Install a Plugin that adds Adsense code for you!
I must have tried everything. I tried using the Text Widget, I tried playing around in my .php files (NEVER do that!)! I was so confused. This was before I knew that there is a plugin for EVERYTHING!
I use a plugin called Insert HTML Snippet. This plugin organizes your ad code, and it helps you place it. After you install the plugin, your left sidebar will have a heading called “XYZ Html”. Go there and add your code. Click “Add New Html Snippet”. Copy the code from Adsense, and paste it into the box called HTML Code, then give it a name in the box called Tracking Name. Then hit Create. Your code for that ad will now be in your list. I like to name mine by size so I can quickly know what to choose.
Now, go to your Widgets. There will be a new Widget called Insert HTML Snippet. Let’s assume you want to put an ad in your sidebar (the easiest place). Drag the widget to your Sidebar section and drop it. Then you will see a drop-down menu. You can choose from the Snippets you inputted into the XYZ Html section. For sidebars, you will usually want to run 300×250 or 250×250 ads. So choose that ad…and your done.
Truly. That should work.
Same applies to adding ads to your Footer by dragging Widgets into the Footer section.
The tricky part is when you want to put an ad banner in or above your header. There is sometimes a widget section for that, but not always. And many times, the sizes are wonky and even if you do use the widget section, it doesn’t look right. And it is different for every theme. So get familar with your ads in the sidebar and footer, and then ask a blogger friend to look at your particular theme and recommend how to get a banner ad in your header!
If you are still having trouble, I have a longer tutorial on this post: Getting started with Adsense