If you’re an expert in your field and a natural teacher, then creating online courses could be your next source of income. Online classes allow you to showcase your authority as a thought leader on subjects related to your business, which can help you attract new customers and generate sales leads. More impressively, your company can boost its cash flow through sales of courses and training modules. So, how do you get started? Here are several resources for helping you sell your ideas in the marketplace of online courses.
Platforms for Online Courses
The first step is to familiarize yourself with the different platforms on which you can share and sell your online courses. Several online companies offer to host self-published courses or are course marketplaces, here are few to consider:
Academy of Mine features a drag and drop website builder that integrates courses and marketing tools, and allows you to invite other instructors in to your courses.
CourseCraft is a specialty platform for the maker industry, integrates with your existing Stripe or PayPal account, and allows for scheduled release dates for your classes.
Kajabi facilitates your own branded storefront of classes with a built-in shopping cart and email marketing tools.
Teachable places value on security including SSL certificate, content backup and 24/7monitoring, facilitates affiliate marketing programs and student feedback to make your courses better.
Udemy will feature your courses in its robust directory of classes, and provides a resource directory, private Facebook group and 24/7 support for instructors.
Deciding What to Teach
While you may be an expert in several areas associated with your business and industry, you need to narrow the focus for your online courses. Each course should provide the audience with something they need or want. But how do you know what kind of learning experience would be interesting to your customers?
Start by surveying their interests and gathering customer data for analysis. Send out email surveys or ask questions on social media about what subjects interest your customers. Ask the customers who come into your store. Once you have developed an idea of what your customers are interested in learning, you can start creating your course.
Start Creating your Online Course
The first step in creating your online course is to settle on a single theme or subject. Then you are ready to outline the lessons and compile any resource materials you’ll provide. Here are some resources to help you through each step from outlining to publishing:
Course Builder is Google’s course builder, which allows you to brand and retain ownership of your content, utilize Google Analytics, and requires no programming experience.
Course Merchant provides tools for building, managing, marketing and selling your courses.
LearnDash is a learning management system that allows you to create courses and quizzes that integrate with your WordPress website.
Most of the online platforms mentioned above offer resources helpful to first-time instructors. Consider practicing by being a student to get a feel for how the course platform is arranged. This will also help you identify the best teaching methods for your course.
Resources for Developing Online Courses
If you prefer to go the self-made route, there is the option of forgoing a hosted platform. Instead, you can independently create your own online courses and upload your lessons to any platform you want. To get started you will need:
- Software for creating presentations, such as PowerPoint or Keynote
- Video recording and editing software, such as OBS Studio, Camtasia, or Movavi Screen Capture Studio
- A good quality webcam (most likely not your built-in computer cam)
- A high-quality microphone
As you develop your own course style, you’ll be able to expand and create new courses on related subjects, further building your reputation as an authority in your industry.
5. Video Integration
Integrating videos into your website helps with SEO, and it makes your pages more engaging for viewers. Thanks to programming and design developments, it’s now possible to include videos in your site seamlessly, without the need for a distracting frame. When you integrate video into your site, you make it more interesting, more memorable, and more likely to appear at the top of search results.
By keeping up with the most important website design trends, you can continue to attract traffic and get your business the publicity it needs. Stay ahead of the curve and keep your customers coming back.