AdSense and the Thesis WordPress Theme

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)

In this article, I will review how to implement AdSense with the Thesis WordPress theme.  At the very least, I will tell you how I did it.

First off, let me tell you about my goals with this site, Make Money with AdSense, that I just started yesterday.  Since I use AdSense quite a bit, I like to write about my observations.  I think people can learn a  lot about my adventures–and misadventures–with AdSense.

However, this is not my primary blog and I did not want to spend too much time on design.  But, I wanted it to look simple and nice with AdSense Ads that stood out from the rest.

I chose the Thesis theme for WordPress because I absolutely love how it presents text.  The written word in the Thesis theme looks better than anywhere else.

And, basically, this will be a written blog without lots of pictures so I thought the Thesis Theme served that purpose well.

My goals were simple…or so I thought. 

I wanted to use the basic Thesis layout and put three AdSense Ads, two graphics and one text box, on each page along with one AdSense link ads.

The first AdSense graphic was to be placed along the top next to the title.  On this site, you can see I did not achieve that very well.  It exists above the title because my title on this site is too long.  You can see my site copying DVDs for what I really wanted to achieve.

The second AdSense graphic was to be placed in the top right as you see on this page.  I thought it would be easy to use the AdSense multimedia box for this but I was mistaken.

The third AdSense text block was to be placed under the title of the article as you see on this page.

And finally, the AdSense link ad would go in the sidebar.

So, these were my simple goals.  As you can see on my how to make money with AdSense page,  I know how to create WordPress sites and I know how to implement Google ads very easily. Thus, I thought adding them with Thesis would be a snap.

I could not have been more mistaken.

If you fancy yourself a WordPress expert–as I kind of do, you will quickly realize that your skills mean virtually nothing when it comes to the Thesis theme.  Working on the Thesis theme for a WordPress expert is like switching from Windows XP to Linux–it’s a huge learning curve that takes time.

As I was trying to figure out Thesis, I was reminded of a line from Pulp Fiction when John Travolta and Samuel Jackson are talking about a foot massage.  I will paraphrase it to make it AdSense friendly:  “Giving a woman a foot massage and going the distance with her are two completely different things.  They are not even in the same ball park or the same league.  Heck, the are not even the same sport.”  I apologize…sanitizing Pulp Fiction just doesn’t work ;).  Anyway, that is how I felt…

…like traditional WordPress Themes and the Thesis Theme were not even the same sport!

Be that as it may, I like to learn, and love the look of the WordPress Theme, so I jumped right in.

With this article, hopefully, I can save you some time.

So, let’s get started with the square 300 x 250 AdSense graphic that you see on the right.  I like to use AdSense Graphics there not so much because people will follow them as much as they the simple fact that they ad graphics to the page because I am not a great graphical artist and don’t want to take the time to create graphics for these posts.

So, for this graphic, I assumed that i could use the Thesis Multimedia box.  I assumed wrong.  I first tried to follow some instructions on the Internet about how to resize the box but nothing worked. 

Thus, within the Thesis options, I simply removed the multimedia box. 

Then, within the Thesis options, I changed the default layout to one column and made the right hand column the same width as the AdSense Ad, 300 pixels.  I put a text widget on the top, with no title, and added my AdSense code there.

One down, several to go.

Next up…the AdSense Text Ad under the title.

Mind you, as an experienced WordPress user, I am simply accustomed to modifying the single.php and this takes all of 2 minutes.  However, with the Thesis theme, there is no single.php AND there are NO traditional WordPress files of any kind to manipulate. 

All theme manipulation takes place in two files:  custom.css and custom_functions.php. 

Custom.css is pretty standard if you have ever had to modify your WordPress CSS file before, but custom_functions.php is, again, “like a whole other sport.”

But we already dove in, right?

The custom_functions.php file is a blessing and a curse.  The blessing is that every singe theme modification takes place in one file.  This is very solid programming logic–you can never disrupt the core of the theme.  However, the curse is that it is an almighty pain in the arse to use!

But fortunately there is help.  You see…the Thesis theme is a marketing brain child.  Everyone promotes it because they get a cut of the purchases.  Thus, everyone writes help articles about it in the hopes of selling more (do they realize that people who need help have already purchased it?) 

Anyway, suffice to say, there is ample help out there for the Thesis theme.  However, I could not find enough information on AdSense and Thesis and that is why I am writing an article about it.

Ok, so here is what you need to do.

First, install the Thesis OpenHook plugin.  This makes the custom php file more tolerable.  The real pain with the custom php file in Thesis is all of the opening and closing of the PHP requests.  I couldn’t keep track of it all.  The Thesis OpenHook plugin does away with all of that.

So, once you got that installed follow these instructions to ad the following AdSense ads.

The AdSense Ad Under the Title

To set this up, place your AdSense Code in the “Before Post” section of the Thesis OpenHook plugin page which can be found under “Appearance”.

The AdSense Link Unit Above the Title
Put your AdSense code in the Before Headline section of the OpenHook Plugin.

The AdSense Link Next to the Blog Title

This is not really working as I want on this blog.  My goal was to have this AdSense block as it appears on my copying DVDs website.  However, the title of this blog, make money with AdSense, was simply too long of a title to make it work.  As it is, I think it turned out ok. I am going to run with it this way and see.  I could probably decrease the size of the title if I want it to fit but maybe I’ll do that later.

Anyway, if you want your 468 x 60 ad to appear next to your title as it does on my copying DVDs website, here is how you do it.

In the Header section of the OpenHook Plugin, add the following code:
<div id=”header_ad”>
your adsense ad code

Now, we need to define the “header_ad” in our custom.css file.  Make sure that you have enabled custom.css in your Thesis options for this to take affect.

Now, go to your custom.css file which can be found under presentation and add the following lines:

/*- Top Banner -*/
.custom #header_ad {
margin-left: 36em;

These were the settings that worked for me.  I have to thank this article, How to Add Custom Banner Ad in Thesis Theme Header, for leading me in the right direction for this AdSense ad in the Thesis header.

I had to change the margins but other than that his instructions worked great. 

Well, as you can see, it was no small ordeal for me to get started with Thesis but now that I know the ropes I can get stuff up and operating quickly.

I have also have to thank whoever created the Thesis OpenHook Plugin.  This thing is awesome and takes the devil out of the details.  Let me find the site so I can give him credit.  His name is Rick Beckman.  Thansk Rick…you da man!

Also, one more thought.  Another thing that really helps when setting up AdSense with the Thesis theme is the Thesis Hook Map (a Google search will return many).  This map, like the AdSense Heat Map, will tell you about all the Hook Hotspots.

Well, I hope this article will help you all out there as you try to add AdSense to the Thesis theme.  At first, if you are a traditional WordPress user, there is a steep, steep learning curve…but you get used to it.

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
Richard Cummings
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Richard CummingsAdSense and the Thesis WordPress Theme

Comments 6

  1. Pingback: AdSense and Thesis Theme: Placing An Ad in the Header, Addendum | Make Money With AdSense

  2. Thesis user just wondering....

    What hooks did you use in order to get the 468 text link ads to show above the post title. I looked at your source code, but the solution escapes me!

    Cheers, Chris

    1. Post
  3. jorik

    hello, can you elaborate on how you put Ads directly above your Blog Post? The thin line of ads that looks like a navigational menu?

    Also how did you include the rectangular block of ads into your actual post?

    I didn’t find these directions helpful:
    “The AdSense Ad Under the Title

    To set this up, place your AdSense Code in the “Before Post” section of the Thesis OpenHook plugin page which can be found under “Appearance”.

    The AdSense Link Unit Above the Title
    Put your AdSense code in the Before Headline section of the OpenHook Plugin.”


  4. Eklavya

    Hello friend,

    I am desperately trying to add Adsense in one of my thesis blog. However, in my blog there is no “Before Post” section in the Thesis OpenHook plugin. There is before_Title and after_title. But adding the code in them is totally messing the theme.

    Can you please advise.



    1. Post

      Eklavya, Hi there. I just double-checked for you and there is “before post” in the Thesis OpenHook Plugin. Just keep looking…Richard

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