Do you have a flair for the writing arts? Are you a digital marketing guru? Do you love sharing tips and tricks on programming languages? Is your knowledge worth sharing with others?
If yes, then you have the potential to earn a lot in the e-learning industry.
By creating a course and selling it on an online course platform, you can serve the audience who’ll pay to listen to you and leverage your time lucratively. Most importantly, these platforms have made course building and marketing a matter of few clicks only.
Here’s what an online course platform can help you with:
- Create or integrate your course with an existing site
- Price your course and collect payments
- Build landing pages
- Upload content, including videos, assignments, and quizzes.
- Create membership communities
- Host webinars
If you want to tap into this field and sell an online course, then there is no better time than now to do so. And for that, you need the right platform. The best online course platforms offer you all-around ease so that you can focus on the crucial stuff like creating content.
If you’re confident that your course will sell, then choosing the right platform is the next step to initiate your very own 6-figure per month educational empire.
7 Best Online Course Platforms for Launching Your First Course
So you know how to create an online course that sells, but do you know how to market it effectively?
Creating the course is one of the easiest parts of the journey - when you are a master of your lesson! The biggest dilemma you will face as an instructor is selecting an online course platform.
Many platforms have some standard features like an LMS can offer. There are many aspects to consider when researching your ideal platform. You will need to compare things like pricing, look at customer reviews and what support you can expect from the platform.
Choose a platform that gives your students a customised yet professional experience. It should be unique and advanced, yet acceptable for students. Host your course on a platform that feels like your class. Balance pricing, ease of use, and content creation variety.
Read on ahead to some of the top platforms on the internet and how they can be suitable to your distinct requirements.
1. Teachable - The Easiest Online Course Platform
If you’re looking for a medium that would make your life easy, then Teachable is the one to pick. You can conveniently upload all your content and effectively communicate with your students, customize your teaching area like a class and do much more.
Teachable works wonderfully for new course creators, coaches, solo entrepreneurs, and creative professionals. It has a user-friendly course authorization with quiz capabilities. Further, you can host a blog, create and edit a landing page on the platform. The dashboard comes with built-in tools for tracking affiliate metrics, sales and automate marketing. Its ecommerce features like easy course checkout and multiple payment options, plus the dedicated app that schools can use for mass teaching are the plus points for the platform.
Teachable Pricing Plans
Teachable offers a 15-day free trial which can be upgraded to the following plans:
- Basic plan: $29/month: 5% transaction fees, drip content, course builder, 2 admin users, members-only community.
- Pro plan: $99/month: no transaction fees, basic features, 5 admin users, course certificates, and advanced reports.
- Business plan: $249/month: pro features, 20 admins, bulk student enrollments, advanced coding customization, and group coaching calls.
2. Udemy - The Right Online Course Solution for Beginners to Advanced Educators
Udemy is considered one of the most popular online course platforms. That’s because it makes it possible for everyone to create a course and offers several learning materials, including PPT, PDF documents, text, and videos. There is a community space where students can post questions, seek answers and generate topic-related discussions.
As for ease of use and interface, Udemy is an amazing place if you’re just starting out as an instructor and want to get the lay of the land. It hosts courses on every topic imaginable and skill transferable. From guitar classes to professional website development, there are courses from and for everyone.
Several seasoned trainers who teach advanced skills also prefer Udemy for the pricing options, seasonal sales, and the platforms’ popularity and credibility that allows effortless course marketing.
There are no setup costs on Udemy, plus, there is absolutely no need to be tech savvy. The platform is good for self-paced learning and video courses. There is a dedicated app for Android and iOS devices. Also, the learners can leave their feedback and rating as social proof to help improve and market the course further.
Udemy Pricing Options
There are no starting fees on Udemy, but it does have a high commission on sales.
- Instructors get 97% of the revenue through instructor referrals. This means you can use coupons, referral links and other affiliate tools to invite course buyers and keep 97% of the sale proceeds less taxes.
- Instructors receive 37% of the revenue through sales that occurred through Udemy advertisements or organic searches in the Udemy app.
3. Thinkific - The Best Online Course Platform For Seasoned Educators
Thinkific is a great platform for professionals who are dedicated to teaching, or want to provide student experiences as part of their business model. The platform lets users build fully-custom, branded course websites with drag and drop menu options, where they can track the progress of their students, check growth metrics, market and so much more.
The platform allows users to upload course content in PDF, PPT, Word and Text formats, plus videos. Also, trainers can choose to mark course materials in life-time access or expiry points. As an instructor, you can make use of a huge student database, conduct surveys and discussions, and teach an audience from diverse demographics and backgrounds.
Further, Thinkific allows integration of various other platforms like Shopify, MailChimp, Zoom, Google Docs etc. Videographers, podcasters, writers, actors, and other professionals who want to turn course sales into a major portion of their income can use Thinkific, but you have to be a seasoned person who knows tricks of teching trade to be successful on the platform.
Thinkific has a free version - but that has limited functionality and is still worth a shot if you want to test the waters. Its paid subscription plans are as follows:
- Basic plan: $39/month
- Pro Plan: $79/month
- Premier plan: $399/month
4. Skillshare - The Online Teaching Platform For Beginners
It is a subscription-based learning platform where learners pay a monthly charge of $12 and access everything on the platform. The site allows teachers to host single video courses to multiple series with a mandatory class project. Videos can be 30-40 minutes. The platform is intuitive, easy to navigate and there is a site-wide teacher challenge that helps newbies publish their first course in no time.
Skillshare has a community that is a rarity to be found on other online course platforms. Learners pay a monthly subscription to gain access to Skillshare’s courses, with the enthusiasm to learn and that makes a big difference to a course creator. This is particularly a fact if you don’t have a lot of marketing experience. You get paid on royalties and referrals instead of people buying your course.
Skillshare is the place for creators who are recognized names in their fields. If students get excited simply by reading your name behind the course, you don’t need additional marketing.
Most importantly, Skillshare helps teachers build authority and credibility in a subject, with a fan following. According to the official website, several teachers on the platform have landed lucrative projects and work offers after being featured on Skillshare.
Skillshare Pricing and Revenues
Skillshare is free to join for both teachers and students. Because it has a subscription model, teachers don’t earn for the courses bought by students. Instead, Skillshare calculates a platform-wide number of hours watched matrix each month and 30% of the total revenue goes to the teachers. Each teacher has a percentage share in the hours watched matrix and is paid accordingly. These hours are called Royalty Pools.
5. Kajabi - The Complete Course Selling Solution for Advanced Sellers
Kajabi boasts that you don’t have to do anything when it comes to your course. If you want bells and whistles, then Kajabi is your best bet.
Kajabi is an optimal all-in-one software for an authentic information business. with an extreme focus on sales and marketing tools. It has partnered with Wistia, a video hosting platform that performs beyond expectations. You can import your course files from your device, Google Drive, or Dropbox. It offers monthly recurring and yearly subscriptions and payment methods include Stripe and Paypal - available in most countries.
It comes with the highest price tag due to its advanced features and integrations. You can build and promote an online course on Kajabi and enjoy built-in data integration and multiple payments. It is the finest online course builder catering to the information businesses instead of small course creators or beginners.
Creators who can put a hefty price on their course should use Kajabi so that it sells enough to pay the high price of Kajabi itself. So you need to do some research about what kind of interest your course garners before investing in the platform.
Kajabi Pricing Plans
Kajabi comes with a free 14-day trial. Its paid packages include:
- Basic: $119/month
- Growth: $149/month
- Pro: $319/month
6. Podia - A Convenient Online Course Platform
If technology intimidates you to no end, then Podia is the solution to all such headaches. It is a platform where you can pre-sell your courses and include all sorts of formats without a hitch. You can run your affiliate programs with Podia with 24/7 support, a simple three-step setup process, and no transaction fees.
Podia is ideal for content creators and artists who wish to expand their audience by monetizing their content with simple activities and gated videos. other than courses, the platform works well for memberships, affiliations, digital products etc.
You can choose to customize the sales page and discount coupons on Podia, get access to affiliate tools, sell pre-recorded video courses or host webinars.
Podia comes with a 14-day free trial. Its paid packages include:
- Mover: $39/month
- Shaker: $79/month
- Earthquake: $179/month
7. LearnDash - Online Course LMS Plugin for WordPress Users
If you have a personal WordPress site, then you can sell your course with this amazing plugin. LearnDash is a popular WordPress LMS plugin that is being used by some big names such as Infusionsoft, Yoast, and WP Elevation. One of its prominent features is its speed and drag and drop course builder that enables WordPress fans to create a course through an easy, intuitive process.
LearnDash is versatile as it can be used by enterprises, educational institutes, and companies of all sizes - in fact everyone who has a WordPress website and would like to monetize via selling educational and informative video content.
LearnDash offers completion certificates and achievement badges, has an automated mail system, and can integrate Stripe, and PayPal. Further, you can integrate the plugin with MailChimp and WooCommerce. It comes with a 30-days money back guarantee.
- Basic: $169 (1 site license)
- Plus package: $199 (10 sites license)
- Pro package: $339 (25 sites license)
Are Online Courses Profitable?
Selling original courses on an online course platform is a booming market all over the world. The eLearning market is unerringly predicted to be worth a whopping $325 billion by 2025.
The market is super lucrative and profitable. Especially after the pandemic, the following unemployment, and the need to upskill, there is an emerging trend of investing in education and learning among the young and the old. Online courses are an excellent way to fill the knowledge gap, especially in an age where digital learning has become a necessity. Not only does it offer ease, but it also gives freedom to people to learn at their pace without adhering to a strict schedule or the complexity of commuting to and from physical classes.
If you’re not selling an online course, then you’re missing out on an ample earning opportunity. As an instructor, you could earn from a few hundred to a six or seven-figure income annually. Apart from course creation, the efforts in marketing and sales are what give you an edge over all others.
Some factors to consider that affect your potential revenue are:
- The course idea and the format of content presentation
- The price of your course
- Your target audience
- Marketing and sales experience
- Present student list
Another way to make sure that your online course hits the ground running is by hiring experts to market and promote it. An online course marketing company with the desired expertise in the field of education can help you reach your target audience and what is needed to scale with effective strategies.
You must have noticed that marketing on platforms other than Udemy and Skillshare require either third-party tools like MailChimp or an eye on affiliate sales. The other aspects of making an online course a hit are daunting, which could make you think twice about doing it at all. With an ace company that has your back, you can sit back and pay all your attention to developing a course instead of worrying about reaching your potential customers.
eLearning platforms are the textbooks of tomorrow. If you have knowledge that fills an essential gap, then this is something worth investing your time in.
As for the choice of the right platform, I suggest Udemy for beginners as well as seasoned sellers because of the large community, the pricing and the marketing options.
Though, you can weigh your options depending on your budget, the course builder tools and ease of use. It may take some time to find the best online course platform but consider that a wise step towards changing your future. Certain factors of each platform have a definitive effect on growing your business, so your choice should be based on hard facts. The rest depends on how valuable your course is to your target audience. Good luck teaching online!