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sell digital products on wordpress

Selling Digital Downloads Online with WordPress

Gemma Henry

Fancy being able to sell digital downloads online? Whether you want to sell ebooks, your own photography, digital art, online courses, music, or something else entirely, WordPress makes it easy for entrepreneurs to build their own business selling premium downloads online. Plus, it has some handy features to help you ensure that your digital products are delivered to your customers securely too. 

In this guide, we will give you all the info you need to start selling digital downloads online with WordPress. Scroll on to learn more.

Why to Consider Selling Digital Products

To kick-start this guide, we wanted to explain why selling digital products online might be a good idea. The world of eCommerce has become extremely popular and digital products are generally rising in popularity too. 

So, whether you’re planning to sell content that’s downloadable, software of one type or another, or a different digital asset, there are plenty of reasons that selling digital products online could be a viable option for you.

Here are some of the best reasons to sell digital products online.

  • You can earn a passive income. By selling digital products you can generate a passive income (this basically means earning extra cash with minimal effort needed). Once you’re all finished creating your products and listing them on your site, you can enjoy earning revenue via your online business without any physical inventory management or order fulfillment processes eating up your time.
  • Reach a global audience. Selling products online gives you immediate access to a very vast marketplace. You’ll be able to reach potential customers all over the world! 
  • Your overhead costs will be low. When compared with traditional retail, selling digital products keeps production and distribution costs to an absolute minimum. Similar to dropshipping, when selling digital products, you won’t have to worry about costs associated with manufacturing, storing, or shipping your products. This instantly unlocks the potential to achieve higher profit margins too.
  • Unlock an automated sales process. When your digital products are all set up and ready to go, your sales process should be mostly automated. This means that your customers will be able to purchase and download your products instantly through your online store. This in turn should deliver a smooth and speedy shopping experience for your customers.

To conclude, there are many benefits to selling digital products  - both for businesses and content creators alike. Scroll on to learn more about the different types of digital assets you could (or should) be selling.

The Different Types of Digital Products You Could Sell

There are quite a lot of different types of digital products that you might want to consider selling online with WordPress. Here are some of the best-selling digital products to get you started:

  • E-books. Whether you have some specific expertise you’d like to share or just a creative flair for fiction, you could consider creating an ebook (or several) to sell through your online platform for digital products.
  • Online courses. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the popularity of online courses has boomed. And creating one that is educational, fun, and engaging could be a great way to share your unique skill set and knowledge with the world. Let your interests and expertise guide you here. Choose topics you are knowledgeable on and consider yourself adept in - be it gardening, meditation, personal wellness, writing techniques, computer programming, or anything else at all.
  • Stock photos and videos. For photographers and videographers starting their own digital product business online, selling work as stock photos or videos is a great way to earn some additional income. 
  • Music. Perhaps you’re a musician? If so, why not sell the music or sound bytes you create as digital downloads via your WordPress store? And you’re free to sell your creations as individual tracks or entire albums if you prefer.
  • Software and plugins. Web developers can also get on board with earning a passive income. If you have the capabilities to create software or plugins that provide a solution to any particular problem - or improve the functionality of existing software - get creating! Anything from productivity tools to gaming plugins is a really viable option.
  • Printables or templates. For those with a design skill set, creating printable templates for everything from planners and calendars to worksheets, craft activities, and beyond is a possibility. 

Just as when choosing a shopping niche, the best digital products niche to sell are the ones that spark passion with you. You’ll want to bring value to your target audience so think about market demand. And be sure to check out your competition too. 

How to Sell Digital Products with WordPress

Now that we’ve explored the whys and what's associated with the world of digital products, it’s time to get to the main course. Follow the step-by-step guide on how to sell digital products with WordPress we’ve outlined below.

Step 1: Get Easy Digital Downloads

The easiest way to start selling your digital products in a downloadable format in WordPress is by using Easy Digital Downloads. 

Using Easy Digital Downloads (the free version) will give you access to:

  • Secure product files
  • Pricing control
  • Shopping cart
  • Flexible checkout options
  • eCommerce reports
  • Discount, coupon, or voucher code activation
  • Customer management capabilities (CRM)
  • PayPal (and/or Stripe) Integration
  • White label (branding control)

You’ll also be able to expand the functionality of your store as your business grows too. Upgrade to a paid subscription to unlock additional features such as:

  • Scheduled payments (ideal for digital retailers offering subscriptions to their customer base)
  • Email marketing integration with platforms such as ConvertKit, Mailchimp, or AWeber
  • Integration with Amazon S3 or Dropbox
  • Email contact list building

Easy Digital Downloads is used and trusted by over 50,000 digital creators. So why not give EDD a try yourself?

Step 2: Create a Digital Product

Once you’ve installed Easy Digital Downloads, a new menu item will appear in your WordPress admin menu on the left-hand side of your screen. It is called Downloads. 

First and foremost, we should highlight that it is recommended to sell your digital download files as ZIP files. That is unless you have a reason not to do this, of course. Follow the steps outlined below to complete your digital product creation in WordPress:

  1. Start by heading to your WordPress dashboard 
  2. Then hover over the Downloads item in your menu and click Add New
  3. Next, name the download and add your product description in the text area below your download name
  4. Set a price for your download. This is done under the header Download Prices
  5. Then it’s time to configure the Download File. 

This is the file (or download link) that the customer gets once they have purchased it from your ecommerce website. The link they receive will be set to auto-expire to help prevent privacy so be sure to mention this in the write-up of the product description. The link to download their product will be available both on the purchase confirmation page and within their confirmation email. 

  1. Under the File Name type in something that could describe the product purchased. 

Something as simple as My Download would work. Here, you are basically entering the text that will feature in the clickable link that appears on the confirmation page and within their purchase confirmation email.

  1. Under File URL,  click Upload a File. 
  2. Then upload your ZIP file. 
  3. Finally, you’ll need to add an eye-catching (and relevant) Download Image

This is a key step. It will serve as the product image within your storefront. 

  1. Once your image is ready to do, under the Download Image header upload it.

Step 3: Preview the Digital Product

Now all that’s left to do is hit the Publish button.

How If you’ve successfully added your digital product to your WordPress site, it’s almost ready to sell to your customers. But first, you’ll want to preview your digital product from your front end. This basically means reviewing it as the customer will see it on your product page.

To do this, click on View Download on the notification banner that appeared post-publication. Through this link, you’ll be able to see your digital product on the frontend of your online store. Check that everything looks as it should and that you’re happy with your efforts.

If not, you can always go back in and edit the fields by repeating the steps outlined in Step 2.

Step 4: Set Up Payment Methods

The final step in our “how to sell digital products with WordPress” guide is to set up a payment method for your customers to use their credit card (or e-wallet via Apple Pay or Google Pay).

Stripe has some great features and is user-friendly plus it enables you to also set up Apple Pay and/or Google Pay. If you find that Stripe isn’t available in your country PayPal is another great option.

Once a customer has made a purchase through your store, they’ll receive a purchase confirmation email. Generally, the presets for this email are absolutely fine. But, you do have the freedom to customize this email should you want to. To do this:

  • Hit Downloads > Settings > Emails > Purchase Receipts

The ‘My Download’ link that you set up earlier is what your customer will use to access their digital product. And it’s best to warn them that this link expires after 24 hours, so they’ll need to download it pretty efficiently following their purchase.

How to Sell Digital Products in WordPress: Our Conclusion

The steps listed within our guide ensure that selling digital products online using the WordPress CMS is easy. We should mention that other plugins similar to Easy Digital Downloads are available. This is just the most popular plugin for entrepreneurs selling digital products right now.

While processes for other plugins may differ slightly in terms of section names and navigation, the essence of the processes outlined will be very similar. So, whether you’re a photographer, a writer, a developer, a musician - or anything else for that matter - start selling digital products through WordPress online today and enjoy some of the many benefits including increased profit margins, (mostly) automated checkout processes, and above all the ability to earn a passive income with minimal effort post product publication.

FAQs on Selling Digital Products with WordPress

Before we conclude our how-to-sell digital products with the WordPress guide, let’s take a quick peek at some FAQs that could answer any of those remaining questions that you may have. Find out more below.

Can I sell digital products and physical goods via Easy Digital Downloads?

Absolutely! Easy Digital Downloads transforms WordPress from a CMS into a fully functioning ecommerce platform through which you’ll be able to sell both digital and physical products. Create separate product listings for physical and digital products, or combine them within a single list. 

Can Easy Digital Downloads allow me to offer free downloads? 

Again, yes. Easy Digital Downloads does facilitate the option to offer free downloads to your customers. This can be handy for digital products that warrant providing sample content. It’s also great for promotional freebies, or if you wanted to provide limited versions of your digital products to attract more potential customers.

How can I promote my digital products?

There are a range of tools and strategies you can use to promote your digital products effectively. Some of the main options include:

  • Content marketing via blog posts, tutorials, videos, or podcasts
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
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Gemma Henry

Gemma has a passion for writing, an enthusiasm for eCommerce, and a flair for creating informative content that drives others to follow their dreams. Her work foundations are built on thorough research to allow you to find all the need-to-know info in one place.

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