When we designed our Ads plugin, we realized early on that it could be used for more than just ads. Which is why it was designed with maximum flexibility around its core features.
So, here are three uses for the Ads plugin - only one of which might be immediately obvious from its name.
Serving Ads (Of Course)
Serving advertisements within the forum threads was the main impetus for developing this plugin.
While there are probably a dozen or more generic Ad plugins for WordPress, many of them cannot serve ads within forums - at least not without modification or custom code. This is because there are no standard WordPress hooks inside the forum area.
To Ads and other WordPress plugins, most forums (including Simple:Press) look like one big blob of text - unless the plugins specifically target the forum specific hooks inside the text.
So, to serve ads with any degree of flexibility a forum specific Ad plugin was needed.
With the Ads plugin you can now run ads in most forum locations and you can control those ads via date, keywords and other parameters.
While it might not be as obvious, you can use the ADs plugin for announcements as well.
The free core Simple:Press plugin provides a basic facility for Announcements and for many use cases it is a perfect fit. As the image below shows, it is pretty straight forward with not a lot of options to get in the way:
But if you run a busy forum where you have lots of announcements for events or announcements that vary based on time of the year or on a forum by forum basis, then you need something that is a lot more flexible.
The Ads plugin offers that kind of flexibility. For example, here are some things you can do that you cannot do with just the basic announcements:
- Pre-schedule your announcements - as far in advance as you like and automatically have them start to appear on the date you specify. And turned off automatically as well. You can pre-schedule an entire year of announcements if you like!
- Show your announcements to only a particular group - for example you can show moderators announcements that only apply to them.
- Show announcements only to new users of your forum (depending on how you've set up your memberships).
FAQs and Useful Links
An even less obvious use is to show links to FAQS, Support Topics and other resources that are easily missed. Many users ignore the pinned topics at the top of forums so sometimes you need to adopt a more "in your face" approach to make sure that resources are seen and used.
And, because you have the Ads filter functions available (see image above), you can easily make sure that the right links are shown to the right people.
Your moderators, for example, might use a different set of links and resources than your regular users. Or maybe your VIP customers have special links that should be available only to them.
Or maybe you really really need your customers to see a particular set of links in which case you can make sure it appears in between the posts on every topic.
Basically, the ADs plugin makes it easy to ensure that the right information is visible to the right people.
Can you think of other uses for the Ads plugin? If so, let us know by dropping us a note via our contact form - we'll add your best ideas to this article (and give you credit of course!)