Learn How to Add Digital eBook Downloads in WordPress

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This beginner’s tutorial shows you how to add digital eBook downloads in WordPress. Site visitors appreciate freebies, and eBooks are a great way to attract more traffic. The best approach for webmasters is to upload their eBook in Portable Document Format or PDF.

Why Portable Document Format?

PDF has become the industry standard format for document exchange. Back in the day, Adobe offered its free PDF reader, which meant everyone could read these files. Moreover, authors could—and still can—easily convert popular Word processor documents into PDF. It’s a versatile format. You can open PDF files on computers, smartphones, and other mobiles devices.

Other reasons why PDF eBooks are so popular include:

  • Easy on the eyes, quick to scan
  • Can include text, images, multimedia, and 3D, maps, etc.
  • Viewable on all popular platforms and easy to print
  • Password protection (optional)
  • Digital signature and certificates (optional)
  • Ultra-reliable, bug-free universal format

PDF eBook Attraction for Webmasters

A PDF giveaway can be a great way to attract an audience. Websites that regularly offer interesting downloads gain popularity and get to increase traffic. Free downloads also get visitors interacting with the site. You can offer topical eBooks as a gift to grow a mailing list (more on that below). Lastly, some webmasters make money selling popular eBooks at attractive prices.

Grow a Mailing List with eBook Giveaways

There’s nothing new about eBook giveaways in PDF format, but it’s still relevant. It’s a time-tested incentive and effective strategy for site and store owners to grow mailing lists. Most important of all is to offer high-quality, well-written, and well-presented content on single topics. Some webmasters break larger PDF files into a mini-series, which is even more appealing.

Promotion Matters

The secret is to promote the eBook but without the hard sell. The idea is to convince readers that the eBook offers something they need to know. Interested parties then enter their name and a valid email into a simple sign-up form to get the free download. Consider using a pop-up eBook banner as a reminder on your WordPress website or blog.

Ways to add eBook Downloads in WordPress

How you offer eBooks to site visitors depends on what you’re trying to do. The two approaches are direct download from a post or page and custom opt-in forms.

Direct PDF eBook Downloads

The usual method is to upload the file to a WP page or post. Skip to “Add eBook to WordPress Posts’ below if you’ve already added the eBook and cover image to the WP Media Gallery.

Prepare your WordPress eBook for upload

Log in to your WP Dashboard.

Go to Media => Add new from the side menu.

Drag and drop or upload the eBook and image files from your computer.

The new files are now available from your WordPress Media Library. You can add the Attachment Details now in the right-side column of the Media Library, or do it later.

Point to note: Make sure the size of your eBook doesn’t exceed the maximum upload size in WordPress. If it does, you need to use FTP to upload the file to your hosting server.

File Path: /wp-content/uploads/date/month, e.g., /wp-content/uploads/2020/10

Add an eBook download to your WordPress post

You can add a simple text link for your eBook download, but a cover image is more eye-catching. In this section, we add the PDF download link to an eBook image.

Go to Posts => All Posts from the side menu.

Click the Add New button to create a new post or the Edit link to open an existing one.

Put the cursor in the post edit window where you want to attach the new eBook.

  1. Click the Add Block icon (+)
  2. Select the Image block

Next, click the Media Library button.

You’re now at the Select or Upload Media screen.

  1. Select your eBook cover image from the Media Library tab
  2. Add Attachment details if they’re missing
  3. Click the Select button

The eBook cover image is now attached to your WordPress post.

  1. Click an empty area of the edit screen and select the Add Block icon (+)
  2. Select the File block from the options box

This takes you back to the Select or Upload Media screen.

  1. Select your eBook file in the Media Library
  2. Click the Copy URL button from the bottom of the Attachment Details column
  3. Close the Media Library

Closing the Media Library returns you to then Post Edit screen.

  1. Click your eBook cover image to select it
  2. Click the Insert link from the pop-up toolbar

We’re now going to add the link to the eBook cover image.

  1. Paste the URL you just copied from the Media Library into the link box
  2. Click Apply
  3. Click outside the image to close the link box
  4. Save the changes
  5. Click the Preview link to test

You have now added a download link to your eBook cover image.

It’s a good idea to have the PDF file open in a new tab so that visitors don’t leave your site.

Click the eBook cover image to select it, and then:

  1. Click the link button on the popup toolbar
  2. Click the Link Settings dropdown arrow

In the link settings popup box below, click the toggle switch to Open in new tab.

Click outside the box to close it.

Save the post and preview it to test the link.

In the link settings popup box below, click the toggle switch to Open in new tab.

Click outside the box to close it.

Save the post and preview it to test the link.

Non-direct eBook Downloads

Some webmasters want a return for giving away a free eBook download. That might be to build an email list or boost conversion rates for a site that sells products or services. E-books can also contain affiliate links or links back to the site to get return visits. An online business may also sell eBooks to a targeted audience directly from the site.

Downloads in exchange for a call to action (CTA) must stand out and offer something unique. There are some excellent free and premium WordPress plugins for this purpose.

Why download your digital book?

Non-direct eBook downloads require people to do something in return for the gift. The usual request is to ask visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, but it could be anything. Most web surfers don’t give names and email addresses out willy-nilly. That’s why non-direct downloads must convince the visitor the eBook is worth the small data exchange.

Consider the following tactics to encourage visitors to download your eBook.

  • Offer something unique and of value
  • Promise solutions to problems
  • Use an impressive custom sign-up form to entice visitors
  • Keep sign up forms simple. Fields for name and email are usually enough

In short, put yourself in the mind of the visitor by asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’

Closing Comments

There are several ways and reasons to offer downloadable eBooks in WordPress. Creative webmasters use this proven strategy to make the site more popular, build email lists, or to sell products or services. To be successful, the content has to offer something the visitor wants. Ask yourself this question, ‘Would I be interested in this PDF download if it were offered to me?’

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