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How to Install Google Adsense Ads in the Header, Footer & Sidebar of your Blog

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to monetize your blog and I couldn’t be happier for you! It’s about time that you start to make some cheddar from your blog, after all you do work hard at it, don’t you?

In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to install Google Adsense Ad units in the header, sidebar & footer of your website.

Some things to know before getting started:

  • You can only have 3 Google Ad Units per page
  • Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the ads to appear after you’ve installed the code
  • Each WordPress theme is a little different. While the instructions given below will cover most themes, not all of them will be done exactly as instructed below.

Installing Google Ads in the Header section of your website

1. Login to your Google Adsense Account


2. Click on My Ads in the top left corner


3. Click on New Ad Unit under Content > Ad units


4. Give your Ad unit a name and select which size ad unit you’d like. For the header I would recommend either the Responsive or Leaderboard sizes. Then click on Save & Get Code.

5. Copy the ad unit code and head back over to your website. Now depending on your website theme, you can place the Google Ads one of two ways: Either through a Header Widget or directly into the header via the header.php file. Not all themes have a built-in header widget, which will mean you will have to place the code directly into the header.php file.


6. If you do have the header ad widget (Appearance -> Widget -> Header) then you can paste the ad code right into the Text widget and place it into the Header Widget area.

7. If you do NOT have a header ad widget, then you’ll need to add the code directly to the files. Go to Appearance -> Editor-> Header.php. Now here is where it’s going to get tricky, every theme has a different header.php area, so you will want to do a little investigating and trial and error until you get the code in the right place. Once you’ve got it in the right place, save the file.

Be warned, some headers just simply do NOT have the space for an ad unit. If this is the case, you can place more than one ad unit in the sidebar.


8. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the ads to show, so do not be alarmed if your ads are showing up immediately after you hit save. You may see a yellow box where you placed the ad, that means the Google ad is installed correctly and you will be seeing ads soon.

Installing Google Ads in the Sidebar section of your website

1. Repeat steps 1-3 from above
2. You’ll then want to give your ad a name and select the size of the ad unit. For a sidebar, I would recommend either the Responsive, 336×290, or 300×250. Then click on Save & Get Code
3. Go back to your website and from your WordPress dashboard, click on Appearance -> Widgets.


3. Locate the Text widget and drag it to your Sidebar Widget Area.


4. Copy your code into the widget & press save.

5. Your sidebar ad unit should start displaying after a few minutes.

Installing Adsense in the Footer section of your website

1. Repeat steps 1-3 from above
2. Give your ad unit a name & select which size unit you would like, this will depend on how large of an area you have. Click Save & Get Code.
3. Go back to your website and from the WordPress dashboard locate the Footer widget (Appearance-> Widget->Footer widget). Locate the Text widget and drag it to the Footer widget area. Copy your code directly into the text widget and click on Save.

4. If you do NOT have a footer ad widget, then you’ll need to add the code directly to the files. Go to Appearance -> Editor-> footer.php. Like I mentioned with placing ad units in the header area, you will have to do some trial and error to get the code installed properly and in the right place. Once it is correct, save the file.

Do you know someone who would find this information helpful? Feel free to share it with them!


Chrystie is a mom of 3 kids and wife to one. She's sold 4 blogs in the last 10 years and now helps other women start their blogging empire. Her love for really bad reality TV is only trumped by her love for margaritas without salt. Her other addictions include spray painting everything gold and embarrassing her kids at the bus stop. #thatmom

This article has 15 comments

  1. Monica Hackman

    Hi… just started my blog… still confused. I think I already did all this, but all 3
    ad spaces show the same ad at the same time?

    • Chrystie

      That may be normal, at least in the beginning. Google needs to make sure your site is legit before it starts serving all ads 🙂

    • Monica Hackman

      How can you pick a title if you don’t know what ad will appear there? I’m really confused. Sorry. :”)

  2. Dave

    Really informative post. As someone who is setting up my own website/blog and looking to monitise this has been really useful, thanks.

  3. Courteney

    This was really helpful! Thanks for helping me in the first step towards monetizing! I’m not an expert when it comes to this type of thing, so the step-by-step process was beneficial.

  4. Ericka

    Thank you for sharing these tips!
    I have been on the hunt for weeks now for an actual “How To” tutorial past the how to sign up for adsense part and yours is the only one I have found!
    The photos are great too for those of us who are novice but learning!

  5. SEO

    Definitely some great tips you have here! I’ve used Google Docs every now and then, but I know i haven’t used it to it’s full potentia

  6. Marian

    I did this but it seems like it won’t or doesn’t work on my site. I’ve done everything but still none. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but I’ll keep on trying.

  7. Tracy

    Hi quick question do I paste the Adsense ad in both the footers
    Cheers Tracy

  8. Ifeanyi

    there is a way people serve ads in a float footer.

  9. may hut mui

    Thank Chrystie.

  10. Becca

    I have been trying to find a step by step guide just like this! Use newbies need it broken down a little bit more! Thank you for the post- super helpful!

  11. Kristiana Wajnblom

    Seriously so helpful!! Thank you for putting this together. I have it bookmarked now for when I need to refer back. I am still trying to learn how to best optimize Google Adsense 🙂

  12. Emmanuel

    Thanks for this awesome article, I really love it.

    Don’t I’m not looking for how to create a header ads, AI just want to use this medium to generate a blog comment backlinks.

    Thanks So much

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