Digital education is growing at an accelerated pace. Online learning is now the new normal of how we teach and learn. Nowadays, especially in the post-COVID landscape, people are searching for well-constructed online courses to learn new skills. People are willing to pay top dollar to get enrolled in online courses where they can learn at their own pace. With the massive boom in the eLearning industry, its market worth has risen to $197.00 billion as per the latest 2020 statistics. Considering how lucrative the online education industry has gotten, more and more people with the right skills and expertise are setting up online classes to generate substantial income for themselves.
Well, let’s just say a lot of people are earning a 7-figure income through just online course creation. In addition to generating revenue, creating your own course allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field. With all the hype we’ve created around this topic, you may be researching: How to create an online training course or how to create an online course to sell?
Don’t worry, we have you covered.
This article will help you to build online courses and sell them online. We’ll break everything down and tell you exactly how to develop an online course that can help you generate top dollar.
So without any further ado, let’s get started…
11 Easy-to-Follow Steps for Online Course Creation
- Ensure You Are an Expert on the Online Course Topic.
- Pick a Niche for your Course That Has High Market Demand.
- Understand your Audience for Digital Course Creation.
- Organize the Overall Learning Outcomes from Your Online Course.
- Create an Outline of the Course.
- Gather and Compile Your Course Material.
- Record and Edit Your Online Course.
- Set up Your Online Course.
- Choose a Business Model and Set Your Course Price Right.
- Promote Your Online Course.
- Build Your Community and Continue to Improve Your Online Course.
1. Ensure You Are an Expert on the Online Course Topic
Do your colleagues, friends, and customers ask for your help on a certain topic that they think you are an expert at?
If yes, then why not create a course for it and sell it online? Surely more people besides your social circle may be interested in learning from you. When choosing a topic to build online courses, make sure you’re knowledgeable about the subject. You should be an expert on the topic you are choosing to teach in an online course.
If you have a passion for what you want to teach, then you can generate revenue from it.
People want to learn from someone who can offer valuable and life-changing knowledge that helps them to improve their professional skills. Think about what you are good at and on what topic people come to you for advice. Whatever you’re an expert at will be easy for you to teach.
For example, if you’re an expert at social media marketing, start an online course for it.
You don’t need to teach like a university-level professional. Think about your talents, skills, and all the life experience that you have been through in life. Just choose a topic that you love!
When you are passionate about something you explain it perfectly to others. You will be a great teacher of a subject you are passionate about and it will also be a cause of good income for you!
So, before we move forward, grab a notebook or open up the notes app and jot down possible online course topic ideas. This will help you kick off your digital course creation venture.
2. Pick a Niche for Your Course that has High Market Demand
After you have selected your topic to create an online course for, the next thing you have to do is to conduct market research tests to see if this niche has high demand in the market or not.
Some course creators think that if there is a lot of market competition in their topic field, their course idea will fail. However, you shouldn’t come to this conclusion without proper market research. Because the fact is, if your course topic has a high demand in the market and your course content is strong, then you will be successful in attracting a lot of students to enroll in your course.
With that being said, how can you figure out if your course topic has high market demand?
Well, consider asking yourself these questions:
- Are there are a lot of people searching for your course topic?
- Can your course offer something that your competition isn’t offering?
- Will someone pay you to get your course?
If the answer to all the above-mentioned questions is a resounding yes, then your course has the potential to become the talk of the town. Now you must be asking yourself: How can I perform market research?
Don’t worry, here’s what you need to do…
Research if people are interested in your course topic
To gauge if people will show interest in your online course topic, you take the help of Google Trends.
Not familiar with Google Trends?
Well, it can help you figure out the trend of a particular topic. It can tell you the interest of people in any topic over time.
Here’s what Google Trends looks like:
As you can see in the image above, “dog training courses” has decent searches. People are interested in such a course. So, if you create a course on dog training, people will be interested in purchasing it from you.
Now that you know that your course topic has the potential to pique the interest of learners, you must figure out how many people may be interested in your course. If the number of people interested in your course topic is low, you may not want to create that course simply because there won’t be enough people to purchase it.
To check the search volume of any keyword and that too for free, you can take the help of Google’s keyword planner. Simply enter a keyword and Google will tell you how many people are searching for your course topic. Google will also tell you other related keywords for your primary keyword. For example, take a look at the screenshot below:
If there is enough search volume for your course topic keyword, Google will indicate if the number is High, Medium, or Low.
Next, you’ll need to figure out what type of questions people are asking for your course topic. To do that, you can:
- Run your course topic through communities like Reddit and Facebook. There you can find a lot of people discussing your topic idea. Go through the conversation to figure out what kind of course content you’ll need to create. This tactic is called “social listening”.
- Search your course idea on Google and scroll all the way to the bottom to see the “People Also Ask” questions. Again, these questions will help you understand what solution people are looking for.
What are you going to add to your course that your competition isn’t offering?
Let’s be honest for a second. If your course isn’t offering something unique, why would anyone want to purchase it?
To stand out, you must offer something unique – something your competitors aren’t offering.
Do proper research and see who your competitors are, and what their course is offering. After researching your competitors, you can come up with a better course than your competitors.
To stand out from your competitors and attract learners to your course, figure out how you can cover the same course topic as your competitors in a different way. For example, if your competitors are just offering video lessons, you can one-up them by creating interactive web content material. Get your learners to solve different exercises to enhance their learning experience. Coming up with a unique selling point will help you make your course appeal to a wider audience.
In addition to this, you can also tweak your course topic to appeal to a specific audience – an audience that your competitors aren’t targeting. For example, target a particular demographic. If you can carve a niche to target, you may be able to generate huge revenue from your online course.
Will someone pay you to get your course?
To figure out if people will actually pay to get your course, you can:
- Do keyword research – Researching keywords and their search volumes will let you know if there are enough people searching for your course topic. Again, the Google keyword planner that is available in Google Ads is perfect to see which keywords have good selling intent.
- Directly engage with your audience – This strategy is super helpful. If you can directly engage with your target audience, you can directly ask them if they’d purchase your course. Doing so will give you great insights into your course.
- Analyze your competition – See what your competitors are doing. You’re not likely the first one who came up with the course topic. So, if there are a lot of competitors for your course topic, know that your course has a huge potential to become a best seller.
- Presell your course – This might seem absurd, but a lot of course creators sell their online courses without actually creating the course content. Once the course creator gets enough signups, then they start building the course content. This strategy is pretty cool. This will ensure that you don’t end up creating a course that no one wants to buy.
- Create a landing page – create a dedicated page for the online course you’re about to launch. Even though you haven’t created the course yet, you can use the page to tell people what your course is going to be about. Add a proper description of your course along with eye-catching images to grab the attention of potential customers.
3. Understand your Target Audience
To make sure that your online training course will appeal to your audience, you must first understand your target audience. To understand the target audience that may be interested in your course, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your audience familiar with your field?
- What is their level of proficiency, are they beginners or professionals?
- Have they previously taken a similar course?
- Is your audience experienced with online courses or eLearning?
- What does your audience want from your course?
4. Organize the Overall Learning Outcomes from Your Online Course
You must have some goals about what you want to teach your students, just make sure that you’re clear about them before you design a course. Once your goals are clear, you can deliver your best in the course to equip your students with the right knowledge.
Objectives will give them an idea of how they will be able to know whether they have understood and learned the lesson or not. For this, you can make an online course design template that will make it easier for them to understand the course structure and its goals.
Let your learners know:
- What new skills will they be able to acquire?
- What new knowledge they’ll acquire?
- How long will it take for them to finish your course?
Highlighting the learning outcomes of your course will ensure that only the best students sign up. This will also ensure that your satisfaction rates don’t suffer and you don’t get any refund requests.
5. Create an Outline of the Course
Now it’s time to develop an outline for your course! List down different lessons you plan to teach your students online. In each lesson you have to write the main headings or topic you will cover.
If you want to keep it a frictionless and smooth process, then follow a logical order and try to make your thoughts and ideas develop naturally from one another.
You’ll have to guide your audience step by step. Your course outline will be clear if you define the objective of every lesson. Here’s what a course outline should be like:
Lesson #1: How to get your dog to obey basic commands
Lesson objective: In this lesson, we’ll cover how to teach a dog to obey basic commands like heel, halt, sit, and about-turn.
- How to make a dog heel
- How to make a dog halt
- How to make a dog sit
- How to make a dog turn around
In your course outline, don’t forget to add the introduction and conclusion to your online course.
Don’t make your course boring. Instead, make it interactive. Create assignments and add them at the end of each lesson so your learners can get a hands-on experience.
6. Gather and Compile Your Course Material
Gathering and compiling your course material is the most important stage of creating an online course. The reason people get stuck in this part is that they have a lot of information in their heads about the topic and books, notepads, and drives. The true art is to carefully select what should go in the course.
Market research will play a huge role in compiling the course material because then you will know what’s appropriate to add to it. Make sure your goals and objectives resonate with the market research and must match the outcome that you’re expecting from it. Come up with course content that your audience wants and isn’t offered by your competitors. Again, social listening can help you out greatly. Join different social communities like Quora or Reddit and see what kind of questions people generally ask regarding your course topic.
7. Record and Edit Your Online Course
Recording and editing the video is the second last step of creating a course online. In this phase, you have all the content together and you know how to deliver each part of your online course. Now comes the fun part of this process. If you love capturing yourself then it will be an exciting part for you – Posing for the camera!
But before getting in front of the camera, make sure:
- You have a good microphone for clear audio
- You’ve positioned yourself in good lighting
- You have good video editing software on hand
After that, you have to record your video according to your course outline and then edit it in the final step to make it presentable. You can get a lot of video editors available on the internet like Lightworks and iMovie to edit your videos. When editing, make sure you use watermarks so others can’t use your content.
8. Set up Your Online Course
Now that you’re done with creating your own course, it is time to take it live.
But where do you post it? Well, in the eLearning industry, you can post your game-changing online course creation on:
- On your own website (WordPress, Webflow, etc…)
- On marketplaces for online courses (Udemy, Skillshare, etc..)
- On online course platforms or learning management systems – LMS (Teachable, Podia, etc…)
You can go with either of the three options. That being said, let me be clear that if you go with the first option, you will require a lot of work. For example, to post your course on your own website, you’ll first need to:
- Purchase a domain name
- Purchase hosting to make your site live
- Install a CMS like WordPress on your hosting
- Install a theme for your website
- Install required plugins
- Build a landing page for your online course
As you can see, this is quite a hectic process and can be overwhelming for non-tech savvy people. In case you go with the second option, you won’t have to deal with a lot of hassle. However, course marketplaces charge quite a significant commission per sale. In addition to that, if you post a course on marketplaces like Udemy, you won’t be able to do any branding for your course. Sure, marketplaces will manage everything for you, but you will lose that feeling of control over your course content.
Keeping options one and two in mind, the third option is the most preferred choice for most course creators. Why?
Well, think of an LMS as your digital school. A school that you can link to your own website. LMS not only makes online course creation simple, but it also enables you to fully brand your course. Posting your course on a self-hosted LMS will allow you to sell your course hassle-free.
Speaking of LMS, Teachable is the best platform that provides a facility for setting up online courses to teach students and also earn from your tutoring programs.
In case you want to post your course on Teachable, follow the steps below to get started right away:
- Just click the courses (in the admin sidebar) from your Teachable admin area.
- Click on a “new course”.
- The new course will be opened where you can put in the details of your course including the title of the course and subtitles. You can also select the author by clicking the Select Author drop-down menu.
- After writing the title subtitles and other details related to your course then click “create a course”.
- You can use keywords to describe your course because Teachable allows your course landing page to make it more visible for search engines.
- Create sections of your lectures and upload the content of them.
- Click on “Add pricing” in the last step and set the amount for it.
The whole procedure of creating an online course on this platform is very simple and easy, so anyone can earn from it!
9. Choose a Business Model and Set Your Course Price Right
Now that your course is live, have you decided how you will price it?
Charging an upfront fee is probably the easiest way to make money selling your online course. However, there are other business models too that you can use to sell your course.
For example, you can charge a monthly recurring fee. You can utilize the instalments model where you charge your students every six months or yearly. This model is especially appealing for expensive courses. To price your course, come up with a pricing strategy. To do that, you need to:
- Figure out the value to the money you’re offering
- How lengthy and in-depth your course is
- Research what your competitors are charging for a similar course
- Consider charging less initially and then gradually bump up the price
No matter the price you finalize, keep assessing the quality of your course your brand, and market trends. Test your price frequently until you find a sweet spot. Don’t make the mistake of making your course free or cheap. If your course is cheap or free, people will be hesitant to register thinking that it may not be worth their time.
To further make our point clear, here is why you should avoid underpricing your online course:
1. It can compromise your market potential, and will render you from supporting your students.
2. Selling a low-priced course takes more effort than selling a high-priced course.
3. If you underprice your course, you won’t be able to reinvest in scaling it.
10. Promote Your Online Course
Think you’re done? Well, the real work begins from here!
A lot of course creators make the mistake of thinking that the work has been completed and that they now have an income stream.
But that’s not it!
Now you need an ongoing strategy to promote your online course to get people to enroll in the course. You must have at least an 18-month marketing plan on hand before you can start to see a consistent revenue stream. You can hire freelancers or professionals to promote your online course as they are experts at creating facets of your course and marketing it if you don’t want to do it yourself or don’t have the skills to do it! If you’re going to be coming up with a marketing strategy for your course on your own, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a list of students to who you can market your course?
- Will you use social media for your course promotion?
- Will you offer discounts to entice potential students?
- Will you consider partnering up with influencers?
- Will you consider running an affiliate program for your course?
- Have you come up with a content marketing plan to sell your online courses?
- Will you run ads to promote your course?
There are a number of ways through which you can market your course.
For example, you can:
- Presell your online course before you created it – As we mentioned earlier, presell a course prevents you from creating a course that may not interest anyone. Offer an early bird discount to get people to register. Just make sure to produce your course in the committed timeframe.
- Use a lead magnet – You may have enough registrations for your online course, but you should never stop the hustle. Keep gathering leads, add them to your sales funnel and get them to convert. To acquire more leads, lead magnets work great. Offer a mini-course for free in exchange for their email. Once you have a sizeable email list of ideal customers, convince them to purchase your in-depth paid course.
- Create a proper landing page – A dedicated landing page will allow people interested in your course to learn more about it. Think of the landing page as your sales page. In your landing page, make sure to incorporate:
- An enticing headline
- Pain points of interested students
- Benefits your course offers
- Authentic testimonials and reviews
- The biography of the course instructor for credibility
- Frequently asked questions that interested students may have
- Pricing information with a clear CTA
- A money-back guarantee
- Host a Webinar – Webinars are a great medium to engage with your audience. You can directly interact with your audience, promote your course and answer their concerns.
11. Build Your Community and Continue to Improve Your Online Course
Online learning is a solitary activity, so fostering a community of learners around your course will not only improve your course but will also contribute to the overall success of your course business.
The online community is a good place to convey any news about new courses or other opportunities for students. It is also a great place for other students to interact with each other and help each other out. Because let’s face it, you may not have all the answers yourself and you can’t possibly reply to all the queries your students may have. Therefore, create a community for your students on social media and spark engaging conversations.
How to Create a Digital Course Checklist PDF
Common Mistakes to Avoid During Online Course Creation
If you’re creating an online course for the first time, you might make some basic mistakes.
But that’s okay. You’ll learn from your mistakes.
But to help make your online course a best seller in your first attempt, we have compiled some online course creation mistakes that you should avoid.
Avoid Creating Lengthy Lessons
You may want to go in-depth and share as much information with your learners as possible, but we’d suggest not doing that. Instead, keep your lessons short. Because the fact is, most of us have short attention spans. If you overwhelm your students with too much information, they won’t be able to retain any of it.
Depending on the length of your course, you may want to have a 5-minute intro, and a comprehensive video lesson not exceeding 20 minutes in length at max.
Don’t Be Scared to Try
You may be overwhelmed with so many thoughts when thinking about creating your online course. It’s perfectly normal. But how would you know if your course has any potential unless you try? If you’re skilful and you’ve researched your target audience well, then you should take the leap. Create your online course and market it well. Within no time, you’ll start generating a stable income for yourself.
Not Testing Your Course
Before you take your course online, run it through your social circle to see what they like or dislike about it. Asking your friends and family can help you figure out any mistakes that you can fix. Fixing all the errors in your course content before sharing it with your students is crucial to building credibility. If you fail to make a good first impression, it may turn away potential students.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to create an online course?
You can make a professional-looking course for between $350 and $1000. Some factors that can increase the cost include software, equipment, hosting, and promotion of your online course.
How to create a profitable online course to sell online?
The most important thing to create a profitable course is to get aware of your audience. Know what they are interested in and come up with the best profitable online course. For instance, if you are advertising B2B training, it’s a good thing to connect with your presented touch points on the phone and try to understand their needs before you begin cold outreach.
What are the different types of online courses?
There are multiple types of online courses that you can find online including digital marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, content writing, and so on.
How to create an online course with WordPress?
WordPress is one of the best platforms for web designing and development. You can create an online course involving WordPress training by including designing, coding, content editing, plug-in installation, and so on in the course.
What are the steps to creating an online course?
Here’s how to create an online course that sells:
- Find the right niche to create a course for
- Choose a platform where you want to publish your course
- Select a course topic
- Analyze your competitors
- Figure out how you want your course to be (webinar, text-based, video-based)
- Create your online course content
- Set pricing for your online course
- Market and promote your online course
- Measure your course’s performance
- Continue to improve
How can I create online courses and make money?
The easiest way to create and sell online courses is to publish your course on Udemy, iSpring Market, or Thinkific.
Which platform is best for online courses?
Here are some of the best platforms for online courses:
- LinkedIn Learning
- Shaw Academy
Hope you got all the answers about how to develop an online course. These are some of the important steps that you should follow when you are new in this field and don’t have any idea how to start!
Building a community through your online school will help you not only spread your knowledge but also monetize your skills and expertise. So what are you waiting for? Build online courses and start making money.