You can absolutely learn what makes your website valuable and take steps now to become more profitable in the short run and increase the amount you can get when you are ready to sell.
You Can Sell Digital Products Without a Website
You may have heard that there is a lot of money in digital products due to their high margins, ease of selling online, and ability to scale and handle an unlimited amount of orders. But you may be wondering if you need your own website to sell your own product.
Do you need a website to sell digital products? The answer is no. By taking advantage of other websites that already have digital delivery, payment systems, and access to customers, you don't need to spend the time and money to create your own website right away. You can test your digital product in the market first and create a website later if that fits your strategy.
In the rest of this article, we'll tell you about some places with access to large markets where you can sell various digital products without having your own site. Then we'll offer some advice as to why you probably will want to set up a website of your own at some point.
Info Products & More – Clickbank
Clickbank was started in 1998 and quickly became the go to place to sell information products, especially by the Internet marketing crowd selling ebooks. Since then they have expanded to handle a broader range of ecommerce options including physical products.
The primary benefits of Clickbank is access to a lot of affiliate marketers. Since Clickbank pays out commissions to affiliates of around 50% per sale, it has attracted thousands of eager marketers around the world looking to sell your product.
This makes Clickbank a great place to test your product quickly in the market by leveraging the power of other websites and marketers. You make the product, upload it to Clickbank, and let other people handle the sales and marketing. You can then see how your idea is working without having to pay to find your own customers.
Convenience is another nice feature of Clickbank. They handle all the technical issues related to digital delivery and selling including hosting, bandwidth fees, security, affiliate management, sales, refunds, and fraud protection.
Due to such a large portion of each sale going to affiliates, Clickbank may not be the right long term solution for you. But for testing an idea, it might be a great fit.
Digital Photos, Videos, Music & Illustrations – Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images
For digital art creators, you may be able to make decent money with your digital photos, video, and illustrations by partnering with one of the large marketplaces like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Getty Images. These sites cater to very large audiences that are hungry for digital art to enhance their websites or use in commercial or non-profit projects.
Selling on these marketplaces is typically fairly easy. You often fill out a form, send in some sample work, and wait to be approved. If your work sells, you will get a percentage, typically below 50%. However, these platforms have such a large audience reach it is probably worth at least testing to see how well your content sells here before creating your own site and going after customers.
These aren't the only places you can sell digital art but they are very large. Here are some other places to consider:
- Envato Market – Caters to a large webmaster audience looking for digital content of all types like photos, video, logos, themes, 3D files and more.
- Etsy – Etsy isn't just a place for physical crafts, you can now sell digital photos and art. What is really nice is their low selling fees meaning you get to keep more of the profit.
Online Courses – Udemy
One very good option to sell a course without a website is Udemy. Udemy is a massive course marketplace filled with courses in all kinds of subject areas made by people just like you.
Udemy claims they reach over 30 million students online. These students account for over 190 million course enrollments. Needless to say, Udemy's market reach is enormous.
Udemy makes it very easy to create and add a course to their system. There is plenty of guidance along the way to help you through the process and succeed.
The big drawback to Udemy is they take a high percentage of the sale for customers that you don't refer. According to their Instructor Revenue Share page, Udemy takes 50% of the course net after fees are paid. However, if you refer the customer, the instructor can keep 97% of the net revenue.
Eventually, you may want to sell your course on other platforms and even your own website, but to get going fairly easily, get access to a huge market of students, have all the technical and payment issues handled, and test and refine your course idea, Udemy can be a great option.
Helpful Resource – 10 Places to Sell Your Course Online
eBooks – Amazon
For you eBook sellers, there is probably no better place to sell your creation without a site than at the world's largest online marketplace, Amazon. Amazon got its start selling books and so naturally, ebooks became a perfect fit. The explosion of popular e-readers like their Kindle have only served to continually grow the ebook market.
Self publishing on Amazon is quick and easy. In fact, Amazon claims you can launch your publishing product and have it reach their worldwide audience in 24-48 hours.
Amazon has fantastic step-by-step tutorials to walk you through the process of getting your ebook to market. Here's a video that outlines the process:
Amazon also has a pretty good royalty share and allows publishers to keep up to 70% of the revenue if your work and pricing satisfies certain requirement. Getting started in publishing with Amazon is free so you don't need to invest any capital up front.
Again, you may want to branch out to different platforms long-term but because of the size of Amazon's market and the ease and no-cost setup, it is a great place to test ideas.
Why Setting Up Your Own Site is Probably a Good Strategic Decision Long Term
The platforms and marketplaces we mention above have the advantage of taking care of all the technology and selling while giving you access to lots of customers you don't have to attract yourself. The downside is that you give up more of the revenue per sale and you may not be able to develop your own long term customers who come back and buy repeatedly.
Additionally, when relying on these marketplaces, you are captive to any changes they make in the future. If Amazon wants to pay you less for each sale, they will simply change their terms. Or maybe a marketplace thinks that your content doesn't fit within their company ethos and decides to kick you out. You don't really have much recourse if they decide to do so.
To help eliminate these potential risks, and develop your own long-term customer base, you really need to develop your own website. That doesn't mean you can't use technology to help you with digital distribution, customer management, and sales. It does mean you need to develop your own property that is fully under your own control.
Fortunately, building your own website has never been easier.
Options for Creating an Website Easily
If you want to build your own site, here are some of the most popular options at the time of this writing for to put up a site easily and quickly.
From my research, Wix is one of the easiest site creators out there. They handle just about everything and give you many tools to create nice looking sites quickly and easily. Pricing is anywhere from $13/month on up depending on what you need.
The downside to Wix is customization and their proprietary platform. If you need a simple site, you may not need a lot of customization options. However, if you do, Wix may limit your creative ability. Also, their platform is proprietary so if you ever need to move your site to another provider, it may be very difficult to do so.
SquareSpace is very similar to Wix and also fairly easy to use. For a long time, SquareSpace has been the choice for local businesses that don't need real fancy websites. I have used the platform and was amazed at how quickly I could put up a nice, simple site. Pricing is very reasonable and hosting is provided.
SquareSpace has the same downsides as Wix so consider those before choosing both of these platforms.
If you want a platform that is still somewhat easy to use but gives you a lot more flexibility and freedom, go with WordPress. This site is using WordPress and for a non-technical person like me who has some experience with web coding, it does everything I need. And with all the third party support and tutorials out there, I think most people can learn WordPress if they give it time.
The downsides to WordPress is that there is much more of a learning curve compared to Wix and SquareSpace. However, if you decide that the learning curve is too much for you, you can always outsource the setup and maintenance of the site to numerous WordPress freelancers for not very much money.
If you decide to use WordPress, I recommend SiteGround as a hosting provider (its what Solo Intel is on – here's why I chose it). In my research, I found them to be a very good balance between features, support, bandwidth, speed, and price. There are more premium hosts out there like WP Engine that might make your site a bit faster, but the price increase over Site Ground is considerable and for what I am doing right now, its not worth it.
What digital products can I sell online? You can sell just about any digital product online given all the marketplace options available to you. Some of the best selling and highest profit items are courses, ebooks, training of any kind, software, entertainment (games, video, music), photography, website assets (themes, logos, etc.), and apps.
Can you sell digital products on Amazon? Amazon allows you to sell ebooks, audio books, apps, video games, and music. For ebooks, Amazon is a fantastic place to list your work. Audio books also do very well do to Amazon's acquisition and integration of Audible, the leading audio book vendor. Apps may do better on the Apple and Google Play stores. For video games, we recommend selling on Steam. Streaming music seems to be a growing market for Amazon do to so many songs being included in customer's Prime membership.
Is selling on other sites a good long term strategy? Long term you will want to build your own customer base and retain as much control over your business as possible. The problem with all of these platforms is their terms of service, business model, or fees can change at any time and you can bet it probably won't be in your favor. Also, many of these platforms retain the customer and not you. Many have a business model of using your content to build their long term customer base. Using these platforms may be great ways to test the market with new ideas but always think long term and try to come up with ways to build up your own customers over time. The lifetime value of a customer far exceeds that of one-time purchases.
More Monetization Intel
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