Do you want a quick and affordable way to create a digital download store in WordPress?
A digital download store is a great way to sell digital products such as eBooks, software, and music. But it’s important to make sure your eCommerce site is user-friendly and optimized for conversions.
WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads make building one as simple as possible.
🔎 In this article, we’ll cover:
Why Create a Digital Download Store?
Before we get into how to start an online store for digital downloads, let’s review the foundational concept.
A digital download store is an online platform where you can showcase and sell your eCommerce products. It’s where customers purchase and instantly download digital products directly from your website, delivering a seamless shopping experience.
While there are third-party platforms and marketplaces you can use for online selling, creating your own website offers advantages. This includes more control over:
- Design & customization
- Pricing & fees
- Customer communication & support
WordPress is the ideal option for creating a digital download store. It’s incredibly versatile, affordable, secure, and scalable. Plus, it has a large ecosystem that supports a ton of powerful plugins for building, optimizing, and managing eCommerce stores.
Want to learn more? Check out:
- Marketplace vs. Your Own Store (Which is better?)
- How to Move: Marketplace ➡️ Your Own Digital Store
How to Create a Digital Download Store
Now let’s get into the tutorial on how to create a digital download store in WordPress.
If you already have a WordPress website, feel free to skip ahead as necessary.
1: Get Your Domain & Hosting
As an open-source Content Management System (CMS), WordPress itself is free to download and use. However, to take your WordPress site live, you’ll need a domain and hosting.
Many WordPress hosting providers include domain name registration services with their plans.
It’s critical to choose a reliable web host that guarantees secure, efficient, and consistent performance.
One of the top examples of this is SiteGround’s Managed EDD Hosting:
Each plan includes the staples needed to start a digital download store, such as:
- WordPress pre-installed & a setup wizard
- Free SSL certificate
- Easy Digital Downloads plugin
- Growth tools (WPForms, MonsterInsights, AIOSEO, etc.)
Regardless of which web host you choose, your provider should give you detailed instructions and guidance on getting your WordPress site installed.
2: Install Easy Digital Downloads
WordPress doesn’t come with eCommerce and shopping cart functionality out of the box. For that, you’ll need a WordPress eCommerce plugin.
WooCommerce is a popular option, but it’s primarily focused on selling physical products.
If you plan to sell digital goods, Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is the best WordPress digital download plugin:
This complete eCommerce solution lets you quickly create a digital download store and sell downloadable products in no time. You can use it for everything from PDFs and eBooks to software and apps with license keys.
EDD essentially serves as the backbone of your online store. It helps you create and manage downloads, facilitate secure transactions, leverage marketing and optimization strategies, and much more.
There is a free version available. However, to access the full suite of features and premium extensions, it’s best to upgrade to EDD Pro.
Once installed and activated, Easy Digital Downloads adds a Downloads menu item to your WordPress dashboard:
The Onboarding Wizard takes you through some of the initial steps of creating a digital store, like setting up a payment gateway, installing automation tools, and adding your first product.
💡 Feel free to refer to these guides:
3: Choose a Digital Download Store Theme
Your WordPress theme can make all the difference in your store’s appearance and functionality. It can enhance your website’s visual appeal and influence how easy it is for customers to navigate your store.
WordPress.org offers plenty of free themes within its Theme Directory (Appearance » Themes » Add New). Look for a theme that’s designed specifically for eCommerce sites. A popular eCommerce theme for WordPress is Storefront.
If you want one that is meant for selling digital downloads, you could use one of the Easy Digital Downloads themes: Vendd or Themedd.
After installing and activating your theme, use the WordPress Customizer to change the theme templates’ styling and settings, including the typography, colors, menus, header, and more.
Aside from the theme, EDD offers a variety of ways to customize your digital download store, which we’ll cover in a minute.
4: Configure & Customize Your Digital Store
With your WordPress website set up with the basics, it’s time to configure the Easy Digital Downloads settings.
Connect a Payment Gateway
You can’t go wrong with the Stripe Pro payment gateway:
Stripe lets you offer multiple payment methods on the checkout page, including Google and Apple Pay. It also has a Stripe Link feature that lets users save credit card details for future purchases.
To start, navigate to Downloads » Settings » Payments:
Select Stripe (or whichever gateway you prefer) as your active and default gateways. Next, under the Stripe tab, click on Connect with Stripe:
If you already have a Stripe account, you can follow the prompts to connect it to your WordPress site. Alternatively, you can create a free Stripe account, and then proceed.
For full guidance on connecting Stripe with your store, refer to our Stripe documentation.
Add Digital Download Products
Next, you can start actually building out your digital download store with the downloadable products you want to sell. The process may vary slightly depending on the type of product you’re selling. Feel free to use these guides for more specific instructions:
Go to Downloads » Add New:
On this page, add a product name and description, such as any contextual or technical details:
You can set the price for the digital product under Download Prices:
Feel free to leave it as the default 0 if you want to offer free digital downloads.
The Download Files section is where you upload the digital download file (File URL) and enter the download link text (File Name):
In the right-hand sidebar settings under Download Image, you can add a featured image to appear on the shop and product pages:
When you’re done, click Save draft, then Publish. Select View download to preview the product page on the front end of your site.
Repeat this process for each item you want to add to your digital download store.
Customize Shop & Checkout Pages
As I mentioned, Easy Digital Downloads offers ways to customize your store beyond the theme. You can modify your checkout and shop pages using built-in tools and add-ons.
The Shop page offers a handful of options for customizing how your digital products are showcased, such as the number of downloads and columns shown per page.
The individual product settings include:
- Show/hide title
- Featured image location
- Featured image size & alignment
- Content (No Content, Full Content, or Excerpt)
- Show/hide price & purchase button
- And more
Personalize Purchase Receipts
Another advantage of Easy Digital Downloads is that it’s packed with features and tools for order management and customer communication, including automated eCommerce emails.
Once your customers complete the checkout process, EDD automatically redirects them to a success/confirmation page:
Here, they’ll see a ‘thank you’ message and a download link for the digital product. EDD also automatically sends a purchase receipt email:
To customize these emails and receipts, go to Downloads » Settings » Emails » Purchase Receipts.
Below the text fields, you’ll find a list of HTML markers and tags you can incorporate to personalize emails with specific details. For instance, you could include the customer’s name, order information, and more.
5: Promote Your Digital Download Store
There are a ton of ways to share and market your eCommerce site to help attract visitors and boost sales.
One is to leverage email marketing. EDD email integrations can help grow your email list with lead magnets and boost newsletter subscriptions via signup forms.
Social media is another powerful promotion tool. You can use social media to increase sales, drive engagement, and provide customer service.
To improve your store’s visibility and increase website traffic, it’s important to make SEO a priority. A plugin like AIOSEO can help with content optimization in real-time. In addition to optimizing your website’s product pages for target keywords, it can make using your blog to promote products significantly easier.
Finally, consider starting an affiliate program. This can be an effective way to partner with other creators and marketers in your field and reward users for the successful referrals they send your way!
There are so many ways you can customize and tailor a digital download store; this post hardly scratches the surface. However, now you have a better idea of how simple it can be to sell digital downloads, especially with WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads.
FAQs About Digital Download Stores
Let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions.
What does digital download mean?
A digital download is an electronic file that can be downloaded from the internet to use on a personal device. These files are typically delivered in digital formats, such as PDF, ZIP, MP3, etc. Some popular examples include eBooks, audio files, software, PDFs, and templates.
Can I sell digital downloads on my own website?
Yes, you can sell digital downloads on your own website. If you have WordPress, it’s as simple as installing an eCommerce plugin like Easy Digital Downloads, which provides everything needed to turn your website into an online store.
How do I set up an online digital download store?
The easiest way to set up a digital download store online is to use WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads. This combination lets you get a store up in running in minutes.
After you select your managed WordPress hosting plan and install the EDD plugin, the Onboarding Wizard will guide you through the process step-by-step.
Can WooCommerce do digital downloads?
Yes, WooCommerce lets you sell digital downloads, though physical products are the plugin’s primary focus. Conversely, while it is possible to sell physical goods using Easy Digital Downloads, it’s mostly meant for digital downloads.
💡 Learn more about WooCommerce vs. Easy Digital Downloads.
Build a Digital Download Store Today
That’s it! Now know how to create a digital download store in WordPress.
Don’t have an Easy Digital Downloads pass yet? Grab one today and build your store in minutes:
What’s next? Use the following guides to discover more ways to optimize and enhance your digital download store:
- Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce SEO
- How to Display Featured Downloads in WordPress
- Best Ways to Protect Your Digital Products
- How to Create an Exit Intent Popup for eCommerce