With the last two posts, you have learned how to come up with a beautiful color scheme and how to easily create wall art with free resources. I hope you enjoyed some crafty hours with your new skills. Are you ready to get your art out there? Cool! Then follow along and learn how to offer printables and wall art on your blog without sucking all your resources out of WordPress. Also, learn how to painlessly track downloads to see what kind of printables works best for your audience.
How to offer free printables to your blog readers – without cramming your WordPress account
In WordPress, you can upload media like free printables directly into your system. Then you can put it into any post by clicking “Add Media” in your editor. Probably, you have done this a lot, for example with images.
However, this is not always the best way to go. All media files will be stored in your WordPress board and will use a lot of resources.
This is why we will be uploading the printables or wall art files some place else. There are many free options to do so and chances are you already have some on your hand. You might be using a dropbox account, google drive or OneDrive. If not, go sign up for one of them. It’s free. Then upload your printable file and make it shareable. Get the sharing URL.
Create a trackable URL for free
Take your printable’s sharing URL and shorten it using a free service like Google URL Shortener (goo.gl). (Bitly or PrettyLink are alternatives). Log in to your account, paste the link there and create the new short URL.
Well done! If you use your personal account you now have a place where you can easily see at a glance all your printables (or any other file download or link you are tracking) and you will know exactly how well each printable is performing and which one people love the most.
So, all we need to do now is get your printable out there and make it easy for your blog readers to access them.
Present download links in post – as image or text
This is the easiest step once you have everything in place.
Just add a link to your post and use the ShortURL while doing so. Simply put your shortened link to a piece of text to give people the opportunity to just click on a text link. Upon clicking the link the printable will pop up ready for download.
Maybe you prefer to present a clickable image to take people to the download? No problem. This is just as easy in WordPress.
In addition (or alternatively) to the text link, you will upload an image as a preview of the printable and make that image clickable. Once you have added the image to your post, click the image, then “Edit”.
You will see a window like the one on the picture (on the right). Set the “Link To” drop down selection to “Custom URL”, paste the shortURL into the next field, and (optionally) checkmark “Open link in a new tab” below. Finally, press “Update” on the lower right corner and you’re done. Your readers can now click on the image to get to the printable to download it.
There is another option to make an image clickable in the media gallery in WordPress. If you select the image, see these options on the right of your panel. Here you can add a link to your image, too. That way you can add the link directly after loading the image into your media gallery. However, if you want this link to open in a new window, you have to edit the image afterwards, anyway.
Also, you might want to use images that are stored outside WordPress to save storage space. Add them to your post and then proceed as above.
Track Downloads of Printables in Google Analytics
As I mentioned there is a simple way to track downloads. With Google URL shortener (or bitly) every click on the link is automatically tracked. If you are logged in to your Google Account you will find all your shortened URLs in a list. With this list, you can easily find out which printables do best. To me, this is all I want to know right now.
If you want to track downloads and performance of outbound links in Google Analytics, you have to work with codes or use Google Tag Manager to set up Event Tracking. This is definitely more complicated but gives you more options, too. Also, your data will be private. This is not the case with goo.gl or bitly where your tracked clicks for an URL are publically accessible if people have the shortURL.
If you want to go with the more sophisticated option read this post at blastam.com on how to track download and outbound links in Google Analytics or this post on how to track downloads using the Google Tag Manager at seoworks.com.
I hope you learned something new and you are now ready to rock your blog with some nice printables. What kind of downloads do you want to track and why?
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