For ages, the only option for education was in the physical classroom. However, the advent of the internet changed everything. Today, anyone can learn from anywhere via online courses. All you need is a phone or a laptop and an internet connection.
Further, the online course industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Studies by Global Market Insight show that the e-learning market will exceed $376 billion by 2026.
What does that mean for you?
Well, it is a great time to sell online courses from your own website and make money online from home. All you need to do is package your knowledge into courses, and it’s showtime.
If this is your first time, you are probably wondering how do I sell courses on my website? Do online courses make money? And what is the best online course website?
Let’s dive in and answer those questions.
How Do I Sell Courses on My Own Website?
The online course business is one of the best ways of making money online. If you approach it the right way, this is one online business that guarantees you a steady income flow. It’s an excellent option for first-time business owners.
Here’s how to create and sell online courses from your own website.
Step #1: Pick a Profitable Niche
The first step is to pick a profitable niche in which you have expertise.
Most people who struggle to succeed with online courses do so because they:
- Chose an unprofitable niche
- Lack expertise in their chosen niche
- Don’t enjoy teaching.
It would be best if you focused on your areas of expertise. You can ask your friends to help you brainstorm at least 15 course ideas. Also, try to come up with course ideas focused on a specific topic. Specific topics are more sellable than general course ideas.
For example, “WordPress for Beginners” is a general course. “SEO on WordPress” is a specific course.
Next, whittle down the list to your five most robust course ideas. Spend some time validating these ideas by:
- Using the UberSuggest tool to check the search volume of your course idea’s keywords.
- Researching various YouTube tutorials and forums to see if there’s interest in this idea.
- Snooping around Reddit, Quora, and Facebook groups to see if people ask questions on these topics that your course can answer.
Step #2: Create Your Course Content
Now, it’s time to create your course content. Remember, the online course business is a competitive space, so your content needs to be engaging.
Ensure the online course addresses specific problems the audience wants to solve and be clear about what your content delivers.
You also don’t want to make the course too long. An excellent course should be between 7 -12 modules. Assign a learning goal to each module.
Video tutorials are excellent for delivering several lessons in each module (see also, how to sell video tutorials online). Shorter video tutorials are best for keeping your students engaged. Engaged students mean higher course completion rates and more referrals.
To create excellent video content, ensure you have an:
- External mic
- A screencast tool to record content on your laptop screen
- A camera
- A tripod
Record your content in various formats to ensure your content isn’t monotonous. Features such as Infographics, PDF files, PowerPoint slides, etc., work well. You can also consider linking to videos on YouTube to give your students an array of content.
Step #3: Set Up a Website
You have to sell online courses from your own website, so this is the natural next step after creating your course content.
With the number of website builders or online marketplaces that exist these days, you don’t need knowledge of coding or software tools. Platforms such as Kajabi, WordPress, and Coursera are great online course platforms that can get you started immediately. Their features make it easy to get going right away.
Take the following steps to set up your online course platform:
- Make sure you acquire a domain name. Course platforms, such as Kajabi, allow you to choose your domain name even though you are setting up a website on their platform. Your digital product must be searchable on Google’s SERPs.
- Secure your online course content. This feature is critical when deciding on the course platform to create your course. It’s too easy to copy, download, and re-sell digital products, so ensure that the platform protects you from content pirates.
- Look for robust online course management. Managing your course is challenging enough for course creators, so your course platform should make it easier for you. The online course platform should allow you to create quizzes and surveys, run content drips, and schedule your students’ exams.
- Keep your student engagement rates high. Is your home page easy to navigate? Does the course website feature discussion forums and communities? These features keep engagement high and increase the chance that students will refer your online course to their friends.
- Make sure your chosen platform has analytics capabilities. The analytics feature of an online course website will help you track students’ performance and the traffic to your website.
- Make sure the website offers flexible payment options. Your chosen website should integrate with Paypal, Stripe, and other payment gateways. When you sell online courses from your website, you want your students to find your checkout process easy to use.
If you are looking to create an online course, you need a website that is easy to use, robust, and flexible enough to handle whatever the market throws at you.
Step #4: Create a Sales Funnel
After creating a website, the next step is to build a sales funnel. Sales funnels convert visitors into buyers.
A great sales funnel starts with landing pages that aim to convert most visitors to subscribers. For this purpose, the best option for a course creator is usually Kajabi or Kartra, not WordPress.
These website builders come loaded with fantastic, customizable sales pages. They also have features that enable you to adjust your landing pages, including affiliate links or linking to the other digital products.
To make your sales pages more attractive to potential students, you can use a blog post or a gated e-book to get people to opt into your email list. You can also put the gated e-book on your website’s home page.
Step #5: Engage Potential Students with Email Marketing
Once you set up your sales page, you need to generate an email list. It will help you get your potential students primed and ready to sign up for your course.
Usually, you can attract subscribers via the sales page and an opt-in email form; you can also integrate the opt-in form on social media platforms or on a blog post that your audience visits.
Once visitors sign up with an email address, you can kickstart an email sequence that nurtures them until they sign up for your online course. The first email should be a simple welcome message to your new subscribers, never a sales email. Many course creators make the mistake of sounding too soliciting in their welcome email, which can turn away potential enrollees.
Your welcome email should:
- Explain the vision and mission of your online business.
- Sell your online course by listing the benefits and features.
- Note the results your audience can expect from your online course.
- Have a call to action (CTA) directing them to your blog posts or YouTube video content.
Automate the email sequence so that users can get between 3-5 emails sent to their email addresses within the first ten days of signing up to your email list. Slowly introduce the online course over the email sequence, and by day 7, send them to the sales page where you sell online courses.
Step #6: Drive Traffic to Your Sales Pages and Blog Posts
Online traffic is the lifeblood of any successful online business. Without traffic, you cant create and sell online courses successfully, and all the time spent creating the course content goes to waste.
You can drive traffic to your online business in various ways, such as:
- Launching a blog on WordPress or Substack. Blogs attract the right audience you need for a profitable list of email addresses.
- Writing guest posts on authority sites your audience frequents. This tactic enables you to drive relevant traffic and acquire backlinks. Backlinks from authority sites give your site SEO juice, which boosts your rankings.
- Boosting your presence on social media platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit always have the right audience when looking to sell online courses. You can also share op-eds on Linkedin or slides on Slideshare. Use an opt-in form to collect email addresses and launch email marketing campaigns promoting your online course.
- Running affiliate marketing programs using affiliate marketing software.
- Writing a book on how to get started in your field of expertise. You can give it out for free as a lead magnet or sell it on Amazon. Books build credibility and authority in a subject matter and can result in improved course sales.
- Featuring paid social media ads. You can run campaigns with the sole aim of collecting an email address or generating awareness of your online business.
How Do I Create an Online Course for My Website?
Before you sell an online course from your own website, you need to create one. Be it a platform like WordPress or Kajabi, the steps for creating online courses are similar.
Here are the course creation steps for your website:
- Choose a course builder site like WordPress, Thinkific, LearnDash, etc.
- Create the course with a catchy course title and a description.
- Break the course into modules and sections.
- Split the sections into the lessons that you’ll record.
- Upload content for each lesson.
- Add quizzes and assignments to test your students’ learning of the subject matter. Platforms like WordPress have plugins with features for creating things like single choice or multiple-choice quizzes.
- Also, set the option of getting features like a certificate of completion, which could be essential to your audience.
- Set your expected course duration. Students usually prefer self-pacing with online courses than being forced to complete the course within a specified period.
- Create payment gateways. You can’t sell courses without collecting your money—select gateways like PayPal, credit cards, etc.
Do Online Courses Make Money?
Online courses are a fantastic way to make money online. Courses enable you to monetize your hard-earned knowledge and skills. Once you create a course and it’s successful, you can sell it for an extended period. All you need to do is to invest in content creation and upgrade the material continually.
However, the amount of money you make by selling courses online depends on a lot of factors. The following factors can affect your revenue goals with your course:
- What is the enrollment fee for your course? The price of other courses in your niche can affect your profitability. If your course is $500, and the most popular course backed by a well-known authority is $100, you won’t see as much in sales.
- Who’s your audience? This issue is why it’s good to start a blog on WordPress platforms and build a following with email subscribers before launching your business idea. Do you have an engaged following on popular social channels? The audience guarantees a ready market once you decide to sell courses online.
- Are you sufficient at marketing and sales? Knowledge of sales and marketing tactics and strategies will come in handy with driving traffic to your website and getting signups for your course. Before you get started, speak to someone with marketing and sales experience if you have none, or spend some time watching tutorials on YouTube.
- What’s the learning experience? Is your course content boring? Do students have an option of various content formats to choose from when learning? Do you have a competent support team that can get student issues solved instantly? Students should enjoy the learning experience so much that they’ll refer it to friends or colleagues.
- Do you have an effective customer service team? The customer experience is an asset in the course creation business. If your group offers a fantastic experience from start to finish, you are on your way to making bank.
Any online course creator will need to follow these steps to sell online courses from your own website for the first time.
What Is the Best Online Course Website?
Your choice of where to sell courses depends on your preference, audience, and how long you want to take setting up a website.
There are quick-and-easy website builders that allow you to sell online courses from your own website within the twinkle of an eye. Platforms like Thinkific, Kajabi, Kartra, or Udemy are popular websites for online courses.
You can also explore robust platforms such as WordPress to sell your online course. With WordPress platforms, you’ll need to make concessions in the time it takes you to go live. The content creation may not take time, but you will need to do a lot of work integrating the various WordPress plugins for the different features to build out your courses.
Creating and selling online courses can seem like a lot of work. However, with the right website to host your courses, business marketing, and engaging content for your courses, you are a step ahead of the game.
Your website plays a significant role in the success of your course. You want a website course builder that gives you control of the course but isn’t challenging to use. A hosted learning management system, such as Kajabi, is an option. However, if you love the control WordPress gives you, it’s also not the wrong platform to start your first online business.
With the right website and marketing tactics, you’ll find selling online courses is one of the most lucrative ways to monetize your skills.