How to Offer an Ad-Free Version of Your WordPress Site to Subscribers

As a webmaster with over 15 years of experience building WordPress sites, I‘ve found that offering an ad-free version in exchange for a paid subscription can be a highly effective monetization strategy. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain the benefits of an ad-free option, walk through how to set it up on WordPress, and share optimization tips to increase your revenue.

Why Offer an Ad-Free Option on Your WordPress Site?

Here are some key reasons why offering a paid ad-free version can benefit your WordPress site:

  • Drives recurring revenue – Subscription fees provide predictable, recurring income separate from fluctuating ad earnings. According to Zippy Courses, membership sites earn on average $9,120 per month.

  • Improves user experience – Over 86% of people dislike disruptive banner ads. An ad-free version creates a cleaner experience.

  • Increases subscriber loyalty – Subscribers get value from an interruption-free site. One study found 95% were satisfied with their paid memberships.

  • Monetizes all visitor types – Non-paying visitors still generate ad revenue. You earn from both ads and subscriptions.

Offering a subscription plan for ad removal caters to every site visitor – those who don‘t mind ads as well as those seeking a premium experience. Implemented well, it can significantly boost your WordPress income.

Setting Up Paid Memberships on WordPress

To offer paid subscriptions that provide access to an ad-free site, you need a membership plugin. This handles creating subscription plans, taking payments, and restricting access.

Two excellent options for this are:

  • MemberPress – A very powerful WordPress membership plugin with plan creation, content restriction, and add-ons for specialized access. Plans start at $129/year.

  • Memberful – A simpler plugin focused solely on memberships. Integrates subscription payment processing. Plans from $19/month.

Once you‘ve installed a membership plugin, follow these steps to create your paid subscription plan:

  1. Configure payment acceptance through the plugin. You‘ll need to connect a payment processor like Stripe.

  2. Add subscription plans under the plugin‘s settings. Set access permissions, billing details like monthly/annual pricing, free trial periods, etc.

  3. Create a pricing page where visitors can view plan details and sign up.

  4. Set up membership management pages for the subscriber account area. This allows members to update billing details.

  5. Test purchase flows to ensure the payment process, account creation, membership access restrictions all work correctly before launch.

With the core membership functionality set up, you can now add advertisements on your site.

Monetizing With Advertisements

Serving ads to your non-subscribed visitors continues earning ad revenue in addition to subscription fees.

Here are some top options for implementing WordPress ads:

Ad Method Pros Cons
Google AdSense Popular and trusted ad network. Easy auto-insertion. Lower payouts. Limited customization.
Direct ad sales Highest payout per ad. Customizable ad spaces. More time consuming. Need ad management plugin.
Affiliate ads Higher earnings than display ads. Variety of products. Need substantial traffic to get approved.

I‘d recommend trying different ad networks and placements to determine the optimal setup for your site. Focus ads above the fold near page headings to increase visibility and clicks.

Some top WordPress ad plugins include:

  • Advanced Ads – Provides granular targeting, auto-insertion, and optimization.
  • Ad Inserter – Lets you precisely schedule ads and control visibility.
  • AdSanity – Made specifically for selling and managing direct ads.

Be sure to abide by best practices like clearly labeling ad spaces and ensuring site speed isn‘t affected. Test different ad units like banners, link ads, etc. for maximum earnings.

Restricting Ads for Subscribers

Once your memberships and ads are functioning, the last step is hiding ads from logged in subscribers so they get an ad-free experience.

The easiest way is using your membership plugin‘s content restriction settings. For example, in MemberPress you can:

  1. Go to Subscription Plan > Content Restriction
  2. Select the ad content like banners or widgets to hide
  3. Enter customized restriction messages ex. "You are seeing an ad-free version of this page as a MemberPress subscriber!"

This will detect logged in users with an active subscription and automatically hide any defined ad content from them across your site.

You can also try plugins like Paid Memberships Pro – Content Restriction for similar access control if your membership plugin lacks it.

Optimizing Your Ad-Free Subscription Offering

Here are some tips to help maximize the success of your ad-free membership offering:

  • Highlight the ad-free benefit clearly in your pricing page copy and plan descriptions. This is a major value driver.
  • A/B test different subscription price points to find the optimal balance of sign-ups and revenue.
  • Consider grandfathering in existing non-paying users and showing them occasional ads, while new users get ads by default.
  • Prominently display subscriber testimonials about enjoying the ad-free experience.
  • Monitor analytics metrics like subscription conversion rate to optimize your funnel over time.

In Conclusion

Implementing a paid membership offering an ad-free site is a smart way to diversify and grow your WordPress revenue. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can effectively monetize both site visitors and paid subscribers.

The key is finding the right combination of membership plugin, ad network and placement for your specific site and audience. With continual optimization, your ad-free offering can become a significant income stream alongside standard ad monetization.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.