How to Create and Sell Online Courses: Step-By-Step Guide
Selling online courses is one of the most popular ways of making money online. Everyone has something he or she can teach. The good news is that it is very easy and simple to build a website with which you can sell your courses online. You can start selling courses online today because it costs a little and you need no technical knowledge of web development to get started.
This article is for you whether you are introducing online courses for your existing students or creating online courses to sell to new students.
In this article, we explained with pictures how to create online courses and how to make good money from them. Ultimately, we will teach you how to make your online course a huge success.
We covered the under-listed in this article;
- Things you need to create an online course
- How to set up your website
- How to install and setup MemberPress
- Also, we covered how to create your first online course
- How to add lessons and sections to your online course
- How to restrict course access to membership plans
- Also, we covered how to sell your online course
- How to add links to the course sign up and registration page
- How to preview and customize course view
- Also, we covered how to promote your online course
If you are ready? Let’s get started.
Things You Need to Create / Sell an Online Course
The following are required to create an online course.
- The first thing you need is a course idea. This is where you can help others learn something new.
- A domain name. You also need a domain name which is your website’s address (for example, livingmediainternational.com).
- A hosting This is the location(s) where your website’s files are stored. Livingmediainternational.com files are stored on Google Cloud.
- You also need an LMS plugin such as MemberPress to create and manage your courses.
- You need to give your online course website development the attention it requires to become functional.
Depending on the resources available to you, your online course design and development can be completed in days.
Let’s get started.
Step 1 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Setting up Your WordPress Website
There are lots of online course platforms and website builders that you can use to build your online course website. However, we always recommend WordPress. WordPress offers you the maximum freedom and flexibility you need to create your online courses in days.
It might interest you to know that WordPress powers over 35% of all websites currently on the internet.
Often beginners do find it difficult to differentiate between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a hosting service provider, while WordPress.org on the other hand is a platform for building self-hosted WordPress websites or blogs.
WordPress.org is usually recommended because it gives you access to all of the WordPress features that you’ll need to fully develop your website or blog.
Just as we pointed out above, you’ll need a domain name to get started with a self-hosted website, Choice a domain name that will reflect the name f your business or company. The cost of purchasing a domain name ranges from $0 to about $20 per year.
This is quite a lot of startup money.
See our top 4 web hosting providers. For instance, HostGator. They are our recommended hosting providers. Purchase your domain name, and hosting. After you have done so, head over to our step-by-step guide on how to build a website or blog. Follow the instructions and steps to start customizing your blog or website.
Step 2 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Install and Setup MemberPress LMS Plugin
After setting up your website or blog, the next thing to do is to set up a Learning Management System (LMS) plugin. These plugins will allow you to create your online course on your website or blog and also monetize them.
Head over to your admin dashboard now, and install the MemberPress plugin. MemberPress is at the moment one of the best Learning Management System plugins. It has complete course management, subscription, payment management, lesson plans, access control, and many more features. It can be said to be an all-in-one solution LMS.
So many course creators around the world today use MemberPress to create courses that generate thousands of dollars in revenue every year.
MemberPress » Settings page, upon activation, to enter the license key that way issued to you on purchase. If you don’t’ know where your license key is, check under your account information on the MemberPress website.
Click on the ‘Activate License Key’ button, once you have entered the license key.
After activating your MemberPress plugin, head over to the ‘Payments’ tab, click on the (+) add button to set up your choice of payment gateway
At the moment, MemberPress only supports PayPal and Stripe (Authorize.net support included in Pro and Plus plans).
After selecting your choice of payment gateway, fill in the required information. by clicking on the (+) button again and again, you can set up multiple payment methods.
Click on the ‘Update Options’ button to save payment settings.
Step 3 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Creating Your First Course
It is super easy to create and manage courses online with MemberPress. MemberPress comes with a course builder that is very easy to use. The course builder of MemberPress has features that allow you to create courses, edit lessons already created, add sections, and lots more.
Open MemberPress, click on the Courses page, then you’ll see a button to install and activate the courses addon.
Click on the installation button to automatically install and activate the MemberPress courses addon. After you have done this, you’ll be redirected to the courses page.
At this stage, to create your first course, click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top. Then the MemberPress course builder screen will be launched.
At this stage, you’ll see the ‘Course Page’ it is here that you will provide a course title, topic, and description. With the default WordPress block editor been used by MemberPress course builder, you can be creative and make an impressive course page layout.
MemberPress course builder, you can set a featured image, add ‘Course Tags’ and ‘Course Categories’, and also provide a course page excerpt under the course page settings.
Step 4 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Adding Sections and Lessons to Your Course
MemberPress course builder makes it easy to quickly start adding content for each course without switching to a different page.
To achieve this, head to the ‘Curriculum’ tab, click on the ‘Add Section’ button to create your course outline.
Provide a title for each section and click on the ‘Add Lesson’ button under the section to add your lessons.
When you are done adding a lesson, then you can start adding content for your lesson by clicking on the edit button next to each lesson.
You will be asked to save your changes after that your lesson will open up with the familiar block editor screen.
At this stage, you can add lesson content with the full advantage of the WordPress default block editor. You can embed videos, upload images, add text, offer downloadable digital products such as powerpoints, actionable worksheets, PDF eBooks, and other course materials.
When you are done adding content, then click on the ‘Update’ button to save your lesson. By clicking on the ‘Back’ link at the top of the editor, you can return back to the Course.
To add more lessons to your course, you can repeat the process.
When you are done adding course content, always remember to click on the ‘Publish’ button to make your course visible and accessible to all eligible users.
Step 5 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Creating Course Membership Subscriptions
With MemberPress, you can easily sell online courses with various subscription plans. MemberPress allows you to create as many membership plans as you’d like. Users can select a subscription plan to pay for your online course.
With MemberPress, all your courses can also be sold under a single membership. You can also offer free courses, or add different courses for each plan. All of these depend on how you plan to structure your sales funnel.
Lots of MemberPress users use the combination of free courses and paid courses to maximize passive income, and to build their audience.
Go to MemberPress, then click on the ‘Memberships’ page, then click on the ‘Add New’ button to add a membership.
Then you will see the ‘Create new’ membership page. From this page, you provide the title for the membership plan you are creating, then you can add some description.
After that, under the ‘Membership Terms’ box on the right, you can enter the membership pricing. From here, you can also choose access duration from fixed expire, to expire (recurring), or from lifetime.
Next, scroll down to the ‘Membership Options’ section, from here you can configure advanced membership options such as welcome email, sign up button, pricing box, and many more.
Once you are done, click on the ‘Publish button’ to save your changes.
To create more membership plans, repeat the processes.
Step 6 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Restrict Course Access to Membership Plans
MemberPress has powerful access control rules. These rules allow you to choose who gets access to what in your online course.
To add a new rule, go to MemberPress, then click on the ‘Rules’ page, and then click on the ‘Add New’ button.
Then you are taken to the Rule wizard page. Under the ‘Protected’ content section, select the content you want to protect.
For example, you can choose a single course under the protected content.
Under that, select conditions that need to be matched for users or subscribers to access that content. For example, you can choose a membership plan here.
Also, remember to click the ‘Save Rule’ button to save your rules.
Step 7 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Adding a Link to Course Sign up and Register Page
With MemberPress, it is easy to send users to a page where they can sign up or register for your course by purchasing a membership plan.
MemberPress automatically generates a link for each membership subscription plan that you can add anywhere on your website.
By editing a membership plan, you’ll see a link below the membership title. Also, you can manually type your domain name followed by /register/your membership title/.
You can copy this link and add it anywhere on your website. You add the link in a page, post, or navigation menu and it will take users to the registration page. Also, you can create beautiful call-to-action buttons and add these links.
Also, you can share this link in your webinars, social media pages, sales pages, podcasts, Facebook groups, and other traffic channels.
Pro Tip: You can use PrettyLinks to create short links to share in webinars, podcasts, and social media platforms.
Step 8 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Preview & Customize Your Online Course
In the MemberPress plugin, you can use by default the classroom mode. What this means is that your course content and pages will always look good regardless of the WordPress theme you install.
To preview and customize your online course, go to view a course on your website or by visiting: https://example.com/courses/
Remember to replace ‘example.com’ with your domain name. Once that URL is loaded, you will see all your courses listed. Click on the ‘Preview as’ menu to see how your courses look to logged-out users.
Click on a course to open the course, then, you will see sections, course overview, and lessons. It is very easy to navigate around and also to keeps track of user’s progress.
Your course page templates can also be customized. To customize course page templates, visiting Appearance, then, click on ‘Customize page’ then click on the ‘MemberPress Classroom’ tab.
At this point, you can upload the logo of your brand. You can also change colors to match the rest of your website.
Remember also to click on the ‘Publish’ button to save your changes.
Step 9 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Selling Your Online Course with More Powerful Features
WordPress and MemberPress are super flexible. This flexibility allows you to use both alongside any other tools to grow your online course business and to reach more users.
For example, you can build a membership community or site that offers paid content and perks along with courses.
MemberPress can also be used with other Learning Management System plugins such as LearnDash. This combination will allow you to use LearnDash for course creation while you use MemberPress for payments, subscriptions, memberships, and others.
You can also implement WooCommerce on your online course website if you want to sell other items such as physical goods that are related to your course. You can use the WooCommerce plugin to manage payments and orders.
Step 10 of How to Create and Sell Online Courses
Promoting Your Online Course
Another benefit of combining WordPress and MemberPress is the ease with which you can promote your online course and make good money online.
At this point, let us consider ways you can promote your online course to attract your target audience, and make your online course very successful.
1. Create Landing Pages for Your Online Courses
With a good WordPress theme, you would be able to create an engaging website. On the other hand, you may have to create landing pages to describe the details of your course, or showcase instructors, highlight special offers, and many more.
Sales pages and custom landing pages do increase course sales.
You can install a good WordPress page builder in order to create professional landing pages. There are lots of quality WordPress page builders that you can go for. For example, SeedProd, Beaver Builder, Divi, Elementor, Visual Compose, etc.
2. Learn SEO Basics
The number one traffic source for most websites on the internet is Search engines. For this reason, you need to learn how to make your online course website rank higher in search engines result.
With some SEO WordPress plugins and some basic SEO best practices, you would make your website rank on page one of a search result with time.
You can go for Yoast SEO plugin, Rank Math SEO plugin, All in One SEO for WordPress plugin, etc. They all do very well when it comes to page ranking.
3. Track Marketing Data
As a beginner, you don’t have to make your marketing strategy based on guesswork. You can get real data from your website to make informed decisions.
Connect your online course website with Google Analytics. This will allow you to see human-readable reports of your website.
From your Google Analytics dashboard, you can see where the visitors of your website are coming from, and what they do on your website. You can also see your most popular pages, how long visitors spend on your website, and many more. With this data handy, you can then improve your online course website to improve your conversions and boost sales.
4. Start Building an Email List
It is not a must that all visitors to your online course website will sign up for a course. But for these visitors to come to your website at all, that means they are interested in learning something from you.
They may not sign up for lots of reasons. It could be that they at the time they visited your website do not have enough funds to pay for your course, or that they didn’t have enough time for the course. Now the question is how do you follow up or reach out to these visitors in the future? This is where building an email list becomes very important and helpful.
To build an email list, you need to start an email newsletter. An email newsletter would allow you to collect the email addresses of some of the visitors to your website. With these emails, you can then reach out to them to bring them back to your website.
You can implement this solution on your website using email marketing services such as Constant Contact, NameChimp, ConvertKit, etc.
More Tips on Online Course Creation
How to create high-quality videos for your online course
Videos are a very important part of online courses. It allows for a better demonstration of your subject matter. Videos help you connect with your audience.
As a beginner, you don’t have to invest in expensive video equipment. An Ultra HD webcam such as Logitech Brio is good enough to start with.
If you want to do screen recording or screencasts, you can go for Camtasia for windows or Screenflow for Mac.
You can also use the Descript online video editing platform. Descript can significantly improve your workflow.
Other online learning platforms apart from WordPress
There are many online course platforms such as Thinkific, Teachable, Udemy, Kajabi, and many more that you can use to build and sell courses.
You can use any of the platforms above together with your WordPress online course website. These platforms also offer easy online course creation solutions.
The downside is that they’re generally more expensive and will take a sizeable amount of your revenue.
The best webinar platform for course creators
As an online course creator, at some point, after you have gained some stability, you will have to start webinars. Webinars are a very important part of online education. You can use webinars to boost the engagement of your audience. Also, you can use webinars to improve your membership retention.
Livestorm, GoToWebinar, EasyWebinar, Stealth Seminar, Zoom, Demio, and GetResponse Webinars are some of the Best Webinar Software Platform for Small Businesses
Most of the platforms listed above have features that you can use to create automated evergreen webinars, live webinars, and tons of other webinar engagement features.
How to validate your course idea
It takes a lot of time and effort to create online course content. For this reason, it is very important for creators to always validate their course idea before hands.
There are many ways you can use to validate a course idea.
You can run a survey or poll on your website. Use the survey or poll to ask for feedback from your audience on social media. You can also consider your most popular YouTube videos or blog posts. Often the most popular YouTube videos or blog posts can be turned into courses.
How to make your online course successful
There are many tactics that you can deploy to make your online course profitable and successful.
Always remember to use case studies. Case studies allow you to highlight the most successful students in your group or community. This provides encouragement to others. It also helps those who may not know how to take full advantage of your offerings.
Case studies are used by many businesses for social proof to boost conversions. It is also useful for new users to find encouragement and motivation.