Have you been thinking about making your own ecourse? If so, you might be on to something lucrative. According to an article from eLearningIndustry, the market for online courses back in 2015 was $107 billion, while estimates show that by 2025 it could reach as high as $325 billion!
If you’d like to learn more about how to create an online course, then here’s everything you need to know about building one from scratch and making it into a success.
How To Create An Online Course: Think Of A Topic
What Would You Love To Teach?
Some people would compare creating an online course to writing an ebook. In both cases, you have to have a ton of content and have a deep appreciation for the subject material.
Keep in mind that you’ll be doing an incredible amount of research and fact-checking as you’re creating your content. This is why it’s important to pick a subject that you absolutely love and want to know more about.
Identify The Target Audience
Imagine you’re in a room with your audience. Ask yourself:
- Who would they be?
- What would they look like?
- What would they want to know from you?
- What worries or concerns would they have that you could help to solve?
Figuring out who exactly you’re trying to help will make your online course to better feel like it was tailored to your audience.
What’s The Marketability?
The last thing you’ll want to do is create an ecourse that absolutely no one signs up for.
You can test the viability of your idea by:
- Seeing if there are already other online couses just like yours.
- Googling your topic. Google also has some free tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends where you can quantify the number of active searches for your topic.
- Seeing if there are ebooks on Amazon related to your topic.
- Looking at popular question sites like Quora.
Create Your Online Course
Organize A Course Outline
Think of your course outline like the table of contents in a book or a class syllabus. The flow of content should be structured logically and concisely with:
- Modules – The major sections or categories for your topics
- Lessons – The individual teachings within the modules
Your students will get the most out of your modules and lessons if you structure them according to specific goals you wish them to accomplish. For example, if your ecourse was on weight loss, you might create modules for the benefits of proper nutrition, cardio, weight lifting, etc.
Pick Your Media
The cool thing about creating online courses is that your course content can be made using a combination of as many types of mediums as you want:
- Written content – Text like you would find on a blog post or ebook
- Presentations or slideshows – Similar to a PowerPoint
- Images – Could be informational or just to make the content more appealing
- Audio – Record yourself talking or interviewing an industry expert
- Video – Record yourself at a desk, whiteboard, or in front of a plain screen
- Screencasting - Recording your movements on your computer screen as you click around the screen (very useful for how-to software tutorials)
- Animation – Pay someone to create moving graphics (usually the most expensive) or learn how to make animation yourself with an online animation course
Plan Your Content
No matter what kind of medium you decide to go with (even if it's just a video of you talking), you’re going to need to plan out the details of your content.
Take your course outline and start writing out the major points you need to hit. Again, the content should flow just like a natural conversation but be just as useful as a professionally written article. Be sure to also double-check any facts or claims you make.
Test The Engagement
As you’re creating your content, you want it to be fun and interesting to the student. Periodically let your friends and family in on your progress and ask for their feedback. You don’t want to get all the way to the end only to find out your course content is too dull and needs to be rewritten.
Make Your Online Course Available
Choose A Platform
You may not know this, but there’s more than one way to host an online course. Here are the three most popular ways:
- ECourse sites such as Udemy, Skillshare, etc. – These are the simplest places to go to for hosting online courses because they are usually free to join and already have an established audience. However, they do take a fairly large chunk of your revenue.
- Hosting platforms such as Teachable, Thinkific, LearnWorlds, etc. This is where you can create a stand-alone domain for your online course. This gives you more flexibility and control over the look of the course as well as the profits you generate. In addition, the hosting site will generally have more bandwidth and resources available if you need help. You will, nevertheless, have to pay a monthly fee for the platform (just like a website).
- WordPress plugins such as LearnDash. If you’d rather build an online course right into your existing or new WordPress site, you can do that too. This will not only give you complete control over the content and pricing, but it will also be the cheapest option. However, it also means you’ll be doing all the technical work like setting up the payment method. Plus if you have a lot of big files or users, it could force you into upgrading your web hosting plan to account for the additional space and bandwidth.
Set Your Price
One of the great things about online courses is that they can command a relatively high price per sale. According to the online course site Podia, the average sales price of an online course is $182.59. That means that if you had just six students sign-up per month, you’d make over $1,000 in passive income!
Ultimately, it's up to you what you’d like to charge. Find other online courses within your niche and get some idea of what they are charging.
Market Your Course
Create A Solid Landing Page
Whether you’ve already got a blog or register a new domain, the first thing you’ll want to do is create an awesome landing page that tells your potential students exactly:
- Why they need your online course
- What they can expect to learn
- How it can benefit them (or solve their problem)
Tell Your Mailing List
Again, if you’ve already got a blog and have a mailing list, let them know that you’ve created an awesome new online course. You can even offer them a promo code to drive more sales.
Tell Someone Else’s Audience
Widen your net to other potential students by getting in front of other people’s audiences. Write a guest post on another blog or offer to be interviewed on a podcast.
Leverage Affiliate Partners
Share a percentage of each sale with the people who promote your online course. Work through an affiliate link service like Tapfiliate that tracks the sales and automatically pays your partners.
Promote On Social Media
Schedule posts on your social media accounts advertising your new online course. If you’ve got some money to invest, you could take things a step higher by running advertisements through Facebook or Pinterest.
Listen To Your Feedback
Even after your online course is up and running, listen to the feedback from your students. Find out what they did and did not like, and use that information to make improvements in the next version of your online course.
Final Thoughts: How To Create An Online Course
Now that you've learned all the important steps for how to create an online course, you can get started. It will take time, effort, and patience. You may need to learn some additional marketing knowledge or touch up on your writing skills as well, but you can do it! Use this guide to help you create your online course and turn it into a success!