When it’s time to scale your business and build additional streams of income, one of the first things to consider is selling eBooks and courses online. No matter what you do to make money from home, there’s probably a corner in the market for you to set up shop and start making sales. Having an eBook or course is great because it’s a one-time investment of time and effort to create the product and get the shopping cart set up, but the potential payoff is limitless.
If you want to sell a workbook, a printable bundle, a downloadable set of videos, or an ebook, you’re in the land of digital downloads. There’s a huge opportunity here at all different price points, and there are tons of options for you to get started with selling.
When it comes to selling digital products and downloads, Gumroad is by far the leader. It was designed for the express purpose of selling digital products, and one thing people love about Gumroad is that you can integrate it directly into your own site, social sites like Facebook or YouTube, or even an email newsletter service like ConvertKit. They take a portion of each transaction (currently 5%) and a 25-cent transaction fee.
One thing I like about Gumroad is that they pay your affiliates should you choose to use them. Gumroad isn’t your only option, though, and you may decide that it makes more sense for you to go with a platform that structures its fees differently.
Clickbank is an online marketplace designed specifically for digital products, and it’s wildly popular. You’re essentially putting your products in a giant library where millions of shoppers from all over the world are looking for new products. And millions of affiliates looking for products to promote, too!
Easy Digital Downloads is a great plugin you can use if you’re running a WordPress site, and it’ll integrate directly on your site rather than being a separate web presence you’ll have to maintain. It requires a little bit of tech experience to get it all customized the way you like, so be ready for that. Fees range from nothing to $80+, and you’ll have to pay ongoing payment processor fees (like PayPal).
WooCommerce is one of the larger services for online shops, and it’s based on WordPress. It helps if you’re familiar with their system because there’s a special setup for digital products. There’s a one-time licensing fee that you’d pay depending on what you set up, and then your ongoing fees come from whatever payment processor you end up using (like PayPal).
e-Junkie is one of the easiest ways to sell digital products. It gives you buttons you can put anywhere on your site, and your customers can get instant access to whatever they’re buying. The major complaint about e-Junkie is that their own interface isn’t very “pretty,” but it’s been around for a long time because it’s so effective.
SendOwl is another great option for selling your digital products. They have buttons you can put on any site of yours, including social sites, and they connect with major payment processors like PayPal and Merchant.com. There’s a monthly fee for SendOwl, but they don’t take any cuts from your sales.
There are several ways to deliver courses. Doing it via email with links to audio and/or video tracks is a popular way, and any email provider with an automation feature (like MailChimp, Aweber, or ConvertKit) will be a great option for you if you want to go that route. The vast majority of course platforms charge a monthly subscription fee.
If you’re looking for a web-based delivery, where your customer would log in to view your materials and videos, you’ll need to use a service designed for that sort of thing.
One of the big names in courses right now is Udemy. You can harness the power of their big name, but by selling your course on Udemy, you’re limited by their price cap of $50. This works for many courses, but if you’ve got something you’d like to price higher, Udemy wouldn’t work for you.
Teachable is another big name in online courses, with a fantastic interface that lets you do whatever you want with your course page. It offers solid features for a low monthly rate and it supports all types of course media (like videos and audio). It’s a great tool for a decent monthly rate, which is a big part of why it’s become so popular.
For something ideal for beginners, check out CourseCraft. It’s a simple, pay-as-you-go platform that sets you up quickly using one of their templates, with some optional custom branding features. If you’re looking for a bare-bones course platform that lets you get up and running fast, CourseCraft might be right for you.
Academy of Mine is a course platform for anyone, no matter your level of tech knowledge. It also has built-in features that allow you to develop a real community around your courses, where you can get in and interact with the students. That’s a big draw for some developers who don’t want their courses to be completely self-contained.
A similar platform is Ruzuku, which is great for people with limited technical knowledge. Its backend looks a lot like WordPress, which makes it easier to use for many people. It also has built-in live chats and webinar software, email integration, and even teleconferencing.
Both Courses and Products
Shopify is a storefront that can easily work for courses and digital downloads. It was designed for durable goods and will require an extra app called Digital Downloads for you to sell digital products. There’s a monthly fee to use Shopify, but it won’t take a cut from your sales. You can add additional apps as a workaround for video courses, but it’s not necessarily ideal or seamless. That said, if you love Shopify and you want to make it work there, look at the SendOwl and Sky Pilot apps to see if one will work for you.
Uscreen is known as the top VOD (video on demand) platform on the market today, with its fully customizable design and a robust system that can handle digital products, videos, and even mobile delivery. It has a monthly fee but won’t take cuts out of your sales.
Often membership sites, products, and online courses come together, and Kajabi is designed to be one place for everything. It comes with landing pages, file downloads, online coaching groups, video hosting, training portals, and everything else you might need for your growing business. It’s a robust software with a higher price point than many other platforms, but you also get a lot more with it.