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How to Create & Offer Free Digital Downloads in WordPress

Do you want to learn how to create and offer free digital downloads in WordPress?

In today’s digital age, providing free digital downloads is an effective way to attract and engage website visitors. By offering valuable resources, such as e-books, software, templates, or audio files, you can capture the attention of your audience and establish your expertise.

πŸ”Ž In this article, we’ll cover:

Benefits of Offering Free Digital Downloads

Before diving into the process, let’s briefly understand what digital downloads are. Digital downloads refer to any files that can be downloaded and accessed electronically, such as:

They offer a convenient way to distribute valuable content to your audience.

There are several compelling reasons to offer free digital downloads on your WordPress website. One is lead generation. By providing free downloads, you can collect email addresses or other contact information from your visitors, allowing you to nurture leads and build a loyal customer base.

It can also help you establish authority. Sharing high-quality content for free establishes your expertise and builds trust with your audience, positioning you as a thought leader in your niche.

Offering free digital downloads can attract more visitors to your WordPress site. This is especially true if you promote them through various channels like social media or email marketing.

Finally, free downloads provide an opportunity to showcase your premium products or services, encouraging users to explore your offerings further.

How to Offer Free Digital Downloads in WordPress

Ready to jump in? Once you decide what kind of digital download you want to offer, you can get started with the process of creating your digital download store. Below, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step tutorial on how to offer free digital downloads in WordPress.

Still need a WordPress website? Don’t worry. SiteGround’s Managed EDD plans provide everything you need to start selling digital goods. This includes web hosting, Secure-Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, SEO tools, free WordPress themes for eCommerce, and more.

Step 1: Get & Install Easy Digital Downloads

To simplify the process of managing and delivering digital downloads in WordPress, the best eCommerce plugin is the Easy Digital Downloads (EDD):

The EDD and WordPress logos.

EDD is a powerful and user-friendly solution for selling digital downloads. It offers extensive features, customization options, and compatibility with various payment methods, including Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net. There is a free version available.

However, I recommend grabbing a premium pass and downloading EDD Pro to unlock the WordPress plugin’s full potential. Learn more about EDD Free vs EDD Pro.

Once you download the EDD Pro plugin, you can upload it to your site. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins Β» Add New. After uploading it, select the Install Now and Activate buttons:

Installing the EDD Pro plugin in WordPress.

Next, you can click on Get Started to launch the Onboarding Wizard:

The EDD Onboarding Wizard

This takes you through the initial setup steps, like entering your business information, connecting to Stripe payment gateway, and choosing which conversion and optimization tools to add.

You can also go to Downloads Β» Settings to configure these options and general settings. Here, you can choose a currency and manage your email and payment gateway settings, etc.

βš™οΈ For help setting up your EDD store, use these guides:

Step 2: Add the EDD Free Downloads Extension

The EDD Free Downloads extension makes it easy to provide free downloads as lead magnets:

The Free Downloads EDD extension.

Visitors are shown a modal pop-up window. This functionality lets them skip the standard shopping cart and checkout process to quickly download the freebie:

A demo preview of EDD Free downloads modal

If you have EDD Pro, installing and managing extensions is super simple. Go to Downloads Β» Extensions to view the addons available with your pass:

The EDD extensions screen in WordPress.

 Next, enter “free downloads” in the Search Extensions field in the top-right corner:

The search EDD extensions field in WordPress.

Once you locate it, click on the Install button:

The option to Install the Free Download extension in WordPress.

The addon automatically activates. We’ll configure the extension settings in a moment.

πŸ”‘ Don’t have access to the premium EDD extension you want? Learn how to upgrade to EDD Pro.

Step 3: Add Your Free Digital Download(s)

Now that you have Easy Digital Downloads installed and configured, it’s time to create and upload your free digital download.

To begin, go to Downloads and click the Add New button:

Adding a new digital download in EDD.

Name the digital download and add a description:

Creating a free digital download in WordPress.

If you wanted to sell the digital product, you could enter the price under Download Prices:

The Download Prices section of EDD to leave empty to offer free digital downloads.

Since you’re offering it for free, you can leave the amount set to “0”.

Next, go to the Download Files section to upload the file of your free digital download:

The section to add files for offering free digital downloads.

In the File Name field, you can add something such as β€œFree Download”. This will be the download link users can click on to access the digital file. Next, select the link icon under File URL to upload the digital download file.

You can add a Download Image under the settings on the right to display on the digital download product page:

The place to add a download image in EDD.


When you’re done, save your changes. Select Save draft or Publish.

Step 4: Configure the Free Digital Download Settings

On the front end of your site, your shoppers will have the default option to click on Download Now and enter their email to access it:

The default option to enter email for a free digital download in WordPress.

But Easy Digital Downloads gives you a handful of ways to customize these download settings.

Go to Downloads Β» Settings Β» Marketing Β» Free Downloads:

Settings to create lead magnets in WordPress with EDD Free Downloads.

Under General Settings, you can enter a custom Button Label and Modal Button Label. If left blank, the default is “Download Now”.

Next, decide whether to display a close button on the modal and whether logged-in users should bypass the auto-download.

Under Field Settings, you can choose which fields to display. Perhaps you want to ask for the user’s name in addition to their email and include a Notes box:

The Field Settings section of the EDD Free Downloads extension.

Further down, you’ can’ll find Processing and Cache Settings. For guidance on configuring these settings, check out our Free Downloads documentation.

When you’re done, click on the Save Changes button at the bottom.

Return to your Downloads list and select the View link under the free digital download to see how it now looks on the front end of your site:

A preview of the free digital downloads modal pop-up in WordPress using Easy Digital Downloads.

Step 5: Promote Your Free Digital Downloads

Creating and offering digital downloads is only the beginning of your journey. To reach a wider audience and generate more downloads, consider the following promotion strategies.

First, share your free downloads on popular social media platforms to expand your reach and engage with your audience.

Another effective strategy is to leverage email marketing using any of the many email-related extensions and integrations EDD offers. Send newsletters or targeted emails to your subscribers, highlighting the value and benefits of your free downloads. You might also consider adding an email newlsletter signup form on your website.

Use this video tutorial to learn how to use the EDD Free Downloads extension to grow your email list.

You could also partner with influencers, collaborators, and affiliate marketers to promote your downloads.

πŸ’‘Tips for Promoting Your Digital Products

πŸ›’ How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

🌐 Effective Marketing Channels for Your Digital Product Business

FAQS About Free Digital Downloads in WordPress

Let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions.

Can I offer both premium & free digital downloads with Easy Digital Downloads?

Yes, Easy Digital Downloads is the best WordPress plugin for offering digital downloads, both free and paid. It’s an excellent alternative to WooCommerce if you don’t offer physical products. In addition to offering free downloads and selling files, you can also set up subscriptions and recurring payments.

How can I track the performance of my downloads?

EDD provides built-in reporting and analytics features that allow you to monitor and analyze downloads, revenue, and other key metrics.

Can I restrict the number of times a user can download a file?

Yes. Easy Digital Downloads lets you restrict the number of downloads per user, helping you manage access to your digital content.

Can I customize my online store with EDD?

Certainly! Easy Digital Downloads is very customizable. You can modify nearly every element and aspect of your download store, from the overall theme and checkout page to purchase receipts and buttons.

Use EDD to Offer Free Digital Downloads

By leveraging Easy Digital Downloads in WordPress, you can effortlessly create and offer free digital downloads to attract, engage, and build relationships with your website visitors.

Grab a pass today to get started!

eCommerce without limits!

That is our promise. Most eCommerce solutions limit your creativity
…not Easy Digital Downloads!

or try the free version.

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