How to Create an Easy Digital Downloads Alternative with Elementor

Updated: November 12, 2022

Do you have digital products that you want to sell with WordPress? A plugin that pops up on your mind might be Easy Digital Downloads (EDD). Did you know that you can create your own Easy Digital Downloads alternative with Elementor? In this post, we will show you how to do so.

But first, let’s find out what Easy Digital Downloads is.

Easy Digital Downloads is a plugin that allows you to turn your WordPress site into an e-commerce website much like WooCommerce. The difference is that Easy Digital Downloads is focused on selling digital products.

In general, the way Easy Digital Downloads works is pretty simple. First, you setup the payments. Next, you can start adding the products you want to sell. When adding a new product, you can add product price and file URL. Both product price and file URL are actually custom fields that you can create yourself using plugins like ACF, Pods, and JetEngine.

Element Pro, as you have known, has the ability to display custom fields data. Combined with its Theme Builder feature, you can create a DIY Easy Digital Downloads alternatives by creating a custom post type and custom fields then create a custom template for the custom post type.

What about the payment?

You can use either the PayPal Button or Stripe Button widget (or even both). PayPal Button and Stripe Button are the native widgets available in Elementor Pro.

Steps to Create Easy Digital Downloads with Elementor

First things first, we want to underline that you can only follow the steps below with Elementor Pro as Elementor Free has no Theme Builder feature. Also, the payment widgets (PayPal Button and Stripe Button) are not available on Elementor Free (Read: Elementor Free vs Pro).

Step 1: Create a Custom Post Type

The first thing you need to do is to create the custom post type (CPT). You need this CPT to accommodate the individual digital products. You can use the CPT UI plugin to create the custom post type. It is a free plugin so that you don’t need to spend extra budget.

After installing and activating the CPT UI plugin, go to CPT UI -> Add/Edit Post Types on your WordPress dashboard. On the Basic Settings block under the Add New Post Type tab, add the necessary settings such as post slug, plural label, and singular label.

If you want to set the additional labels for your custom post type, you can open the Additional labels block. Next, move to the Settings block to set some additional settings. On the Supports section, make sure to enable the following components and click the Add Post Type button:

  • Title
  • Editor
  • Featured Image
  • Custom Field

Once the custom post type is created, you will see a new menu item on the menu sidebar on your WordPress dashboard.

Step 2: Create Custom Taxomonies

Taxonomies allow you to better organize your content. There are two default taxonomies in WordPress: category and tag. These default taxonomies can only be used on default post type (blog post). Thus, you need to create custom taxonomies to organize your digital products.

In addition to creating custom post type, CPT UI also allows you to create custom taxonomies. In this example, we will create custom category and custom tag for the custom post type we have just created above.

– Custom Category

Go to CPT UI -> Add/Edit Post Taxonomies on your WordPress dashboard. On the Basic Settings block under the Add New Taxonomy tab, set the necessary settings such as slug, plural label, and singular label. Make sure to select the custom post type you have just created above on the Attach to Post Type section.

Move to the Additional labels block if you want to set the additional labels.

Next, move to the Settings block to set some additional settings. In this example, we use the following settings:

  • Public: True
  • Public Queryable: True
  • Hierarchical: True
  • Show UI: True
  • Show in menu: True
  • Show in nav menus: True
  • Query Var: True
  • Rewrite: True
  • Rewrite With Front: True
  • Rewrite Hierarchical: False
  • Show Admin Column: False
  • Show in REST API: True
  • Show in tag cloud: False
  • Show in quick/bulk edit panel: False
  • Sort: False

Click the Add Taxonomy button to add the custom category.

Once the custom category is created, you will see a new item (Category) on your custom post type menu on your WordPress dashboard.

– Custom Tag

Go to CPT UI -> Add/Edit Post Taxonomies on your WordPress dashboard to create custom tag. Make sure to attach the custom tag to the custom post type you created earlier above.

Open the Additional labels block to add more labels. Next, open the Settings block to add the necessary settings. In this example, we use the following settings:

  • Public: True
  • Public Queryable: True
  • Hierarchical: False
  • Show UI: True
  • Show in menu: True
  • Show in nav menus: True
  • Query Var: True
  • Rewrite: True
  • Rewrite With Front: True
  • Rewrite Hierarchical: False
  • Show Admin Column: False
  • Show in REST API: True
  • Show in tag cloud: False
  • Show in quick/bulk edit panel: False
  • Sort: False

Click the Add Taxonomy button to add the custom tag.

Once done creating the custom tag, you will see a new item (tag) on your custom post type menu on your WordPress dashboard.

Step 3: Create the Custom Fields

For this tutorial, we have created a custom template designed specifically for selling e-books. We will create custom fields for some elements on the template:

  • Product price
  • Product price label (will be used on the button text)
  • Product URL
  • Product summary
  • Number of pages
  • Language
  • Format

The plugin we will use to create custom fields is ACF. You can use another plugin of your choice, but make sure it supports text, number, and URL fields.

You can use the free version of ACF to follow the steps below as the field types we will use below are available on the free version. Make sure to install and activate the ACF plugin before you continue.

To start creating the custom fields, go to Custom Fields -> Add New on your WordPress dashboard. Give your custom fields group a name and click the Add Field button to add your first custom field.

Give your first custom field a label and set the field type. If you want to make it a required field, simply enable the Required option. Click the Add Field button to add more custom fields.

  • Product price: Number
  • Product price label: Text
  • Product URL: Url
  • Product Summary: Text Area
  • Number of pages: Number
  • Language: Select
  • Format: Select

Once done adding the custom fields, go to the Location block to assign the custom fields to. Make sure to assign it to the custom post type you have created on step 1 above.

Click the Publish button to publish your custom fields group.

Step 4: Add Your First Digital Product

Once done creating the custom post type, custom taxonomies, and custom fields, you can start adding your first digital product item. Simply go to the sidebar menu on your WordPress dashboard and select your custom post type menu label -> Add New.

Give your product a title and description. Once done, move to the custom fields block to enter the data of the custom fields you have created earlier above. Also set the featured image, category, and tag.

Publish your digital product once done adding the content.

Note: Make sure to type the same number/text of price and price label.

No worries if you don’t see the custom fields data after you publish your digital product. WordPress will display your digital product based on the default template of custom post type from your theme. We will create the custom template using Elementor shortly on the next step below.

Step 5: Create the Custom Template for Custom Post Type

Finally, it is time to create the custom template for the custom post type. As we mentioned earlier, we have created a template dedicated for this article. You can download it here.

To start creating the custom template, go to Templates -> Theme Builder on your WordPress dashboard. On Theme Builder screen, hover your mouse over the Single Post tab and click the plus icon to create a new custom template.

On the appearing template library window, click the up-arrow icon and select the JSON file of the custom template you have downloaded.

Find the template you have just imported and click the Insert button to import it to the Elementor editor.

There are some widgets you need to set their content to dynamic. But before start editing the template, you can change the preview setting first. On the Elementor settings panel, click the gear icon at the bottom and open the Preview Settings block.

Set the preview dynamic content to your custom post type and type one of the items you have published and click the APPLY & PPREVIEW button.

– Heading

This widget is dedicated to displaying the title of your digital product items dynamically. To do so, click the widget to edit. Go to the settings panel and click the Dynamic Tags icon on the Title field under the Content tab.

Select Post Title on the dropdown list.

– Image

Click the Image widget to edit it and go to the settings panel. On the settings panel, hover your cursor over the image and click the Dynamic Tags icon.

Select Featured Image on the dropdown list.

– PayPal Button

PayPal button is the key widget here. There are some elements on the button that we need set to dynamic, including price, price label, and product name. But first, make sure to add your PayPal account (email address) and set the transaction type to Checkout.

Next, go to Item Name field and set it to Post Title.

It’s time to set the price. Click the Dynamic Tags icon the Price field and select ACF Number Field.

Click the wrench icon and select Price.

Next, open the Button settings block to set the button text. Click the Dynamic Tags icon on the Text field. Select ACF Field.

Click the wrench icon and select Price Label.

Open the Advanced block and add a prefix. Something like “Download for $”.

Next open the Additional Options settings block. Click the Dynamic Tags icon on the Redirect After Success field and select ACF URL Field.

Click the wrench icon and select File URL.

– Text Editor

The Text Editor widget is used to display the summary of your digital product. The content of the summary of pulled from the Product Summary field on your custom fields group.

Click the Text Area widget to edit it. Go to the settings panel and click the Dynamic Tags icon on the Text Editor field. Select ACF Field.

Click the wrench icon and select Summary.

– Icon List

We use the Icon List widget to display the number of pages, language, and e-book format.

Click the Icon List widget to edit it. On the settings panel, open the first item and click the Dynamic Tags icon on the Text field. Select ACF Field.

Click the wrench icon and select Number of Pages.

Open the Advanced block and add the prefix. Something like “Number of pages:”

Repet the steps above for other items on the Icon List widget.

– Post Content

On the third section of the custom template, you can find another Text Editor widget. You can delete is and replace it with the Post Content widget.

You can use the following settings for the Post Content widget.

  • Text color: #44405A
  • Font family: Rubik
  • Font size: 18px
  • Font weight: 400px
  • Line-height: 31px

You can modify the template as per your liking. Once done, click the PUBLISH button at the bottom side of the settings panel.

On the appearing window, click ADD CONDITION to add the display condition. Select the custom post type you have created on step 1 above and click the SAVE & CLOSE button.

After the custom template for custom post type is created, you can start adding other items you want to sell on your website.

Step 6: Create a Shop Page

If you have many digital items to sell, it’s a great idea to create a dedicated shop page (just like WooCommerce shop page) to display all the items you sell. You can use the Posts widget of Elementor to display your digital items.

First, create a new page and edit it with Elementor. On the Elementor editor, add the Posts widget to the canvas area.

Once the Posts widget is added, go to the settings panel and open the Query settings block. Set the content source to the custom post type you created on step 1 above.

Go to the Style tab to style up the Posts widget. You can read this post for more detailed tutorial on how to use the Posts widget. Publish your page once you are done editing it.

Done!

The Bottom Line

Easy Digital Downloads is a popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress designed specifically for selling digital products. From e-book, templates, images, videos, illustrations, and so on. While it is great to sell your digital items, you have no option to create the custom template for individual products. In other words, you have limited design option for single product page.

If you have an Elementor-powered WordPress website and have some digital items to sell, you can make use of the Theme Builder feature to create a DIY Easy Digital Downloads alternatives. Elementor has two payment widgets — the PayPal Button and the Stripe Button — you can make use of to accept payments. Since Elementor offers limitless design options, you can a create custom single product page — as well as the shop page — that blend with your site design scheme.

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