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While there are many different ways to make money online, possibly the best option is to create digital products to sell. Whether you’re looking to make an extra $500 per month or build a thriving business that generates a full-time income, digital products could be the solution.
A digital product-based business is extremely flexible and can be whatever you want it to be. As you’ll see in this article, the possible products you can create and sell are virtually endless. You could build a small business that you run on your own, or you can scale up and grow into a massive operation.
What are Digital Products?
A digital product is any type of product that exists in a digital format. This means it can be downloaded or accessed online and doesn’t have a physical form. We’ll look at many examples throughout this article, which will provide you with plenty of ideas.
Why Sell Digital Products?
Before we look at the specific types of digital products to sell, let’s talk about why you might want to sell them in the first place.
Low Startup and Overhead Costs
One of the main reasons to sell a digital download is that this online business model has very low startup and overhead costs. If you’re selling physical products, you’ll have to invest money right from the start for your initial inventory.
With digital products, there’s no inventory to manage since everything is stored digitally. Most digital goods are also inexpensive, and sometimes free, to create. This means you can get started with very little money up front, which is great if you’re on a tight budget.
Aside from just starting up, a digital product business is also easy and inexpensive to run. You can use a platform like Podia to handle the sales and delivery of the products to your customers. Podia even has a free plan so you can get started with no expense.
No Shipping Costs, Instant Delivery
Another advantage of digital products is that there are no shipping costs. Once a customer buys your product, they can instantly download or access it online. This makes it much easier to make a profit since you don’t have to factor in the cost of shipping when determining your prices.
Additionally, customers love instant delivery. They don’t have to wait days or weeks for their purchase to arrive in the mail. They can get started with your product as soon as they finish the checkout process.
High Profit Margins
Digital products also tend to have very high profit margins. This means you can make a lot of money for each sale since the costs of production and delivery are so low.
Of course, your exact profit margin will depend on the price of your product and how much it costs you to create it. But in general, you’ll be able to keep a larger percentage of each sale compared to physical product businesses.
Create Once, Sell Forever
Another great thing about digital products is that you can create them once and then sell them over and over again. With physical goods, you have to continually create new inventory as you sell through your current stock.
This means you only have to create your products once and then you can focus on other aspects of your business, like marketing and customer acquisition (or adding more products).
Possibility of Passive Income
If you want to generate a passive income, digital products are one of the best ways to do it. Once you’ve created a digital asset, there’s very little work required to sell it (if you have a source of traffic or leads).
The product that you create today may continue to generate income for months or even years to come with little-to-no additional work on your part.
It’s important to point out that certain types of digital goods are more likely to generate passive income than others. We’ll look at this in more detail as we discuss the specific types of digital products, but in general, customer service demands are what you need to consider.
Many digital products are very simple (for example, PDF downloads) and the customer service involved will be minimal. Other types of digital products (like WordPress themes or plugins) will require more extensive customer service, so they are not as good for passive income.
Easy to Scale Your Business
Digital products are also easy to scale. If you want to sell more, you can simply add more products or promote your existing products to a larger audience.
With physical product businesses, it’s often difficult and expensive to scale. You have to invest in more inventory and often hire additional staff to keep up with the demand.
But with digital products, there are no production costs since everything is delivered digitally. This makes it much easier (and cheaper) to sell more without having to make significant investments in your business.
There’s also a high demand for digital products. In today’s digital world, people are always looking for new ways to save time and make their lives easier.
As a result, there’s a huge market for digital goods that can help people with both work and personal tasks. This includes everything from online courses that teach new skills to stock photos that save people time when creating visuals for their blog posts.
Sell on Your Own Site or Other Marketplaces
Finally, it’s important to point out that you can sell digital products on your own website or through other online marketplaces. If you want to build a long-term, sustainable business, selling on your own site is the way to go.
And in most cases, you can do both. Unless the marketplace requires exclusivity, you can sell the same product on a marketplace and on your own website.
Types of Digital Products to Sell Online
Now, let’s look at some of the most popular types of downloadable products you can create and sell.
Printables are at the top of our list because they’re generally quick and easy to create and there are possibilities in many different niches and industries. There are also many different types of printables like planners, organizers, checklists, trackers, and more.
Printables generally come in PDF format so customers can easily download and print them for use. Some printables are single pages, and others are multi-page PDFs or collections of multiple separate PDFs (for example, a financial binder).
Because they are such simple products, printables generally require only a small amount of customer service, which makes them ideal for generating passive income.
You can sell printables on your own website or through third-party marketplaces like Etsy. You can also bundle them together to increase the average order amount, as well as your overall revenue and profit.
Selling on a marketplace like Etsy is an easy way to get started, but creating your own website will give you the most control and the highest income potential. Thankfully, it’s easy to sell printables on your own website thanks to platforms like Podia and Shopify.
Printables are typically inexpensive products, although there are exceptions. If you want to maximize your revenue, you can create an online store full of many different printables rather than trying to rely on a single product.
If you have an existing website or blog and you’re looking for a way to monetize your traffic, creating and selling printables may be an ideal option. It won’t take a lot of time to create your first product, and it’s easy to start selling.
Since printables are often lower-priced products, they’re relative easy to sell. For example, your visitors may purchase a $7 printable on impulse while they would be more reluctant to buy an expensive product like a $399 online course.
Creating printables is an excellent option if you have some graphic design skills, but it’s a possibility even if you’re not a designer. Thanks to Canva, it’s easy to create attractive printables, and you can even find Canva templates that do most of the work for you. Another option is to hire a designer on Fiverr who will do the work for you. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a quality printable designed for you.
Access this free workshop to learn exactly how to generate passive income by selling printables on Etsy. You'll learn about the types of products that sell, how to get your Etsy shop set up, and how to make sales and ensure that your shop is a success.
Ebooks are often the first type of digital product that comes to mind. They can be used as teaching tools, how-to guides, or even as entertainment.
Creating an ebook generally requires more time than creating a printable, but the process is still relatively simple. All you need is a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs and some writing skills.
Once your ebook is complete, you can sell it on your own website or through third-party marketplaces like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Like printables, ebooks are typically lower-priced items, which makes them easier to sell.
Ebooks have the potential to generate a lot of revenue for your business, but they also have a higher barrier to entry. This means that it may take longer to start seeing sales of your ebook.
If you’re patient and willing to put in the work, creating an ebook can be a great way to generate passive income
Aside from money, there are other benefits to becoming an author. Writing a book or ebook on a topic will help to position yourself as an expert in your industry, so it’s excellent for branding. A successful ebook may open other career opportunities as well.
3. Online Courses
Ebooks and online courses are often referred to as “info products”. While writing and selling an ebook is a great option, creating an online course may be a more lucrative way to share the same knowledge or information. Ebooks tend to have a price cap due to perceived value. A potential customer might not be willing to pay more than $29 for an ebook, but he or she will to pay $299 for the same info packaged as an online course.
Creating an online course may take more time and effort than writing an ebook, but not drastically more. You’ll still need to write the course material or record videos. You may also need to create additional content like worksheets, quizzes, and other resources.
When it comes to marketing your course, you’ll want to focus on creating a sales page that converts visitors into paying customers. You can use platforms like Podia or Teachable to host your course and make it easy to sell.
Selling an online course is an excellent way to generate passive income as long as you create an evergreen course that will maintain relevance for several years. You may need to edit and update the course material from time to time, but the bulk of the course should remain useful for months or years to come. Create it once and sell it over and over again.
Like ebooks, selling courses can help establish you as an expert in your industry which can lead to more opportunities.
Digital courses are becoming more popular as people look for ways to learn new skills from home. If you have expertise in a particular area, creating an online course can be a great way to make money while helping others learn.
4. Membership Sites
Creating a membership site may be the most time-intensive option on this list, but it can also be the most rewarding. A membership site is a website that offers exclusive content or services to paying members, usually with a monthly or yearly subscription fee. The content on a membership site is usually delivered in the form of articles, videos, or audio recordings.
The key to making a successful membership site is creating digital content that your target audience is willing to pay for, and then keeping them engaged. This means that you need to put in the time and effort to create high-quality content on a regular basis so they keep their subscription active, rather than canceling. You may need to hire writers, videographers, or other creators to help you with this task.
While a membership site requires more work than some of the other options on this list, it can also be the most profitable. A successful membership site can generate a significant income each month.
You may also want to consider the option of a membership website as an optional add-on or upgrade for other digital products, like online courses with a single up front payment. Your customers and students may prefer to be a part of an ongoing community that provides continual learning opportunities.
Podia is the best platform for easily creating a membership site. You’ll be able to accept recurring payments and manage the details of content accessibility for your members. Podia also handles the creation of user accounts so your members can manage their profiles and subscriptions.
5. Spreadsheet Templates
If you’re good with Excel or Google Sheets, you can create templates that other people use for their own businesses or personal finances. For example, you could create a household budget template or a net worth tracking template. Of course, there are possibilities for other industries aside from personal finance. If you search Etsy for “Excel template”, you’ll find plenty of examples.
You can sell your spreadsheet templates on Etsy, or you can use a platform like Podia or SendOwl to sell it on your own. You can also package spreadsheet templates as part of a larger digital product, like an ebook about financial planning.
These templates are relatively quick and simple to set up if you’re an experienced Excel user, so you could get your first few products ready to sell in very little time. Like printables, these are generally lower-priced products that are relalative easy to sell if you can get them in front of the right audience.
This could be another excellent option if you have an existing site or blog that you’re looking to monetize.
6. Slideshow Templates
PowerPoint and Google Slides are popular tools for creating presentations, but many people don’t have the time or skills to create their own designs or templates. If you’re familiar with PowerPoint or Google Slides, you can create templates that others can use. You can sell these on Etsy or through a platform like Podia or SendOwl.
Like Excel templates, slideshow templates are generally quick and easy to set up if you’re already familiar with the software. And, also like Excel templates, they can be lower-priced items that are relatively easy to sell. In fact, depending on your niche or the audience you’re trying to reach, you may want to consider setting up a shop that sells a combination or printables, spreadsheet templates, slideshow templates, and other similar products.
This could be a great option if you’re already familiar with PowerPoint or Google Slides and you’re looking to monetize your skills.
7. Resume Templates
Another type of template you can create is a resume template. This could be in Microsoft Word or Google Docs format, or you can create more visual templates as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign files.
Creating resume templates doesn’t require amazing graphic design skills, especially if you’re using Word or Google Docs format. However, because resumes are an important part of the job hunting process, you may be able to charge more for these types of templates. There are also endless possibilities and variations, so you can create lots of different templates for customers to choose from.
And like many of the other types of products we’ve looked at so far, you can sell resume templates at sites like Etsy or create your own website.
8. Stock Photos
If you’re a photographer, you may be able to make money by selling your photos online. Stock marketplaces like Shutterstock allow you to upload your photos so others can find them and purchase a license. You’ll earn a small commission each time one of your photos is licensed.
The downside is that leading marketplaces like Shutterstock already have millions of photos, and standing out as a new contributor is not easy. Making money with stock photography is not as simple as uploading some photos that are already sitting on your hard drive. If you want to have success, you’ll need to create photos for specific uses with stock customers in mind.
The truth is, making a significant income with stock photography is not a very realistic goal today. However, if you’re looking for a way to make a few hundred dollars per month of extra income to monetize your hobby, stock photography could be a good option. It’s much better as a supplementary form of income.
It’s also worth pointing out that stock marketplaces aren’t the only way to sell or license your stock photos. You could also set up your own site and keep all of the revenue to yourself. For example, PicJumbo.com was created by a photographer named Viktor Hanacek and most of the photos on the site are his. Many of the photos are free but visitors can also buy premium packs of photos.
9. Stock Video Footage
Similar to stock photos, you can also sell stock video footage. With the popularity of online video increasing, the demand for stock footage is also growing very quickly.
Most of the leading stock photo marketplaces also offer videos, so you can contribute at the same sites. There are also some sites and marketplaces that focus specifically on video content. And of course, you could also sell it on your own if you prefer.
If you’re looking for a fun way to make extra money with profitable digital products, consider buying a drone to create aerial stock video clips.
10. Stock Graphics
Another type of digital product you can sell is stock graphics or digital art. These could be illustrations, icons, patterns, Photoshop templates, or anything else that graphic designers would find useful.
Just like with photos and videos, there are many sites and marketplaces where you can sell your stock graphics. Depending on the types of products you’re creating, you may be able to contribute them to stock photo sites like Shutterstock. Other marketplaces like Creative Market, FilterGrade, and Envato Elements are also possibilities.
Of course, you can also create your own website to sell your products, or sell them at your existing site or blog.
Creating these types of products is ideal if you’re a designer. But even if you’re not, you could hire someone to do the design work for you.
11. Stock Audio
Like stock photos and videos, you can also sell stock audio clips. These could be music tracks, sound effects, or anything else that somebody might need to add to a video or podcast.
And of course, you can also create your own website or sell these products at an existing site or blog, if you have one.
Creating music tracks or sound effects is a great way to make money with digital products if you’re a musician or audio engineer.
If you’re a graphic designer, you may also be interested in creating and selling fonts. Fonts are definitely a niche product but there’s a huge demand for them, especially from professional designers and hobbyists.
There are many sites where you can sell your fonts, such as Creative Market, Creative Fabrica, and Envato Elements. Of course, you can also create your own website to sell them or add them to an existing site or blog.
One of the best things about designing fonts is that you can continue to sell the same font for many years to come. Some of the most popular fonts have been around for decades or longer. If you’re looking to create passive income, fonts could be an outstanding option.
13. Website Templates
Designers and developers may be interested in creating website templates. These HTML templates could be used by customers to build a website quickly, either for themselves or for a client.
There are many sites where you can sell your website templates, such as ThemeForest and TemplateMonster. You can also find sites that specialize in specific types of templates like email templates, e-commerce themes, etc.
Of course, you can always create your own website to sell your products. If you have a long-term focus, you may want to create a template shop with a wide selection of products.
One of the great things about selling website templates is that they have the potential to generate a lot of sales. For example, popular templates at ThemeForest have made hundreds or thousands of sales.
The downside to creating website templates is that the level of customer service needed will be higher than most other types of digital products. Customers may run into issues with getting the site set up on the template, and you’ll need to be able to assist in some way.
14. WordPress Themes
Similar to HTML website templates, you could also create templates (themes) specifically for WordPress. These themes would work with the WordPress content management system (CMS) and make it easy for customers to create a professional website.
Just like before, you can sell your WordPress themes on many different sites, including ThemeForest or you could create your own theme shop. By creating your own online store you’ll be in full control and you won’t need to share the revenue with a marketplace.
The demand for quality WordPress themes is very high, although there’s also a lot of competition. The top-selling WordPress themes earn huge amounts of revenue for their designers/developers.
However, you need to consider that the customer service demands are also very high for WordPress theme creators. Almost every customer will have an issue or question at some point, so you’ll need to have a plan for how you want to provide service to your customers. With a small theme shop, you may be able to do it on your own. But larger theme shops typically rely on a team of customer support reps.
15. WordPress Plugins
In addition to themes, you could also create plugins for WordPress. Plugins add specific features or functionality to a WordPress site, outside of what is included with the core WordPress installation. There are plugins for almost everything you can imagine, from social media integration to contact forms to e-commerce functionality.
If you’re a developer, creating WordPress plugins is an excellent way to make money with digital products. You can sell your plugins on sites like CodeCanyon, or you can create your own online store and sell them there.
But just like WordPress themes, selling WordPress plugins will require a significant amount of time and effort for customer service.
Software applications are another excellent type of digital product that you could create. Of course, you need development and coding skills to create software yourself. But if you’re not a developer, you could hire someone on Upwork or find a partner who has the development skills.
Compared to many of the products on this list, software has the potential to be a higher-ticket item.
Of course, the downside is that developing quality software takes a lot of time or money. For that reason, it’s probably not an ideal starting point for new entrepreneurs. It would be safer to get some experience selling other types of digital products before venturing out into software development.
17. Software as a Service (SaaS)
If you want to get into software development but don’t want to create a one-time product, you could create a software as a service (SaaS) application.
With SaaS products, customers pay a recurring fee to use the software or web app. This type of digital good is very popular right now because it allows customers to budget for their expenses and it creates a predictable revenue stream for the business.
The downside to SaaS products is that they’re usually more complex to create and require ongoing maintenance and updates. For that reason, they typically take longer to develop than other types of digital goods. But if you’re looking for something with excellent earning potential, SaaS could be a good fit.
This opportunity could be seen as being a cross between software development and stock graphics. You’re not creating software, but you’re creating something that can be used within a specific program.
Some excellent examples can be found with the Adobe Creative Could products. If you’re a photographer or designer, you could create Photoshop actions or Lightroom presets that customers can use to process their photos. You can also create brushes for Photoshop or Illustrator, or patterns and later styles for Photoshop.
They’re not that complicated to create but still provide very good income potential.
You can sell add-ons at marketplaces like Etsy, Creative Market, and FilterGrade. Of course, you can also sell them at your own website.
19. Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are huge right now and show no signs of slowing down. With billions of active Android and iOS devices, there’s a very large potential market for mobile apps.
Creating a mobile app does require some development or programming skills. But if you’re not a developer, you could always hire someone on Upwork to help you with the development process.
The great thing about selling mobile apps is that they have the potential to generate a lot of revenue. The downside is that they also require ongoing maintenance and updates to keep them running smoothly.
Patterns are an excellent crafty product to sell online. If you’re into knitting, quilting, or sewing, you can create and sell patterns for other crafters.
You can sell your patterns on sites like Etsy. You could also sell them at your own website if you have the traffic to support it.
The great thing about selling patterns is that they’re relatively easy to create and don’t require a lot of time or effort. The downside is that they tend to be low-ticket items, so you’ll need to sell a lot of them to make a significant income. However, your patterns could be useful for several years, so it can be a decent option for generating passive income.
If you love cooking, then you could sell your recipes online. This is a great option if you have a food blog or website.
You can sell your recipes as ebooks, printables, or even online courses. You could also package them together into a subscription service.
How to Sell Your Digital Products
Now, let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to follow if you want to make money by selling digital goods.
Step 1: Decide What Product You’ll Create
The first step is to decide what type of product you want to create. As we’ve seen, there are many different types of digital products you can sell online.
Think about the skills you have and the time you’re willing to invest in creating the product. Also think about the audience that you want to target and the types of products that would interest them. Once you have a product idea, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Create Your First Product
Now it’s time to actually create the product. Of course, the details of this step will depend on the type of product you’ve selected. Some products are simple and the creation process might only take an hour. Others are more complex and might require a few months of work.
If you’re not sure how to create the product, you can find online tutorials that cover just about everything. Alternatively, you can hire someone on Upwork or Fiverr.
Step 3: Choose Your Platform
Do you want to sell your product on a marketplace or on your own website? If you prefer to use a marketplace, which one is the most ideal for your product?
Keep in mind that you could start by selling at a marketplace while you’re also working to build up your own site.
Step 4: Create Your Sales Page or Product Listing
The next step is to create your sales page or product listing. This is where you’ll need to write a persuasive description of your product and convince potential customers that they need it.
If you’re selling on a marketplace, you’ll likely just need to fill out a form with the product details. If you’re selling on your own website, you might need to create a dedicated sales page.
Don’t get overwhelmed in the details for now. The most important thing at this stage is to get your product live and for sale. You can always tweak and perfect your sales copy as you go.
And if you’re not sure how to write sales copy, try Jasper. It’s an AI-powered writing assistant that is excellent for generating product descriptions, bullet points, and sales copy for landing pages.
Step 5: Promote Your Product
Now that your product is live, it’s time to work on getting some exposure. If you’re using a marketplace like Etsy, you may be able to benefit from their existing audience. However, it’s still helpful to do your own promotion to be sure that your product is getting seen. Here are a few options.
One of the most effective ways to promote your digital products is to build an email list. You can then notify your subscribers whenever you launch a new product.
There are many ways to grow an email list. You can start by offering a lead magnet, such as a free ebook or mini course. You can also run social media ads and Google AdWords campaigns that target people who would be interested in your products.
Create a Sales Funnel
If you’re not familiar with the term, a sales funnel is simply a process that you use to guide potential customers through your website and towards a purchase.
A typical sales funnel will start with some kind of lead magnet or freebie, followed by a landing page where people can learn more about the product. Then there will be a sales page where people can purchase the product.
Ideally, there will also be a series of emails that will automatically go out to that person over a period of a few days to a few weeks.
You can use a tool like ConvertKit to create high-converting sales funnels for your digital products.
Use Social Media
Social media is a great way to get the word out about your digital products. You can start by creating social media accounts for your business and sharing your product listings and sales pages on those platforms. You can also use your personal social profiles to help get some additional exposure.
Paid advertising is another great way to get your products in front of potential customers. You can run ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Alternatively, you can use Google Ads to create text ads that show up when people search for keywords related to your product.
You’ll need to watch your stats and know how much you’re paying per conversion, but mastering paid traffic is possibly the best way to scale your digital product business.
Affiliate Program or Referral Program
If you want to get other people promoting your products for you, then you can create an affiliate or referral program. This is where you give people a commission for every sale that they generate.
If you’re selling digital products from your own website, then it’s important to get some traffic from search engines like Google. This can be done through a process called search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO is a long-term process, especially if you’re building a brand new website. It will take time and effort to create optimized content and build links to your site, but the payoff is well worth the effort. If your site is ranking well in the organic search results, that’s like free advertising to targeted visitors.
Step 6: Add More Products
Once you’ve launched your first downloadable product and have started to generate some sales, it’s time to start thinking about adding more products to your lineup. Remember, the goal is to create a passive income stream that will scale over time.
The great thing about digital products is that they can be created relatively quickly and easily, so it’s easy to experiment with different ideas and see what works best.
You can also use the data that you collect from your sales to inform future product creation. Look at things like which products are selling the most, what topics people are interested in, and what kinds of products they’re looking for but can’t seem to find.
This information can be used to come up with new product ideas that you can create and sell.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make money selling digital products. In fact, digital products are one of the best ways to create a passive income stream that can scale over time.
Some examples of digital products include ebooks, online courses, printables, stock photos, and software programs. The best digital product for you will depend on your skills and your experience.
Yes, you can sell digital products on Etsy. In fact, many people use Etsy as a platform for selling their digital products.
There are a few different ways to sell a digital file. One option is to use a platform like SendOwl or Podia, which allow you to sell digital products online directly from your own website. Another option is to use popular marketplaces like Etsy or Creative Market. If you sell on a marketplace, you’ll benefit from the marketplace’s established audience, but you’ll pay fees or the marketplace will take a share of each sale.
Yes, you can sell digital products on Shopify. Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform that allows you to sell both physical and digital products. Shopify makes it easy to create a professional-looking website to promote your products.
Etsy is by far the most popular marketplace for printables. You can also create your own website and sell on your own using Podia, Shopify, or SendOwl.
Yes, you can sell Canva designs on Etsy. Canva is a popular online graphic design tool that allows users to create professional-looking designs. If you create designs using Canva, you can sell them on Etsy or any other marketplace or website where digital products are sold.
Final Thoughts on Digital Products to Sell
Digital products are a great way to make money online. They’re easy to create and there’s no need for inventory or shipping. You can also scale your business quickly by adding new products and promoting them through paid ads and social media. If you want to create a passive income stream, digital products are a great option.