You have a website for your business because, ultimately, you want to sell your awesome shit (DUH, that’s kinda the whole idea). Cool, we’re set on that.
The question then becomes, “How now? How in the world do I turn my website into my 24/7 salesperson that lets my peeps instantly buy my ebook/guided meditations/jewelry/you-name-it?”
I’ll tell ya! There are a zillion options out there, so let’s narrow ‘em down. Whether that awesome shit is digital downloads or physical products, I’ve got a sweet recommendation for you, both third-party that integrate with your website (Sendowl and Gumroad) and WordPress plugins (Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce) so you can sell your stuff directly via on your website.
To clarify, this blog post recommends tools to sell your products, not to sell online courses (like my DIY Website Maintenance Course) that are then accessed via a membership site instead of being downloaded by your buyers.
This is for either one-time downloads (like ebooks with pictures of unicorns kicking ass at life) or physical products (like stainless steel glittery ninja stars you use to slay your worst enemy).
Third-party services to sell your products on your website
Sendowl is my favorite of the two I’m recommending. Check out what it offers:
- Flat fee of $15+/mo.
- Enables upsells (for a higher monthly fee)
- Helps you handle the EU VAT rules that went into effect last year
- Gets along swimmingly with MailChimp, Aweber, etc.
- Is responsive (so it looks great on any size screen/device)
- Allows you to set up discounts for limited time promotions
- Has analytics to track sales nicely and see what worked/didn’t
- Lets customers pay in different ways (credit card, PayPal, Authorize.net, Bitcoin)
- Lets you sell to your subscribers via emails too
- Lets people buy various items at once (e.g., one more expensive product plus one less expensive one)
- Lets you create bundles
- Lets you use your colors/fonts so it’s more visually consistent for your buyers
- Allows you to copy a snippet of code and apply it to your “buy” buttons on your website so people are only directed to Sendowl after they click to purchase
I love Sendowl for these reasons (especially the last one and the fact that you pay a flat monthly fee) and its ability to integrate with more payment gateways (not many integrate with Authorize.net), thereby giving your buyers more options — which can definitely mean more sales, because it’s another barrier that you’re removing from them if they feel more comfortable or already have an account with PayPal or whatever payment gateway they prefer. (Check out this post on how to build trust and sell more for additional intel on the subject.)
Gumroad is very similar to Sendowl, but I don’t like its user interface (UI) as much, since it’s less flexible so there’s less you can customize. It also charges a percentage on each sale (starts at $10/mo + a % on every sale) as opposed to a flat monthly fee.
A lot of people love it, though, and it’s a legit option. Gumroad also handles VAT like a pro, tracks things for you, allows for affiliates, integrates with PayPal, and lots more.
Plugins to sell your products on your website
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy is right! Highly recommended and simple to use, Easy Digital Downloads is perfect for selling digital goods like ebooks. It’s also free — what you pay for is add-ons, so for example when you hook it to an external service like ConvertKit or Stripe (kinda like how WordPress.org itself is free, but what you pay for are the related services like hosting, domain, a premium theme, and so on).
It’s got analytics, you can do discount codes and a full shopping cart, integrates with mailing list services and of course many payment gateways, online storage services like Dropbox and Amazon S3, etc. Because it integrates with add-ons like Zapier, you can do a million things here, even selling subscriptions and adding a booking system. The possibilities are nearly endless!
Wanna sell physical products? WooCommerce is a powerhouse: it’ll let you configure all kinds of taxes, shipping fees worldwide, the works. Just like EDD, it’s got a million extensions so it integrates with everything, including very smoothly with themes like Headway (mah fave!) and of course payment processors like PayPal. This core plugin is also free, and the cost comes in when you add extensions (just like with EDD above).
You can use it to sell digital products too, but I see that as overkill because WooCommerce is all-encompassing, and this also makes it easily overwhelming. EDD can also be cheaper when you’re comparing add-ons.
However, if you’re shipping physical products, WooCommerce is well worth because of its robust capabilities and versatility (with code, you can make it look like and do anything your entrepreneurial heart desires!). I recommend you hire someone to set up a few items and teach you how to DIY the rest, or hire it all out, because this is something you wanna get right from the get-go. (Don’t know where to start? Read this post on how to hire the right web designer or developer.)