Have you ever considered selling digital products such as books, tutorials, videos, etc. from your own website? After all, blogging is hard work. Why just rely on advertising fees to support your writing when you can sell your own digital downloads?
When I first tried this two years ago, I had a PDF version a paperback and I wanted people to be able to click a link, pay with Paypal or credit card, then get access to the download.
The concept was so simple but apparently there was no simple technical solution. As I’ve described here, in order to sell digital downloads you either need to pay third-party services monthly fees or handle all sales through a third-party website such as tinypay.
Since I didn’t want to send people away from my website and lose control over design and function, I decided to bite the bullet and pay a monthly subscription to e-junkie.
For two years I’ve been using this system to successfully sell PDFs, ZIPs and other downloads, but there were all kinds of limitations. Each subscription plan only covered a certain amount of products that I could sell and file sizes were limited. In addition to that, even though e-junkie lets you customize “add to cart” buttons and integrate them seamlessly into your website, all users still got sent through the e-junkie server (which appeared in the browser address bar) and – with all due respect – that name…maybe it’s just me but it always made me think of grease-dripping fast-food or heroin-addicts, not the kind of positive vibes that contribute to a good shopping experience.
Enter “Easy Digital Downloads”
When I stumbled over a new wordpress plugin called Easy Digital Downloads at first I couldn’t believe it. Here was a free plugin that promised to do everything e-junkie did, but promised to let me sell downloads through my own server, completely free.
After playing around with it for a week I decided to use it as a backbone for our Hanukkah Ebook Bundle and it worked so well that eventually I switched over our bookshop to Easy Digital Downloads as well.
Here are a few of the things that I love about it:
- it focuses only on digital downloads and is not bloated like other so called “shopping solution”
- its developers are dedicated to answer all questions and continuously improve it
- it allows you to create “add to cart” buttons to sell products quickly by using its custom shortcodes
- since it’s a WordPress plugin it’s very easy to “hack” minor aspects of it by fiddling with the source code
- there are tons of premium extensions available which help to sell your downloads in a myriad different ways