Digital products like eBooks, cheat sheets, checklists and videos appear to be the way forward for bloggers looking to earn a living. They’re a popular choice because they’re easy to market, simple to package and can sold at the click of a button.

These days you don’t even need a fancy WooCommerce installation or a full blown ecommerce shop. All you need is a blog, a product and a way to sell it.

There have been lots of innovation and competition for different solutions for mobile payments in store. But for online payments, credit cards and PayPal still dominate.

PayPal remains a popular choice for bloggers because its secure, quick and easy to use. Over 144 million people already have an account and if they don’t, it’s quick to set up. So when you’re looking to sell a digital product, offering PayPal as a payment option makes perfect sense and can increase your sales by 25%.

With this in mind I’m going to talk you through three different ways you can use PayPal to sell your digital products from your WordPress website. The best thing is, it only take a few minutes to get up and running.

How to sell products direct with PayPal

You’ve created a digital product – let’s say it’s an eBook – and you’re ready to start selling it. So you’ve got past the first hurdle.

Bloggers with little or no technical skills who want selling a product from a blog often choose to use the distinctive PayPal button (notice the new design that is available).

New And Old PayPal Buttons

PayPal is a solid secure system and easy to implement. The customer having purchased your eBook is sent to a blog page with a link to download the file or eBook.

Let’s walk through the setup process to see how easy it is.

Step-by-step installation guide

  1. Sign into PayPal
  2. Got to “Profile”
  3. Select “My Selling Tools”
  4. Click “Website Preferences”
  5. Turn on “Auto Return for Website Payments”
  6. Turn off “PayPal Account Optional”
  7. Save and head to “Merchant Services”
  8. Select “Website Payments”
  9. Choose “By Now Buttons”
  10. Fill out “Step 1”
  11. Scroll down to “Step 3: Customise advanced features”
  12. Tick the “Take customers to this URL when they finish checkout” box
  13. Enter the URL of your product download page
  14. Save your button
  15. Copy and paste the code into your WordPress sales page

Save your page, and now you should have a fully functional PayPal button. For further instructions on setting up your WordPress sales page, this guide from Heather Porter is a great read.

Pros

  • Simple and quick to setup
  • PayPal “Buy” button is well known

Cons

  • Need to open PayPal Premier or Business Account
  • Need to host the download on your own server – no additional features to help you maximize your sales – like video streaming, video previews, analytics, or integrating with MailChimp or AWeber
  • Still using the unattractive PayPal checkout that means customers are transferred away from your site. The PayPal checkout isn’t the simplest or most attractive of pages and it could cost you sales

Using the simple PayPal WordPress plugin

A second alternative you might consider is using one of the many free WordPress Plugins to add PayPal functionality to your website.

WordPress Simple Shopping Cart

The WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is just such a plugin. It allows you sell products from your WordPress website with one click of a button and because you’re setting everything up from within WordPress itself, there’s no third party websites to flick between. Paste a line of code to add a “buy” button or add a product display box that has the product description with a “buy” button.

Customers buying a digital product will automatically receive an email with a link to download the digital file.

The buyer will also be able to download the digital products from the “Thank You” page instantly after payment. You pay the normal PayPal transaction costs per sale.

Product Display Example

Here’s how to set it up.

Step-by-step installation guide

  1. Download the WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plugin from here and upload it to your website
  2. Activate the plugin through your WordPress “Plugins” menu
  3. Click on Settings
  4. Configure the options to your liking. This can include your email address, the name of your shopping cart and the URL users will return to after purchasing
  5. Navigate to a post or page where you’d like your product to appear
  6. Use the trigger text to insert the product into your page
  7. Publish your post/page when you’re ready

Pros

  • Free
  • Automated email sent to customers with a link to download your product
  • Flexible selling services – includes the option of a shopping cart, product display box, and coupons

Cons

  • Files stored on your web hosting account meaning costs could increase and there is a potential of performance issues
  • Checkout involves transferring customer off site to PayPal checkout and then redirecting them back to a Thank You page on your site. PayPal checkout is a pain to experience and could cost you sales
  • Doesn’t include PDF stamping
  • Individually add single products to your blog. To access more features you will need to purchase the premium WP eStore

Sell your digital products easily via Selz

Lastly let’s take a look at the newest kid on the block, Selz and in the interest of full disclosure – I currently work for Selz.

Selz WordPress Plugin

You can use Selz’s free WordPress plugin, but you don’t have to.

You can just copy and paste some lines of code to embed buy buttons, a widget with product description, or a simple store within any page on your site. Then install the paid PayPal app.

A good thing about using PayPal this way is that you get loads of additional features to help you sell more digital downloads like video previews, multiple file downloads, PDF stamping, dropbox downloads, and files can be up to 15GB each.

There are no additional PayPal transaction costs. These are included in Selz fees of 5% + 25c per sale. Selz host the files for you, and hosts the secure checkout.

A customer paying with PayPal using the Selz checkout stays on your site 100% of the time. This helps maximize your sales conversions and helps with keeping customers longer on your site.

Selz Example

The setup is ridiculously simple and quick. Here’s the steps involved:

Step-by-step installation guide

  1. Go to Selz.com and sign up for a free account
  2. Click “Sell an item”
  3. Choose “Digital Item”
  4. Add an image, description, title and price
  5. Add your digital download
  6. Click “Save”
  7. Go to the app Store and install the paid $4.99 per month PayPal unlimited app
  8. Add your product to your site via a link, button or widget by copying and pasting a small amount of code into your html editor of your WordPress post or page
  9. You can also embed your Selz store into your website. Click the “Store” icon in your top right navigation
  10. Copy the embed code
  11. Paste it into a new page on your website (using the html editor)
  12. Publish and you have an instant store showing your products

Pros

  • Simple and quick, loads of features
  • Good for large digital files like video tutorials or software – hosted by Selz for you
  • One Page checkout – helps maximize conversions and keeps customers on your site
  • Paid into Bank account (PayPal outside of US and Australia)
  • Orders and analytics dashboard
  • You can use ordinary PayPal account – PayPal transaction costs are included in Selz fees

Cons

  • No subscriptions yet
  • No affiliate yet
  • Limited ability to customize the look of your embedded store –  customizable online store is possible if linked to from your blog

Final thoughts

The fact is that people shopping online still want to pay using PayPal. The good news is accepting a PayPal payment on your blog with any one of the three options is quick and easy.

So there’s no reason not to offer customers the option of paying with PayPal.

When choosing which solution is best for you, one thing that is often overlooked by bloggers is the customer’s buying experience. When deciding on any ecommerce solution you should do a test purchase of your own product. Place yourself in the shoes of your customer. See how easy it is to buy your product. You want the smoothest checkout process in order to reduce checkout abandonment and to increase your sales.

The other thing to do is to make a list of the important features you need for the digital products you plan on selling. Selling a single PDF is very different to selling video tutorials that are several GB each and includes multiple files.

The final choice comes down to the features you need to sell your digital product. If still undecided, give one or two a try and see how you get on. That’s one of the great things with these three solutions; you can try each of them in just a few minutes.

Posted by Geoff Austin

Geoff is one of the team at Selz and is passionate about helping bloggers turn their passion into a business.