Only 22 downloads?
What’s the value of that?

The number of downloads have to be WAY higher for .03% to amount to anything of value!

what's the value of downloadable content

Answer: I don’t know.
But is it worth the time and money to produce?

I have recently completed a high volume month for a client.  These numbers might not be that big for other people, but for this site 70K+ visits in a month is HUGE.

Everyday thru the month of October, they posted a short post. It included

  • a  pdf of the content (carefully constructed  from Word for consistency across all 31 posts),
  • a jpg of an  infographic plus
  • a pdf of that infographic.

That’s three downloadable bits of content. (Yes, I know, a visitor could download the image without a separate link, but that’s what the client wanted.)

SO every day, those three bits were uploaded to the media library. Links to that content was included in two separate locations, similar to the image above. (Additionally, each post included a picture of the author and appropriately sized images for Facebook, Twitter and Instgram. But that’s not part of my story here.)

The client was sure people would want to print out this content and distribute to their offline audiences.

I have thought for  a long time that that’s pointless. Visitors will read on the screen or not. They will share, via social pathways, or not. But the days of printing out fliers to sit in your office and hope somebody will take or read them are long gone.

Here’s what I have learned by tracking in google analytics looking at all the visits from the wp-content/uploads folder.

Out of 75,825  visits, just 22 downloaded any of the pdfs or graphics provided.
That’s .03%!

Notice of rant

I am not fond of producing Word docs and printing to PDF format, especially when there is the very real probability that somebody will find the wrong information in the wrong place and it will have to be reproduced, reuploaded, and relinked to existing content. That’s just me whining and if you don’t mind paying for that, great. But my grandmother told me “once and done” was the idea. And I try to adhere to that rule.

What was the client’s cost for me to spend that time? Let’s don’t talk about that.  What was my husband’s payment for listening to me grumble for the month?  Let’s don’t talk about that either.

End of rant

Sometimes downloads are the right answer

Look, there are reasons for somethings to be downloadable.

Instructions for anything you have to do after you walk away from your computer. Like recipes and instructions for DIY projects. But NOT stuff you’re reading on the screen and then you’ll walk away.

If people want to print out your content, they’ll figure out how to copy and paste from the screen to a text document or they’ll push Cntrl + P and take what they get.

Just remember this:
The numbers have to be WAY higher for .03% to amount to anything of value!

Author: Kerch McConlogue

Harrisburg, PA: A WordPress front end web developer who speaks plain-English to nonGeeks

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