For many entrepreneurs looking to start an online business selling digital products like an ebook, music, or software, WordPress is a good choice as it is either free or one of the cheapest options for getting a website. There are many Free WordPress digital downloads plugins, but knowing which plugins you should choose isn’t easy.
So that is why we are showcasing our favorite 10 must-have Free WordPress digital downloads plugins we think you need to get your online business started.
First here is some background info about WordPress for those of you who haven’t heard of it before.
Alternatively, you can skip down to our list of 10 must have digital downloads plugins if you are familiar with WordPress.
WordPress is a popular free blogging tool that is used for both blogs and websites. It is very easy to install and to use, which is why there are over 70 million WordPress sites in the world.
You can have a free WordPress hosted site however most people starting an online business selling digital downloads will prefer to upgrade and have a premium site with their own domain. One of the good things about WordPress is that many hosting companies have WordPress installs available so it’s very easy to set one up even for non-techies.
One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress is the huge number of free or paid themes available so you can make your site look however you want without any programming. The other major benefit of WordPress is that it has over 26,000 plugins available which cover every type of tool you can think of.
Our top 10 must have Free WordPress digital downloads plugins for starting an online business
#1 SEO and search traffic is crucial – All in One SEO Pack
A website is like an isolated island in a big internet ocean. You need potential customers coming to your website. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) is the process of making your site Search Engine friendly so that it will help it rank better in Google search results.
89% of users click on a link of the first page of their search results so good SEO is extremely cost effective and an efficient way of getting customers.
Just do your own Google search and you will see how much information and discussion there is about SEO, so don’t expect miracles.
SEO it is not easy, it’s not quick, it’s complex and constantly changing. So a good starting point is the fundamentals like adding a Title, Description, and Keywords for your posts.
All in One SEO pack is one of the most popular plugins in this area with over 15 million downloads. Alternatively, the other popular SEO plugin is WordPress SEO by Yoast which has a lot of settings and sitemap options to configure before you start so may be suited to the more adventurous newbies. Both are great plugins.
#2 WordPress ecommerce for digital downloads – Selz
One of the most important things entrepreneurs starting an online business is being able to accept payments online securely. This can often be one of the biggest headaches either with obtaining a merchant account or with the programming and integration with their website. After all, you can’t have an online business if you can’t sell your digital goods online.
Selz is an Ecommerce platform to sell digital downloads like videos, indie games, software, music, or ebooks.
You can use Selz to sell physical or digital downloads from a site in minutes with no programming. The benefit of using Selz:
- Free to join and use
- Free online store page your own domain name
- Free Facebook Store
- Free file hosting for digital products like ebooks, games, files
- Options like PDF stamping and license keys to secure your digital products
- No merchant account is needed
- No monthly fees or costly extensions
- No programming needed
- Secure processing of credit card payments
- Integrated with Google Analytics
- Simple pricing means you only pay a small fee when you sell something
- Automated Digital File Delivery (excellent for ebooks, software, or games)
Alternatively, you can download the Selz Free WordPress Ecommerce plugin that makes selling from WordPress super easy.
One of the best things about using Selz is that your customers will find it easy and quick to purchase without having to leave your site. Once your customer clicks on the Buy Now button, they complete their name, email and credit card details, and then automatically download the file if it is a digital product being sold like an ebook or game.
#3 Don’t miss out on your Google Juice – Google XML Sitemaps
This is a good easy to use sitemap generator for your blog which helps you get indexed by the major search engines. The format is supported by Ask.com, Google. Yahoo and Bing. The plugin automatically rebuilds a sitemap when you make a change to your blog and notifies Google and Bing that there has been an update.
#4 Social Commenting – Disqus
Disqus is a popular plugin for social commenting. It makes commenting easier as users don’t have to register every time they want to comment on a new blog.
A person can use one Disqus profile across multiple sites. Disqus helps comment authenticity and social sharing as users can link the Disqus profile to their social network profiles like Facebook or Twitter.
It replaces the WordPress comment system.
#5 Capturing emails – MaxBlogPress Opt in Form Adders
A good way to build a passionate community is to build a mailing list for regular newsletters or email updates. There are some effective plugins available that can help with building a mailing list.
You have two ways to ask visitors to subscribe to your list. First, you put a contact opt-in form on your website for people to enter their email details. This is a must.
A free plugin you can use to create an opt-in form is MaxBlogPress Optin Form Adders plugin. It is a free version of the popular Maxblog Press Subscribers Magnet. It has a lot of the main functionality with a few exceptions like autocomplete missing.
MailChimp is great as it’s Free for anyone with less than 1000 email subscribers and a maximum of 6000 emails sent a month.
With MailChimp you can create autoresponders, campaigns, customized email templates. You can also create customized registration forms with it.
Alternatively, you can use a lightbox popup contact form that appears when a visitor comes to your site. Some people don’t like them as they think they are intrusive and create a bad user experience.
Interestingly, Dan Zarella, a social media scientist, did some research on his own site to see how his email capture pop up affected the bounce rate and email subscription rates.
He found the bounce rate was hardly affected, 75.13% without a popup to 75.66% with a popup. However, there was a dramatic increase in the email subscription rate from 1.52% without popup to 3.08% with a popup – a 203% increase. This one is a no brainer.
Both include loads of features including the ability to limit how frequently visitors to your site will see the popup, or you can choose to only show it on certain pages or categories.
Both plugins have a range of templates to choose from or you can tweak the design to match your sites. You can also do split testing of different popups to measure which one has the best conversion rate.
Unfortunately, Pippity and Popupdomination plugins are not free, Pippity costs $49 and Popupdomination is $77. So although not free they are not expensive if one of your primary objectives is to build a mailing list.
#6 Measure your business – Google Analytics for WordPress
Google Analytics is a fantastic free tool for measuring web traffic and visitor behavior on your site which accounts for The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin having been downloaded almost 5 million times.
The plugin easily connects to your Google Analytics and Google Adsense accounts. It uses the Google Analytics tracking code to automatically track your blog easily with lots of metadata like views per author or category, or automatic tracking of outbound clicks.
#7 Speed is important – W3 cache
Speed is important not only for car enthusiasts like Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson but also for user experience and lowering your website load time plays an important role in improving your site’s search rankings with Google. W3 Total Cache allows you to cache your WordPress site and improve your page loading time.
#8 Avoiding Spam – Block Spam by Math Reloaded
Spam, spam, spam, spam is not only the chant from Monty Python but also a pain if you are constantly having to moderate them. We walk a fine line with trying to stop automated spam comments and making it too much hassle for visitors to leave genuine comments.
You will all have come across those Captcha’s that ask you to enter the words or letters that are impossible to read. How many of you have given up after the second attempt?
I first came across this simple way of stopping automated bots on a Vodafone website. I liked the simplicity of the easy maths question e.g. 8+4 =
Another widely used tool to help manage spam comments is called Akismet. Askimet comes with WordPress and is free for personal blogs, however there is a paid subscription for businesses and commercial sites. It is used to automatically to move suspected spam comments to the spam queue which reduces the time lost moderating your blog.
#9 Social Sharing – Sharebar Plugin
Getting people to share your content is an important strategy for getting people to visit your site. This WordPress plugin adds a dynamic floating range of share buttons to the left of your articles. You can customise what social buttons you want to share.
#10 Creating Comparison Tables – TablePress Plugin
You may think this is an unusual choice. However, comparison tables are a fantastic way to list your features against a competitor, or to show feature bundles. And if you don’t know HTML it is very difficult to create tables for your WordPress pages or posts. You normally resort to using images of tables created using other tools. This plugin solves that by allowing you to add tables easily.
What about you?
Apart from the 10 essential WordPress plugins showcased here, there are thousands of plugins available. Between helpful plugins and platforms like Selz, WordPress Ecommerce doesn’t have to be a hassle.
Let us know if you’re already selling online and have a favorite WordPress plugin not listed here.