With 33.3% of the world’s population shopping online, selling digital products is one of the most profitable businesses in 2023. The key to success is choosing a high-demand digital product and marketing it effectively to your target customers.
Whether you’re looking for a new source of income or just want to make money online through a side hustle, this guide reveals the right way to sell digital products using WordPress.
But first, let’s explore what digital products are, the benefits they offer in comparison to their physical counterparts and some of the best digital products to sell.
Digital products 101: What are they?
Also called e-goods, a digital product is any commodity or asset created, distributed and consumed online. These products only exist online and can’t be felt or touched.
A digital product can fall into one of three broad categories:
- Content: These are products whose values lie in the information they provide. The content here can be educational, informative or entertaining. Content-based digital products include e-books, online courses and webinars.
- Tools and utilities: These digital products help users accomplish specific tasks. An example is an application software like Adobe Photoshop, which allows you to create and edit images.
- Services: An online service refers to any service provided over the internet. Examples include online translation and consultation.
Why sell digital products?
As the world becomes more digitized, there’s a growing global audience for digital products. For example, the digital media market is valued at $627.7 billion as of 2023 and is estimated to soar to $848.5 billion by 2027.
If you want to tap into this thriving industry, there’s no better time than now. But before we show you how to sell online, let’s look at the benefits of digital products over physical products.
Benefits of selling digital products over physical products
Digital products offer several advantages over their physical counterparts. Here are the most notable benefits:
Low start-up and overhead costs
Digital products require minimal capital to start. In fact, some online businesses only require a computer and specialized knowledge or skill.
Overhead costs are also minimal. For example, you don’t have to worry about storage and shipping. Once you create your product, the only major operating expenses are web hosting (or a subscription to a third-party eCommerce platform) and marketing.
With physical products, you have to budget for several additional costs, including manufacturing, storage, packaging, labor and shipping costs.
Instant delivery is one of the hallmarks of selling digital products. Customers typically receive their products immediately after making a purchase, often via a download link or access to an online interface.
On the other hand, physical products, even when sold online, require shipping. This can take days or even weeks and is susceptible to issues like misdelivery, damage or loss of products.
Steady passive income
But with physical products, you have to constantly manage and restock inventory. There’s a perpetual threat of products running out of stock, leading to lost sales.
Unlike physical products, digital products aren’t constrained by geographical location or the hours you put into your small business.
You can continuously expand your reach without a significant increase in expenses. You don’t have to worry about extra storage space or shipping complexities as your business grows.
Higher profit margins
Digital products have higher profit margins than physical products due to their relatively lower production costs.
Plus, as mentioned, once you develop your product, you can sell it to an unlimited number of people without ever needing to restock. Basically, every sale beyond the initial production is nearly pure profit.
Best digital products to sell
- Online courses
- Stock photos and graphics
- Templates and themes
- Software and mobile apps
- Memberships and subscriptions
- Music and audio files
- Video games
While there’s a wide range of digital products to sell, here are the most profitable options to consider:
E-books are a cost-effective way to provide value to your target customers. The e-book market is expected to hit $14.16 billion in 2023 and $15.33 billion by 2027. You can write e-books on several topics, including fitness, cooking, self-help, business and fiction.
Share your knowledge by creating an online course. The course can be text-based, video-based or a combination of both. There are many high-demand subjects to choose from, including photography, creative writing and web design.
Stock photos and graphics
If you’re a photographer or graphic designer, you can sell your creations as stock photos or digital art. You can sell photos via your own website or stock image websites like Shutterstock and Unsplash. You can also sell graphics on platforms such as Canva.
Templates and themes
Simplify the content creation process for others by developing and selling website templates and WordPress themes. You can also sell templates for PowerPoint presentations, invoices and resumes.
Software and mobile apps
If you’re a web developer or coding enthusiast, you can build application software that solves specific problems. Time management apps, fitness trackers and financial budgeting tools are just a few of the many apps to choose from.
Memberships and subscriptions
You can sell memberships or subscriptions that provide access to premium digital products or services, including online courses and industry-specific insights. With the right strategy, you can build a loyal customer base and thus generate a reliable source of income.
Music and audio
The advent of technology means that even independent artists now have the means to produce high-quality digital files and sell them to global audiences. There’s a vast online market for various music and audio content, from songs and beats to instrument samples, sound effects and podcasts.
The indie gaming sector is surging. A survey by YouGov revealed a 17% increase in the number of PC and console gamers who played indie games in 2022, up from 13% in 2021. Therefore, this could be another lucrative niche for talented developers.
Make written words beautiful with custom fonts. Designers and businesses are constantly looking for unique typography that amplifies their content’s allure and resonates with their branding.
Video is another digital product with vast monetization potential. People spend an average of 17 hours watching online videos per week. Examples of videos you can make and sell include short films, documentaries, comedies, drone footage and product views.
These are not the only digital products you can sell. There are many more, including printables, tutorials and software integrations. Do your research to determine the best type of digital product to sell. You also need to choose the right platform to sell products online. One of these is WordPress.
Why sell digital products using WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s leading content management system, powering over 43.2% of all websites. It stands out as a top choice for selling digital products for several compelling reasons.
- Customizability: WordPress offers advanced customization options. With a plethora of pre-designed themes, plugins and templates, you can customize your website to align with your branding.
- User-friendliness: WordPress is easy to use, even for beginners. Its intuitive design ensures that setting up a digital storefront is swift and hassle-free, regardless of your tech proficiency.
- Affordability: The WordPress core software is free, plus it houses an expansive library of cost-effective and free themes and plugins to amplify your website’s capabilities.
- Strong community support: WordPress comes with a vast and active user community. So, if you encounter any difficulties, you’re almost certain to find a solution from members of this community.
Now that you know the advantages of using WordPress to sell digital products, it’s time to launch your online business.
How to sell digital products on WordPress
1. Define your niche.
2. Identify your audience.
3. Create your digital product.
4. Create your WordPress website.
5. Install an eCommerce plugin.
6. Add products to your store.
7. Set up payment processing.
8. Customize your online store.
9. Test and launch your store.
When you’re ready to start selling digital products, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
1. Define your niche
If you want to become a successful online entrepreneur, defining your niche is the first step to take. A great way to identify your niche is to reflect on your interests, experiences and hobbies.
Defining your niche involves in-depth market research. This allows you to determine if there’s an actual demand for the product you intend to sell. Tools like Google Trends can help gauge consumer interest in your product.
2. Identify your audience
Identifying your target audience is essential to the success of your online business. To determine who your customers are, provide answers to these key questions:
- Where are your potential customers located?
- How old are they?
- What is their purchasing power?
- What are their pain points and preferences?
Use the answers to these questions to create a comprehensive buyer persona. This tailored profile will not only guide your product design but will also be instrumental when developing your marketing strategies, helping you meet the unique needs of your target audience.
3. Create your digital product
With a clear idea of your niche, product and target audience, it’s time to bring your idea to life. Whether it’s an e-book, online course or software, use the information you gleaned about your target audience to create a high-quality product that best meets their needs.
4. Create your WordPress website
While there’s an option to hire web developers, you can cut costs by creating a WordPress website yourself.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Secure a domain name: Use the Bluehost domain name checker to see if your preferred name is available (or to get some great suggestions if you’re stuck for ideas).
- Sign up for web hosting: Choose a reliable web host like Bluehost that offers custom hosting plans for WordPress. Hosting your website with Bluehost entitles you to extra perks like a free domain name and SSL certificate, depending on your plan.
- Install WordPress: Many hosting providers, including Bluehost, offer one-click WordPress installations. Alternatively, you can manually install the software by downloading it directly from the WordPress official portal.
- Choose a theme: WordPress offers thousands of free and premium themes to cater to diverse tastes and requirements. Choose a theme that resonates with your brand’s ethos.
5. Install an eCommerce plugin
Once your website is set up, the next step is to install a specialized plugin for selling digital products. These plugins offer a suite of tools to help you showcase and sell products online.
There are myriad options to choose from. In-depth research can help you choose the plugin that best meets your needs. Here are a few top choices:
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Digital Goods for WooCommerce Checkout
- WordPress iSell
- Download Monitor
6. Add products to your store
After activating your eCommerce plugin, it’s time to add products to your store.
While most eCommerce plugins come with instructions on how to add products, you can also do a quick search online. When adding new products to your store, be sure to include relevant details such as the name, description, images and price.
7. Set up payment processing
Select a payment gateway (e.g., PayPal, Stripe or Square) that’s supported by your chosen eCommerce plugin and is convenient for your target customers. Follow the instructions provided by your plugin to integrate your payment gateway with your store and configure essential settings like currency and tax.
8. Customize your online store
If you want to enhance your store’s appearance and functionality before it goes live, you can do that using plugins. On your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and search for the plugins you need. You can use these plugins to customize your store as desired.
9. Test and launch your store
It’s important to test your website before it goes live. For example, you can make a mock purchase. This allows you to verify that the payment process and product delivery mechanism work seamlessly.
You can also test other elements that can affect your website’s user experience, such as page loading speeds or responsiveness across different devices. Once you’ve rectified all issues, you’re ready to start selling digital products.
How to market digital products
Selling digital products involves more than just launching an online store. You also need to market your brand to enhance visibility, expand your reach and maximize sales.
Here are some top marketing strategies to implement:
- Content marketing: Regularly create and publish valuable content (e.g., blog posts) that resonate with your target audience. Effective content marketing can help you build authority in your niche and drive conversions.
- Social media marketing: Create social media accounts on popular platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Use these marketing channels to engage with your target audience and promote your products.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Research and implement SEO best practices (e.g., including relevant keywords, meta descriptions and tags) to improve your website’s ranking on search engines.
- Email marketing: Build an email list of both existing and prospective customers and use it to promote your brand, offer exclusive deals and keep shoppers engaged.
- Influencer marketing: Partner with famous influencers in your niche or industry to promote your products and online store to their followers.
- Paid advertising: Set up ad campaigns on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google AdWords to drive targeted traffic to your website.
Final thoughts: How to sell digital products using WordPress
Digital products are a goldmine for those with the right skills and tools. You can break into this booming market by following the steps outlined in this guide.
While a high-demand product is vital for profitability, you need a solid foundation to become successful as an online entrepreneur. That’s why you must choose a reliable web host.
Bluehost is a trusted provider of WordPress hosting. With lightning-fast speeds, robust security and 24/7 customer support, we provide an optimal environment for your online business to thrive.
Explore Bluehost’s WordPress hosting plans today to learn more.
How to sell digital products: FAQs
Selling digital products can be highly profitable. The overheads are low since you don’t have to hold any inventory or ship products. Additionally, you can sell an unlimited number of digital products without incurring additional production expenses.
Some of the most profitable digital products are:
● E-books and audiobooks
● Online courses
● Membership sites
● Music and art
● Digital templates and software
No, you don’t need a website to sell digital products. You can use online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon. However, having your own website provides more control over elements like branding, pricing and promotion. Furthermore, a professional website can improve your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.
The primary challenge of selling digital products is the potential for piracy and unauthorized sharing. Once downloaded, some digital products can be redistributed without your consent, hurting sales and profitability.
To create a digital product, identify a market need and conceptualize a digital product idea that meets that need. Next, allocate time to develop the product. Finally, create an effective marketing strategy that drives conversions and gives you a competitive edge.