9 Steps to Creating Your Free Downloads Library

May 3, 2022

Step By Step Guide to Creating a Free Downloads Library

Do you ever feel that burn in your butt muscles the day after a REALLY great workout?

Yeah…pretty sure my brain muscles are going to be feeling like butt muscles tomorrow morning.  I spent all day fixing a problem that BOTH you and I have been having for a few days now.  The problem?

Shit. Ton. Of. Emails.

Alright…so I haven’t TOTALLY fixed the problem for you, but your inbox will look a TAD better tomorrow!  🙂  Originally, the way I had my emails set up, was a separate email trail for each opt-in I have on the blog.  (If you don’t know what an opt-in is, or my process for creating one…check out this post!)

That meant, if you wanted more than just one of my fabulous freebies…you might be receiving a crap ton of emails.  I SWEAR…I don’t want to spam you!!  SO, I spent ALL DAY fixing it…and now, every free download Uncork Your Dork offers is a library with ONE sign up!  WOOOT!!!

So…how did I do it?  I got to thinking, and seeing as how my last post was all about CREATING freebies, I thought maybe this one should be all about ORGANIZING them!

What You’ll Need: 

  • An Email client. (I’m a HUGE fan of ConvertKit.  Easy to use. Easy to organize.)
  • Access to Canva, PicMonkey or Photoshop.
  • A site through WordPress.org.  (I recommend going through SiteGround. I will NEVER look back at some of those slimy hosts I’ve given money to in the past!  Rat bastards…)
  • Your email client’s WordPress plugin.  ConvertKit, Mailchimp…and pretty much any email host will let you embed a sign up for into your blog posts!!  I also recommend plugins like PopupAlly - A free plugin for WordPress that allows you to install customized opt-ins on your sites.
  • Thrive Architect or OptimizePress - There are a TON of other page building systems out there…so use what you feel most comfortable with!!  These two are my absolutely FAVES. ThriveArchitect is what I used to build the download library!


Step 1: Install the opt-in plugins you prefer to use (mentioned above) and make sure they are connected with whichever email client you’ve chosen to use.  Directions for installation are included with the downloads and pretty easy to follow!

Step 2: In your WordPress Dashboard, create a new PAGE…not post…PAGE. You’ll use either ThriveArchitect or OptimizePress to design this page!  (See the quick tutorial video for ThriveArchitect below…or a tutorial for OP on this link!) Change the slug of your page to read something easy to remember…like www.mywebsite.com/download-library.

Step 3: In the settings area of the page…to the right, you’ll see the option to change your page’s settings from “public” to “password protected”.  Select this, and choose a FUN password for your readers!!  (The page title will say “protected” in front of it…your customer CAN see that, but I wouldn’t worry about it…).

Not ready to drop a few hundred on a new page design system?  Here is a free method to get you started!!

Step 4: The Free Method:  Assuming you have already created a few downloads, you’re going to want to click on the “add media” tab above the post area.  Once in there, upload the jpg’s that represent the covers of your downloads.  Instead of inserting them one by one into the page, you’ll select “Create Gallery” the left-hand side and click all of the images you want to be added to your page.


Step 4: The PAID Method: Use the above plugins to design a GORGEOUS page…now protected by a password!! Watch this video to get started with ThriveArchitect.  (SOOOOO recommended for more than just creating a library page!! Thinks sales pages, opt-in pages, and more!)

Step 5: In your preferred mail client, start your email list!  Create a welcome email which:

  • Gives the readers their link to your password protected library.
  • Gives readers the password to your password protected library.
  • Tells your readers who you are.
  • Tell the story of why you do what you do.
  • Tell them what to expect.  When will you be sending your next and weekly emails? What topic will they be on?
  • Where to find you on two different social medias.
  • A short paragraph on one of your mid-level products OR a link to your best blog content!

(Here’s a newsletter tip…keep your newsletters PRIMARILY text, with ONLY 2-3 links and 1-2 images! Any more than that and Gmail might flag them as spam or Promotion.  Sign up for my newsletter to see an example! *wink* *wink*) 

Step 6: Attach this list to your Opt-In Plugin as well your PopupAlly Plugin.   For the above plugins, you should be able to follow directions to connect a specific list to your email account.

Step 7: I also recommend heading over to Canva (or your preferred design program) to create an image for your sidebar!  Link the image to an opt-in page where your readers can get more information on what is inside.  (This is ALSO amazing to create with ThriveArchitect or OptimizePress!)

Step 8: Head to the “widget” area of your WordPress Dashboard to and click the “Image” widget. You’ll find your widget’s under “Appearance” > “Widgets”. If your Jetpack has been activated, you’ll see the “Image” widget on the left-hand side of the screen.

Step 9: Towards the bottom of the widget, you’ll see the area to plug in the link for the sign-up form hosted by your email client.  Plug that URL in there and hit save! When you head back to the front page of your website, you’ll see your shiny new image in the sidebar.

Whew!! I think that’s just about it!!  I still recommend that you put individual freebies in related posts, but overall, this method is SUPER enticing to readers, keeps you accountable for the quality of the content you are creating, and helps to keep your newsletters and email collection MUCH more streamlined!!


If you guys have any questions or comments…drop ’em below!

  • Hi, Thanks for this guide. I have been thinking about setting up a resource page but it is one of the many things I have been putting off. I will pin this for a quick easy guide for when I am ready!

  • This is BRILLIANT!!! About 2-3 weeks ago, I read a post that suggested that every blog post should offer an opt-in that expands on the blog post. And I thought the same thing you did ~ does that mean I have to create an email series for each one? I have been noodling on that for weeks! And I thought about how to write a general “welcome” email that would cover everything but then still wasn’t sure if I would need a bunch of separate download pages. Aweber did say I could do that, but that’s a lot of web pages. Your way is SO much better!! Thanks so much!

    • Woo-hoo!!! I’m so glad you love it!!! I feel like I can concentrate more on building great content and less on organizing emails!!! 😀 If you have any questions about how I set everything up, let me know!!

  • Definitely saving this! This is what I’ve been looking for on how to create one once I start getting my library together! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Woohoo!!!! I’m so glad you found it then!! lol. Let me know if you have any questions for me while you’re getting stuff together! PS…in the library, there a few downloads all about creating downloads!! Redundant, I know. 😀

  • Hey Terra! I love Uncork Your Dork. You provide so much awesome useful info. But I have an issue…I don’t have a WordPress site. Do you have suggestions for how I might set something like this up in Squarespace?

    • I do!! Depending on how you decide to to do it, you can either have them sign up for the ENTIRE library and just link each image to a PDF hosted in Google Drive


      You can have each link lead to a sign up form for your email provider! Your email provider should be able to host the PDF within their system.

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