These days, lots of creative entrepreneurs consider offering digital products like downloadable resources, online courses, ebooks and more as a way to earn passive income. But navigating the process of actually selling these types of products online can be a little challenging.
In this post, I’ll make it easier for you to start generating passive income in your business with digital offers like courses and ebooks, as I explain four platform options you can use to sell these types of products online.
Note: In this post, I’ll be focusing primarily on selling digital products, but most of these options are great for selling physical products as well.
Paypal is one of the most basic platforms you can use to offer digital products — so it’s good pick if you’re just getting started. It’s also ideal if you don’t have your own website since it creates a button you can embed in emails, landing pages, etc. to prompt people to buy.
Something you might want to consider though, is that Paypal has a bit of a reputation of being difficult to deal with on the business side if something goes wrong (i.e. problems with invoicing, someone files for a refund). I’ve heard about cases in which Paypal has sided with the consumer instead of the business, and it ends up costing the business owner significant time or money — so that’s just something to keep in mind.
Still. Paypal is simple and straightforward. It’s bare bones, but it’s a good platform to use when you’re just starting getting your feet wet with offering digital products.
If you’re looking for a platform that’s simple like Paypal, but a more user-friendly and visually appealing, I’d recommend Gumroad.
Like Paypal, you don’t need to have your own website to use Gumroad. But I’d say that Gumroad is much easier to navigate. It also allows you to create a stand-alone sales pages, as opposed to just a button. And it’s worth nothing that you can also sell subscriptions with Gumroad (an important feature if you’re interested in offering some sort of membership).
Bottom line: I’ve personally used Gumroad and I really liked it. This platform is a simple, solid choice that allows you to sell multiple types of digital products.
Squarespace tends to be a popular choice since it’s a one-stop-shop (no pun intended) you can use to host your website content, as well as an online store where you can sell products. Overall, the platform tends to be popular because it’s user-friendly, has solid blogging/content publishing features and offers customizable templates for shop owners. If you’re not super tech-savvy, and want to eventually add a few digital products, this is a great platform.
Being able to use Squarespace’s customizable templates allows you to choose between having a single shop page, or something more dynamic, for your biz. Plus, the platform makes it quick and easy to upload products to your shop and to add customers to your email list (automatically, but only with Mailchimp).
If you’re looking for a user-friendly platform that you can customize to fit your needs. Squarespace is a great pick!
If you need a lot of customization options and functionality, WordPress is your best bet.
Like Squarespace, WordPress is a website platform, so you can use it to host content for your whole site, as well as for your shop. But WordPress also offers various plugins that give you endless customization options when it comes selling products on your site.
If you decide to go the WordPress route, I’d recommend checking out the following two plugin options to get started:
- WooCommerce, a popular plugin that many WordPress users love, but it may be a bit too fussy/complicated if you’re just selling something simple like a workbook. Definitely great for those with physical products, variants, etc.
- Easy Digital Downloads, a plugin that makes it simple to offer some of the most popular types of digital products like ebooks and other downloadable PDF resources. Straightforward solution.
No doubt, WordPress is a robust platform with tons of options. And many business owners get overwhelmed when they first consider using WordPress to sell products. That’s why I decided to show you how easy it can be to add a digital product to your WordPress site.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the best platform options you can use to start selling digital products, the biggest things to remember is to keep it simple.
Aim to limit the number of times someone needs to be redirected when they go to buy from you, and (if you have a website) try to keep people on your site as much as possible.This makes the purchasing process easy, so people will be more likely to buy your digital products — and you can start successfully earning passive income in your business!