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How To Create And Sell Online Courses – 5 Low Cost Options

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Have you ever thought about turning your knowledge into a way to make money online? 

Did you know, more and more people are turning their passions into online courses, by teaching others their knowledge?

If you have a vast knowledge and understanding of something or see a gap in the training of a particular area, why not use this opportunity to create an online course, and make money online!

This post is going to share with you how to create and sell online courses using 5 top online platforms.

Here's what you can expect from this guide:

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How To Create And Sell Online Courses [Video]

1) Think About What You Want To Teach

Before you get into teaching online, you should do a quick brainstorm of areas you are knowledgeable in and determine where a gap may be online.

Think about a skill that might be related to your job or something that your friends and family always ask you about. 

Maybe it's a hobby that you've learnt a lot about and want to be able to share that with others.

2) Market Research

Next, you need to do some research to find out if your course is something that people would actually want to buy.

Also, if your course is in a niche with a lot of competition, then think about:

  • How do I plan to stand out?
  • What can I add to the market that's unique?

3) Outline Your Course

Now that you've decided on a topic and you've done some research, it's time to start developing an outline for your course. 

Think about:

  • How will I deliver the course? (videos, text, audio...a mixture)
  • Who am I catering for? (Beginner, Advanced etc)
  • Which platform shall I use? (see below for more details)

You should also try to think of your course in terms of modules and lessons. A module will be the overall sub-topic, while the lessons will go into detail about the topic. 

4) Determine Which Platform to Use

Here's a list of 5 of the top online platforms for creating online courses. 

1) Teachable

Teachable is a platform that allows you to create and sell online courses.

It has been used by top bloggers such as Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, and Melyssa Griffin.

You can upload video and/or written content for your courses, as well audio, image and PDF files. 

Additionally, you can market your course by providing discount/coupon codes and integrating your own affiliate program.

It's a really great platform for bloggers to sell their courses, and you can link your course to your own site (school.yoursite.com).

How To Get Started?

Here's a video guide to give you an idea of how to get started with Teachable:

Pricing:

  • FREE plan
  • Monthly
    • Basic: $39/month
    • Professional: $99/month
    • High Volume: $299/month
  • Annual
    • Basic: $33.25/month
    • Professional: $83.25/month

Teachable Examples:

Pros

  • FREE plan available
  • Easy to set up
  • Can add multiple multimedia files
  • Mobile responsive courses
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    One page checkout system makes it convenient for buyers

Cons

  • No marketplace, therefore need to market your course
  • Transaction fees on Free and Basic plans

2) Udemy

Udemy is another platform to create and sell online courses, with a big difference. 

With Udemy, you have a lot more potential buyers right away compared to Teachable.

With Udemy, you have the advantage of using the marketplace to drive traffic to your course.

Udemy has recommended standards for courses on the platform, which ensures that the course is beneficial to the students.  

How To Get Started?

For more information about getting started with Udemy, check out this really in-depth series on getting started as a Udemy instructor.

Pricing:

There is no fee to create your course and host on Udemy. Instead, the pricing structure is based on Instructor revenue shares. These are as follows:

Udemy Examples:

Pros

  • A marketplace full of buyers looking for courses
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    Udemy usually offer discounted prices for buyers, so this can help boost the number of students on your course
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    Can add coupon codes
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    Training, by Udemy, on how to market your course

Cons

  • Don't have full control over your course(s) as they're hosted on the Udemy platform
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    Not able to fully customise the look and feel of your course

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3) Skillshare

With Skillshare you earn when students take your class. Students pay a membership to access many courses within Skillshare.

This makes it a bit easier for them to find your courses without you having to do a lot of marketing. 

Additionally, Skillshare is offering a 30-day teaching challenge which gives you extra help to create your own class. 

You get access to feedback, milestones and prizes to help keep you on track. 

==> Use this link to get first 2 months FREE (premium student account)

How To Get Started?

Skillshare is free to join, and there's a full getting started handbook to read for more details.

Pricing:

There's no need to pay a monthly fee to create and sell online courses with Skillshare. You just need to pay 30-50% royalties for every minute watched by students.

This is because students pay a monthly fee for the entire SKillshare platform, rather than paying per class. 

Skillshare Examples:


Pros

  • Pays teachers via Paypal
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    A mobile app is available on iPhone and Android
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    Users pay a monthly fee, so no need to pay for using the platform for your courses until you get students watching your course.
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    Teachers can also earn from referring students to premium membership

Cons

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    Can't provide discount coupons, but you're able to give free access to your courses through a promo link.
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    Need to market your course and encourage students to sign up and pay for Skillshare premium platform in order to earn.

4) Thinkific

Thinkific is another popular platform for creating and selling courses online. With Thinkific, you can get started for Free.

Similar to Teachable, you have much more control over your content, but you have to market it yourself. 

A drag and drop editor is available with Thinkific, and all pricing plans allow you to integrate with email marketing services, such as Convertkit, Aweber and Mailchimp. 

How To Get Started?

In order to get started, take a look at their in-depth resources and tools guide.


Pricing:

To create and sell online courses with Thinkific you can sign up for free, and prices go up to $279/month, depending on the price plan you choose.

See the pricing structure below:


Pros

  • Multiple theme options available to customise your course and make it your own
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    Can offer coupons for your students
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    Instant access to funds no matter which pricing plan you're on
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    Can create course bundles and completion certificates (paid plans only)

Cons

  • Additional transaction and credit card fees are charge from your funds every time a student purchases your course(s).
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    Need to be able to market your course in order to get students to join.


5) Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice is a WordPress plugin, from the Thrive Themes company, which allows you to create and host courses on your own blog/website.

You're able to create video and writing guides, as well as include presentations and PDF downloads.

In order to actually sell through Thrive Apprentice you would need to have a membership plugin on your website too, such as Member Mouse.

How To Get Started?

You can get started by purchasing Thrive Themes and then installing the Thrive Apprentice plugin onto your WordPress site. 

Here's access to a quick starter guide for more information. 

Plus, here's another guide about how Thrive Apprentice works with Member Mouse plugin

Plus this in-depth video review below:

Pricing:


Pros

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    There's no need to deal with other platforms and domain names, everything happens within on blog.
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    No transaction fees or revenue shares. What you earn from the course is all your own. 
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    Easily integrates with membership plugins such as Member Mouse 

Cons

  • There's no marketplace, so you need to know how to market your course, either directly through your blog or through other platforms. 
  • times-circle
    You have to install a membership plugin, such as Member Mouse if you want to sell your courses with Thrive Apprentice. 
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    Can only access Thrive Apprentice if you're a Thrive Themes member. So that's something to bare in mind. 

My Final Thoughts

Teaching courses online can be very rewarding, and quite lucrative if you're able to provide real value to your students/audience.

And nowadays, it's much easier and more affordable to create and sell online courses thanks to user-friendly platforms such as those listed above. 

While it may take a while to create the courses, once set up and uploaded it can be a great source of passive income.

If you liked this guide on how to create and sell online courses, please share on your favourite social media platform. 

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Pin This For Later

What are your thoughts on how to create and sell online courses?

Are you currently selling a course online? Which platform are you using? And how did you get started?

Join the discussion and share your thoughts, opinions and experiences in the section below.

Stephanie
 

Blogger, Online Marketer and full-time music lover. Thank you for reading my posts! I share my experiences of making money online as well as providing useful tips and advice to those who are interested in starting an online business. I enjoy writing reviews and giving an insight into what has worked for me and what hasn't. If you like what I write here be sure to share my posts with others!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
julie - May 29, 2018

bookmarking this to my safari! FINALLY someone writes the pros and cons of online course building. I feel like I see this material for everything, BUT this, which is exactly what I need. Thank you!!

Reply
    Stephanie - May 31, 2018

    Hi Julie! Thanks for commenting, and glad to hear you’ll be bookmarking this :). I’d love to hear how you get on with your first course…all the best!

    Reply
Danielle Gould - May 29, 2018

Really great post, Stephanie! I have pinned this post for when I want to begin an online courses. You have such a concise list and I appreciate all the work you put into this post!

Reply
MohamedL - May 21, 2018

Thank you for your awesome and thorough post. I was wondering for a while how can somebody teach an online course. I guess Udemy is very good. I like their free coupon marketing strategy. It makes the mission of the instructor easier to market his course, especially if it is a quality one.

Reply
    Stephanie - May 25, 2018

    Hi Mohamed, thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you enjoyed my post! Are you thinking of creating an online course? If so, I’d love to hear how it goes. All the best!

    Reply
Andreas - May 21, 2018

Hello Stephanie,
Quite thorough post from the subject and places which I did not meet before. (I been heard only about stacksocial & fosbytesacademy which mostly for programmers). This guide-post may be valuable time saver for course-makers and why not learners also. Nice presentations, Thanks!

Reply
Andrea Harris - May 21, 2018

I am saving this!!!! Such great information for the novice (aka me).

Reply
    Stephanie - May 24, 2018

    Hi Andrea. That’s great, I hope it really helps you find a new passive income source :). All the best, and thanks for commenting 🙂

    Reply
vivek - May 21, 2018

I personally can vouch for Udemy. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain sometimes but it gets more hits from student than the others I feel.
I’m Thinking the really profitable pivot here is into youtube and other such channels. Maybe use that to redirect to your own website for private lessons. But that’s just me..

Reply
    Stephanie - May 24, 2018

    Hi Vivek, thanks for commenting! You’re right, Udemy gives you a way to get students without having to market as much as you would on the other platforms, which can be really good for those who may not have a big following/subscribers etc.

    I also agree that Youtube is a good way to promote your course, as well as blogging.

    Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your insight 🙂

    All the best!

    Reply

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