With so many of us stuck inside due to COVID-19, and with more free time than ever due to a shortage of normal activities, many people have turned to online courses as a way to do some personal development, either professionally or personally for their hobbies.
This has strengthened an entire industry of online coursework. There are the giants, of course, like LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare. But more and more often, capable individuals are creating courses on their own websites for a particular niche, be it a certain strategy for marketing ecommerce sites online, or a woodworking course.
If you’re interested in creating a course for your site, here are some strategies to consider:
1. First, you’ll have to be knowledgeable on your particular field. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be renowned — you simply have to have an idea for a course and be able to learn enough about it to put together a course that would be helpful to your average customer.
2. You’ll find many 3rd party website providers that promise to give you a framework or application you can use for your course. Be careful with these, as many are expensive enough to eat into the funds you’d make from your course. Particularly, it can be dangerous to commit to one of these before you even know if you’ll make any money with your course.
3. Instead, consider WordPress and a number of standard plugins that can be gotten free or very cheap. With low overheads, you’ll have additional resources to dedicate to the production value of your course. Some WordPress plugins worth taking a look at are:
MemberPress — one of the most popular and fully featured WordPress course plugins, with a price starting at around $12/month.
LearnDash — another popular option, with a very intuitive drag-and-drop course builder. Prices are about $14/month for the basic plan.
LearnPress — if you want to go with an even more affordable option, LearnPress is probably the most popular free WordPress course plugin. It does offer an extra level of support for a small additional fee.
4. Once you’ve set up your learning materials, the success of your course will depend entirely on your ability to market it. Here are some ideas for generating interest in your course:
- Start by leveraging your professional network, by posting about your course on your LinkedIn account and other similar professional networks you use.
- Online forums are a place people often frequent to learn more about a subject. Consider buying some advertising on a few popular forums related to your field.
- It may be hard to get people to pay for your course outright, without already having confidence in your teaching style. Consider splitting your material into two: one part for a free online blog you run that can help bring people to your site and help you gain a following, and an “advanced” version for those who want to learn even more.
Step one is of course to sign up for a hosting plan, so you can start playing around with the various options. All CanSpace hosting plans fully support WordPress, and we can always point you in the right direction regarding plugins and themes.
We hope the above will help you get started thinking about how you can create and monetize your own online course!