Thinking about selling Virtual Products? Sales have been increasing with the onset of Covid 19 as businesses scramble to keep offering their services in safe and socially distanced ways.
Many have turned to selling digital downloads. Whether it be a lesson/class, informational talks, entertainment show, training course etc. For many of us with WordPress websites, the obvious choice is to add on to the website we have. This is good for SEO and relatively straight forward. WooCommerce is a wonderful platform to offer physical and digital products.
Things to consider before selling a virtual product;
Who owns the content? This is important, you need to make a statement prior to purchase. Is the customer buying the content outright or the right to view the content. This is an important distinction.
What is the cost of your virtual product? This will be affected by the question above. Pricing is your choice but if they own the content outright it should cost much more.
How long will you grant access to the product and how many downloads can they have? I recently set one up and we gave the purchaser 3 views over 20 days.
What are your terms and conditions? This is where you outline the ownership of the content and what you are allowed to do with it. For example; if you create a course can someone resell it? Can they post to social? Share with their friends? Make sure to include a section on what to do if you dont receive the download link.
It is hard to enforce these things, however you must state whether it is allowed or not. List the allowed and prohibited usages in the terms and conditions and have it so people must acknowledge the Terms when they check out.
In order for digital downloads to work automatically the payment processor (ie. PayPal) must return an Instant Payment Notification (IPN) This triggers the software to send the email with the digital download link to the customer.
How will you market it?
This is huge. Please do not assume people will find it on your website on their own. You need to announce it, introduce the concept, explain the advantages and play the number. If you look at average conversion rates for e-commerce you need 1000 site visitors to get 10 sales. This number will changed if you have a following who is engaged and eager.
Tips for selling virtual products:
Newsletter to your existing customers (Warm Market)
Purchase incentive- Buy my course and get a 1 hour one on one zoom meeting.
Post to social
Boost a post on social (this will help give you better visibility)
Make sure to create benefit focused ads- put yourself in someone elses’ shoes, why do they need what you’re selling?
Try A/B testing on posts to determine what graphics and copy work best.
Cheap web hosting is just that, cheap and probably you will get what you pay for. Slow, outdated, and hard to index. Why spend the money on a great site if it’s not going to function properly?
But why do I need to pay more for hosting?
We have noticed that as Premium WordPress themes increase their functionality and convenience for the user. They are also using more resources on the server side. If you pair that with e-commerce and custom database work and plugins, standard shared hosting will not cut it.
People sometimes buy web hosting for five years because of the awesome discount. Keep in mind, you need to make sure the server you are using can grow with you and the company will be supporting the server resources. We still run into many hosts running deprecated PHP versions and you need to switch servers to get the newer versions.
We also caution of buying hosting because it is unlimited. That is really a misnomer because the unlimited is shared between all server users and if it’s over crowded will still have not enough resources. There is always a limit.
How to buy web hosting?
A highly functional and traveled website will require resources that just are not available in a overcrowded server environment. Ask your experienced web designer the best option for hosting, make sure you can expand resources and don’t need to migrate to do it.
Remember the hosting server is the gas in the engine of your website. The site can’t work without the gas.
When considering who to host with, you need the input of your web developer as they know the resources you need. It is not a one size fits all solution. Choosing from a top host lists is not always the answer.
“Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support and security,” said Adam Berry, digital director at Wingard Creative. Nasdaq’s Simon Ball, head of digital media services at Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, said scalability is also critical. “You need the ability to rapidly scale your website as your target audience grows and the resiliency to handle sudden bursts of high traffic,” said Ball.
Decide how much hand holding you need- what is customer service like.
Estimate the amount of traffic you expect (be honest)
Ask about server types
Be wary of unlimited offers
Make sure to avoid lock-in- your website should be portable
Make you you own your own domain and keep the contact info up to date
Recently there has been much conversation about free or do it yourself vs. hiring an website professional to develop your site. It can be so confusing.
If you are a very small business, just starting out, you need to analyse your start up costs with the $ of sales. Do not overbuy your first website, in that case it may be prudent to do it yourself or have a one pager for credibility until you have enough sales to support your marketing. Often in a start up, the website we create first is not what you will need in 12 months.
The definition of a website professional is being morphed and changed by the “new people” on the scene. We recently ran across a company that is specializing in “Wix” sites and calling themselves a web designer. Same with Shopify, WordPress.com, square… While excellent platforms, they do have limitations and you are completely tied to their platform. You will not have the ability to develop custom functions or add programming if required.Often people are frustrated with the level of customization available these platforms.
If you are looking for a new website, redesign or developer, it is harder than ever to compare pricing and skill sets.
Here are 10 tips;
There is a large difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org When developing a corporate site, you will be quite limited on wordpress.com because you can not add custom coding, there is no sftp protocal and it is a multisite environment. There is no option to add your own premium theme and custom plugins.
A business web site should be done in a quality hosting environment using http2, php 7.2 + and an ssl certificate.
Your web designer should be familiar with inbound marketing, content creation, e – newsletters, lead pages, Google Analytics and search console.
Graphics are extremely important and a well rounded web designer will be experienced with graphics, photo editing and resizing. The designer will develop a colour pallet using your logo and /or industry and carry the branding forward into the website.
SEO is one of the most important considerations and the web site should be developed with this in mind. We always develop using WordPress.org on a independant hosting space using a top level domain. Keyword and competition research is critical.
Your designer should include a back up protocol and security software. These days we are even recommending Securi for monitoring, malware scanning, firewall and uptime.
Talk to your web designer about the marketing approach, they should be very familiar with content layout, marketing language, user experience and conversion techniques.
Each web designer has a toolbox of skills and that should be extensive. The more experience the better. If an agency, ask who the developer actually is, if outsourced, it could be an issue later when you need changes.
Interview the web designer, you need to develop a relationship, as your site will be around for 2-3 years and then you probably need to change it up. The website will need regular maintenance and you can be trained on the content management
In case of site crash, what is the response time. Do they know how to fix it? Technical ability is important as we know, anything can be hacked. Proactive is always better.
Imagine going to a website and the latest post is April 2013, does this make the company look relevant? Does it enhance the perception of the company?
No, In fact it hurts the company brand.
We often hear people say they don’t have time to blog and that’s true, people are busy, especially small business owners. Here’s a hint, blog while you’re driving. How you ask ? Download a speech-to-text app on your phone using your Bluetooth dictate your blog. When you’re finished driving read over your blog post correct any spelling mistakes, source a photo and upload to your WordPress website.
Once you get started with this method you will find you can complete several blog articles on a longer drive or commute.
Here are the top reasons to blog:
Add more industry-related content for your website
Enhances SEO and can help increase website search position
Adds original and timely content to the site to engage viewer
Positions your business as an expert in your industry
Informs and educates potential customers of news, products or services
Helps increase frequency of search engine reindexing
The process of blogging adds fresh content to your website. Search engines like Google look for new original content on a consistent basis. This new content indicates that the website is up to date, fresh and relevant.
In a WordPress website the blog component allows you to add virtually unlimited posts that are categorized and can be displayed in interesting ways. The data is searchable and yields a search engine friendly permalink for each post which can be used in Social Media.
Blogging on a regular basis provides a forum to answer customer questions, discuss advantages of products, display case studies and show expertise in your industry.
There are many creative ways to use the blog function in WordPress. Often the blog will be used as a new section and your web designer can pull posts into your front page to give greater visibility. Corresponding photographs make the post interesting and chunked text makes it readable. Use of proper headlines containing key phrases increases SEO on each page.
Plugins like Yoast SEO can be used on individual blog posts to target keyword phrases your website more visibility on the search engines.
By categorizing your posts they are easy to find.
Blogging on a regular basis key to having search engines revisit your site and index new articles. Whether you blog weekly bi-weekly or monthly it’s important to be consistent.
Many people ask what to blog about. The answer varies depending what industry you’re in. Oftentimes think of the most common questions that clients /contacts have and answer them in your blog articles. Don’t be afraid to have a personality in your blog, people don’t like reading things that are dry, so inject some humor.
The best thing is that original content does not go away, it helps organic SEO and gives your website staying power on the web.
A website is a marketing tool that works in conjunction with your other marketing. It is not just a pretty picture on the web. A website needs to be functional to work. Show the viewer you are a vibrant, growing business.
A professional web designer/ developer will help you by:
Making your website Search Engine friendly – Implementing SEO best practices while building the website. Technical SEO can be done as the site is built, suggestions are made on content to optimize titles, url’s, alt tags and more
Increase conversion rates– Including contact forms, lead magnets and call to action are essential to creating conversions.
Saving you time – Hiring a professional gives you the benefit of hiring an expert who knows successful, efficient ways to create a web site quickly. We can suggest new interesting ways to display information.
Cross device testing– A professional will test a site on different devices, run speed test and make sure the site works on multiple platforms.
Professional Graphics– Adding a custom graphics, colours and images that fit the project are a great addition to making a custom website.
Customization and enhancement– A professional will be able to add custom functionality to a website and customize themes with css and plugins as required.
Technical Know How – Whether it is purchasing a domain, setting nameservers, specific DNS settings like ; A records or MX records, we have the know how. Security and back up redundancy advice and implementation are key considerations.
You may think you are creating a pretty website yourself but there are many shortcomings to some do it yourself platforms.