Do you have a new digital product that you want to sell online? Are you looking for the best platform to sell your online course, software, digital art, music, templates, or other premium content? In this post, we check out the five best places to sell digital downloads and make money in 2023.
From a tech perspective, it’s not difficult for bloggers or even freelancers to create multiple revenue streams online. It does, however, require some hard work upfront, persistence, and patience.
Today, we have access to a plethora of online tools and selling platforms. To save a ton of time locating these tools, I created a mega-thread post here you might want to check out.
Getting back to the topic of selling your digital downloads, and even going beyond this – As a personal brand entrepreneur, why should you even consider selling anything online in 2023?
Entrepreneurs: Why sell digital downloads?
Here’s the thing:
You can no longer rely on one source of income from your blog or your online business. If blogging is the foundation of your business, you have to create multiple streams of income to continue growing and profiting from your blog for many years.
The same applies if you are a freelancer. Depending on income coming from only providing a service makes no sense when you can create multiple revenue streams.
Think of it like this:
An eCommerce store that doesn’t just sell one product, right?
Of course, none of this matters if you’re not interested in making an income from your blog or website. In this case, you shouldn’t be reading my post, because I’m all about creating a business by blogging and creating online content.
OK, so the beauty of selling digital products and downloads is that it’s easy to get set up. The time it takes to create something worthy of selling is a different matter altogether.
For example, an online course will take you longer to create than writing an eBook. I know this because I’ve done both of these.
All that said, selling digital downloads is a very lucrative business, unlike selling physical products, where there are lots of logistics and intricate moving parts involved, such as stock management, packaging, shipping, dealing with returned items and discrepancies, etc. Not to mention the overheads and costs of selling physical products, whereas selling digital downloads can be incredibly profitable.
Talking of profits, let’s throw in an interesting statistic!
Did you know that in 2020, 191 million ebooks were sold worldwide? A figure that is up 12.35% from the previous year. – Source
OK, so once you have created your digital product, you can sell an infinite supply of that product, and make a regular income from it.
I’m not against selling physical products. I have several businesses where I sell physical products online (art and music merchandise). The amazing thing is that you can also sell physical products using some of the platforms mentioned below.
OK, so let’s get back to the topic of this post.
Where do you even start with selling your digital downloads? You have your product ready, what do you do next?
Well, let’s start with five platforms that are waiting for you right now.
Quick comparison chart
Here is a quick comparison chart for each of the platforms covered in this post –
|Payhip||0, 2, 5%||Visit Payhip|
|LearnDash||$359 per year||Visit LearnDash|
|eJunkie||From $5/month||Visit eJunkie|
|Gumroad||2.9 to 9% + 30¢||Visit Gumroad|
Let me start with the first three that I use myself! These are the tools/platforms I have found to be incredibly affordable and user-friendly, and would happily recommend them to budding entrepreneurs and bloggers.
You can also watch the video below to hear me talk about the five platforms listed below –
Best places to sell digital downloads: Table of content
Sellfy (Top Recommended for professional content creators)
Go to sellfy (FVM readers get a 10% discount)
Sellfy is my top choice of place to sell digital downloads. Although still relatively fresh for me, since I’ve been testing their platform for a little over a year, I’ve started to use Selfy to promote and sell t-shirts and various merch for my music business. And thus far, I’ve been rather impressed with what they have to offer.
Sellfy lets you sell digital and physical products, as well as subscriptions and print-on-demand items. It’s the perfect platform for both entrepreneurs and content creators.
Feature include –
- Customizable storefront with your domain name
- Marketing tools such as coupons, email, and upselling
- Embeddable buy-now buttons, product cards, and links
- Secure payment integration with PayPal and Stripe
- PDF stamping of eBooks and limited downloads
- Connect your Sellfy account with other apps and services (Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter Ads, Patreon, etc.)
Sellfy has a lot to offer, and its pricing structure is simple and reasonably affordable too. There is no longer a free plan available, which is a bit of a shame, however, it’s still one of the most cost-effective platforms out there.
Sellfy’s plans start at $19 per month ($228 paid yearly) for a Starter Plan. With this plan, you essentially have access to all of the basic features including unlimited products, digital and physical products, the ability to connect your domain, and email marketing.
While there is no free plan, you can trial Sellfy for 14 days! But it gets even better. Readers of FVM can get an extra 10% off all plans. See below for more information.
Fabrizio Van Marciano Readers Special Offer!
$19 per month is a great deal for a 2-year plan; however, the price gets better if you’re a Fabrizio Van Marciano reader! You can save 10% extra off any plan above if you signup through this link. Or, use coupon code ‘fabrizio’ at the checkout!
Payhip (Most affordable)
Go to Payhip
Payhip is the next choice of platform to sell digital downloads, especially if you’re on a budget because this platform is extremely affordable.
I’ve used Payhip for over five years and overall the service has been great. This medium has helped me to make over $1,700 from my eBook sales over the past five years, and I couldn’t be happier.
Payhip is a solid platform that has built up a lot of trust and credibility over the years. The site is user-friendly, and it’s a cost-effective option if you’re just starting up.
So what can you do with Payhip?
Well, you can sell almost any type of digital download as well as physical products. You can set up membership billing, and more recently some new features were released that let you sell coaching and online courses.
So, let me run through some of the things you can do with Payhip, along with some of the features and benefits of using this platform.
- Payhip has a responsive and beautiful checkout feature that you can implement into your WordPress website with ease. Let me just show you how the checkout is displayed on my eBook landing page very quickly. So as you can see, if I click the BUY NOW button, a small and clean pop-up checkout appears. This is very easy to implement in WordPress and as you know I use Bricks Builder for designing my websites.
- There’s also an easy-to-use store builder, so you can create a nice landing page to showcase and sell your digital products.
- Payhip handles everything for you. You can upload any digital file, sales are secure, and the delivery of digital products is instant.
- You also get paid instantly, so there’s no waiting around for a payment check in the post (Some of you reading this probably don’t even know what a check is), or a monthly PayPal payment. Payments are made via PayPal or Stripe.
- Payhip comes with a host of marketing tools – Including an affiliate program to help you promote your digital products. There are also coupons, social discounts, mailing lists, embedded checkout and shopping carts, and more.
- You can connect to third-party services, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels, though a few more would be great.
- Payhip also handles EU VAT! This is a pretty big bonus if you want to sell downloads to EU countries without having to worry about the VAT implications.
I said Payhip was a very affordable option and here’s why –
It’s free to use forever, you just pay a 5% transaction fee (PayPal and Stripe charge their own fees). You can host unlimited products and earn unlimited revenue. That is just the first plan and this plan includes access to all features.
The other plans are monthly subscriptions with reduced transaction fees. It might also be worth me mentioning that Payhip has an exciting roadmap ahead, so watch this space.
LearnDash (Recommended for selling online courses)
Next on my list is LearnDash. In my opinion, there is no better way to sell digital downloads than to use your platform.
Using your website, for example, gives you complete control and ownership over the domain, content, course material, design, and everything else in between.
That said, there is a bit of technical work involved, initially. Unlike the platforms mentioned above, you can’t ‘just add content’ and start selling.
OK, that’s a lie. You could, but you would want to design some nice layouts and landing pages for your course content.
And to be honest, once you have everything set up correctly, you don’t have anything else, other than a few maintenance tasks, plugin updates on the website, and updating course content from time to time.
The Learndash plugin, when combined with WordPress, gives you all the power and flexibility you need to create and sell your online courses. Plus, if you need guidance on how to do this, watch out for my new WordPress + LearnDash Course Building Course, launching later this year.
When it comes down to costs, however, the LearnDash plugin is currently $199 per year for a single domain. Then there are the transaction fees incurred with PayPal and Stripe, though these are deducted from payments received from your online course sales. So even if you sell just a dozen courses per year at $199 per course, you would still be in profit.
eJunkie has been around for quite a long old time. This platform was the first that I used to sell my blogging eBook way back in 2012. Glad to see they’re still going strong and have adjusted to the times.
I’ve not used eJunkie for a while, but since I’ve done so in the past, I continue to trust and therefore recommend them.
When it comes to cost, eJunkie’s plans are quite simple and affordable too. Each plan offers a storefront, unlimited sales, and unlimited downloads with zero transaction fees.
Plans start from just $5 per month, I mean that’s pretty darn good. You get access to all the main features even for the low-tier plan.
Last on my list is Gumroad, another platform that has survived the test of time. Gumroad can be considered the dinosaur of online platforms, they’ve been around that long. However, they’re still a force to be reckoned with.
Selling digital downloads on Gumroad is easy and super affordable. I’ve purchased plenty of digital products on Gumroad in the past. There are no monthly fees when you are just getting started.
Whether you’re selling memberships, courses, eBooks, or license keys, Gumroad has just the right amount of features you need to start selling and making money.
You can use your website if you have one, and your customers can pay using Stripe or PayPal. Another positive element of using Gumroad is that the site will collect VAT, including EU VAT, and pay it on your behalf. This is something you will struggle to find on many other platforms, except Payhip.
Transaction fees can vary from 2.9 to 9% plus an additional 30 cents per transaction. Overall, Gumroad is a pretty solid and reliable platform to use.
It’s a wrap!
OK, so that is it, That’s my top five best platforms for selling digital downloads in 2023 and beyond. But as you have seen, you can do so much more than just sell digital products. You can sell t-shirts, mugs, art, music, merchandise, and any digital work you create.
There are some great choices to consider. Even if you take a few for a trial or test drive to see which one works best for you. This list should keep you busy for some time. Best of luck and I wish you all the success.
Which platform or solution would I recommend using?
It is difficult to recommend something specific because we all have different goals when it comes to our premium content. If you are thinking about selling an online course, for example, LearnDash and WordPress are just one way to go. This is the solution that I currently use which has helped me to make over $12,000 in online course sales revenue over the last few years.
That being said, there are also dedicated platforms online that you can use to promote and sell your online courses.
If you’re thinking of selling digital downloads or, and physical products, then I would recommend using Sellfy.
Whichever platform you decide to use, I wish you the very best of luck 🙂