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So you want to create a free resource library? I did too, and I was able to create my own without spending a dime. So how did I do that?
When I first started writing my e-book, I knew I wanted to cater to women who were looking to start their own virtual assisting business. What I didn’t know is how I would get them to see it and want to download it. When I decided that I could use it as an opt-in for the email list I wanted to grow, I looked for ways to add it to my site.
I came across a few different ways to give my subscribers my book, but what really caught my eye was a resource library. Much to my disappointment, every single blog post about how to create a free resource library was either;
a. marketing to Squarespace users or
b. a blog post that suggests you pay to create a resource library on WordPress
I use WordPress, so 50% of the blog posts I found automatically didn’t work for me. The others didn’t work either because I wasn’t really willing to shell out money on something I wasn’t sure would work or not. If my resource library was well received then that would be great, but what if it was a flop? I would be out of some cash.
As someone who loves to save money, and believes that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to build a successful business, I decided to find a way to create a resource library by myself, for free. I was able to create a pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) library that has been a fantastic way to connect with my readers and grow my email list. So how about we dive on in so I can show you how to create your resource library for free on WordPress. Ready?
Download A Few Free Plugins
So to create a free resource library, the first thing you will need to do is download a few plugins. These plugins will help to streamline your library, make it easy to add or delete items and keep you from having to code everything to look nice and neat.
Both of the plugins that I will be showing you are completely free. No hidden costs for the deluxe version, no cost to download, and no costs to upkeep. FREE. You gotta love that.
So the first plugin to download is called PageBuilder by Site Origin. It looks just like this:
Now that you’ve got that downloaded, go ahead and pick up The Widgets Bundle by SiteOrigin as well. That looks like this:
These two plugins work together, so you’ll need to make sure that you download both. Once they have finished downloading, activate them, and you’re ready to start creating your library.
Add A New Page
Instead of a new post, you’ll need to create a new page to create your resource library. If you have ever created a new page, you know what I’m talking about, but if not, here’s a little something to help you out:
Create Your Rows & Columns
On your new page, you’ll need to create a few rows and columns to help you organize and add your resources. With your new plugins, this will be super easy to do! You’ll go to the page builder option, and add however many rows and columns as you need. You can always add more as your resource library grows but start with a few just to see how it works for you.
Create Your Layout
Now comes the start of the fun part, actually creating the basis of your free resource library. Now, this portion will all be dependent on what exactly you are looking to create. I opted to create a picture with text below it, and a button that my reader would be able to click to download their freebies. Choose whatever works for you, but I will show you my way just to clarify. *Side Note: I will show you how I create my buttons in a separate post!*
Create A Free Resource Library!
Now that you’ve got your layout ready to go, there are a few more steps until your resource library is complete.
Step One: If you plan on using an image (like I did) to create a free resource library, go ahead and do that now. You can always create a quick photo using Canva, PicMonkey, or whatever tool you use. Personally, I use Canva because it allows me to create a cute and simple photo in less than one minute. Here is how each of my images looked:
Step Two: Now that you’ve created a logo, you can upload it into the image widget that you created in your resource library. To your text widget, add the text that you want your readers to see. It could be your descriptions, why you created your library, or any other information.
Step Three: Upload your resources into your media library. Make sure they are in formats that the media library will recognize (like png, pdf, etc.).
Step Four: Once you’ve uploaded your products into your media library, you can add them to the library one of two ways. You can add them directly to the image you chose (if you made one) OR you can add them to a button like I mentioned earlier. Either way will work, it all just depends on the look you are going for.
Whichever way you choose, there is a simple way to add your resource. If you use the image, you have to add in the resource file URL to your image widget. From there, whenever someone clicks on the image the file will download for them. Make sure to click for the document to take your reader to a new window so they stay on your blog! If you choose to go with a button, you would add the URL to the button instead.
That’s it! That is all there is to it when you create a free resource library. Once you have all of your resources set up your page will look a little something like this:
Step Five: This step is optional, but I highly recommend it if you are creating your library as an opt-in. You can make your library password protected so only your newsletter subscribers* can view it. Instead of publishing the page as public, click the option to make it password protected. Make sure you have the password in your thank you for subscribing page. This will ensure that the subscribers can access your resources!
Once all of the above steps are completed, your resource library is ready to publish! Celebrate your new opt-in with a few heavy sighs, cheers, and maybe even a glass of wine. Whichever way you choose to celebrate, remember that you’ve created an AWESOME resource for your readers, and you did it without spending any money! I’d say that’s quite the accomplishment.
Do you have any questions or need help creating your resource library? Hit me up and I’d be happy to help!