Ready to start selling e-books on WordPress? Tired of paying fees to list your e-book on Amazon or another eCommerce site? WordPress is more than capable of facilitating your e-book store cutting the middleman out. Selling e-books with WordPress has never been easier before thanks to the native ability of WooCommerce to sell digital downloads as well as e-book plugins available for WordPress.
Benefits of Selling E-books with WordPress WooCommerce…
- Low fees: the price of selling with WordPress can be as high or as low as you make it. The fees involved with WordPress are simple. To start off you’ll need somewhere to host your WordPress site.
You have a few options when it comes to hosting WordPress. The first is to go the self-hosted route which involves having your own VPS where you can install WordPress (this option would be best for someone with WordPress experience and in setting up and managing a VPS). The second option for hosting WordPress is to go with a shared or low-budget WordPress hosting provider. Going with a shared hosting provider is great if you want to keep hosting costs low and are just starting off, but also comes with its drawbacks. It really depends on which shared or low-budget hosting company you go with and how much work you want to put into getting your WordPress up. The third option would be to go with a managed WordPress hosting provider. We covered some of the benefits of going with managed WordPress hosting in 9 Reasons to Choose Managed WordPress Hosting. In summary, managed WordPress hosting will cost a bit more than typical hosting but will save you time and offer better support when it comes to setting up your WordPress e-book store. Managed WordPress hosting also comes with some premium features such as CDN, premium DNS, caching, security, and smart updates just to list a few.
An essential part of any WordPress site is the theme. The great part is that you have an abundance of themes to choose from and most themes come pre-compatible with WooCommerce. You have the choice of a free theme, a purchased theme or you can go with a more premium theme designed for e-book stores that’ll cost you a bit more. There are many themes to choose from if you’re just starting out you can go with a simple theme that won’t break the bank and you can always upgrade to a premium theme at a later date. Changing the theme of WordPress couldn’t be easier and none of your products or settings would be affected by it.
WooCommerce for WordPress has 2 popular payment module plugins you can use for your e-book store. The first is the WordPress Stripe plugin for WooCommerce which receives frequent updates and works with Apple Pay. And the second is the WooCommerce PayPal plugin which also receives frequent updates and supports express checkout. Of course, you can configure a range of other payment gateways by installing the necessary plugin.
Additional fees can also arise if you decide to get paid WordPress plugins to enhance your store.
- SEO: WordPress has some of the most advanced SEO any CMS or eCommerce platform can offer. As such your site will benefit from WordPress SEO using the WooCommerce WordPress plugin. SEO is one of those things that should not be neglected. Unless you plan to promote your store through ads and social media searches will be the main way people find your store. For this reason, you want to make sure your site appears high on searches. The best way to achieve a high index is through SEO something that WordPress makes easy to use.
Blogging can also be a great way to boost your search ranking by targeting various keywords. If you decide to have a blog along with your store to boost its search ranking then you won’t be required to install or configure any additional software. With WordPress, you have a store and blog in one.
- Plugins: As of writing this there are just under 55,000 WordPress plugins available to choose from. You can install just about any plugin you would need to run an online store, especially an e-book store. Want to add analytics? There’s a plugin for that…Want to add in a contact form? There’s also a plugin for that…Want to create an email subscription? Yep, there’s a plugin for that. There are also a few paid and free plugins for selling e-books. One plugin in particular (Ebook Store) allows encryption and watermark of e-books.
- Automated and simple to use: WooCommerce for WordPress allows you to automate the entire sales process. No more sending individual e-books to clients. All you have to do is upload your e-book to WooCommerce and it’ll create a link your clients can download from each time they make a purchase. This lets you focus on marketing your e-book and handling customer requests. The WooCommerce plugin for WordPress is also very easy to use with tons of resources online. A Google search will bring up multiple solutions and walkthrough to solving your issues.
Step 1: Install WooCommerce…
Start off by navigating to Plugins > Add New in the WordPress sidebar
Search for the WooCommerce plugin in the WordPress plugin directory. Once you’ve searched for WooCommerce click Install Now for the plugin by Automattic.
Next click Activate to activate the WooCommerce plugin.
Step 2: Configuring WooCommerce
Now we need to configure our store with WooCommerce by following the setup wizard that pops-up after clicking Activate.
WooCommerce will ask for your store’s address and currency.
We move on to the next step: Payment Setup.
From here we can choose to activate the payment module of our choice. You can choose whichever payment module you prefer best or both.
Up next we’re presented with setting up shipping for our store.
Since this is an e-book store and there’s nothing to ship we can just disable both shipping zones and move on to the next step.
This next step assesses the compatibility of your WordPress theme with WooCommerce. We also have the option to enable automated taxes.
You should seek advice from a financial consultant as to what the tax laws are in your state for selling e-books online and adjust your store as such. WooCommerce has a really neat tax module that handles all the taxes for your products based on the percent you input. You can skip this step altogether and come back to it later if you wish.
For now, we can skip the next step and come back to it later.
Jetpack is a useful tool but not all of its features are free. We recommend doing some research on Jetpack before activating it.
Phew! Finally, we’re done with configuring WooCommerce and can move onto creating a product for our e-book store.
Click on create a product and start configuring your first Woocommerce e-book product.
Now we move on to configuring an e-book product in WooCommerce.
Here we specify the title of our e-book and add a full description of the e-book. This is the description users will see when clicking on your e-book.
We can configure the settings for our product and price in this next step.
You’ll want to make sure you select Downloadable and then upload a file of your e-book. Here you can also set the price, and download limit, as well as download expiry. The product short description is where you add a small excerpt of your product that the user will see on the store page.
You have a range of options and configurations to choose from with WooCommerce and if there’s something missing you can always try finding a plugin.
Now that we’ve installed & configured WooCommerce for WordPress and added our first e-book product we’re all set to start selling from our store.
If you want more features such as e-book encryption, watermark, and security we recommend checking out the paid E-book Store plugin for WordPress which works with WooCommerce. This plugin is great if you want to protect your e-book(s) from piracy and reselling.