Don’t know how to provide ebook downloads from your website?

Any web hosting company lets you to easily share an ebook. But you probably didn’t create an ebook just to share your knowledge with the rest of the world – which would have required you to simply upload your ebook PDF to your website and insert its link into relevant pages.

No, your end goal is different. 

The goal of your ebook is to help you build your email list. This means you don’t want to let your prospects download it until they give up their personal information (email address, contact information, etc.) in return.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that. 

Before You Make An Ebook Downloadable

Convert your ebook into the PDF format.

The PDF format is universally recognized by PCs, smartphones, and Macs alike. Also, unlike a typical word processor document that will look different on different computers, a PDF provides a consistent viewing experience.

So, before learning how to make your ebook available to download, convert it into PDF format:

  • If you’re using MS Word, go to File > Save AS > PDF
  • If you’re using Google Docs, go to File > Download > PDF Document (.pdf)

Where To Host Your PDF Ebook?

You have two options to host your PDF ebook:

On Your Website

Storing your PDF ebook on your website is super easy. You just have to follow the steps discussed below to serve your visitors with your PDF. Here are the pros and cons of storing your ebook lead magnet on your website:

Pros

Your website looks more professional: Using ebook lead magnets on your website gives it a more professional touch. Also, if your ebook successfully addresses their pain points, they’ll be more likely to return to your website for more.

More cost-effective solution: By hosting your ebook PDF on your website, you don’t have to pay a penny to third-party ebook hosting services. 

Retain your website visitors: Like sending your website visitors to third parties? Neither do we. Especially since we know that 95% of visitors who have left your website won’t return. 

Cons

You have to abide by size limits: Some web hosts and self-hosted platforms like WordPress limit the maximum file size for uploads. If your ebook’s size happens to be larger than the allowed file size, you’ll have to get your upload limit increased by a server administrator.

You pay for popularity: Your web host allows you transmit a certain amount of data per month, known as your bandwidth. Once you cross that limit, you incur overage fees. If your ebook becomes especially popular, then you may cross this limit and be hit by a big bill. Make sure you know your hosting’s limit and how close you are to crossing it.

On 3rd-Party Hosting Websites

There are various online file hosts like Google Drive or Dropbox that can be used to host your ebook. These third-party file hosting services offer both paid and free solutions. This means you are under no obligation to pay them if you’re on a tight budget.

Pros

No need to ‘de-index’ your ebook: If you’re hosting your ebook on your website, you must ‘de-index’ it to ensure no one can download it for free by entering its name into Google. Third-party hosting services de-index all PDFs automatically. 

No need to worry about size limits: Dropbox’s maximum file upload size is 50GB. Google Doc’s free version’s maximum file size limit is 15GB. You can thus include as many high-quality pictures in your ebook as you want. 

Free up your server’s bandwidth: Using megabyte-sized PDFs can add up fast, making it easy to cross your server’s bandwidth limit. You can avoid this problem by uploading PDFs to 3rd party hosts.

Cons

Lack of branding: Using a third-party site means you lose the ability to use a custom URL from your own website. This can create a lack of cohesion between your brand and your ebook with what appears to be a random URL.

How To Provide Ebook Downloads?

Here are the two major options on how to make your ebook downloadable:

From Your Website

Here’s how you can provide ebook downloads on your website:

  1. Upload your PDF ebook to your website and get the URL of the file. Check with your web hosting company on how to do this.
  2. No-index your ebook to hide it from the eyes of Google
  3. Create an opt-in form for your lead magnet. Your email service provider should have opt-in forms you can use that automatically connect to your email list. Alternatively, you can use something like OptinMonster which also can connect to your email service provider. Create an email with your ebook’s URL that’s sent whenever someone is added to your email list.
  4. Now place your opt-in form in a highly-visible location on your site to collect users’ information and deliver your ebook via email. 

From 3rd-Party Sites

Though each file host is different, here is a general overview of the steps involved in uploading your ebook:

  1. Sign in to your account.
  2. Find the option to upload files.
  3. Select your ebook from your computer 
  4. Click ‘Open’
  5. Look for a “share” link you can copy. This is the link you’ll be using to give your subscribers your ebook lead magnet. 
  6. Create an opt-in form for your lead magnet. Your email service provider should have opt-in forms you can use that automatically connect to your email list. Alternatively, you can use something like OptinMonster which also can connect to your email service provider. Create an email with your ebook’s share link that’s sent whenever someone is added to your email list.
  7. Now place your opt-in form in a highly-visible location on your site to collect users’ information and deliver your ebook via email.

How To Send The Download Link Automatically?

To send the download link automatically to your subscribers when they sign up, you will need to use an email service provider. Here are a couple of the most popular options:

  • Convertkit: Convertkit has a feature known as “The Incentive Email,” which allows you to automatically send the download link in an email when someone signs up for your PDF ebook.  
  • AWeber: AWeber also gives you the option to send the download link to subscribers when they give up their email address.

Conclusion

Now you should have a good idea of how to go about providing ebook downloads on your website.

But is your ebook ready to share in the first place?

To make sure, check out our complete guide on how to write an ebook that’s specifically geared for online entrepreneurs looking to generate leads or sales.

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