How to Create a Free E-Book for Your Website

People love to receive stuff for free. Ever wandered through Costco in the afternoon? You can always spot the free sample stands by the crowds gathered round.

Our readers are no different. They love to get stuff for free and what better way to encourage or thank them for signing up to your blog posts than with a free e-book.

You may be unsure what content to include in your e-book. Ask your readers. I put a poll on my website asking what subject people would like to see more. This helped me decide what to write my e-book about. Take a look at your web stats; which posts have the highest views?

Once you’ve decided on your topic, start writing it. Keep it on the shorter side; it doesn’t need to be a full book length. Under five thousand words is a good guideline. Remember to offer new content in your book. Because it’s electronic, you can and should link to articles on your blog for further reading and value to the reader.

After your e-book is finished, save it as a PDF file and then upload it to your website. Keep it unassigned (for self-hosted WordPress) and copy the location.

I use Feedburner as my RSS and email subscription service for my website. I downloaded my existing email subscribers addresses to MailChimp and sent them out a free copy thanking them for being with me. You never want to forget your current readers in the search for new ones.

For new subscribers, I included the PDF link in the email they receive from Feedburner when they sign up for my blog. This allowed for free automation and instant access for the reader.

If you use Feedburner and have a sign up box on your website, I highly recommend customizing the sign up box. Even if you don’t have an e-book to offer yet, you should list the benefits subscribers receive when they sign up for your emails. Here’s an example of my homepage and subscriber box. 

By using the Feedburner verification email to send out my free e-book link, I realize people don’t have to verify in order to get the free copy. But if they don’t like my free e-book and choose not to verify to get my posts, then they most likely would have unsubscribed anyway.

Have you ever bought something from a free sample? What makes you subscribe to a blog via email? Do you think having a free e-book has helped your blog numbers?

19 Replies to “How to Create a Free E-Book for Your Website”

    1. You’re welcome! I take notes from your posts, so I’d say we make a good team. lol If you have any questions, let me know, but it’s pretty easy to do. After all, a non-techy like me managed it. 🙂

  1. Thank you for writing this Melissa. I have been thinking about the process of an e-book version and give-away for the book I am writing now. I will do just what you suggest.
    peace to you,

  2. I’ve been tossing around ideas for an ebook to put up as a freebie when people subscribe:) I just switched to Aweber as my sign-up so I’m trying to figure out how that works. I know for myself, I am more likely to subscribe if there is a free ebook or something else…so that totally makes sense! Thanks for the tips…

    1. Lorna, I don’t use Aweber, but I’ve heard good things about them. I’m a total sucker for free things, as long as they provide value of some kind. 🙂

  3. I’m having a developer re-engineer my website, and contemplated just the piece you blogged on, Melissa. Especially as a non-fiction writer, free anything helps spread the message. Your timing is impeccable, so thank you.

  4. Good post with good information!

    I got distracted, though, when I visited your website. I read several other posts, and commented on one of them…

    Great site! 🙂

    1. I loved your comment, Joe! In fact I tweeted about the great comments for people to come read. 🙂 Your blog has some great information and insights as well. Loved the piece on David you pointed me to.

  5. I’m saving this post, Melissa. It will be on my future projects list. Thanks so much for all the info.

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