One of my new favourite plugins is without a doubt Easy Digital Downloads for the way it makes delivering downloads to your users so incredibly easy, whether the downloads are free, or paid.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is the brainchild of Pippin Williamson, a WordPress developer from Kansas, whom I greatly admire, I might add. He’s a no-bullshit kind of person and writes plugins to solve real problems, and does so elegantly.
Pippin saw a big gap in plugins that help you deliver digital products to your users. The plugins were either too simple, badly coded and useless, or way too complex and bloated. So he set out to rectify that.
A few days later, Easy Digital Downloads was born and was a raging success. One of the reasons I admire Pippin so much is that his code is very clean and well done, and he continues to update and better his products. So Easy Digital Downloads is a safe bet for anyone trying to deliver downloads in a sleek way.
Adding new products
Once you install the plugin, a new admin menu will appear in your dashboard, allowing you to configure the plugin and start adding new downloads.
When adding new downloads, you’ll have several options that will help you configure how you want the download to appear and be delivered. You can enter a title and a description, as you normally would, but then a new meta box called Download Configuration will appear, which is where you can set up all the settings for the download, like all the files that should be included (can be multiple products in one download), the price for the download (if you want to charge for it), and what the purchase link should look like.
You can even allow variable pricing, with several different levels for each product. A great use of this feature is to enable pay-what-you-can pricing, where people can download for free if they want, or they can pay if they feel so inclined.
Easy Digital Downloads has a whole host of features that should cover most people who are looking to sell digital downloads. For example, it has native functionality for allowing coupon codes, using categories and tags within your downloads, creating sales reports and allowing users to view their purchase history.
You can also configure your currency, as well as the emails that are sent out upon a successful transaction. Furthermore, you have the option to modify the style of the plugin and how it displays the purchase buttons.
Another cool feature is that each download gets its own shortcode for adding a purchase button, so if you want to promote a product in several places on your site, including posts, pages, and widgets, just drop in the shortcode and it will insert a button for buying the product, making it very versatile.
Lastly, for those who are inclined to making changes, Pippin has made his code very modular, so you can easily hook into his plugin and make any desired changes.
The cart and checking out
Easy Digital Downloads uses an AJAXified widget for adding your products to the cart and a nice interface for checking out. You’ll see all of your products and the subtotal, before being asked to checkout.
Inherently, the plugin comes with the ability to process payments using PayPal, which is fine for most people. However, trying to accomodate more people, Pippin (and others) have written add-ons for several other gateways, including:
- Google Checkout
- Mercado pago
- PayPal Pro/PayPal Express
So you’ve got a whole lot of options and almost certainly, something that will meet your needs.
In an effort to keep the core code trim and to help with the expense of creating and maintaining this plugin, there’s also a good number of add-ons available, to extend the functionality of the plugin.
In addition to some of the payment gateway add-ons above, there’s add-ons for:
- Easy Digital Downloads Toolbar
- Campaign Monitor
- Genesis framework
- Extra widgets
- Affiliates Pro
- Search widget
- Audio Player
As you can see, there’s a whole lot of functionality here, from allowing people to preview tracks before they purchase theme, to tying in with your mailing list provider, like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor.
I’ve been using Easy Digital Downloads or several months now on a few of my own sites as well as sites of clients and we all love it! It’s my plugin of choice for delivering digital content now.