Video tutorial: How to provide PDF downloads from Dropbox

How to provide PDF downloads from Dropbox
Because whether it’s cats or digital files you gotta keep ’em organized, amirite?

Pretty much everyone I work with offers a downloadable gift to their readers to entice them to sign up to their email list. Me, Website Superhero? I have a Superhero WordPress Plugins Guide you can get for free at the top of the page (don’t have it yet? Scroll up!). Other gals and dudes have email marketing e-books, guided meditations, green smoothie recipes — you name it. And it’s a great idea if you want to grow your mailing list and give some love back to the peeps in your online business world.

So wait, wait, Nat, this sounds epic. But how do you DO this?

I’m going to show you how to provide PDF downloads from Dropbox as one of the best ways to deliver digital gifts. It is very simple and takes just a couple of steps and you should celebrate afterward (I suggest wine and/or cookies). You’ll also hear about my childhood trauma in this video. Super fun!

Like I mentioned in this blog post covering how to set up a downloadable file for your readers, a fantastic place to host your PDF or other downloadable file if you are a WordPress user is WordPress itself. If not, other optimal places are Dropbox and Amazon S3, especially if the file in question is enormous, whether it’s a PDF or audio or video or .zip file, as distributing large files on your domain can slow your whole site down, and further your email management system provider (MailChimp, Aweber, etc.) doesn’t allow you to host files larger than around 10MB on their site. Note for people developing e-courses: don’t host your large files on your site!

Keep in mind that you’ll set up everything else the same way: you’ll still have a Thank You page on your site or a Thank You email in MailChimp/etc. We’re only changing where the file you want people to download is hosted. Then, you’ll just paste in the link to your shared file on Dropbox instead of the link to your file on WordPress.

By the way, depending on how big your file is (up to 2GB), you can get away with using the free plan of Dropbox. Woo!

So now let’s see how to provide PDF downloads from Dropbox!

Tell us: What’s the best place you’ve found to host your downloadable files? And pssst… if you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. Leave a comment!

25 Responses to Video tutorial: How to provide PDF downloads from Dropbox

  1. On a sleepless night in California, a random 3 a.m. blurry-eyed search through my inbox leads to organized kitties, some great laughs, and an answer to a question I’ve been too busy to think about.

    Another awesome and easily understood video from my favorite fighter of complex advice and taxing tutorials! Thank you Website Superhero!

    Seriously, well done!

    ~ Adam

  2. Yay!!!! Thank you so much, Nat!! I was so excited when I saw this post pop up in my feed. Thanks for answering my question!

    And, I’ve already put it to use on my website!! Thanks a bunch!!

    • SUPER excellent! Keep on rocking this stuff, Jennifer. And thank YOU for your question and for watching :)

  3. For some reason I have one link that will not allow me to share from my dropbox account. Every time I try it adds a couple of numbers (specifically 25) to the address and I get a 404 error message when I try to open it in the pdf file I’m sharing. WTW? Any ideas? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Jill! That’s odd! If you’re following what I do in the video and are still having that problem, I’d reach out to the Dropbox team about it. Might be a bug.

  4. Hey Nat, thanks for this video. So, do you know why some PDF opt-ins you go to won’t let you save them to Adobe on your computer, while others do? Is the process you describe download-able so you can save it on your computer to read at leisure? My opt-in is going to be an actual 40page book that people will need to refer to as they use the videos on my site so it has to be downwload-able.

    Oh, and what plug in did you use here to “notify me of follow up comments via email”?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hey Glenn, thank you so much for watching! All PDFs you get from signing up for email lists should be downloadable. How have you been trying to download them? And yes the process I describe works so that your readers can download your e-book :) 40 pages! Wow! Very cool.

      For those notifications I used Jetpack. A lot of comments plugins offer this feature :)

  5. Hey I like your intelligence and smartness. SIMPLY SUPURB. where is LARGE PLAYER AND FULL SCREEN. HA HA I THINK SO U UNDERSTAND CUTI NAT (enrich thought for site traffic).

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