We’ve talked many times about how to get your ecommerce site up and running within just a few minutes, but you’ll start to notice that the majority of content online is about selling physical products, and we want to fix this. Some of the best ecommerce platforms provide options to sell your own digital products such as eBooks, music and video courses, but they don’t particularly focus on these digital items. There’s only a few platforms out there that do, and Easy Digital Downloads – aka EDD – is one of the more highly respected ones.
Why? It works seamlessly with WordPress, and you really don’t have to start paying for anything until you feel like expanding your store. Let’s take a look at an in-depth review of the Easy Digital Downloads system to see if it’s the right option for you.
Easy Digital Downloads: Features
EDD is a simple plugin for WordPress. Unlike many other plugins you’ll stumble upon, it’s rather lightweight and it doesn’t overpower your website. You can expect the site to move quickly without any problems.
It also provides a state-of-the-art checkout system which is nice for those customers who want to download multiple files at one time. The entire interface is pretty darn smooth, so you don’t have to worry about people getting frustrated and leaving the site before buying anything.
What else comes with Easy Digital Downloads? Your customers receive their own profile so they can always come back and download what they bought.
You can post discount codes for those special summer or holiday discounts. You can also easily track all the payments that go through your site and manage your reports with ease.
Easy Digital Downloads: Ease of Use
The first time I started playing around with EDD I really thought it would be a little amateurish, since it’s completely free and I usually think that the paid premium plugins are the ones that are worthwhile.
However, the plugin was rather simple to download and put onto my site. You just go to their website and click on the Download button. This places the file on your computer which can then be uploaded and activated on your WordPress website.
There’s also a nice product demo for checking out the front end of the site, but this didn’t really tell me anything about the backend and how to setup your products.
Needless to say, the plugin is quite easy to use, since they provide a thorough instructions page right off the bat.
There is a little Downloads tab on the left hand side of your dashboard, and that’s all you really need to know in terms of moving around the plugin.
This tab provides options to add a new product, check your payment history and to see your reports. The only thing that’s a little tedious is combining your current theme with the plugin. You basically have to figure out how your theme works with the plugin, so you may have to jump to a page and place a certain amount of products on this page or set your homepage to feature some of your more popular items.
Easy Digital Downloads: Pricing
The Easy Digital Downloads plugin is completely free. This is one of the main reasons it’s so popular for selling digital products. You might have to pay a little money for your payment processor, but this depends.
The main area where you might have to pay some money is if you go to the Extensions page.
This lets you power up your site a little more with items such as email reports, payment gateways and invoices.
If you pay for three or more extensions you get a 10 percent discount, and they also package together some of the extensions with huge discounts.
Easy Digital Downloads: Setup and Design
Since 65 percent of ecommerce traffic comes from mobile devices, you should definitely consider using a platform that offers mobile responsiveness. This is a another reason Easy Digital Downloads works so well.
Although it depends on the theme you are using, if you opt for a responsive theme, the plugin seems to work quite well so that everyone who uses mobile devices can see your products okay.
The only word I can use to describe the Easy Digital Downloads design is minimalistic. They don’t have any bells and whistles included, so you can work on your own CSS styling to make the site look the way you want.
All you have to do is upload an image, punch in a description for the products and implement a button for people to buy from you.
Easy Digital Downloads: Managing Your Inventory
Let’s say you want to add a few digital products to your website. All you have to do is click on the Add New button under the Downloads tab in your WordPress toolbar, and then it gives you a WordPress editor page just like you were about to write a blog post.
At the bottom of the page you can type in a price for the download and include various other details such as product type, notes, the download link and an image. Feel free to also change how many times a single person can download the file.
SEO and Marketing
EDD doesn’t seem to have any built-in SEO or marketing tools, so you either have to add your own WordPress plugins or purchase some of the items they sell in the extensions store. This isn’t a huge problem since WordPress allows you to add pretty much anything and this plugin is completely free.
Payments and Security
If you go to the Settings page you’ll find a Payment Gateways option to play around with the payment systems you can use. Once again, various other payment gateways are available in the Extensions Store, but by default you can implement a PayPal payment gateway.
It’s pretty simple to setup, and from what I’ve read you shouldn't have to worry much about security, although I had some trouble finding documentation about security on the Easy Digital Downloads website.
The Easy Digital Downloads support is incredible. In short, the company provides Forums, FAQs and an area to submit your own tickets if you have any questions.
The Easy Digital Downloads plugin is extremely lightweight and easy to use, so it would be my first choice if I were planning on selling some eBooks or songs, so feel free to give it a try, since you can always just uninstall it if you find it isn’t a fit for your site.
Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about this Easy Digital Downloads review.