Everything You Wanted to Know About WordAds

Yesterday, Krista gave you some questions to consider as you decide whether to monetize your blog. If you’re leaning toward “yes,” then this post is for you — the nitty-gritty of applying to and participating in WordAds, in the form of ten questions for our Ads Lead, Jon Burke. (Hi, Jon!)

1. How do I apply for AdWords? What are the criteria for being accepted?

You can apply here: http://wordads.co/signup/. We then submit your site to our advertising partners, who will ask two main questions:

  1. Is your site brand-safe and family-friendly?
  2. Does your site have sufficient traffic to generate meaningful earnings?

Google AdSense, one ouf our partners, explains family-friendly this way: if you wouldn’t want a child to see the content or you’d would be embarrassed to view the page in front of colleagues, then it’s probably not family-safe. Other things that our partners consider not brand-safe are copyright violations and violent/hate speech. “Sufficient traffic” is a bit subjective; we don’t have hard-and-fast numbers.

Your site also needs to have a custom domain; blogs on free wordpress.com domains aren’t eligible.

2. What are the standards for ads you’ll accept? How do I know nothing inappropriate will show up on my blog?

We try to strike a balance for our bloggers: we want to maximize earnings by making sure all our bloggers’ advertising slots are filled, while also turning down ad partner offers if we think the ads will be misleading or off-putting. Our primary ad form is a YouTube video player that runs click-to-play video ads — just like TV commercials. You can see samples of the kinds of ads we run in the WordAds FAQ.

If you’re participating in WordAds and you think we’re serving inappropriate ad content, please let us know! Most often, the source is not WordAds but malware in your browser, but on the very off chance that one of our ad partners is running something troubling, we want to know about it.

3. Let’s say I have 500 visitors a day. How much money can I expect to make in a month?

There is no hard-and-fast rule on payouts for a few reasons. First, advertisers pay for more to show their ads to visitors from North America than to visitors from Africa or Latin America, so there are geographic variations. Secondly, there is no set price for an ad impression in online advertising. It works just like a stock market, with prices rising and falling in real time as advertisers bid for the available space.

That said, all bloggers should understand that they would need hundreds of thousands of a pageviews to generate meaningful earnings. Ad revenue from blogs can be a nice supplement, but only a handful of bloggers are able to make a living from blog advertising.

4. Do you have suggestions for ways to maximize my revenue?

If you’re starting with a blank slate and want to create a business from advertising, it would make more sense to target your site to visitors from North America or Western Europe. Those are the regions where online advertising is more mature and pays more. It may not be an option for some sites, but it’s a fact that bloggers should understand.

The second big lever is really getting more traffic and page views per visitor. Anything you do to increase your traffic — participating in blogging events and roundups, for example — will increase your earnings.

5. If I run ads, do the advertisers have any say over my content? Can I still say whatever I want?

No, our advertisers don’t have any say in what you write. However, if they feel you’re not a family-friendly site they will block ads on your blog. We also work with advertisers who don’t want to appear with political or religious content, even if it is family-friendly. We have more detail on family friendly content on the WordAds blog.

We do try to advocate for our bloggers when advertisers black-list their sites, but it’s challenging; advertisers have millions of blogs to choose from for their ads.

6. Why can’t I use other ad programs, like Google AdSense or Federated Media?

In a way, you do; you just don’t have to do the legwork. The best way to think about WordAds is that we manage ad partners like Adsense, Federated Media, and dozens of others for you. Working out advertising agreements takes a lot of negotiation and technical work. Relieving bloggers from the huge amount of administrative work is one of the primary benefits of participating in WordAds.

7. If I’m part of WordAds, will WordPress.com still put its own advertising on my blog?

No. Once you are part of WordAds there are no other WordPress.com ads on your site.

8. Can I opt out of certain types of ads or chose which ads to run?

Currently we don’t have an option for opting out of ad types or choosing ads, and ads will not necessarily mirror the subject of your blog. A vegetarian diet blogger may want to serve ads for vegetarian food products, but that’s not generally how online advertising works. Advertisers pay to your audience with their broad brand promotions, rather than to match their niche product with your niche focus.

9. How do I get paid?

Our finance department pays via Paypal once per month. Paypal is currently our only payment option.

10. What if I want to stop running ads? How do I get out of the program?

You can stop or pause WordAds at any time right from your dashboard.

Visit WordAds.co for more information, where you’ll find an FAQ along with the application form. If you still have unanswered questions, feel free to leave a comment here!

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  1. Great post! But I’ve always wondered why .wordpress.com bloggers can’t sign up to WordAds? Is it unfair for us to do so? Just wondering (my blog’s thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com by the way)…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When it comes to traffic…Adsense already aproved my site, before I knew that wordpress does not allow it. I dont have the 500/day traffic, so I feel like you are going to deny me. I am not using it to try and make a living, but every little bit helps.
    How can I get in with your program without the high traffic?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jason and Bryan, One of the criteria for being chosen: “Your site also needs to have a custom domain; blogs on free wordpress.com domains aren’t eligible.” Both of you have wordpress.com sites not custom domains.


      1. Jason and Bryan, Oops! Okay, I hovered over your names and saw wordpress.com accounts but when I clicked on your names it redirected to a dot.com… so ignore my comment! They are probably inundated with applications and will respond when they read yours…
        Best wishes! 🙂


  3. I agree that “Sufficient traffic” is a bit subjective, and I understand that you don’t have any set guidelines in place, but I’d still like to know where I’d need to be to a) be accepted, and b) make enough to cover the cost of a custom domain.

    Is it possible to know the approximate traffic (daily or monthly) for some of the AdSense users on the lower end of the traffic scale?

    I aspire to generate some sort of revenue from my work (even it if barely enough to buy lunch at a fast food restaurant), and I’d like to know what sort of numbers I need to shoot for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, all – I’m glad you’ve found this post useful! I’ve asked Jon to pop into the comments as he’s able to respond to some of the more specific questions.


  5. Seems like a long shot for me and my baby blog. Haha. But I’ll keep writing and we’ll see!

    One question, though. There’s a specific ad-service for blogs from my locale, as I’m not from North America (worlds away from it, really). Would WordPress allow that? It just seems like the smarter option for our area.


    1. WordAds is the only advertising currently allowed on WordPress.com blogs. If you wanted to try something else, you’d need to switch to the self-hosted version of WordPress.


  6. Reblogged this on Test Prep and Tutoring Blog and commented:
    WordAds….I haven’t even figured out GoogleAds and I’ve been with them forever! Thank God for people like you who are able to provide really good information to those of us who haven’t figured it out yet, and are truly appreciative of those who share their experiences and wisdome. I’ll pay it forward, promise!
    Diana’s Designs


  7. Ok so, a family friendly site can have vulgar ads on it, but a vulgar site can’t have family friendly ads on it at all? I don’t see why the site has to be family friendly. Views are views, aren’t they?

    Also, why are we having this discussion for wordpress.com users if wordpress.com users can’t use the service? Are you saying that we can use wordpress.com if we’re mapped to a domain or if we’ve purchased a domain, or do we have to strictly be wordpress.org users? Just not clear on this. Thanks for all of the info though, I was curious.


    1. WordAds is *just* for WordPress.com users – you just need to have a custom domain mapped to your WordPress.com site.

      On the vulgarity question, the family-friendly requirement is the advertiser’s, not ours. And on the flip side, we don’t enter into agreements with advertisers we think will display inappropriate content, and if you see something inappropriate, we encourage you to contact us right away.

      Hope this helped clarify things!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I need some help! I applied for WordAds and appear to have been accepted because I’ve seen at least one ad on my blog. However, I did not give my PayPal information on my application. How do I submit this information? Also, why do the ads sometimes show up and sometimes don’t?

    Thanks in advance!


    1. Hi, Darshan! If you’re using the free domain then you aren’t eligible for WordAds, and I don’t see any ads on your blog. Did you apply for the program?


  9. Hey, you guys, I’m leaving this comment here because I can’t seem to get any response to any I’ve left elsewhere. You need to know that your Daily Writing Prompts are closing the comments the very same day you post the prompt. I mentioned it several weeks ago, and someone from your staff answered me, saying that the comments are set to close after the post has been up a while. So I told that person I would try again on another prompt. But I have personally been to 5 different Daily Prompts within 24 hours of their posting and found the comments closed. Any bloggers who came after me did so as well. You’re missing a lot of participation by bloggers, and I’m pretty sure you’d want to know.


    1. Hi, Sandra — thanks for reaching out again and giving us a chance to clarify. As explained on the postaday info page (https://wordpress.com/dailypost/postaday/) comments are *always* closed on Daily Prompts purposely, from the moment they’re published. We want y’all to post about the prompts on your own blogs rather than leave comments here, which is what tends to happen if comments are open.

      However, pingbacks and trackbacks are always automatically enabled on Daily Prompts. That means that if you link to the prompt post in your blog post, your blog will show up in the list of links following the prompt so other Daily Posters can pay you a visit. (For a fuller explanation of pingbacks, check out: https://wordpress.com/support/comments/pingbacks/ .)

      Hope this clear things up!


      1. Yes, it does. Thanks. If the other person who answered me hadn’t told me that the plan was for the comments to be open for a whole week, I would not have kept trying to contact you. I thought I had read that you were not leaving them open. But then I saw some open on a couple prompts that I ‘thought’ were the same thing. That led to my original question and the confusing answer.

        Of course, if I had read your details more thoroughly in the first place, I probably would not have bothered you at all. And I have created and posted my stuff on my own site anyway just for the challenge of doing it. Now, however, I will also link back to your page as well.

        Thanks again for taking the time for the extra explanation..


  10. Michelle W. … You stated that WordAds is *just* for WordPress.com users – you just need to have a custom domain mapped to your WordPress.com site. What is the cost to do this? Does this mean that if I change to a custom-domain site mapped to my WordPress.com site that I no longer have the same support that I do with a free WordPress.com site?


    1. Purchasing a domain through WordPress.com is $5/year, and mapping is $13/year – $18/year total (you can also map a domain that you’ve purchased elsewhere). A custom domain is just an upgrade to your WordPress.com site; you’re still a WordPress.com member, with all the support we make available.

      For more info, check out our support documents on custom domains:

      Liked by 1 person