If you’re trying to make money from a blog or website you’ve probably tried things like AdSense, Amazon Associates, other affiliate programs, and maybe even sponsored content. All of those can be effective ways to make money, but in my opinion, none of them matches the potential of creating and selling your own digital products.
Creating and selling your own product may sound intimidating if you’ve never done it before… I know it was intimidating to me.
But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In this article we’ll look at why you should consider selling a digital product, and I’ll show you the easiest way to get your own product for sale.
If you’re interested in starting your own money-making blog, be sure to check out my course Blog Launch Breakthrough.
When I started my first blog back in 2007, I was monetizing it by offering services. It worked well because I could use the blog to attract traffic, and if even just a small percentage of visitors wound up becoming clients, I could make some decent money. But I quickly realized that I didn’t enjoy the client work, so I switch to monetize my site with ads. For a few years the ad revenue was great, but I was under never-ending pressure to keep the blog’s traffic on an upward trend if I wanted to increase my income.
After a few years, I decided to start creating and selling digital products, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my business. Not only did my income increase, but it also allowed me to stop worrying about what would happen if my site’s traffic decreased. That traffic actually did decrease, but it didn’t impact my income. I was able to offer more products for sale and increase the dollar amount of my average sale, and my income actually increased even with less traffic.
For the past several years I’ve been selling digital products as one of my primary sources of income. It’s easily my favorite way to monetize a website or blog, and I definitely recommend it to other bloggers who are looking for a way to make money.
Not only are digital products a great way to make money now, but they also give you a valuable asset that you can sell. In 2013, I sold one of my blogs (the same one I mentioned earlier) for $500,000. That blog made money in a few different ways, but the biggest chunk was from product sales.
After I sold that site I basically repeated the process in another niche. In 2016 I sold that site (actually, it was a few different sites that I sold together) for another $500,000. Digital product sales accounted for almost 100% of the income of those sites. You can read more about these sites in my article How I Turned a Photography Hobby Into $1,138,610.
In both cases I had proven digital products that I was able to include in the sale of the websites, and I believe that helped me to get a higher amount when selling.
Why Sell Digital Products?
If you’re considering the different possibilities for monetizing your website or blog, here are some reasons why you should consider selling digital products.
1. No Inventory to Deal With
If you’re comparing a digital product business to a business that sells physical products, inventory is a huge difference. With digital products you have no inventory, and no need to invest money in inventory. You can sell the same product over and over again without needing to replenish inventory.
For two years my wife and I ran a business selling products on Amazon. It was a profitable business for us (six figures profit on part-time hours), but it was the first time I had a business that involved inventory, and it was an eye opener for me. With physical products you need to invest in inventory, which means taking the risk of not being able to sell the inventory. Cash flow becomes a huge challenge because you need to put out the money months before you’ll ever be paid for selling it. It’s hard to grow and add new products without taking on debt.
You also need a place to store inventory. This either leads to added expense from renting warehouse space, or extra clutter in your house.
2. High Profit Margins
The markup on digital products tends to be much higher than the markup on physical products. This is partly because you don’t need to buy inventory. Also, the pricing of digital products seems to have more flexibility.
Pricing, regardless of what product you’re selling, is dependent on perceived value. Some physical products have a cap on perceived value, and most customers will not be willing to pay more than a certain amount.
For example, online courses often sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In some cases it would be possible to put that same information in a hardback book, but most customers have a mental limit on what they would be willing to pay for a book. Most people won’t pay a few hundred dollars for a book, but they might perceive an online course to be worth that much.
3. Low Maintenance
Digital products can also be very low maintenance for you, the seller. I’ve been selling digital products for about 8 years, and I rarely spend more than 1 hour per week on customer service (and I haven’t outsourced customer service).
Of course, the amount of customer service needed will depend on the type of product. Simple download files like PDF ebooks tend to be very low maintenance. On the other hand, a product like WordPress themes or plugins would involve much more customer service.
When my wife and I sold physical products on Amazon we put time into things like inspecting the products that we were selling, prepping and packing them, and driving to UPS to send them to Amazon’s warehouses. Those types of maintenance aren’t needed if you’re selling digital products.
4. Small Start Up Costs
It’s possible to get your first digital product created and for sale with only a very small investment. Say, for example, your first product is a PDF e-book. You could create the product for free using simple software like Google Docs. You might want to hire a designer to create a cover for your e-book, but you could do that for $100 or less using a site like Upwork or Fiverr.
Then, when your product is ready for sale, you can use SendOwl to handle the payments and to deliver the ebook securely to your customers. SendOwl plans start as low as just $9 per month.
5. Sell to Customers Worldwide
If you’re selling physical products you’re probably limited in terms of where you can ship the product. Maybe you sell to customers in the U.S., or possibly you also ship to Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
On the other hand, you can easily sell digital products to customers all over the world. Since you don’t need to ship the product, you don’t face the same limitations and challenges. This opens up significantly more possibilities and allows you to make more money.
6. High Income Potential
Of course, not every digital product creator makes a ton of money, but big potential is there. There are a lot of bloggers and website owners making very good money selling digital products.
If you read monthly income reports at many blogs you may have noticed that many of them made a huge jump when they started selling their own products.
Different Types of Digital Products That You Can Sell
There are a lot of different types of digital products that you can sell, and there are possibilities that would be a good fit for just about any niche. Here are just a few of the possibilities:
- Online courses
- Membership or premium content
- Music or other audio files
- Stock photos
- Website templates, WordPress themes, WordPress plugins
- Icons, Photoshop files, and other resources for graphic designers
- Software and software add ons