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One thing experienced bloggers realize is that they cannot rely on others to make money. Ads and affiliate marketing are excellent income generation tools, but selling products you create is where many people find success.

For most, creating the product is the easy part. The question that comes into play is, “where do I sell my printables?”

Once you have your product ready to share with the world, the next thing to do is to offer it for sale. There are many options available, and what works for one blogger may not work for another.

 

Why selling digital products is smart

Consumers buy almost anything online.  You can find clothes, electronics, food — and even wine — all online. It is part of our culture. We expect everything we need to be available at our fingertips.

There was a time when Amazon’s delivery was around 3 or 4 days. Now, you can get it the next day, or in some parts of the country – the very same day!

We live in an “I want it now world,” and the sooner you can get the product to your customers, the better. That is one reason why digital products make sense.  They are available immediately after purchase so your customer can start using it.

There are other reasons why selling digital downloads make sense:

Higher profit margins

When you do not have to pay a middle man a portion of your proceeds, you make more money.  Digital products have none; therefore, your profit margins are much higher than those of physical products.

No inventory

Imagine creating a product and needing to order hundreds to have on hand to provide to your customers.  You need to find a place to store them, and if your house has no space, it means a warehouse or storage facility is necessary.

With digital products, there is no inventory at all. Nothing to track or monitor. No worry that your supply is running low.

Zero shipping issues

When you deal with physical products, you have to consider the cost of delivery. It is either built into the price of the product or added on as the purchase is finalized.

Then, you have to worry about delivery. How many times do products get lost or damaged once they leave the store?  It happens frequently and can be stressful for small business owners.

With digital delivery, there are zero issues with shipping.  It is non-existent.

What should you sell?

Before you can open a store, you need to research to determine the products your customer needs. It involves scooping out competitor sites, running surveys, and analyzing the traffic and content on your website.

You could then create things such as:

  • Planners
  • Checklists
  • Guides
  • Spreadsheets
  • eBooks

The ideas are endless.  What matters above all else is that you create a product that people want.  That’s it.

How do you make a printable?

There are several programs and applications you can use to create the printables you want to sell.

There are free sites such as Canva and Google.  You can venture into paid applications like PicMonkey or Photoshop.

Knowing where to make them is only one part of the process. You need to understand design, style, and coloring to ensure it is a product that will entice people enough to make them want to hand you money for a copy.

Read more: How to Create Printables to Sell

Where do you sell digital downloads?

Once you have the perfect product to sell, it is time to determine how you will sell it.  Some applications are free, but all will require some type of investment. That could mean you pay a monthly fee, or you will need to cover processing fees.

You’ll find options here for adding them to your site as well as third-party services to help you sell your products.  Read through them all, and in the end, I share with you what I recommend (and use) for my store.

Finally, keep in mind tax-related issues for your products. Some US States will require it, and if you sell to anyone in the EU, they must pay VAT.  Each platform should show you what they have available to help ensure you comply with all tax issues.  Please consult your CPA or attorney regarding your situation.

Easy Digital Downloads

You can add a plugin to your WordPress site called Easy Digital Downloads. It will allow you to sell products directly from your site.

Pros:

  • You can use the plugin for free, but need a self-hosted site to use it.
  • Collect payment though Paypal for free.
  • It is designed solely to sell digital products.
  • You can use shortcodes to embed the products anywhere you wish – even a blog post.
  • It is straightforward to use, so you do not need any type of technical background to understand it.
  • Themes allow you to customize the look of your store to match your site.

Cons:

  • You have to pay to get the Stripe payment gateway (which is how customers can pay with a credit card).
  • The support is limited (unless you pay for the pro service).
  • It is hosted on your site so it can cause speed issues.
  • You must purchase add-on extension if you wish to add affiliates.

Pricing:

You can use the basic plan for free; however, if you want something such as Stripe, there is a fee of $89.

They also offer a pro plan starting at $99/year, where you get more support and various extensions.

WooCommerce

A popular application many bloggers use for selling digital items is WooCommerce.  It functions in the same way as Easy Digital Downloads in that it allows you to create a store and sell it directly from your site.

Pros:

  • The plugin is free (but you must have a self-hosted site to use it).
  • It can be used to sell both digital and physical products.
  • You can add free extensions to your store, so you have more functionality.
  • Several templates are available to give your store a custom look you desire.
  • Easily integrates with different payment gateways to offer options to your customers.

Cons:

  • It can be a bit overwhelming with all of the options available on the platform.
  • It requires several plugins to run effectively, which can slow down your site.
  • You may need to pay for add-ons to get the functionality you desire.

Pricing:

The plugin is free, but you may need to pay for extensions and add-ons for your site. And, since it can very negatively affect site speed, you may also need to upgrade your hosting to someone like Big Scoots, or pay to add a subdomain or secondary domain to house the plugin.

Gumroad

Before you take the time to set it up a store, it is wise to test the product. After all, why spend the time creating a store to sell products nobody wants? Using a third-party app, such as Gumroad, allows you to sell products without a plugin.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to create an account and add your products.
  • They have a free plan (with limited functions).
  • There is no need to set up Stripe or any other payment service.
  • It handles VAT collection and remittance for you.

Cons:

  • You will need to upgrade to the pro plan if you want affiliates.
  • Lacks customer service.
  • You cannot customize the landing page or checkout, meaning no upsells or bump offers.

Pricing:

The basic plan is free, but they charge a 5% + $0.30 transaction fee for all purchases. If you upgrade, the cost is $10 per month, and the transaction charge is 3.5% + $0.30.

Sendowl

Another third-party provider you can use is Sendowl. It functions in the same way as Gumroad in that they allow you to host and deliver products through their platform.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to create an account and add your products.
  • They have a free plan (with limited functions).
  • There is no need to set up Stripe or any other payment service.
  • Their program allows for bump-offers and upsells at checkout.
  • The system charges zero transaction fees.

Cons:

  • The system does not collect VAT, so you will need to find a way to address this externally.
  • They offer limited customization for sales pages and checkout.
  • There are limited support options.
  • You will need to find a place to host the product and connect it at delivery (they do not allow you to upload the product oh their site).

Pricing:

The basic plan starts at $9 a month (they do not have a free option). You can upgrade to add more functionality and features, as you may find necessary.

Etsy

Etsy is often a popular consideration when it comes to selling digital products. It is a site people know and trust, making it easy to use for selling your products.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to create an account and add your products.
  • There are customers already using it.
  • It is correctly configured for SEO.

Cons:

  • They do not have a free plan.
  • Competition can be fierce, making it tough to compete.
  • You are using someone else’s system (so they can set and change rules at any time).
  • Etsy takes a cut of every purchase.
  • You can’t use this to build a list (you do not get access to customer emails).

Pricing:

The cost is $0.20 to list an item, which lasts for four months. The transaction fee is 5% of the purchase price. If you use Etsy payments, they also collect a 3.5% + $0.25 processing fee.

Shopify

Shopify is often thought of when it comes to selling physical products (including drop-shipping).  But, you can create a store quickly and have a high-end custom look with little effort.

Pros:

  • Themes and stores are easy to customize.
  • Simple free add-0ns allow for connecting digital files, reviews, and other options.
  • Amazing customer support.

Cons:

  • You will need a subdomain, so your URL does not have Shopify included.
  • More expensive for the new creator.
  • You will need to pay for add-ons to collect and remit VAT.

Pricing:

The lite plan is $9 a month, but you are limited to what you can do. The standard plan starts at $29 a month. You will also have a $0.30 + 2.% processing fee on each transaction.

 

Which platform do I recommend?

It depends. Probably not what you were looking for. 😉

But, here me out.

If you are starting out and only have one or two products, I can’t say enough good things about Gumroad. They address VAT issues, and setting it up is very, very easy to do. You can also add affiliates to help you sell and promote your products.

Once you have more products to sell, I recommend Shopify. That is what I use on this site. It allows me to create the custom look I want and need.

The store generates the income needed to cover the costs of the add-ons, so that makes it work for me.

If you want a high-end, professional-looking store on your site to sell your products, I would go with Shopify.

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