Have you ever wanted to offer customers the ability to download files from your site? From printable registration forms to product manuals and instructions, download links can be very useful. Since most content fields in your Volusion store accept HTML coding, there are plenty of places that you can insert a download link for your customers.

Should I zip the file(s)?

If you want customers to be able to download more than one file at a time, then you should compress the files into one zip file.

If you have a single file, you should still zip it if you want to give your customers the choice between viewing it or downloading it. The download prompt window gives browsers the option of opening or saving the file.

Note that if the customer elects to Do This Automatically for Files Like This From Now On, the download prompt window will not be displayed and files will be automatically opened or saved, depending on their selection.

With Windows

Find the file(s) on your computer that you want to compress. Select multiple files at once to send them to the same .zip folder by holding down the CTRL key as you select the files. Once you have selected the file(s), right-click on the selection and select Send To > Compressed (zipped) Folder.

This will create a .zip file in the same directory as the original file(s).

With Mac

Launch the Finder and navigate to the file(s) you want to compress. Select multiple files at once to send them to the same .zip folder by holding down the Command key as you select the files. Once you have selected the file(s), right-click (or CTRL+click) the selection and in the pop-out menu, select Compress "FileName."

This will create a .zip file in the same directory as the original file(s).

Note

Because Operating Systems (OS) and versions can vary, the best way to ensure that you are using the appropriate directions for zipping and unzipping files is to search for the OS-specific directions on a search engine or in your computer's documentation.

Upload the File to Your Store FTP

You should be familiar with How to Set Up Your Volusion FTP (SFTP) Account and How to Use Your Volusion FTP Account. Once you know how to use FTP, follow the instructions below to upload your file to your FTP.

  1. Create a new folder on your computer called "Manuals," "Instructions," or something similarly descriptive.*
  2. Use your chosen FTP client to upload the new blank folder to the /v/vspfiles/ folder.
  3. In your store's FTP, click into your new folder. Upload your zipped file into this new folder.

*Though it seems descriptive, it is not advised to name the new folder "Downloadables", as that folder already exists in your store's FTP and is used for downloadable products in your store.

Take Note of the File Path

Remember to double-check the file path before proceeding. You should add in your full domain name (including http:// ) to the file path and try to open/view the file in your browser. For example, the file path for the product information file you just uploaded may look similar to this:

http://www.yourvolusionstore.com/v/vspfiles/manuals/manual_01.zip

If you put the link with the file path into the URL bar of your browser and are able to view the file, then you have checked that the file uploaded successfully.

Creating the Download Link

The download link code looks like this:

<a href="YYYYY" target="_blank">XXXXX</a>

"YYYYYY" is the file path that you checked on above, and "XXXXX" is the name of the link as it will appear to your customers

Putting the Download Link on a Product Page

You may be offering your customers the ability to download a product manual, or instructions for product use. If your store offers edibles, you may want to allow customers to download a full list of product ingredients or nutritional information. In any of these cases, it is easiest to paste the code for the download link in your product description.

1. Go to Inventory > Products and select the product to which you are adding the download link.

2. Once you click into the product go to Advanced Info > Product Descriptions.

3. Paste the download link code into the Product Description field wherever you would like the link text to appear. The link code will now look similar to this:

<a href="http://www.yourdomain.com/v/vspfiles/manual/manual_01.zip" target="_blank">Click here to download the Product Manual</a>

4. You can use the HTML Editor to make small changes to the appearance of the download link, but be sure the basic code above remains the same.

5. Click Save when finished.

Putting the Download Link Into a Category

If your site offers products to register for classes or other events, you may want to offer your customers the ability to print registration forms to fill out and send or fax back to you. Also for members only websites, you may need customers to print membership applications and have them notarized before you give your customers site access.

Even applications for resellers and wholesalers can be offered as downloadable forms on your site!

  1. Go to Inventory > Categories and click Add. This new category will not contain any products; it will simply be informational.*
  2. Choose a descriptive Category Name, such as "Registration Form" or "Reseller Application."
  3. Select the navigation menu where you would like this informational category to display from the Show In Menu drop-down menu.
  4. Paste the download link code into the Category Description field where you would like the link text to appear.
  5. You can use the HTML editor to make changes to the appearance of the download link and any additional information, but be sure the basic code for the download link remains the same.
  6. Click Save when finished.

*Note that you can also create an article in Design > Site Content and use the Alternate URL field on a category to link to the article to create your informational page.

Putting the Download Link on Your Register.asp Page

If you host a members-only website, all of your customers will be directed to your Register.asp page to log in or register for a customer account. If you plan on offering potential members the ability to register for an account through a printable form, or giving potential members printable Terms & Conditions, you will need to paste the download link on the only fully accessible page, your Register.asp page.

  1. Go to Design > Site Content and find the 2 articles with the Page Name of Register.asp. They should be Articles 61 and 62.
  2. Pick either Article 61 (Register_Welcome) or Article 62 (Register_NewCustomers) and click the article ID number.
  3. Once you are on the article edit page, paste the download link and any further instructions into the Article Body field.
  4. You can use the HTML Editor to make changes to the appearance of the download link and the instructions, but be sure that the basic code for the download link remains the same.
  5. Click Save when finished.

Don't want to zip the file?

If you would prefer not to zip your file, you will need to paste in an extra instruction for your customers. Non-compressed files will not automatically open a download prompt on your customer's computer, but will instead open the file in a new window or tab in the customer's browser.

The download link as described above will not change at all, except that the file in the path listed will not be a .zip file. However, the link will now need to be accompanied by text that explains to customers what they will need to do. After the download link, add text that tells customers to "right-click on the link and choose Save Link As... to download and save the document to your computer."

You are able to format the text using the HTML Editor in the field where you choose to paste the download link (Product, Category/Article, or Register.asp).

Summary

Make sure to test your download link from your storefront once you have saved the code into your store.

Though you may not want to offer your customers too much information available for download (to avoid unnecessary bandwidth overages), using these download links where they can be most useful can greatly improve your user experience.

Did this answer your question?