*there are some affiliate links in this post, meaning I might receive a payment if you use them
I love online courses and am excited that you are considering making one!
Over the years I have worked with different platforms myself and have created dozens of course systems for my clients, so I figured it’s time to write a little round up as I often get asked about what I recommend.
Before you make a decision I recommend that you ask yourself the following questions:
- What format will your course be in – audio, video, text or a mix?
- Will it run live or be an evergreen self-study course?
- How many sign ups are you expecting for your first launch (this might be tricky to answer, but is relevant because some platforms will take a percentage of your sales while others require a one off investment)?
- What kind of student experience do you want to create? This is interesting to think about – for shorter courses for example it might be okay to deliver all your content in emails while larger, more in-depth courses might require an “archive” that students can revisit.
Choosing between onsite courses and offsite courses
WordPress plug ins give you the option to create courses on your own website, meaning that you are completely in control of the design and handling the finances. Many of them are pretty easy to deal with, so with a bit of tech background, time and patience it should be totally doable to set something solid up. If on the other hand you would rather focus on just creating the content while someone else takes care of payments and hosting, then choosing to build your courses on an external platform might be more sensible.
Depending on your location and the nature of your course you might have to charge VAT for it, which some external platforms can handle for you to make things easier.
WordPress plug ins for courses and membership platforms
Learnpress has a free option and offers you a chance to develop and sell simple courses on your own site. You can add quizzes and questions and are able to get in touch with your students any time.
Course Cats is another onsite option that also includes a premium WordPress theme as well as tech support and starts $59/ month.
External platforms on which you can create and host courses
Podia is what I use for my online courses. I love it because of the easy to use design and all the features (like cross-selling, Zoom/webinar integration, newsletter) they offer. I think the pricing is reasonable considering that Podia might replace other software as a more all-in-one solution and the fact that they don’t take a cut from your sales. You can set up an affiliate network, create a membership and build your newsletter for example without needing to integrate into another piece of software. I think the student experience and ease of navigation is great too, which is an important factor for me.
Teachable is the platform I have used before switching to Podia and I would still recommend it for some folks. It’s fairly easy to set up and use and offers all kinds of features you might need for a larger launch such as coupons, an affiliate network and the possibility to bundle your offerings.
Mighty Networks is a fantastic solution for people who want to create very interactive, community based courses. You can think of your network as its own Facebook, expect just for you and your business. Everyone has their own profile and you can create different spaces and events for discussions and shared organising. I use Mighty Networks for my Embodied Business Community and absolutely love the way it’s bringing people together!
As you can see there are many, many options. I hope you are feeling empowered to make a start!