Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video Add a software product, part of WordPress Ecommerce: Easy Digital Downloads.
- [Instructor] Up until this point, everything could be done totally for free. But for this lesson we're going to look at a premium plugin. If you don't want to buy this plugin you can watch or skip this lesson and still go through the rest of the course. We're going to look at selling software, which is one of the things that EDD does better than just about any other platform out there. You could sell software once, and let someone download it and be done, and you wouldn't need anything extra for that. You could use the techniques that we looked at earlier in this course, and get by. But software usually needs updates.
And you don't want to give updates to just anyone. And you don't want to have someone have to manually come to your site and manually download the software again. What you want is a licensing system. And that's what this extension does. It adds a licensing system onto your digital products. So it will generate a license key for each product. And when your product requests an update, it will check with your site to make sure they have a valid license. And if they do, it'll send them updated files. It's actually a pretty complicated process, which is why so many other e-commerce platforms haven't nailed this down.
Now this is a premium plugin so you'll have to purchase it, and you have to renew every year. The WordPress space has changed a lot in the last five to ten years. In the early days, most plugins were free, but poorly maintained. Now we have good support teams, and software like this is well maintained, but you usually do have to pay a fee for advanced functionality. We've already purchased this extension, and have the files downloaded to our desktop. So I'm going to go to our site and install this extension. Go to my site, let's go to the admin.
We'll go to plugins, add new. We'll go to upload plugin, and now we'll pick the file from our desktop. And we're going to go with EDD software licensing. It should look something like this. You might have a different version number. We'll click open, and install now. Once it's done uploading, we'll want to activate it. And we should be ready to use it. So we're going to create a new download. Go to downloads, add new.
This is going to be our Drone Controller Software. And I don't have a description already written. So I'll say, this is our drone controller software. And let's go ahead and upload our software product. So we're going to go down, and under download files, we're going to call this the Drone Controller Software. We'll upload our file.
And I have it on the desktop here; DroneController.zip. And just for consistency, I'll fill those in. And now we're going to go down to licensing. Let's check the checkbox to turn this on. And now we're going to see a ton of options. You're going to want to configure this according to your business model. But I can share a few pointers. Activation limits are good for software that limits you to a certain number of sites or computers.
So if someone can install this software on five computers or on five websites, you can limit that here. One thing to keep in mind in the WordPress space, is that people usually have test sites. So if you limit someone to use this software on three websites, I would set the actual activation limit to six. That way, if there's a test site or two, they don't run into any issues. You do need to enter a version number here. That's how EDD knows if something is out of date. So right now I'm going to enter 1.0 since this is our initial version.
And let's say a month from now I make an update to the software. I can change this number right here to 1.1. And anyone who has 1.0 installed, will get an update notice the next time their site checks for updates. If you forget to update the software version here, nothing will update, so don't forget that. For downloadable software, it's common to have a yearly license. I have yearly licenses for an FTP program, a graphics program, e-commerce platforms, and of course WordPress plugins. In an upcoming video, we'll look into recurring payments which you can combine with yearly software renewals to keep the money coming in.
But for right now, I recommend you do not set anything to lifetime. Because you're going to leave so much money on the table. So we'll set this to limited, and we'll change this to 365. The update file is the file that's sent to the client when they request an update. So if my plugin is out of date, I should get a zip file sent to me with the new plugin files because that's how WordPress works. It's usually one big zip file. Now, because we haven't saved or updated anything, this hasn't updated. So let's quickly publish our product.
And if we scroll back down, I can now choose one of our uploaded files to set as the upload file. This is basically the thing that gets sent to the user's computer or their phone, to update the software. Depending on the software you're working with, it might not be a zip file, and you can always use the EDD API for more complex setups. But for most applications, you can just send an updated zip file. There's a few more fields we can cover. The change log is very common with software. It's a list of what's changed.
You should already have a change log in your software. Just copy and paste it right here. You can also specify license keys by pasting them in this box. But since EDD creates them for you automatically, I don't see too many use cases with this. You shouldn't have to do too much here. This next section gets a little complex. It's helpful if you sell software with multiple tiers. For example, let's say you sell a one site, five site, and an unlimited site piece of software. You can give users a way to upgrade from the one site to the five site, and from the five site to the unlimited.
We're not going to go into how this looks, as it's a little bit tedious. But you can see the instructions on the EDD website. As you can see, building and maintaining software is a complex business. And licensing is just a part of that. There's also updating. Luckily for us, EDD includes a sample plugin and a sample theme. So if you want to sell a WordPress theme or WordPress plugin, you can see the example files included with this extension. Here's the example plugin files. You would just have to replace a few things like your store URL, the item name, and the license page.
And if you're not doing something in the WordPress space, you can use these files as the basis for your own upgrade procedure. If you can't tell already, software's pretty complicated, and EDD does a great job handling most of the boring parts so you can focus on the software.
- What is Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)?
- Setting up WordPress for ecommerce
- Installing EDD
- Configuring payment options
- Setting up taxes
- Adding product data
- Testing the customer experience
- Working with third-party services
- Creating reports and discount codes