. You'll go a page where you can allow or deny various types of ads by category or at a granular level. Just tell Google to eliminate certain categories, or tell it of specific URLs you want blocked. Take a look at the other tabs at the top of that page, as shown in the picture above.

Note: You should NEVER click on any AdSense ads that appear on your own site! Discourage your friends and family members from doing so too. I keep the URLs of my AdSense sites to myself, or I tell friends not to click on the ads. That way they don't “do me a favor” by clicking on any of my AdSense ads. If Google detects a faint whiff of click fraud, they'll ban your account – which would be a major bummer.

Questions or Comments?

Do you have a question or comment about how to add Google AdSense to WordPress? Add it to the comment box below and let it fly!


  1. Dennis,
    I have been looking at the locations of the Adsence adds on my site. Location is another big key to getting a visitor to use them. Several locations are like a hot spot. Do you have a map to the hot spots?

    1. Author

      Thanks for visiting John! Google has posted infographics showing the most effective placements for ads. That infographic has found its way to numerous articles scattered around the web. For example, one is shown at

      Don’t just start ‘filling in’ the spots shown as hot spots though. Google has a critter named Panda that targets sites that don’t have enough content above the fold. Too many ads in those hot spots could lead to lost traffic and revenue!


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