This is coming up more and more so I thought I would do a quick post running down your options if you want to offer digital downloads. I’m going to cover three scenarios here.

  1. Offering free digital downloads.
  2. Selling digital downloads.
  3. Selling both physical products as well as digital downloads.

Offering Free Digital Downloads on your website

Let’s start with #1. If you are someone who has some articles, white papers, other documents that you want to make available on your website, you might want to add a page what has these readily available. In this instance, I would recommend two different options. If you have only a few, I recommend making it simple with just a button or a text link to the PDF. We see this a lot on doctor office websites where there are patient forms to download and print. I particularly like to use bottons with the Adobe icon, so people know they are getting a PDF. (See example #1)

The other option, if you have a lot of documents, is to use a WordPress plugin called Document Gallery. I particularly like this one because it shows you the thumbnails of all the documents and you have options for how many columns to display and thumbnail size. (See example #2.)

Selling Digital Downloads

If you have digital downloads you want to sell, and you don’t have any physical products, then my recommend is always Pippin’s Easy Digital Downloads. Easy is built right into the name! It’s easy to set up, you just upload and activate the plugin, add in your downloads, set up your payment module, and you are done. The plugin itself is free, but the add-ons for payment gateways and other options do cost money. If all you want is to sell your downloads and accept Paypal, you need nothing extra and can use it as is. If you need more functionality, there are tons of extensions to add many features. I’d love to share an example here, but the sites I have used this on are either 1) incomplete or 2) member’s only.

Selling both physical products as well as digital downloads

If you have both physical, deliverable products AND digital downloads, then my recommendation is to go with WooCommerce, which allows for both. (See example #3.) WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform for WordPress, and I’ve used it on many sites. If you need to be able to sell digital as well as physical products, this is your best best. WooCommerce is free, and it has many features at just the free level, including Paypal and Stripe payments.

Offering digital downloads on your site has never been easier. Contact us today if you need help setting it up.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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