Method to manage digital assets (not products) and make them discoverable via metadata search.

7 0 2

Hi all,

We have a Shopify/squarespace site and sell mainly books but support our readers with pdfs (posters, teaching notes etc), jpegs, links to videos on YouTube and possibly even Word files. These free downloads/links have grown out of control to the point that discovery on static HTML pages is a joke. <> Currently, the majority of the free user downloads are hosted on Squarespace but we wish to migrate all our content to Shopify and close down the Squarespace component. It looks to me like it is database time (actually, it was that a few years back). Perhaps this is a task for just CSS? I really don't don't know. I would really value your suggestions. Low cost and low maintenance are a priority. thank you! Mark



Replies 6 (6)

Shopify Partner
6339 580 1350

Aggregating separate content and files into a single page.

There's a lot of moving parts here for pages like this so pick and choose your recipe from some of the below ingredients.


Merchants that need consulting, or to explore such customizations can contact me directly by email for services.
Please always provide context, examples: post url(s) , store url,  theme name, or any further detail.
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Search and SEO

It's not clear if by "discoverability" or "metadata search" you mean onsite search to help visitor/customers find your stuff. Or if your looking to improve SEO.

While the two can related it's important to focus on one thing at a time.


 SEO is a very broad vague topic where you'd have to ask specific questions to get anywhere.

Keep in mind when moving things around , changing url structures, etc that may impact SEO if you've invested in it or built up ranking becoming another factor.


Onsite search , on shopify for the online-sales channel if you make a page the onsite search can find it, arbitrary files not so much as they generally only exist as part of content i.e. a pdf is a link on a page not it's own page. So if you want someone to be able to find "pdf" directly you'd want a page just named /pages/my-pdf.

Note storefront filters apply to products and collections and search, not pages 

There are plenty of third party apps/services to build to suit more custom search needs.


@boltthecolt wrote:

These free downloads/links have grown out of control


Perhaps this is a task  Low cost and low maintenance are a priority

The first part is related to the second, if you want deep long term control over curation low cost is counter to that. Low maintenance is possible but often at a high upfront time/cost to work out how the actual information architecture is structured, or how it's management system works.


Is that example link your website, or an example of your stuff being listed without permission because of no access control.

Because it's not clear if discovery is a joke because you have to much to manage or other websites are taking your stuff.

Do you need to be able to:

  1. organize different content types and digital files as free, or others freely available resources as free.
  2. or prevent access to the files so they do not get listed on ebooks sites

Assuming #1 moving uploads to shopify , tracking, organizing , curating, AND THEN centralizing it all for display AND THEN needing "discoverability" or "metadata search" are very different things.



Make sure the files you'll move wont go over the maximums. 

For images shopify may serve the images in different file formats than uploaded ,generally .webp format. For performance a shopify theme may also serve images at different sizes than uploaded; you just have to make sure any download links link to the full size image.



 The dead simplest way in most systems to track your free files is to just bake "free" into the file name when that system has a file search; could get some bonus SEO juice depending on your setup. 

In the shopify files admin it be simple to make a saved-search matching "free".


Shopify's recently made it so you can see where files are being used such as in theme settings  , though the file search "used in" filter for usage sucks since there's currently only two options "product media" and "other"(which behaves oddly)



 In shopify blog /articles can be tagged , however /pages have no tagging or grouping ability so could be easy to loose which pages contain free content|resources so would probably want a metafield-definition boolean set on page objects to aid future digging.



Shopify metaobjects may be able to help with content organization needing more than rich-text in a /pages article in the shopify pages admin. 

But these fields are have no native way to be autopopulated, so for example if you upload a file you'd still have to go in and fill out the metaobject.


To keep things bite sized for management using multiple pages for each part of a bigger resource page is another method though will need theme customizations for the automatic stitching part.


Url structure

If the above example url is yours keep in mind you cannot create actual arbitrary url paths on shopify i.e. so no it would have to be, or /products/.., or /blogs/.. or /collections/.. .

Though you can create redirects to keep using /freedownloads but it points to /pages/freedownloads. There are tools for creating redirects in bulk.


The new metaobjects system also has a thing where it auto generates pages for entries.  



Most all ways to try and automate the assembly of everything to a single shopify page will probably take several advanced theme customizations.


Getting to this part and figuring out how to sanely reassemble all this in some sort of automatic way for a single endpoint may not be apparent until after the first time you've built it as then all the actual requirements and problems are better known.

It's also much more complicated to put all the resources on shopify but then try to display them on a completely different system in any type of automatic way.


Some OS2.0 themes might have sections/blocks that let you do something like assign a page to pull in content into another page; which can be useful if you've made things in smaller page parts. Most all OS2.0 themes let you use custom-liquid sections|blocks where you can hard code references i.e. {{pages['poster'].content}} letting you stitch together multiple pages through the theme system.


Another manual method is the chore of adding everything to a navigation menu as links.

That could also then be used in liquid to build the aggregate resource page.

However this way can easily get forgotten every time a new file/content is added somewhere.


Good Hunting.


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Shopify Partner
1809 143 189



You have too many things please let me know if I understand it correct.


1. You have some few resources which are free.


You can use article section of Shopify where you can put your public notes and PDF.


2. For private notes and PDF you need to edit theme code which will allow you to attach pdf or other file.


Which will be available at customer end.



To make it dynamic as per order you would required an app which will attach the ordered PDF or file to customer account.


Let me know if anything I missed.

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7 0 2

Thank you to those who responded to my post/question. When I do this, it only makes me realise how poorly I present the problem as I don't get the answers I had hoped for.

However, the responders do force me to ask more questions of myself and help refine the issue in my own mind. I have a clearer idea of what I need now, and let me try and communicate that.

While I am using Shopify, the solution I need would architecturally be totally independent from Shopify. It would essentially appear on a custom html page as a portal view to a database. It could be on a separate site with next to no interaction between what I need and Shopify.

To back up a little, we are a publisher who sells our books on Shopify. We also support the selling of our books by attracting customers to the side with an extensive range of free resources that are related to the topics of our books. These resources have grown in type and number to the point that making the appropriate ones visible/discoverable has become a problem on a flat HTML page. On the whole, they do not link in any way directly to a book. We have print posters (pdf) posters (jpeg), Lesson plans (pdf), links to curated videos, sound files, spreadsheets etc. Currently, we may have about 400 different resources that we offer for free download. They are always increasing in number, so we need to add them to the site easily.

Currently, we have heading after heading with the resource listed underneath and often listed in multiple times.

I think we now need to scrap what we have and put them all in a searchable database with an attractive front end so that users can choose what they are interested in and have the results presented to them. I don't see any Shopify app that does this. When I think it through, that makes sense. Shopify focuses on selling products, and free downloads unrelated to the products/variants make no sense shop-wise.

I get the impression that the common solution is a SQL database with a custom web front end. Is that the best solution?

thank you!


Shopify Partner
1809 143 189

Yes, you understand it correct.


You need a fully dynamic website independent from the Shopify.


If ever you need to link your website to Shopify you just need to put website URL in metafield.


Hope this will help...

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Shopify Partner
6339 580 1350

@boltthecolt wrote:

, the solution I need would architecturally be totally independent from Shopify. It would essentially appear on a custom html page as a portal view to a database. It could be on a separate site with next to no interaction between what I need and Shopify.

If not using shopify for this then these forums can't help you if there's a specialization, you need to pursue this on the forums for the system you will use , eg. squarespce, wordpress.


@boltthecolt wrote:

I don't see any Shopify app that does this.

Apps are architecturally dependent in shopify.


it's not clear what "this" even would be because there's so many moving parts and contradictions if your not using shopify or if using shopify not just using the features shopify already has.

XYproblem, Isn't the goal just to move resources to shopify to have deeper integration for either consolidating management or surfacing products/resources on the stores frontend. 


If it's advanced search there's plenty of apps and services for that, but organize files is different.

If it's organizing pages there's CMS/pagebuilder/faq  apps/services (contentful,sanity. pagefly,shogun).

 For custom management dashboards, googles-sheets, airtable(airplay app) , ,etc.





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Shopify Partner
582 14 44

Hi @boltthecolt,

I have a straightforward solution for you: utilize the Easify Attachments app, which is entirely free 😊.

To get started, create a CMS page within your Shopify store. Next, employ the Easify Attachments app to generate downloadable files or links for your free resources, referred to as attachments. These attachments can then be seamlessly integrated into your CMS pages. Your customers can easily access this page and download the resources you're offering.

If you encounter any issues while using the app, don't hesitate to contact the Easify team via the in-app live chat for assistance.



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