Providing PDF downloads of your WordPress posts can be an effective way for readers to engage with longer content and cut down on TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) click-aways.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Why you should consider offering a PDF version of your content.
- The best free plugins you can use to convert WordPress posts into PDF files for your readers.
- Whether creating PDF versions of your posts manually is better than using plugins.
- How to create a PDF version of a WordPress post manually.
- Other ways to use PDF files with WordPress.
Why Offer A PDF Version Of Your Content?
Too much content, so little time, or so we are told. Or perhaps it’s merely a case of shortening attention spans.
Whatever the reason, longer content requires a greater investment of time and if your visitor decides that he or she can’t make that investment now, then away they click. While your content has clicked up a page view on your stats, there’s no productive time-on-site and no real engagement.
While there are no guarantees that visitors will engage with your content, providing the same content in a digestible format better suited to reading later, be it via a PDF stored in Apple Books, your Facebook Business Page, or even – and I’m getting all retro here – printed off, might just cut down the incidence of TL;DR.
Additionally, as we’ve covered in another post, you can use free PDF downloads to grow your mailing list. Allowing users to download and share your content via PDFs can be a powerful lead magnet and web traffic generation method, especially if your content has the potential to go viral.
Using Plugins To Convert WordPress Posts Into PDF Files
If the idea of manually creating PDFs is too much – perhaps justifiable if you have a lot of content – then PDF plugins can help. Below is a list of plugins that will automatically create PDFs from your posts.
As is often the way, however, none are perfect, so to test each of the plugins, I’ve created a dummy post with the following:
- The latest version of WordPress at the time of writing (v. 5.3.2),
- The Gutenberg Editor using blocks like ‘Pullquote’ and ‘Media and Text’ to enhance the layout of the post
- 4 x Free WordPress themes to see how the plugins work with different themes and theme features (e.g. featured images):
Spacious Theme by ThemeGrill
Elemental Theme by Themely
This article was written by Chris Knowles and originally published on WPMU DEV Blog.