Are you looking to add PDF resources to your cated WordPress website? Perhaps you want to create a lead magnet that people can download? If you’re still using Google Drive to share documents, there is an easier (more convenient way) available. Today, I’m going to give you a step-by-step tutorial on the easiest way to share PDF documents (for free) on your website, without having to add a dedicated plugin.

Reasons to Add a Download Button

Not convinced that an embedded PDF in the middle of your next new post is a good idea? Let me show you why it’s important and why PDFs are one of the most popular file formats.  

1. PDFs help with Google ranking 

It was once thought that Google (and other search engines) didn’t register PDFs when ranking posts and information. That is just not true! PDFs are absolutely indexed for search, and they are even included as snippets for searchers to view before they click. This means that including PDFs is a chance for you to increase traffic by making sure your content appears in more search results. Keep in mind that this only applies to PDFs that aren’t password-protected or encrypted. 

2. Perfect for info- and image-heavy content 

Do you have an e-book that’s full of helpful illustrations? Does it have gorgeous cover art that you just aren’t sure how to translate to a webpage? Or, maybe you have a long and detailed set of instructions that will only interest the truly obsessed reader. Convert your Word doc to a PDF and upload it to your website! PDF format will allow the viewer to see your material as you intended. It will also allow them to print or save your digital document in its original size with no surprises. More ideas for PDF file downloads include:

As you can see, the sky is really the limit of what you could add. Also, consider whether you want to receive something in exchange for this digital download. For example, if your goal is to build your newsletter, then offering exclusive digital content to email subscribers might be in your best interests. Tip: some newsletter platforms have the option to upload PDF files to send. However, most free (or cheap) options do not. By hosting them on your website, you can use any platform you’d like! If you’d like to limit access to the document, you can add it to a page or post that isn’t linked anywhere on your website and add a no-index tag so it isn’t crawled by Google. 

3. Readable anywhere

The beauty of a PDF is that as long as your reader has a free PDF viewer like Adobe Acrobat, it can be read anywhere and on any mobile device and any browser. This will improve your user engagement because they won’t get frustrated trying to view an e-book on their phone in the wrong format, for example. Ensuring a high quality user experience should be a priority for all content creators, and PDFs will help with this immensely.

4. They can help grow your business 

The offer of an exclusive PDF download link can be used to encourage your audience to subscribe to a newsletter. Or, they might pay for admission to an exclusive members-only area where you make downloadable PDFs with more information available. 

5. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose

PDFs are a wonderful way to repackage your existing content and make it new again! Do you have a long step-by-step guide or tutorial that you have posted elsewhere? Turn it into a PDF document and offer it as a download to increase user engagement in future blog posts. This is a great way to offer your readers the same information you have worked so hard to create in a different, unique way. 

How do I add a PDF to WordPress for download?

So, now that you understand how important it is to include PDFs as digital downloads, let me show you how to do it! The good news is that uploading downloadable files to WordPress is actually a very simple process. Follow along with these easy steps:

Add your PDF uploads to your Media library

The media library option is such an easy way to upload a PDF! If you are asking yourself, “How do I add a PDF to WordPress without WordPress plugins?”, the add media option is your answer! There is no need for a WordPress PDF plugin if you do it this way: 

1. Log in to your WordPress site. 

2. Go to “Media” on the WordPress dashboard menu on the left and hover your mouse over it . 

3. Select “Add New”.

4. Drag and drop your files into the box or click “select files”. 

You should now see your file name in the upload area. You can do this for as many PDF downloads as you want and they will all appear in the same place.

Add your uploaded PDF file to a page or post

Now that you’ve got your PDF file upload in your media library ready to go, it’s time to add it to your website! You can do this by adding it a post or putting it on one of your pages, whichever you want. There are two ways you can do this: either embed it in a post or add a direct PDF link. 

Embed your PDF

Let’s first look at the process for embedding your PDF right into your page or post. 

1. Open your page or post where you want the PDF to appear. 

2. Next, navigate to the exact place where you want your audience to see it. 

3. Then, hit the “+” icon (a blue button). 

4. Choose a file block. 

5. Now, either upload your file directly or select a media file that you already uploaded to the media library (if you followed along with this post, you did this step earlier!). These options have buttons called either “Upload” or “Media Library”, respectively. 

6. If you used the Media Library, select the file you want and click the “Select” button on the bottom right of the page. 

Now, your PDF will appear where you want it on your page or post! You’re almost done, but first there are a few decisions you must make about how you want your audience to view your file. 

Add a link or button for your PDF

You can choose to add a download button or direct link for your PDF instead of embedding it directly. This is also a straightforward process! 

1. Navigate to the field where you would like to link the PDF file.

2. Hit the “link” option (it looks a bit like a paperclip). 

3. Start typing your file name in the field that pops up.

4. Click the PDF when it comes up.

That’s it! Now your audience will be able to click the text where you have linked your PDF. You also have the option of showing the download button (from the menu on the right), which is a matter of personal preference for how you want your page or post to look. The download button is also customizable, so you can change it from “Download” to whatever you think will attract people the most! 

Track your stats

Once you start using PDFs regularly as part of your blog posts or pages, you can go one step further and see which of your downloads are attracting the most people. This will help you determine what kind of material your audience is interested in for future content creation. This is easily done with a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress (MonsterInsights is a popular one). Once you download the free plugin, you can see all kinds of stats with just the click of the button on your WordPress dashboard.  

And that’s it, everything you need to know to embed or link a PDF in your WordPress page or post! And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed about this topic or any other website update or maintenance issues, Virtual Admin Pro can help! Contact us today for all your website changes or troubleshooting needs. 

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