“Should I create an online course?”
If that question has been taking up space in your business planner as well as your brain, it may be time to give it some serious consideration.
In this article, we’ll discuss why course creation is making huge waves among bloggers, business owners, and service providers, and why creating an elearning course may be your next big step.
What Are Online Courses, And Why Are They So Popular?
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Online courses are classes that are delivered over the internet, allowing for remote learning from anywhere with an internet connection. That’s right, you could be lounging in your beach chair on a remote island sipping a margarita and taking a course.
The same can be said for creating a course.
Online courses can range from short, self-paced courses to full degree programs. Online courses have become increasingly popular over the years due to their convenience, flexibility, affordability, and the vast range of topics that people can choose to learn about.
With online courses, students are often able to learn at their own pace, on their own schedule, without having to worry about commuting to a physical location.
This makes it easier for people who have work or family commitments to fit learning into their busy lives.
And for the course creator, this is another benefit because when you provide your teaching material online, you have the potential to reach a wider audience, and sell evergreen courses while creating a passive income stream.
Another reason for the popularity of online courses is that they can be more affordable than traditional, on-campus courses.
Many online courses are offered at a lower cost than their on-campus counterparts, which can make education more accessible to a wider range of people, who are interested in a wider range of topics.
With online learning, students can choose from a variety of courses and degree programs that may not be available in their local area.
This means that students can pursue their educational goals without having to relocate or travel long distances.
Benefits of Creating an Online Course
Online courses aren’t just popular among students, they’re also great for businesses, service-providers, or niche-experts to create.
We’ve already established that online courses are a popular option for those who prefer to learn at their own pace, on their own schedule, and from the comfort of their own home.
But this also means for business owners that having an online course available could be an appealing option for students wanting to learn about a skill you specialize in.
One of the primary benefits of creating an online course is the potential for a wider reach. Without the limitations of physical space, and having only so many hours within a day, an online course can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, regardless of their location.
This ultimately can attract a larger audience and increase revenue opportunities.
Another benefit is the flexibility in terms of content delivery.
Online courses can incorporate a variety of multimedia elements such as videos, audio recordings, and interactive quizzes, which can enhance the learning experience and make it more engaging for students.
Because you only have to create the course content once, you can virtually be selling your course 24 hours a day, no matter the time zone, no matter the student’s location. You’re not having to rely on your schedule to dictate when you’re free to teach the course. That’s why evergreen courses can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
The other nice thing about creating the course once and putting it out there for the world to purchase is that you can truly make updates to your course at any time without having to re-do your entire curriculum.
You can easily login to your course and make improvements and change information as trends update, all in real-time without the need for reprinting materials or starting over from scratch.
Finally, creating an online course can establish the creator as an expert in their field and provide opportunities for networking and collaboration with other professionals in the industry.
It can also lead to the development of additional products and services, such as coaching or consulting, which can further increase revenue streams.
Overall, creating an online course can offer numerous benefits for both the creator and the students, including wider reach, flexible content delivery, easy updates, and opportunities for professional growth.
Most Profitable Topics for Online Courses
According to recent Google trends, the most profitable topics for online courses in 2023 include:
- Business and entrepreneurship
- Sales and marketing
- Technology and computer science
- Personal finance and investing
- Health and wellness
- Personal and career development
- Home improvement
One of the most profitable online course ideas is in the business and entrepreneurship category.
People are always looking for ways to start their own businesses or improve their existing ones, so courses on topics like marketing, sales, and finance can be very lucrative.
Another profitable area for online courses is technology and computer science. As technology continues to advance, people are eager to learn new skills and stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Courses on topics like web development, coding, and data science can be in high demand.
Health and wellness is also a popular topic for online courses, particularly as people become more health-conscious. Topics like nutrition, fitness, and mental health can be profitable for those who have expertise in these areas.
Finally, personal development and self-improvement is a growing area for online courses.
People are always looking for ways to improve themselves and their lives, so courses on topics like time management, goal-setting, and mindfulness can be very successful.
Ultimately, the most profitable topic for an online course will depend on the audience you are targeting and your own expertise and interests.
I’ve seen courses succeed about pretty much every topic you can think of. From lash application and makeup, to postpartum health, home improvement and organization, photography, athletic performance, web design, and more.
If you consider yourself an expert in your niche, then I can almost guarantee you have an audience out there who could benefit from learning from you.
One thing to keep in mind is the importance of researching your target market and understanding what they are looking for in an online course before you begin developing your content.
Steps to Create an Online Course
Are you ready to dig your heels into the online course world? There’s honestly never been a better time to start. Here are the general steps you can follow to create an online course:
Define Your Course Topic and Identify Your Target Audience
One of the first things you should do when planning your online course is to identify what you want to teach, and who would benefit from learning this information.
This also involves spending time investigating what is the current demand for this topic? And is there a market for it?
Spending time researching these questions will help ensure that your course is relevant, engaging, and valuable to your learners.
To define your topic, start by brainstorming areas in which you have expertise.
Consider your education, work experience, hobbies, and personal interests.
Think about what you enjoy teaching and what you believe people would find valuable to learn. Once you have a few ideas, research the market to see if there is demand for your topic and if there are existing courses on the same subject.
This will help you identify any gaps in the market and ensure that your course stands out.
Once you have defined your topic, it’s important to identify your target audience.
Think about who would benefit most from your course and who is most likely to take it.
Consider factors such as age, gender, education level, profession, and interests. This will help you tailor your course content and marketing efforts to your ideal audience.
In summary, defining your online course topic and identifying your target audience are important steps in creating a successful course.
Take the time to research and brainstorm to ensure that your course is relevant, engaging, and valuable to your learners.
Plan Your Course Content
Once you have identified your target audience and topic, you need to plan what you will teach and how you will teach it.
This step should involve creating an outline of your course content, deciding on the format of your course (such as video lessons, text-based lessons, or a mix of both), and developing any supporting materials (like handouts, quizzes, course completion certifications, etc.).
Outlining your online course content is a crucial step in creating a successful and engaging course.
By organizing your content into a clear and logical structure, you can help ensure that your students will understand and retain the information you’re presenting.
Here are some steps to help you get started:
- Determine the learning objectives: Before you begin outlining your course content, you need to determine what you want your students to learn. Identify the key concepts and skills that you want to teach, and create clear and measurable learning objectives for each.
- Create a course outline: Once you have your learning objectives, you can begin creating an outline for your course. Start with a high-level overview of the course, then break it down into individual modules or units. Within each module, include the specific topics and subtopics that you will cover.
- Align your content with the learning objectives: As you outline your course, make sure that each topic and subtopic aligns with one or more of your learning objectives. This will help ensure that your course content is relevant and useful to your students.
- Determine the format for each module: Depending on the type of content you’re presenting, you may need to use different formats for each module. For example, you might use videos for one module and written content for another. Determine the best format for each module based on the learning objectives and the type of content you’re presenting.
- Review and revise: Once you’ve created your course outline, review it to make sure that it’s clear and logical. Revise it as needed to ensure that it aligns with your learning objectives and that the content is presented in a way that is easy for your students to understand.
By following these steps, you can create a clear and effective outline for your online course content. Remember to keep your learning objectives in mind as you create your outline, and to use a variety of formats to keep your students engaged and interested.
Choose a Platform to Create and Deliver Your Online Course
There are many online course platforms available, but two of my favorites are Teachable and Thrivecart Learn. Comparing platforms if your best bet to find one that suits your business needs. (We’ll dive into some of these platforms in more detail below).
Choosing the right platform for your online course is an important decision that can greatly impact the success of your course. There are a few key factors to consider when making your choice:
First, think about the features you need. Do you need a platform that allows for live video lectures, or will pre-recorded videos suffice? Do you need a way to track student progress and offer assessments? Make a list of the features that are most important to you, so you can compare platforms based on what they offer.
Second, consider the cost. Some online course platforms charge a flat fee, while others take a percentage of your course sales. Make sure to factor in the cost of using the platform when making your decision.
Third, think about the audience you are targeting. Are you creating a course that is best suited for a particular age group, industry, or level of expertise? Some platforms cater to specific audiences, so it’s important to choose one that aligns with your target market.
Finally, do your research. Read reviews of different platforms online, and ask other course creators for their recommendations. It’s important to choose a platform that is reliable, user-friendly, and has a good reputation in the industry.
Overall, choosing the right platform for your online course can be a daunting task, but by considering these factors and doing your research, you can make an informed decision that sets you and your students up for success.
Comparing Course Creation and Delivery Platforms
For instance, Kajabi is a well known course creation platform, but it’s also one of the more expensive platforms. So when starting out it may make more sense to consider something a little more budget-friendly, especially if you don’t have a large audience and this is your first digital course or product.
Teachable has different pricing levels and allows you to upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time. You can even start out with their free option to get a feel for the platform and grow from there.
If you’re not looking for an intricate course-interface or dashboard to track student progress, then SendOwl is another option and the most basic one we’ll review in this article.
SendOwl is a platform that allows sellers to deliver digital goods to their consumers, but some use the platform to deliver course content as well.
The only difference with SendOwl is that you cannot create a course inside SendOwl, you would just use it to deliver your course files, and SendOwl would manage the payment and delivery of those files. Whereas Teacable and Thrivecart Learn would allow you to create your course inside the platform.
Similar to Teachable, SendOwl also has a free trial if you want to check out the platform firsthand to see if it fits your course needs.
Another popular platform is Thrivecart Learn. Unlike most options, Thrivecart offers a one time payment for lifetime access. So while it may seem like you’re paying slightly higher up front, the fees will definitely pay off in the long run.
|PRICING||Starter: 3 months free then $9/mo|
Growth: 14 day free trial then $15/mo
Pro: 14 day free trial then $39/mo
Pro +: $199/mo
|$495 one time fee for lifetime access. |
$690 one time fee for advanced features.
|AFFILIATE OPTION||Yes||Yes, with Pro and Pro+||Yes with Pro|
|NUMBER OF COURSES||Unlimited products but storage limits vary per plan||Varies from 1-200 based on plan type||Unlimited|
|INTEGRATIONS||Multiple||Multiple, tier specific||Multiple|
|EASE OF USE||Good||Good. New feature: done for you course creation with Teachable AI.||Good: Drag and drop course builder|
Also PayPal/Stripe fees (2.9% + $0.30)
|Free: $1 + 10% transaction fee|
Pro and Pro +: None
Also PayPal/Stripe fees (2.9% + $0.30)
|None except for PayPal/Stripe fees (2.9% + $0.30)|
|CERTIFICATION OF COMPLETION||No||Yes||No|
|QUIZZES||No||Yes||Feature coming soon|
|PAYMENT GATEWAY||Stripe, Paypal, Bitpay||Stripe, Apple Pay, Paypal, Google Pay||Stripe, Apple Pay, Paypal, Google Pay|
Keep in mind, and I cannot stress this enough, that SendOwl is not a course-creation platform. It’s a platform that allows you to sell and deliver digital goods. So while you cannot create a course in SendOwl, you can create course files and use SendOwl to deliver that content to your buyers.
Create and Upload Your Course Content
Once you have chosen a platform, you can start creating and uploading your course content. This may include recording video lessons, writing text-based lessons, and developing any supporting materials you need.
Creating and uploading online course content can be a daunting task, but with a little guidance it can be a fruitful endeavor. Here are some steps to help you create and upload your online course content:
- Plan and organize your content: Before you start creating your course content, it’s important to have a solid plan in place. Decide on the course objectives, the topics you want to cover, and the order in which you’ll present them.
- Choose the format: There are many different formats you can choose for your course content, including videos, text-based lessons, audio recordings, and interactive quizzes. Consider your audience and the type of content that will best engage them.
- Create your content: Once you’ve decided on the format, start creating your content. Make sure it’s clear, concise, and easy to understand. Include examples and real-world applications to help your students understand the material.
- Edit and revise: Before you upload your content, make sure to edit and revise it thoroughly. Check for spelling and grammar errors, as well as areas where the content may be unclear or confusing.
- Upload your content: Once your content is ready, it’s time to upload it to your chosen platform. Make sure to follow the platform’s guidelines for formatting and uploading content.
- Promote your course: Finally, promote your course to your target audience. Use social media, email marketing, and other channels to get the word out and attract students to your course.
Remember, creating and uploading online course content takes time and effort, but it can be a rewarding experience. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful online course.
Set Pricing and Sales Goals
Determining the price of your online course can be a tricky task as it depends on various factors such as the content of your course, the target audience, and your competition. However, here are some tips that can help you set a reasonable price for your course:
- Research the market: Check out the prices of similar courses that are being offered online and see how much they charge. This will give you an idea of the standard pricing in the industry.
- Consider the value of your course: Think about the value that your course offers to your target audience. If you are providing valuable content that is not available elsewhere, you can charge more for it.
- Determine your costs: Calculate how much it costs you to create and maintain the course, including any software or equipment expenses, marketing costs, and your time. This will help you set a minimum price that covers your costs.
- Consider your target audience: Think about what your target audience can afford to pay and what they would be willing to pay for your course. If your audience is made up of students or people on a tight budget, you may need to set a lower price.
- Test different prices: Consider testing different prices to see which one works best. You can start with a lower price and gradually increase it if you are not getting the desired response.
Remember that pricing your course too high or too low can affect its perceived value and may impact how successful it is. So, take your time and research properly before setting a price for your online course.
Plan Your Launch
Once your course is ready, you can launch it and start promoting it to your audience. You can use social media, email marketing, or paid advertising to get the word out about your course.
Building a sales funnel for your online course can be an effective way to attract potential customers and turn them into paying students.
A sales funnel is a series of steps that guide users towards the final goal of purchasing your course. Here are some steps you can take to build a sales funnel for your online course:
- Create an opt-in offer: The first step in building a sales funnel is to create an opt-in offer that will entice potential students to give you their email address. This offer could be a free ebook, a video series, or a webinar that provides value to your audience.
- Build a landing page: Once you have your opt-in offer, you’ll need to create a landing page that promotes it. The landing page should be designed to convince visitors to sign up for your offer by highlighting the benefits they’ll receive.
- Nurture your email list: Once you have a list of email subscribers, you’ll want to send them regular emails that provide value and build trust. This could be in the form of educational content, testimonials from satisfied students, or special offers.
- Create a sales page: Once you’ve built trust with your email list, it’s time to create a sales page that promotes your online course. This page should highlight the benefits of your course, address potential objections, and provide social proof in the form of testimonials or case studies.
- Follow up with abandoned carts: Not everyone who visits your sales page will purchase your course. That’s why it’s important to set up an abandoned cart email sequence that reminds potential customers of the benefits of your course and encourages them to complete their purchase.
By following these steps, you can create a sales funnel that attracts potential students, builds trust, and ultimately leads to more sales for your online course.
Engage With Your Students: Current and Prospective
As students enroll in your course, you should engage with them and provide support as needed. This may include answering questions, providing feedback, and creating a community around your course.
It’s also important to highlight any student wins (with permission) on your socials. Build case studies around students who are excelling putting their new skills to practice, and showcase how interested students could find similar success through taking your course.
This all ties into the next step:
Create a Marketing Plan
Overall, creating an online course takes time and effort, but it can be a rewarding experience both financially and personally. With the right planning and execution, you can create a course that helps others learn and grow while also achieving your own goals.
A successful marketing plan for selling an online course involves several key components.
Firstly, it’s vital to identify your target audience and their needs. This will help you to create messaging that resonates with them and motivates them to take action.
Secondly, you need to identify the right channels to reach your target audience, such as social media, email marketing, or paid advertising.
Thirdly, you need to create a compelling offer that incentivizes people to sign up for your course. This could be in the form of a discount, a free trial, or a bonus for signing up early.
Fourthly, you should create high-quality content that establishes you as an authority in your field, and provides value to your potential customers. You can use this content to attract and engage your target audience, and build a relationship with them over time.
Finally, you need to track your results and adjust your strategy accordingly. This means measuring your conversion rates, engagement rates, and other key metrics to see what’s working and what’s not.
By doing this, you can refine your marketing plan and improve your results over time.