Online learning is the most effective way of reaching the most people. If you’re an educator and have great content and learning materials, you may want to try your hands at creating an online course.
Sometimes you want to make learning easier for your students, or you have an idea to sell the courses to a larger audience worldwide, and you’re already worried about what it would cost to do that.
One platform that can help you achieve this very conveniently is WordPress. With tools that offer great flexibility, you can leverage the functionality of the WordPress site to create online courses.
And you can make a lot of money doing that. It’s even a great idea because you don’t need to have any programming knowledge. All you need is the course materials, a WordPress hosting account, and your domain name.
This article explains how to create an online course with WordPress.
But before we go on, we must clarify that there are two types of WordPress websites. There is the WordPress.com website which is a free platform that hosts everything for you.
It is used by bloggers to host their site and provides themes and other features, although advanced features may require an upgrade. On WordPress.com, you don’t have to pay anything, but you can’t upload themes, nor are plugins allowed.
WordPress.org, meanwhile, is a self-hosted WordPress site that allows you to have your domain name and your web hosting. It is also straightforward to use as WordPress only serves as a backbone that keeps everything in place.
It is WordPress.org and not WordPress.com, which is referred to in the building of online courses.
So all you need is the content, and WordPress will do the rest. In less than an hour, your course can be live, and you can start reaching students worldwide. If you’re ready to learn how to create an online course with WordPress, let’s dive into it.
But first, what is the importance of creating an online course with WordPress?
Before explaining how online courses are created on WordPress, let’s start by looking at why we believe WordPress is a perfect choice for you.
You will consider many things before setting up your course(s) online. First, you want to consider cost, how easily it can be accessed by your target audience, how well you can manage the content and the level of control you have over the content.
In all these areas, WordPress is beneficial for course creators. WordPress is also a blogging hosting website, so it is already tailored to reach audiences. For online courses, WordPress is also very efficient. Let’s look at the pricing, for example.
Earlier, we highlighted that WordPress makes the creation of courses so seamless. All you need (apart from your content, of course!) are a domain, a web host, and an LMS plugin.
An LMS plugin is an eLearning management add-on that helps you create and manage courses (for multiple classes). To get all these on WordPress, you’ll spend about $260. That’s as cheap as it can get for the services it renders.
Also, you want to be able to control the content and customize it. WordPress allows for greater customization because it has almost unlimited themes and widgets that will enable you to make your website the way you want it.
Remember that you also own the domain of your WordPress site and the web host. This means you can do what you like with it, including moving to another site whenever you want to. This type of flexibility may not be available on other hosting platforms.
So to the question: why create an online course with WordPress? We say, why not?
Before the sale of online courses became popular, there were no dedicated course platforms. Today, with online learning becoming a preferred learning mode, several platforms have been created to help content creators.
While dedicated course platforms are hosted solutions tailor-made for selling courses online, WordPress is not exclusively designed for online learning. As you already know, WordPress is beneficial for all kinds of websites, including learning sites.
Because they are designed specifically for online courses, dedicated platforms like Teachable are made as easy to use as possible without the user needing any coding skills whatsoever. That would mean you may need more infrastructure to get going on WordPress.
However, dedicated online learning platforms are more rigid than WordPress in terms of customization and flexibility. Although such platforms can manage most online courses well, you’ll find it harder to do if you need adjustments.
WordPress has lots of plugins which is an advantage but also means that you may have to sort out compatibility issues often. Dedicated course platforms would always handle any such problems themselves.
You may also need to do lots of troubleshooting with WordPress, which dedicated course platforms would handle.
However, if you want to incorporate a learning management system that will work well with your courses, you need to consider WordPress.
It seems very fair in the pricing for the services it renders, but some dedicated course platforms offer a very flexible pricing structure, with Teachable going for as low as $399 per year for a basic plan (or $39/ month).
For WordPress, you’ll need to purchase the domain name, hosting, and LMS plugin, which, as we noted earlier, may cost around $260. But if you want to add other functions like video hosting and advanced themes, you would pay more.
Now let’s go through the details of how to create an online course with WordPress.
We assume you already have your course handy. What you’ll need are
- Domain name
- Web hosting
- Set up WordPress site
- Install and configure a WordPress LMS plugin
- Create and upload all of your content.
First, your domain name! A domain name is critical in online learning as it would feature prominently in your content. As noted earlier, you shouldn’t use a subdomain, as is the case with bloggers on the WordPress platform.
If you wish to name your site “EngrMaths,” it should be EngrMaths.com and not EngrMaths.Wordpress.com, as that is not as professional.
The domain name should carry credibility in drawing traffic to your online course. Your website hosting costs about $8 a month, and the domain name, which is independent of the website hosting, costs about $15 a year.
To buy your desired domain name, it must be available. You’ll search for it on a register, and once you’ve confirmed that it is, you can then proceed to buy. Make your domain name easy to remember, and always let it end with “.com.”
Once you have a domain name hosted by WordPress, you can choose a theme and customize your site.
WordPress will help you amazingly manage your website and give you the flexibility and options needed to customize it as you like.
Once you’re on WordPress.com, you will have the freedom to create as much content as possible with a backbone that supports your courses and gives ultimate visibility.
Let’s talk about the themes. WordPress is most suitable because of the themes. Themes are essential because they project the website in exciting ways.
The beauty of WordPress is that it allows you to choose from many themes, and you can pick one that best defines your course.
The themes are designed by WordPress engineers and are available for use by the subscriber. An exciting thing is that you do not require any coding skills to give your course website that professional feel. All you have to do is choose.
We mean font, color, layout, typography, and arrangement when we talk about themes. Although implementing themes on WordPress is easy, you may want to hire someone to help you get the best out of the themes.
Depending on your content, it should be easy to find a theme that aligns with your course.
An LMS (Learning Management System) plugin allows you to run online courses on WordPress because it has the necessary features that help manage your course content.
The LMS plugin is what grants functionality to your website. And since you want to accept payments, it is the plugin that handles the subscriptions and fees.
WordPress allows you to upload plugins. You’ll need to use the plugin search to install a WordPress plugin. Once you’re in Plugins, click on the Add New page from the WordPress admin area.
Note that if a plugin is not freely available, you won’t find it when you search for it. In that case, you may need to upload the plugin.
We recommend installing the MemberPress plugin, although several others may work for you.
It is the most effective and powerful plugin with all the necessary features required for your online course. MemberPress has a classroom mode that would make learners feel in a regular classroom when on board.
MemberPress also restricts learners, allowing only certain groups of learners access to certain content. This is good if there are several courses for several students.
MemberPress allows you to accept payments with different subscription options and the protection of your content.
When you activate MemberPress, you’ll have to enter your license key on the settings page and store your settings by activating the license key.
Then you should set up the payments gateway. You can do this via the payments tab. Several payment modes are supported on MemberPress, and creators use this plugin to generate millions of dollars in revenue every year.
MemberPress also allows you to create courses and content quickly and manage who has access to them.
To monetize your online course content, remember that you must create the perfect course topics people will be interested in. Without the right topic, you may be unable to attract users.
You must also know why people would want to take your course. As a result, you should provide answers to the question.
Then, add lots of teaching aids. Videos are excellent in helping people understand topics better. Of course, you should use the right LMS WordPress plugin.
As we recommended earlier, MemberPress is ideal because it prioritizes assisting you to make a profit with great options like the membership options, which offers exclusive content to subscribers.
The first step to monetizing your online courses is to create a Membership with MemberPress. This way, regular visitors to your website can’t access your content. Membership terms include pricing and access details.
You should then have payment methods that make it easy for users to pay. PayPal would be a natural choice.
Then market your site by promoting it on social media, building an email list, and giving details to your readers on what is coming soon on the site. Once you have a constant stream of great content, you are sure to make money via WordPress online courses.
You now know how to create an online course with WordPress. Its advantages are numerous, and you do not need to have any coding skills to put the great tools to use. There are several WordPress themes to choose from to give your course the right feel.
You can create free online courses, and you can also monetize them. With several plugins to choose from, you can create several options that make your site interactive and exciting.