How To Create an Online Course
Creating an online course is not just a great way to share your expertise with the world but also a potentially lucrative business model. Whether you’re considering offering a free course as a way to build an audience or you’re looking to monetize your skills, this guide will teach you how to create an online course and, if you’re on a tight budget, how to create an online course for free. Let’s dive in.
Choose a Highly Demanding Course Topic
The first step in creating an online course is to choose a topic. To ensure you create an online course that’s going to sell, you’ll need to select subject matter that’s currently in high demand or that will be in high demand soon. Your course should rest, ideally, well within your area of expertise, but it should also align with what your target audience wants to learn.
Start by identifying your unique selling proposition, which is the unique or special element that sets you apart from the other course creators. This could be your in-depth expertise, a unique and effective methodology, or simply a novel perspective on an existing area of subject matter.
Next, do keyword research to figure out what potential learners are looking for online. Tools like Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can give you invaluable insights into the most searched terms related to your field or niche. Additionally, check out platforms like Udemy and Coursera to find out what is currently in high demand.
Conduct Audience Research
The next thing you’ll need to do is conduct some audience research. Audience research is critical for creating an online course. It involves learning about and understanding your potential learners, as well as their needs, preferences, and unique pain points. The insights you gain during this stage should help you tailor your course content to better meet the needs and wants of your learners.
Start this stage by creating a detailed buyer persona. Your buyer persona is the semi-fictional avatar for your general audience of learners based on your market research and data about your current customers. This persona should include information like demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals. This data can be gathered from surveys, interviews, or simply researching on social media by looking at who follows and regularly engages with your content.
You can also gain significant amounts of customer persona insights by checking with online forums and communities like Reddit or Quora, where people can ask just about anything and have countless experts potentially weigh in. These questions can help you figure out what people are struggling with most or what they want to learn more about.
I cover research in huge detail in my Amazon book Click and Grow Rich.
Create a Course Outline
Develop an outline starting with a broad overview, broken down into smaller subtopics, ensuring a comprehensive and logical structure. The course should progress naturally from basics to complex ideas, aligning with the learning objectives and keeping learners engaged.
Ask what skills students should acquire and how they will apply them. Include assessments, quizzes, and discussions in the outline to promote engagement and understanding. A well-planned outline ensures the course is focused, purposeful, and interactive, making it far more valuable to the learners you anticipate will use it.
Structure Course Modules
For a positive learning experience, structure your course into distinct modules, enabling easier comprehension and self-paced learning. Each module, focusing on a specific subtopic from your outline, should be self-sufficient, comprising instructional content, activities, and assessments.
WordPress plugins such as WP Courseware make this process very easy indeed. We have a course teaching you how to, in fact.
Start with key points, sequentially arranged from simple to complex, and conclude each module with a summary. Incorporate various content forms like text, videos, infographics, podcasts, and exercises to cater to different learning styles and maintain engagement. Hence, a well-structured course allows efficient learning management and versatile engagement.
Create or Shoot High-Quality Course Content
High-quality content, crucial for online courses, enhances learner engagement and distinguishes you from competitors. Content types include video lectures, PDFs, audio clips, quizzes, interactive activities, and live webinars. Choose the format that best conveys information and suits your audience.
For video content, ensure professional visuals and clear audio, using graphics or text overlays for an improved experience. Written content should be clear, well-structured, and grammatically correct; use bullet points, headings, and visuals for readability. Creating high-quality content may seem daunting but can be accomplished with free or low-cost tools like learn Audacity, OBS Studio, Shotcut, DaVinci Resolve, and Canva.
Set Course Price & Publish Your Course Online on Suitable Platform
Setting the right price for your online course is key, reflecting its value while staying affordable. Research industry standards and consider your invested time, resources, uniqueness, and learner outcomes. After pricing, publish your course on platforms like WordPress with plugins like MemberPress, LearnDash, or Tutor LMS or on free platforms like Udemy or Coursera, bearing in mind they may take a revenue share.
Select a platform based on the user interface, payment processing, marketing tools, and customer support. Course creation involves strategic planning, with the following sections discussing advertising, feedback collection, and common mistake avoidance.
Advertise your Course
After creating and launching your online course, marketing is essential. Advertise through content marketing by creating valuable, relevant content shared on blogs, social media, or email newsletters, positioning you as an expert. Utilize SEO to optimize content with relevant keywords, improving search engine rankings. Use social media platforms for wider reach, engagement, and targeted ad campaigns.
Harness the power of email marketing to communicate with interested individuals directly, boosting enrollments by sharing valuable content, updates, and offers. Consider affiliate marketing, incentivizing others to promote your course through commission-based referrals.
Collect Feedback & Reviews
Feedback and reviews are critical for your online course’s continual improvement and credibility, providing insights into what’s effective and what needs refinement. Encourage students to leave reviews and address negative feedback constructively, boosting credibility and demonstrating a commitment to a great learning experience.
Conduct surveys or informal chats for more detailed feedback, asking about their learning experience and potential improvements. Embrace the fact that no course is perfect initially. Be open to feedback and ready for adjustments, indicating your value for student opinions and dedication to delivering the best possible learning experience.
One major caveat to remember when you’re collecting feedback and reviews from your users or customers is that if you’re collecting feedback, you should make a focused effort to review it and act on it. Too many businesses ask for feedback from their customers and actually receive priceless suggestions that are never read and certainly never acted on. Implementing changes based on feedback that you are given is a solid way to build loyalty and show your customer base that you value their input.
Mistakes You Must Avoid
Before you run off and create your first course, here are some of the most common mistakes you should be aware of and how you can potentially avoid them.
- First, don’t overlook the importance of audience research. Understand what your audience wants to learn, their preferred learning style, and what they expect from the course.
- Second, avoid creating a course that’s too broad or too shallow. A course that tries to cover everything might end up providing little value. Ensure your course is comprehensive but also focused and in-depth.
- Another common mistake is underestimating the time and effort it takes to create an online course. As the question ‘How long does it take to create an online course’ implies, it’s a process that requires significant time and effort. Plan accordingly, and don’t rush the process.
- Finally, don’t neglect marketing your course. No matter how great your course is, without effective marketing, it won’t reach your target audience.
Creating a successful online course can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. By carefully choosing a course topic, understanding your audience, creating high-quality content, and avoiding common mistakes, you’re well on your way to creating a course that provides value and drives revenue.