There’s a bit of a shift happening in Blogland right now that I am really excited about, and that is the move away from relying solely on advertising and affiliates to pay your bills (there are so many reasons why I don’t think this is a good way to run your blog), to diversifying and turning what you already do so well (create useful / beautiful / entertaining content) into your own digital products that you can sell yourself via the audience you’ve already created (aka on your blog).
In fact the trend seems to be that more and more blogs are actually making the majority of their income from eProducts, whether it’s eBooks, printables, eCourses, photos, blog themes, whatever. The options are as wide and varied as the blogs selling them.
And it’s a bandwagon I’ve hitched myself to for the last 12 months (SBB sells multiple eCourses), and have recently expanded again with the launch of a range of eBooks, planners and printables both here and over on DDGDaily.com (my main blog). And in the process have researched and road tested a whole bunch of the different tools and plugins out there you can use to sell your eProducts, and I wanted to share my faves with you here (come back next week and I’ll share my favourite tools and plugins for running an eCourse as well).
Now it used to be all about eJunkie, which is really feature-packed, but personally I find it over complicated, not user-friendly and just plain ugly as well (sorry eJunkie… no offence!), so I went searching for some better options and these are what I found!
Best tools for selling eBooks, Printables and other digital goods from your blog
1 – Selz (selz.com)
Best for: Really simple and beautiful product listings, and even online stores. It also lets you sign in with Facebook or your Google account, which is such a life saver (not another password you have to remember please!)
Worst bit: No Affiliate option (yet), limited tax options (but it is coming), you have to pay extra to automatically send invoices (so people have manually ask you for them, and you have to manually create and send them which is a total pain!)
Cost: 2.1% of each transaction + Paypal or credit card processing fee, payments are made weekly.
Now if you have recently purchased one of the SBB eBooks or Planners you will have already seen Selz in action. If not you can check out our current online store here, or see how the embeddable buttons work on this post here.
As you can see Selz looks really slick, and the back end is just as stylish, and user friendly.
It takes mere minutes to get everything up and running and there are lots of customisation options and extra add ons too which is nice. it also works as a Facebook store and is really easy to set up there too.
The main drawback for me with Selz is a lack of Affiliate platform, and for me this is really important. However I do know they are constantly adding features in, so fingers crossed this one won’t be too far away
2 – Send Owl (sendowl.com)
Best for: All the boring but important stuff, aka Affiliates, sorting out Taxes, and dealing with the new EU VAT issues.
Worst bit: You need to edit the button code to make it look nice, and it doesn’t have an in-built store option.
Cost: From $9 per month (depending on features required and number of products), payments are immediate (so you get paid in dribs and drabs).
Send Owl is one I stumbled upon after a bit of a late night phone shopping spree (you know the ones, when you just can’t get to sleep so you go on Instagram….and then three days later mystery parcels start arriving at your house?), again it’s is very easy to set up the basics, and the best bit of it is that they have some really clever options around handling all the tax stuff. Aka you can set it to charge GST to Australian customers only, but for it to be included in the price, not added (why should Aussies have to pay more, right?), and as I mentioned above it does give you the option to block all EU sales if you like.
If you have no idea what I am talking about with regards to the EU VAT thing click here, you will need to know it if you plan on selling digital goods online.
3 – Celery (trycelery.com)
Best for: Pre-orders and fund raising, and it’s probably the slickest design wise too.
Worst bit: None of the extras, no online store, no affiliates, no VAT stuff (or none that I could easily find anyway!).
Cost: 2% of each transaction + Paypal or credit card processing fee
Celery again looks super slick, and I just LOVE that it gives you the option to do pre-sales, so you can actually be selling your eBook or other product BEFORE it’s even finished, and then once it is all done and ready to go, it automatically sends out the finished product to the relevant people too, and will then switch to normal selling mode.
Pretty clever, and pretty gorgeous too!
Extra credit : Etsy
Yes, that’s right, you can sell digital products from Etsy! Which has it’s own benefits, like an existing audience of people keen to buy, plus there are tools to help you embed your Etsy store into your blog or site if you like.
They also have pretty inexpensive paid promotion options for your listings, so you can promote your wares as well.
Personally I think it’s good to have an Etsy store as well as your own, I mean, why not. If your product is relevant, then get it out to as many people as you can.
The main downside with Etsy is that again they don’t seem to have the option for your own personal affiliate offerings (although there are Etsy affiliate programs out there), and they have quite small file size maximums, so if what you are selling is a really big file you might be in trouble (I had to split mine up into smaller files which wasn’t ideal).
I personally am still torn. If Selz had affiliates, and some more options with the tax stuff I would stay with them in heart beat, but until they do my vote probably goes to Send Owl. Yes it is a bit more fiddly to set up your buttons, and you will have to create your own actual store page somehow, but once you’ve done one it’s not too bad, and I think the amount of hassle it will save you with the important stuff like taxes and affiliates etc.. is going to make it well worth it.
Image via dollarphotoclub.com