Ever thought about creating an online course but just did not know where to start?
Online courses are a great way for experts to easily monetize your hard-earned knowledge.
And a great way for your audiences to learn new skills, deepen their existing knowledge or just to get a refresher.
Maybe you are just the person to give it to them!
In this blog post, I will be sharing my top tips for creating your own successful online course. And the best tools to help you do it.
Note: And, in case you are wondering – these are the kinds of tools that don’t need any technical know-how.
The online courses and e-learning industry is booming – it’s actually a $107 billion industry (in 2015), double what it was the year before. Not only that, but it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
But it makes sense, right? The Internet offers people a way to educate themselves on any possible subject, right from the comfort of their own homes.
You might be asking yourself: why not use all the free information that’s already online, instead of paying for a course? Especially in a crowded niche like blogging, where you can find many online courses!
The problem is, if you do search online, you can’t always be sure that what you find is relevant.
Maybe it’s also not as easy to understand. Not like it would be when someone teaches you and takes the time to answer your questions.
In fact, when you buy a well-made course, you get all the information you need, and from an expert.
We’re also used to learning from other people. Rather than searching for the information ourselves, then trying to understand and implement it without any outside help. (Remember school?)
The beauty of online courses is that anyone can do it – well, anyone that has the necessary knowledge and skills to explain and teach to their audience.
And, there are so many tools available right now that can help you create your own course.
Not to mention, since your course would be online, you can teach almost anything to anyone, and there’s sure to be an audience for it.
Whether you’re an expert at making home-made candles, a social media guru, or a comedian, there is sure to be a group of people online who will want to learn from you.
The first thing to do is to decide on what topic your course should cover. Pick a subject that you are knowledgeable in and then break it down into smaller, more in-depth subjects.
If you are a social media expert, for example, your course shouldn’t be on everything social media marketing, but rather
Not only will your course be much more focused and efficient, but it will also allow you to create more courses in the long run.Choose A Focused Niche & Your Course Will Appeal To More PeopleClick To Tweet
It’s also important at this stage to study your audience in order to understand them better and identify any problems or issues they might be having that you can resolve in each of your courses. Try to find out the subjects they’re struggling with and what they want to learn about the most, in your particular niche. This way, you increase your chances of creating a successful course.
One way that you can do this is by sending out a survey to your email list and ask them what they want to learn about. You will also get them more involved like this and it could help build up interest in your upcoming course.
Knowing exactly who your audience is will help you both with creating the course and when it comes time to promote it . It’s not just a question of researching their knowledge of the subject, but also to find out who they are exactly in terms of demographics and location, and where they spend their time online – this will be of big help when you start promoting your course.
When you’re researching and evaluating your audience, you should also determine the level you want your courses to be at. Will you be creating courses for complete beginners, intermediate or advanced users? You’ll then understand how to construct the course and what you include in it – without overwhelming or underwhelming your audience (depending on their level of knowledge).Understanding Your Audience Is The Key To Online Course CreationClick To Tweet
Now, let’s get back to the actual course creation; as I mentioned earlier, you should start by breaking down your course into smaller subjects. Then, start preparing the titles and outlines for each one.
Then, start writing your scripts and creating your downloadables.
You can provide all kinds of files like:
and anything else you can think of to assist the learning process.
When it comes to how you present and structure your course, you have different options:
The method you choose should depend on the subject you’re planning to cover.
For example, for one-off courses, you should cover a highly-specific subject (that only needs one lecture to go through it all).
When you’re covering a much more extensive topic, it would be better to create multiple modules and lectures.
If you are doing multiple lectures, you have the option to either publish them all at once or slowly roll them out in ‘drip’ form. Personally, I believe that publishing them over time (aka. drip feed them) will help keep your audience engaged.
In terms of pricing, you have a number of different options to choose from:
The tools that I will have covered below accept PayPal, Stripe, and most other popular digital payment methods.
Kajabi is an all in one tool designed to help you create all kinds of digital products. It also provides you with the marketing tools you need to promote and sell your products online.
You can use their themes and templates to easily create your course and you can also fully customize them to make them more your own.
Their product themes are fully optimized for all kinds of devices (mobile or otherwise) and their videos also load quickly. You can also add all kinds of downloadables such as
and almost any other type of content you can think of.
There’s the option to publish all of your course all at once or send modules out in drip form. If you choose to use drip, your students will automatically receive an email when your latest course/module is released.
As I mentioned earlier, they also have other useful features such as:
as well as marketing tools such as custom form creator and email marketing capabilities.
So, overall, it’s a comprehensive tool that you can use for every stage of the course creation and marketing process.
Teachable has all the features you need to create your online course and sell it, however, it misses some of the marketing features you will need to help grow your business.
Their course editor is easy to use and you also have the option to use the advanced HTML/CSS editor to make any of the more “advanced” changes to your course.
Your course can contain all kinds of different files, such as:
and when they’re ready to publish, Teachable makes sure they are fully optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.
As far as marketing features go, you can use Teachable to:
Teachable also integrates with other tools, such as MailChimp, Zapier, InfusionSoft, Mixpanel, and others.
Ruzuku is one of the cheaper options when it comes to course creation tools, so it lacks many of the features the other tools have. It is also not as flexible in terms of design features.
That said, it’s still a good option. Their course creator is easy to use (within the layouts they provide) and you can host different types of files, such as PDFs, text files, PowerPoints and more.
They work with various popular payment methods, and you can also create coupons for each payment type. You can also create different price points for your courses, or even make them free.
Ruzuku also integrates with MailChimp, so that you can send out emails to your students quite easily and keep them motivated and interested in your course.
It’s a good tool, but it might be better suited as a back-end for your online courses and other digital products.
Thinkific is another all-in-one tool for creating and marketing your course. However, it is missing some of the marketing tools that other tools provide.
Having said that, it’s a great tool for beginners.
In order to start creating your course with Thinkific, all you have to do is drag and drop the files you want to include in it – videos, audio, PDFs and other types of content. They also allow you go add quizzes, surveys and other cool things designed to help you engage your students more.
There are various pricing options, a landing page creator and you can send out your courses over time (drip feed).
Thinkific also optimize your content for all kinds of devices so your students can learn anywhere they are.
The tool will even send out emails automatically to your students when they sign up, as well as when they completed the course.
Zippy Courses is a plugin designed to turn WordPress into a course creation machine.
They are just launching “the next generation of Zippy Courses” which you can try right now.
The tool is created to help you both with creating your course and with selling it.
Their drag and drop course editor is just as easy to use as the other tools mentioned here; it’s just a question of adding the content you want, arranging a few things and you’re good to go – it’s not as complex or flexible in terms of design, but still, it’s a good tool for complete beginners and Zippy Courses allow you to customize it and add your own branding.
In terms of pricing, you can set up multiple tiers for payment for each of your courses. You can also choose to either release all of your content at once or slowly ‘drip’ it to your audience.
Zippy Courses will also send out automatic follow up emails to your students, which is very helpful in motivating your students. Plus, you can also save time by sending out these emails automatically.
Creating an online course is easier than ever and a great way to monetize your knowledge online.
You no longer have to be a tech guru to get started, all you have to do is choose the right online course platform for you!
Have you created any online courses or thinking about creating one?
Lilach is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers. Crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Digital Marketing Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient of a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business. You can find her at LilachBullock.com