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Sell Virtual Products With Easy Digital Downloads

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Photo by Keira Dooley, designbydooley.com

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is a great tool for selling downloadable virtual products. It’s free to use, easy to install, and lean.

You can expand Easy Digital Downloads with dozens of available extensions. If you’re using WordPress to sell digital products like eBooks, music, or even your own plugins and themes, EDD might be the solution for you.

Installation

EDD’s installation is rather simple. The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin repository, or it can be downloaded directly from the Easy Digital Downloads site. Once installed and activated, you’ll see a new menu item in your dashboard called “Downloads”. This is where your all of the plugin’s functionality is located.

As with any plugin, once activated, EDD will direct you to configure its options. While the plugin is relatively simple, you’ll find it’s very customizable, including settings for your location, taxes, and the plugin’s download behavior.

Going to Downloads > Settings will take you into the main setting panel. On the first page you see, your general settings, you can setup which pages in your installation you’d like to handle which functionality. You’ll find the defaults are already setup, and those pages have been created for you so, if you’re happy with this configuration, there aren’t many changes that need to made here. It’s a good idea to specify your location at the bottom of the page.

Along the tabs at the top, you’ll find settings for your payment gateways, taxes, and other plugin behaviors.

Payment Gateways

Out of the box, EDD supports Paypal (Standard) and Amazon Payments. Both are decent choices with relatively low fees; however, both will require your customer to leave your website to make their payment. Statistically, this results in lower sales. Thanks to numerous extensions available, there are dozens of payment gateways to choose from, including the all-popular Stripe, as well as Authorize.net, Recurly, and Braintree. Once the extension is installed, the configuration is rather simple. You’ll just enter your payment gateway’s credentials, and give it a quick test. You should be ready to accept payments rather quickly.

Other Settings

On the settings page, you’ll find options to customize the look and feel of your purchase buttons and the option to add taxes if necessary. Since you’ll only be selling digital products, you don’t have to bother with shipping.

Creating your first product

You’ll discover that creating products with EDD is simple and not terribly different than creating a product in many other eCommerce platforms. The primary difference is that EDD is set up with downloadable products in mind.

First, create a product name, then enter a description. From this screen you can select an already created category, or create a new one. This helps keep things organized. One great feature of this plugin is that you have the option of storing your downloads on your local server, or simply entering a URL of where the file can be found. If you’re dealing with a large number of products, it might be most cost effective to store the files elsewhere. It’s nice to have that option.

You also have the option to specify variable pricing and bundled products as well, making the process quite versatile. “Download notes” towards to the bottom of the “Add Product” screen can be useful if you would like to specify further instructions on how the product should be downloaded or if a password is required to unzip the downloaded product. This will be displayed on your checkout page.

Displaying Your Products

Downloads can be displayed all on one page, or by category by default. EDD also includes several shortcodes that will further allow you to determine how your site can be navigated and what can be seen on each page. Downloads can be displayed all on one page, or by category. Here is a list of built in shortcodes that can be used in any post or page.

Once you have your payment gateway and products setup, you should be ready to start selling your downloadable products.

Additional Considerations

It is noted in the Easy Digital Downloads documentation that, for security reasons, all files – regardless of their type – should be compressed into a zip file before being attached to a product. This helps protect your files from being shared to people who haven’t purchased the product. Most hosts will already have the proper rewrites in place to protect zip files located in the EDD folder, but it’s important to remember to zip those first. It only takes an extra second, and it will give you piece of mind.

Easy Digital Downloads is a simple, yet powerful tool for selling digital products via your WordPress website. While there are several eCommerce plugins available that offer this functionality, this plugin offers digital download sales without the bloat and an easy configuration. If you haven’t already, you can read more about the plugin at the Easy Digital Downloads site.

Darrell Yeoman