Adding downloadable ebooks or other digital products to a WordPress site is one way to attract subscribers to an email list or generate extra income if they are sold. Depending on the method desired, the following step-by-step tutorial may be useful.
Uploading digital products to give away
If you are uploading an ebook and other similar digital products as a giveaway to build an email list, then doing it can be pretty straightforward. Here is what you need to do:
- Login to your WP Dashboard.
- Click on the “Media” tab and expand it.
- Click on “Add New”. You will then be presented with an option to upload a new media – in this case, a free ebook.
- Click the “Select Files” button and find the ebook you want to upload on your computer.
- Click “Upload”
- After successfully uploading the ebook, you will see a unique URL. You will be using this in directing your subscribers to where they can download the product.
- Copy this link and insert it into your posts, your blog sidebar or your newsletters.
For example, if you want to display your free ebook permanently on your blog’s sidebar, you can use a text widget and link it to your product. To do this, click on “Admin” > “Appearance” > “Widgets” then fill in the appropriate code linking to your product.
An example of the text in the widget could be as follows:
<a href=”http://example.com/downloads/ebook.pdf”><img alt=”download ebook”
Then, place the widget where you would like the link to appear in the sidebar.
Uploading digital products to sell on WordPress
WordPress started primarily as a blogging platform, but it has evolved into an effective tool for e-commerce. So, if you want to sell your digital products online, the simplest way to do it is to install a shopping cart plugin that will automate the process for you. There are both affordable paid and free WP plugins to choose from. WordPress ecommerce plugins covers the best ones.
Basically, here’s how you go on installing your e-commerce plugin:
- Login to your WP Dashboard and go to the “Plugins” menu.
- Click on “Add New”. (Note: You should have already downloaded your chosen plugin onto your computer. If you have not, you need to search for a plugin as this point and install it from the plugin site.)
- Once the “Install Plugins” box appears, click on “Upload”.
- Click on “Browse” and select the plugin you want to use. Click “Open”.
- Click “Install Now”.
- Click on “Activate Plugin” once the plugin has been successfully installed.
Some of the most popular shopping cart plugins used by internet marketers and online business owners today include WooCommerce, Cart66, Shopp and WP E-Commerce (see WordPress ecommerce plugins).
After installing your plugin, it is time to edit your settings. While this may vary from one plugin to another, here are the basic steps you may need to follow:
- Click on the plugin you have just installed under the “Settings” tab.
- Fill in the appropriate fields with the correct information. You need to set your PayPal email address, the currency you will be using and some other shopping cart details, including the shopping cart title, the text that will be shown if the shopping cart is empty, the “Add to Cart” button or image and the URL where the customer will be redirected after a successful payment.
- Depending on what plugin you are using, you may also need to fill in the details of your product in the “Add New Product” page. Basically, you will need to input your product’s name, the price (remember to use two decimal places), the product description, and thumbnail image and digital product URLs.
- If you are using a plugin that also allows you to sell physical products but you are only selling digital products for the time being, you will have to disable the shipping options on your site. You will usually find this under the “Shipping” tab.
- Click on “Update Options” to save your settings.
Adding cart images
There are also some plugins that allow you to create an “Add to Cart” button or image for your products. If you want to put such buttons or images into your posts, here’s what you should do:
- Go to your “Pages” tab and click on “Add New”.
- Use the trigger text to add a product to a post or page where you want it to appear.
- Provide a title for the page and a short introduction for the product you are selling. Click on the “HTML” tab and enter a shortcode to create your “Add to Cart” button.
- Click “Publish”.
- Click on “View Page” to see how it looks.
Clicking on this button will take your customer to a PayPal page where they can either choose to log into their PayPal account or use a credit card to make a payment.
As you can see, adding downloadable digital products to your WP site and offering them on sale can be quite easy, especially with the various third-party shopping cart plugins that are continuously being developed by WP’s open source community.