How to Add a Downloadable File to Your WordPress Site

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Sometimes we want to include something of value to our website visitors that they can download and keep for themselves. For example, you might want to share photos, audio or video files, worksheets, templates, and white papers or other articles.

Adding the File Block in the WordPress Editor

If you’re new to WordPress Wednesday and you found this entry first: Welcome! We’re glad to have you on board and to help you agilely update and revise your WordPress site. You’ll soon be up to speed on how the first couple of steps tend to be the same when working with various WordPress editor blocks. If you’ve been reading along, this part won’t surprise you….

There are three main ways to add a file block:

  1. Click the blue “+” icon on the top left menu and select the ‘file’ option, which is within the “media” section of the dropdown menu. (Alternatively, you can type file in the search bar.)
  2. Click on the black “+” icon underneath a block you’ve already added and select the ‘file’ option.
  3. Placing your cursor where the block is to appear and typing /file.

Adding Your File to the File Block

The file block gives you two options for adding the file to the block: “Upload” and “Media Library.” However, we recommend always choosing “Media Library,” and here’s why. When you open the media library, it includes two tabs: “Media Library” and “Upload Files.” Since you can upload files to the media library from within the media library, go this route because it’s then simpler to add your file details into the “Attachment Details” widget on the right-hand side!  And for organizational, user experience, and SEO purposes, you want to always include the title, caption, alt-text, and description to all your media.

Pro Tip: Before you upload the file to your WordPress media library, give it a suitable title for your visitors. This makes it easier on users to know what they are downloading (and to find the file again in the future!) when your file has a descriptive and concise title/file name.

After you click on the file in the library, type its file details in the fields within the widget, click “Select.” You’ll see that WordPress placed a link to the file in the file block.

Formatting the File Block

As always, the file block has a block-specific toolbar that allows you to adjust various formattin options.

The icons allow you to adjust the alignment of the file link to left, center or right. You can also use this menu to change the file you’ve added if you’ve selected the wrong one or thought of a better file to share.

You have additional options for how the file link will be displayed and accessed by your visitors within the “Block” tab of the settings sidebar on the right. The first option is the “Link to” option, which is a dropdown menu. You can direct users directly to the file or to a separate download page where they will encounter a new link. In most cases, you’ll want to stick with the “media file” option (the default). 

Beneath that dropdown menu is the toggle option, “Open in a new tab.” If this is toggled off, the file with automatically be dropped into the user’s download folder when they click the link. When the toggle is on, the file will appear in a new web browser tab, and they can download the file from there. Opening the file in a new tab adds a step for the person downloading the file which can be cumbersome. However, choosing ‘open in new tab’ could be beneficial. Will seeing the contents of the file would make it more enticing for them to engage with what you’re sharing with them? 

(That is, the new tab will display the file – users automatically get a look at it, on the spot. The direct download means it goes straight into the download file folder, where it has the potential to be “lost” forever, the user doesn’t have time to engage with it at the moment.)

Finally, you have the option to show a download button next to the hyperlink for the file. If you do include the download button, it doesn’t have to say ‘download.’ To change the text, simply click into the button within the file block and change it to what you want. “Download” is simple for users to understand but changing it to something specific for your business and your offers can remind people of the value you bring to the table. Here are a few examples of what that might look like.

  • I want more time! – for a time-saving household cleaning routine PDF.
  • I need more calm – for mindfulness exercises.
  • Grab the comprehensive report – for an industry white paper.
  • Give me the checklist – for a seasonal home maintenance list.
  • Tell me my type – for a PDF personality quiz.
  • I need this in my life! – for…well anything you know your audience will go crazy for!

Now that you know how to add files to share with your audience, what value-add could you incorporate into your site to help your prospects and customers? Get creative!

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