How to Sell Digital Downloads on WordPress- Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Selling digital downloads has become an increasingly popular way for creators and entrepreneurs to monetize their content.

With the rise of eCommerce platforms and the growing demand for digital products, mastering the art of selling digital downloads has never been more important. 

In this blog, we will explore how to effectively sell digital downloads on WordPress- the most popular and user-friendly website platform available. 

Whether you’re a blogger, artist, musician, or small business owner, this guide will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to successfully sell your digital products and grow your online business.

So, let’s get started! 

What is Digital Download and How Does It Work

A digital download refers to the process of obtaining digital files from the internet to a computer or electronic device, such as software, music, movies, ebooks, or other content.

Instead of receiving a physical copy, like a CD or a book, you can purchase or access digital content online and download it directly to your device.

When you click that “Download” button, you’re essentially transferring a file from the internet to your device. This file could be anything – a PDF, an MP3 song, a video, or even a game.

Think of it as a high-tech delivery service: the internet is the highway, and your device is the destination.

The file travels through this internet highway and lands on your computer or phone. Once it’s there, you can open, use, or enjoy whatever you’ve just downloaded.

Difference Between Physical Products and Digital Downloads 

Simply, physical products are tangible, and digital products are intangible. Which means you can hold, touch, and smell the physical products.

In terms of digital products, you can’t touch or hold them. 

Apart from this, let’s look at a few important distinguishes that you need to know: 

a) Delivery Methods

  • Physical Products: The trusty postal service, delivery trucks, and maybe even your friendly neighbor might bring your physical purchases home. Be prepared for waiting times, shipping costs, and the occasional porch pirate.
  • Digital Downloads: Click, download, and boom! Your digital goodies arrive instantly, teleporting straight to your devices. No waiting, no physical deliveries, just pure unadulterated instant gratification.

b) Environmental Impact

  • Physical Products: Packaging, transportation, and eventual disposal – physical products leave a footprint on the planet. Consider the resources used to make that sweater, the fuel burned by that delivery truck, and the landfill-bound packaging.
  • Digital Downloads: Zero packaging, zero transportation, zero waste – digital downloads are the eco-friendly champions. They live in the cloud, minimizing their impact on the physical world.

c) Cost and Accessibility

  • Physical Products: Production, storage, and distribution costs add up, often resulting in higher prices. And let’s not forget the potential for limited availability or regional restrictions.
  • Digital Downloads: Often cheaper to produce and distribute, digital downloads can be more affordable. Plus, they’re readily available to anyone with an internet connection, breaking down geographical barriers.

These are the basic differences between a physical product and a digital product. Now let’s move on to the next segment-

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your traffic into email subscribers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress.

Digital Downloads Market Growth and Future Possibilities 

The digital download business is booming.

According to Statista, the digital downloads market size is projected to reach USD 9.08tn by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.61%

This explosive growth offers a wealth of possibilities for an entrepreneur like you with a digital product to sell.

Here’s a breakdown of the market size and potential:

  • Ebooks and audiobooks: Expected to reach a market size of $31.9 billion by 2027.
  • Music: The global music streaming market size was estimated at USD 34.53 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 40.20 billion in 2023.
  • Software and online courses: The online learning market alone is projected to reach $319 billion by 2025.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Expected to hit $908 billion by 2030.
  • Printables, templates, and digital art: A growing niche with increasing demand for personalized and creative content.

If you want to take a small slice of this huge pie, all you need to do is create an eCommerce website and start selling your digital downloads.

Though the market is full of competition, still there is enough space to penetrate. You need to just rely on a solid strategy and the right digital selling platform.

So, let’s check how you can create your own eCommerce site to sell digital downloads as a beginner! 

Meet “Download Monitor”- The Best WordPress Digital Downloads Plugin

If you want to create your digital downloads website using WordPress, you’ll require a plugin to get your job done.

If you are wondering why you should WordPress, let us tell you that WordPress is extremely easy to use and there is no need to write a single line of code to create your full-fledged website. 

Also, WordPress comes with dedicated digital download solutions like the Download Monitor plugin that makes your job as easy as pie.

All you need to do is install this plugin on your WordPress site and you are ready to sell your digital products.

Yes, it’s that easy. 

Let’s check the features of the Digital Monitor plugin that you’ll require to manage your digital downloads website seamlessly.

a) File Management

  • Create and manage a library of downloadable files (ebooks, music, software, photos, etc.).
  • Upload files, add descriptive details, and create categories and tags for easy organization.
  • Set download limits, expiration dates, and restrict access based on roles or user purchases.

b) eCommerce Integration

  • Sell your downloads by setting prices and integrating with payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe.
  • Generate payment links for individual files or collections of downloads.
  • Accept recurring payments for subscription-based products.

c) Download Tracking

  • Monitor download activities with detailed statistics on individual files, users, and periods.
  • Track purchase history, revenue generated, and user behavior insights.
  • Export download reports for analysis and record-keeping.

d) Content Protection

  • Secure your files with password protection to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Set download limits per user or IP address to control distribution.
  • Restrict download attempts to protect against brute force attacks.

e) Integrations and Extensions

  • Expand functionality with popular 3rd party integrations for email marketing services, membership plugins, affiliate marketing platforms, and so on.
  • Additional Download Monitor extensions for custom features like email notifications, file versioning, and more.

f) User-Friendly Interface

  • Manage your digital downloads and settings efficiently with a straightforward, intuitive interface.
  • Drag-and-drop functionality for easy file management.
  • Clear navigation and helpful tooltips for guidance.

g) Scalability

  • Handle large numbers of downloads and file sizes without performance issues.
  • Grow with your business as your download library and sales expand.

h) Free and Premium Options

All these amazing features make the Download Monitor one of the most popular plugins of all time in this category with over 100k+ active users.

Also, this plugin has gained 4.5 out of 5 user ratings. That’s cool, right? 

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your leads into paying customers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress

How to Sell Digital Downloads on WordPress with Download Monitor Plugin 

Nowadays creating and managing a digital downloads website is very easy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know much about coding and technology. Because WordPress itself is a very straightforward platform to create any type of website. 

A digital downloads solution like the Download Monitor plugin makes this process further easier to create your digital downloads website.

It comes with all the necessary features that you’ll require to create your website. All you need to do is upload your digital products and you’re almost there to sell them from your own website. 

Let’s find the whole process here: 

  1. Create a WordPress Website 
  2. Install Download Monitor Plugin 
  3. Configure the Basic Settings of the Download Monitor Plugin 
  4. Upload Products to Your Shop

Seems easy, right? It’s actually going to be a simple process.

Without any further delay, let’s dive into the details: 

Step 01: Create a WordPress Website 

First, you’ll need a WordPress site. If you already have a WordPress site, you can skip this step and directly jump to the next step. 

However, if you don’t have a WordPress website, there is nothing to be worried about. As we mentioned earlier creating a WordPress website is easy. To create a WordPress site, you’ll require a domain and hosting plan

After buying a domain name and hosting package, install WordPress on your hosting. And you are pretty much there to follow the next step. 

Just a heads up: If you don’t know how to install WordPress on your control panel, simply, ask your hosting provider to install WordPress on your behalf and share credentials with you. Once you get the credentials, don’t forget to change the password for security purposes. 

Step 02: Install and Activate Download Monitor Plugin 

After creating a WordPress site, it’s time to install the Download Monitor plugin on your site. All the features you’ll need to manage a digital download website will be available through it.

To install the plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins -> Add New Plugin -> Type plugin name (Download Monitor) in the search box

You’ll find the plugin immediately after typing the plugin name. Then install and activate the plugin to use it on your site. 

After installing and activating the Download Monitor plugin, if you visit your WordPress dashboard you’ll find a separate dashboard for managing your documents. 

Congratulations! You have successfully added a document management plugin to your WordPress website. 

Step 03: Configure the Basic Settings of Download Monitor Plugin 

After installing and activating the Download Monitor plugin, you need to configure the basic settings of the plugin to sell digital products from your site. Let’s check what you need to configure: 

i) Enable Shop Feature 

The first thing that you need to do is enable the “Shop” feature of the Download Monitor plugin. In order to enable the Shop feature, go to your WordPress dashboard and then navigate to Downloads -> Settings -> General -> check the “Shop Enabled” box.

That’s it! Now configure the next settings.

ii) Create a No Access Page

If you are using the latest version of the Download Monitor plugin, the No Access page should already be there on your dashboard under Pages

However, if the page isn’t there by default, simply, create a page. 

To create a page, navigate to the dashboard -> Pages -> add a new page naming it No Access. Then insert the below-mentioned shortcode:


To do that, insert the Shortcode block and then paste this code to get your job done. Then publish the page by clicking the “Publish” button. 

Now go to Downloads -> Settings -> Advanced -> Pages Setup -> No Access Page – select the page you created above which is the No Access page. 

Then hit the Save Changes button to save all the changes. 

iii) Create a Cart Page 

Now you need to create a cart page. Creating a cart page is almost similar to creating the above-mentioned No Access page.  

Go to your WordPress dashboard -> Pages and click on the Add New Pages option. Then name the page “Cart Page”. Now add the [dlm_cart] shortcode to the page. 

Finally, click on the “Publish” button to publish the page. 

Download Monitor plugin

After you’ve published this new page, go to Downloads -> Settings -> Shop. In the Pages tab, select your newly created page as your cart page. Click Save Changes and you’re done.

Download Monitor plugin

iv) Create a Checkout Page 

There is one more page you need to create, and that is the checkout page. Following the same procedure, create a new page and give this page a name, e.g., Checkout Page

Then add this shortcode to the page: [dlm_checkout]. Then simply publish the page. 

Once you have published the page, go to Downloads -> Settings -> Shop. In the Pages tab, select your newly created page as your checkout page. 

Then click on the “Save Changes” button to complete the process. 

Download Monitor plugin

Step 04: Upload Products to Your Shop

After configuring all the basic settings to sell digital products from your website using the Download Monitor plugin, it’s time to upload products to your shop.

Uploading products to your shop is another easy process with Download Monitor. Follow the below instructions to get your job done. 

To upload products to your shop, navigate to your WordPress dashboard, then go to Shop and click on the ‘Add Product‘ button. 

There you’ll find the options to add product name and description. 

Download Monitor plugin

After setting up the product name and description, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll find options to set the product price and feature image. There are also options to upload the product and insert the product excerpt. 

this screenshot shows how to add product price and add product image to WordPress with Download Monitor plugins

Once you’re done will all these settings, simply click on the “Publish” button to make it publicly accessible. 

Here is the preview of the digital product that we have just added and published: 

Download Monitor plugin
Congratulations! Now you know how to sell digital products using the Download Monitor plugin. 

How to Secure Your Digital Download Products on WordPress

Protecting your digital downloads is crucial in safeguarding your hard work, creativity, and potential revenue.

Without implementing security measures, such as content locks, the consequences can be disastrous for various reasons.

You put your heart and soul into creating an eBook, software, or other digital content, only to have it available for free to everyone online. Your potential income will be directly lost if you do not protect your products.

So, it’s mandatory to secure your digital products from unauthorized access if you want to make some money out of it. 

You can use the Content Lock feature of the Download Monitor plugin to get this job done.

Ways to Secure Digital Downloads with Download Monitor

The Download Monitor plugin offers robust functionality for protecting digital downloads by imposing restrictions on download links and providing features such as-

Have a look at below screenshot-

Download Monitor plugin

Download Monitor allows users to restrict access to logged-in or paying users, enforce CAPTCHA to prevent unauthorized access, and track downloads to monitor and manage digital products effectively.

Using an all-in-one digital downloads plugin like Download Monitor can help in managing and protecting your digital downloads, making it easier to secure digital products and track downloads.

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your leads into paying customers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress

To stay ahead of the race, you need to be futuristic. In this segment, we will discuss a few tips that will help you to get an idea how digital downloads business is going to be in the near future. Keep reading! 

I) Subscription Models Dominance

The prevalence of subscription-based digital services is on the rise. Consumers are increasingly opting for subscription models for various digital products, including streaming services, software, and premium content.

Subscription models offer users a convenient and cost-effective way to access a variety of digital content without the need for individual purchases.

Popular platforms like Netflix and Spotify have demonstrated the success of this model, providing users with a vast library of content for a fixed monthly fee.

II) Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Content

Digital downloads are undergoing a transformation due to the emergence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) content.

AR and VR technologies are being applied to create immersive and interactive digital experiences.

This trend opens up new possibilities for industries such as gaming, education, and entertainment.

VR-based educational content provides students with immersive learning experiences, and VR gaming experiences can be downloaded and enjoyed on compatible devices.

III) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Personalization

 AI-driven personalized recommendations are becoming increasingly common in digital downloads platforms. AI algorithms analyze user behavior and preferences to offer tailored content suggestions.

Personalization enhances the user experience by presenting relevant content, increasing user engagement, and encouraging repeat downloads. Platforms like Netflix leverage AI to recommend movies and TV shows based on a user’s viewing history and preferences.

IV) Mobile-First Approach

There is a growing emphasis on mobile-friendly digital products and downloads. With the widespread use of smartphones, optimizing digital content for mobile devices is becoming a priority.

Users expect seamless experiences on their mobile devices, and businesses that prioritize a mobile-first approach ensure accessibility and user satisfaction.

Mobile apps are designed to provide users with a convenient way to download and access digital content on the go.

V) Sustainable Digital Products

There is an increasing demand for eco-friendly and sustainable digital products. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of digital consumption.

Sustainable digital products contribute to environmental conservation. For example, companies might prioritize eco-friendly data centers or promote digital products with minimal carbon footprints, aligning with the values of environmentally conscious consumers.

VI) Voice-Activated Digital Downloads

The integration of voice-activated commands for digital purchases is gaining traction. Users can use voice commands to search for, purchase, and access digital content.

Voice-activated technology adds convenience and accessibility to digital downloads. For example, a user could verbally request a specific song or audiobook, and the digital download would be initiated through voice command.

Creating and maintaining an online digital products store is comparatively easier than other eCommerce sites. Because in terms of digital products business, you don’t have to think about shipping and warehouse.

That is why the online digital products business is only getting bigger day by day. 

Let’s find the most popular digital products to sell in 2024 and beyond:  

01. eBooks

Digital books, or eBooks, remain a top-selling digital product. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or specialized guides, people love the convenience of accessing their favorite reads on e-readers, tablets, or smartphones. 

Stats show that the popularity of eBooks will only rise in the upcoming years.

According to Grand View Research, the global eBook market size was $25.97 billion in 2022 and it’s projected to reach $35.67 billion by 2027 (CAGR of 6.3%). 

02. Online Courses

Knowledge is power, and the e-learning market is on fire. Share your expertise in coding, marketing, creative writing, or personal development – the world is your online classroom! 

Craft engaging courses, offer targeted resources, or host interactive workshops, empowering learners to level up their skills and unlock new horizons.

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your traffic into email subscribers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress.

03. Software as a Service (SaaS)

This involves selling access to software on a subscription basis. Instead of purchasing the software outright, customers pay a regular fee to use the software, typically on a monthly or yearly basis. 

This model is popular for various types of software, including project management tools, graphic design software, accounting software, and more.

04. Music and Podcasts

This digital product category includes selling individual songs, albums, and playlists, as well as offering access to podcasts. Customers can purchase and download their favorite music to listen to at their convenience, or subscribe to podcasts for a regular stream of content.

Connect with listeners on a personal level and build a devoted community around your audio creations.

05. Printables and Templates

Printables and templates encompass a wide range of digital products, including planners, calendars, business card templates, invitations, and more.

Customers can buy these digital files and then print them at home or at a print shop, providing them with customizable and ready-to-use designs.

06. Digital Art and Photography

This category involves selling digital copies of artwork, illustrations, photographs, and other visual content.

Customers can purchase these digital files to use for personal or commercial purposes, such as decorating their websites, social media, or physical spaces.

07. 3D Models and Assets

Selling 3D models and assets involves offering digital designs and objects that can be used in various industries, including gaming, animation, virtual reality, and architectural visualization. 

These digital assets provide creators with ready-made elements to enhance their projects or serve as building blocks for new designs.

Do You Have Any Queries?

Now you know what is a digital download product, how to sell digital downloads, which one is the best WordPress digital download plugin, etc. So, what are you waiting for? 

Follow this comprehensive guide and create your own digital downloads website. Then start selling your digital products by sitting on your home. 

That being said, if you have any further questions regarding this blog or if you want to share any suggestions, feel free to do so using the comment box below.

We always encourage our readers to share their queries with us. We would love to hear from you. Thank you! 

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your traffic into email subscribers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress.

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