Happy New Year! If you’re anything like me, you have some big goals for this year. If you’re wondering how to create your own online course, I’ve got you.
You’ve probably heard that online courses are HUGE right now. They’re a great way to get your info out to a large number of people 👉 maximum impact. And let’s be honest, reaching more people means making more money, too.
It can be confusing to figure out how to create your online course though – what platform should you use? These are the three that I see being used the most right now, and the major pros & cons to each.
OK, so I’m an online course junkie, to put it nicely, and a lot of the people I take online courses from are now using Kajabi. Compared to Teachable (below), Kajabi offers a bit more customization aesthetically, and and more flexibility when it comes to video – allowing for longer format lessons instead of pushing you to create a bunch of smaller video segments.
Kajabi integrates well from either a SquareSpace or a WordPress website and can mostly be white-labeled so that your customers won’t even know that they’ve moved over to Kajabi. (You can also build your entire site in Kajabi).
It also comes with a lot of bells and whistles. As I mentioned, you can build your entire website on Kajabi, it also has its own email marketing system, lead pages and sales funnel templates. It’s a great all-in-one solution, but you can also pick the components you need to utilize the most.
The downside to Kajabi is cost – it is more expensive than the other option that I often see (Teachable). If you need all of the included tools (email marketing, etc) and you want to get them all in one place, it’s worthwhile. BUT if you have your website built out and an email marketing system that you already love, the extra cost may not be something you want to eat.
View pricing and get started with Kajabi here.
The big upside to Teachable (after building client courses in both Kajabi and Teachable) is that it is super user friendly! And it is also a bit lighter on the cost. It may not have as many features as Kajabi, but if you’re working from your own website and have a different email marketing system, then that’s just fine.
Another upside is that if you have your course on Teachable, it has a very easy to use mobile app for iPhone that enables your users to access your course from their phone. (Kajabi also has an app but its newer and a little less user friendly.)
The downside is that it’s not as easy to make your Teachable course look pretty. It has a pretty set structure that favors short video segments.
That said, if you are a bit newer to DIY-ing your own website then this is a great option for you.
View pricing and get started with Teachable here.
Self-hosted Using WordPress
OK, so let me start out by saying that there are ways to do a self-hosted course using SquareSpace, but as of the publishing date of this post, it’s harder to do on that platform than with WordPress.
On WordPress, there are a number of ways to do this.
The free way:
This is the lowest lift option (and also easy enough to do on SquareSpace).
First, create a password protected page and load in all of your course content. If you want to divide up your course content, you can create multiple pages and link to the next course page at the bottom of each page. It’s up to you if you want to password protect all of your pages if you choose to have multiple. Just remember that many of them might end up being discoverable in Google Search.
You can add both video (embedded from YouTube) and text, as well as downloadable PDFs as your course content.
In order to sell this simple online course, you’ll need to create a separate sales page. Once people purchase (using SquareSpace store or WooCommerce plugin in WordPress), you simply customize the thank you email to include the course link and password.
Note: I have an easy step-by-step course alllll about this. You can check that out here.
Using more sophisticated WordPress plugins:
There are also many Learning Management System (LMS) plugins available for WordPress, like LearnDash or CoursePress. These are relatively low cost – CoursePress even has a free version. The downside is it can be tough to cobble all of your systems together and you’ll need to manage customer service issues (all those lost passwords!) yourself.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you on how to create your own online course is to just get started, if you’ve decided that you want to do an online course. Don’t worry about making it perfect, because you’re likely going to be able to help a lot of people with the information you have, even if it’s not formatted perfectly. You can always tweak and refine later.
Get clear on the topic of your course.
Create an outline.
Write out your content and record video as necessary.
Upload it to your chosen platform and start sharing!
Not sure where to start? If you’d like help setting up your online course, schedule a free call to see what working with me would look like! (A lot less stressful than doing it yourself, let me tell you!).