Sell Digital Downloads Directly From Your Site

As a small business owner or content creator, you probably have some valuable digital assets at your disposal. Maybe it’s industry research that you compiled, or a template for wedding invitations. If you’re a photographer, it’s likely some amazing photographs.

Have you considered monetizing this content? If so, you can sell digital downloads directly through your website.

It only takes a few minutes to set up a process for collecting payments through your site — here’s how to get started.

1. Create a password-protected page

First, create a password-protected page where your digital downloads will live. This will prevent just anyone from navigating to your page and downloading your content for free. Go to your dashboard and click Pages, then Add New.

The next step is to embed the file that you want to sell onto the page. Do this by selecting Add Media, then uploading the file (whether it’s a PDF, .jpg, or another file type — note that only paid plans are able to upload audio and video files). You may want to include a brief description of the download on the page, or a “thank you” message directed towards customers who make purchases.

Once you finish setting up your page, go to Status on the right and switch the setting from Public to Password Protected. Enter a password and select Publish. Your new page will go live on your site, but only visitors with the password will be able to access it.

Alternatively, you can house your digital content within a blog post, using the process above to create a password-protected post.

2. Insert a Simple Payments button

The easiest way to collect payments through your website is with the Simple Payments button. This option, which can be used by Premium and Business plan users, allows you to display a payment button onto your site with minimal setup. From here, you can collect debit or credit card payments via PayPal.

To insert a Simple Payments button, open an existing page that you want to place it on. You can also create a new page or blog post to house your payment button.

Place your cursor where you want the button to go, then select Add and choose Payment Button.

A form will appear to guide you through the creation process. Fill out the fields for your Product Name and Description, and add a photo.

Next, fill out the Price field, selecting your preferred currency. You can also select whether shoppers can purchase more than one item at a time.

Finally, input the email address where you want payment information to be sent — this should be the email address associated with your PayPal account.

After you fill out these fields, select Insert to place your payment button.

3. Give shoppers your password

After you complete the first two steps, provide shoppers with the password for your secured page or blog post once their payments are submitted.

The most straightforward way to do this is to create an email template with instructions for accessing and downloading your password-protected content. When you receive a payment confirmation email from PayPal, send the password to the buyer.

Alternate ways to sell digital content

While this workflow enables you to sell content through your website, there are multiple ways to further automate and customize the process.

A paid service like Zapier automatically triggers and sends the confirmation email mentioned in step three, after a payment is received. This could be extremely beneficial if you have a high volume of customers, as you won’t need to send each email yourself.

Further, Business plan users can install additional plugins, many of which facilitate digital downloads. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads are two popular options to consider.

Digital downloads are a popular way to monetize content, and with the right strategy, they can even become a business model in their own right. With the help of your website, you can sell digital downloads to boost your bottom line.

Thousands of small businesses and online stores call home.

Whether you’re looking to promote your business or share your story, we have a plan that’s right for you.

Create your own website


Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in digital lifestyle content, ranging from pop culture to smart home technology. Camryn has contributed to popular media sites such as InStyle, Taste of Home, Martha Stewart, Food52, USA Today, The Spruce and more.

More by Camryn Rabideau