Why start an online course?
As the demand for online courses is increasing, there is an opportunity for you to turn your knowledge into a course and sell it online. All you need is the right platform, the time and the know-how. This is a low-risk way of starting your own business.
Choosing a platform
The first step is to choose your platform. There are a variety of platforms to choose from, but the most popular ones are Udemy and Skillshare. Udemy is a marketplace for online courses. You can offer your own courses and sell them for a price, or you can enroll in someone else's course and pay a fee. Udemy's audience is mostly comprised of individuals looking for new skills, but there are also courses aimed at businesses. Skillshare is more like a social network for online learning, with courses that are generally short and focused on one topic. Skillshare's audience is mostly comprised of professionals looking for new skills, but there are also courses aimed at individuals.
Of course, if you do choose a platform such as the aforementioned then you will have to be prepared to share the revenue. If the thought of sharing the revenue created from your efforts makes your blood run cold then perhaps this isn't the option for you. Which then takes us on to self hosting...
So, if you do want more control over your earnings and the look and feel of your course, then perhaps hosting it on your own website is the way to go. If this is the case then, you'll need to register your domain with a web hosting provider and choose what platform you'll be building your website on.
A good choice would be WordPress as it is free to use, and it is very easy to set up. WordPress is also the most popular CMS in the world and it has a huge community of developers with lots of plugins and themes to choose from that can help you add the functionality you'll need to get up and running. Also due to the many themes available (over 11,000) WordPress makes it easy to build an online course website that looks professional and elegant.
WP Coursware is one such example of a plugin that can handle online subscription payments and add online course functionality to WordPress. WP Courseware offers the user an easy way to create and manage your courses and all within the WordPress dashboard. It's a powerful platform that enables you to create engaging courses with downloadable content, videos and quizzes.
Of course there are many other LMS (Learning management system) plugins available, MemberPress and LearnDash to name a few. Ultimately, which plugin you choose will depend on your particular requirements. I have focused on WP Coursware here as it's the one I currently use (I have no affiliation whatsoever with any of these platforms).
Keep your online course engaging
A successful online course is one that keeps the learner engaged. You need to be able to keep your students interested in your course. Here are a few tips for keeping your online course interesting:
- Keep the lessons short: People have been known to abandon online courses if they are too long or daunting. A good rule of thumb is to keep each lesson between six and eight minutes. Even if the course itself is long by breaking the lessons in to more manageable sections you will likely increase your engagement.
- Keep it simple: Avoid complicated language and complicated explanations. You want your course to be understandable by as many people as possible.
- Keep it visually exciting: Use graphics, animation and video to keep learners engaged.
- Keep it interactive: Include interactive activities and games to keep learners engaged with the material.
- Keep it interesting: Use humor
Businesses need to invest in website maintenance to keep their sites up to date and running smoothly. Website maintenance is an ongoing process that includes:
- Content updates
- Site optimization
- Security updates
- Monitoring and troubleshooting
A website's ongoing maintenance is crucial for keeping your course online and visible to potential students. Website owners can use a variety of tools to monitor site traffic, analyze the site's performance, and troubleshoot any issues. I won't go into details here as that's a subject for another post that I have yet to write. As soon as I have written though I will drop a link in here>>[insert_link] Until then however, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.