The Tools You Need to Launch and Create Online Courses

Ever been curious about how to create online courses? Teaching others online is a smart way to supplement your income while sharing beneficial knowledge with people who need your help. If you are an expert in a field, you have something you can teach a group of other people. It’s true! And I’m going to share how to create and launch an online course of your own.

I recently launched my own course and took detailed notes to share with you all. I’ll also share how I chose to set mine up so you can start one yourself!

Woman creating online courses for extra income.

Create Online Courses

You know more than you think, and you can earn money teaching it to others. What is your expertise? If you have an established audience that already loves reading your site then you should offer this audience a course so they can learn even more.

What should you teach? That depends on the focus of your site or your current niche.

For example, if you have a blog where you help people budget and get out of debt, you can create a Budgeting 101 course.

Or if you have a travel blog, maybe create a vacation planning course where you teach people how to find the best deals and not get swindled.

There are no limits. Once you narrow down what you want to teach, you are ready for this guide! I’ll show you how to get it all set up.

How to Create Online Courses – Tools You Need

It couldn’t be easier to create your own online course than it is today. There are so many programs out there that you don’t have to have a degree in tech to create and publish your course. Almost anyone can do it with just a few tools.

Here’s what you need.

#1 Landing Page

First, you need a website where people can go to learn about you what you will be teaching them. The landing page will explain the course and why they should sign up.

If you already have an established blog or website, you are one step ahead of the game. Create a landing page just for your course.

But if you don’t already have a website, you’ll need to start from scratch. Not a website designer? No problem! Leadpages is a code-free way to build a website. It’s pricy, but worth every penny. There are hundreds of templates you can choose from to create a custom one-of-a-kind look. Anyone that knows how to drag and drop can create a gorgeous landing page.

Another choice you can try is ConvertKit, especially if you are already using it for email marketing. I have to be honest though, the page you can create with them turns out a bit basic and clunky. I much prefer the beautiful templates from Leadpages.

#2 Email Marketing

Next, you need to set up a way for people to subscribe to your newsletter. Email marketing is a way to connect directly with your audience. When they sign up, you know that 100% of your communications to them are landing directly in their email.

Utilize this captive audience to promote your course. Then, when you create any follow-up courses you can send the invitations to them first.

Email marketing is incredibly important. The best tool on the market, in my opinion, is ConvertKit. They have amazing customer service and their tools are easy to use. I love their email templates and opt-in abilities.

#3 Recording/Video

When you are creating videos for your courses, you’ll need a reliable way to record your screen with a voiceover. Screencast-O-Matic is the best tool for this.

You can choose how much of the screen to record, use a mic to record the voiceover, and they even have a robust video editing program too. This is the only tool you need for screen recording.

woman taking an online cooking course

#4 A Good Microphone

Please, don’t just use your computer’s built-in microphone. It will pick up ambient sounds and echoes from the room, which makes it harder for people to understand your video.

I have the ATR2100. It has a professional level of quality. I really love how crisp and clear my voice is when I use it on my videos.

#5 Course Platform

After you get all these tools ready, you also need a platform from which to publish your course. I have heard of some people trying to avoid the course platform altogether, but I definitely don’t recommend it.

If you opt to use WordPress to house your course, for example, you’ll have to get into creating and managing user IDs and passwords for each student. You’ll also probably have to hire a web designer to help build the features that course platforms already has built-in. For those reasons (and others), I absolutely recommend getting a course platform.

By far the best one is Teachable. It isn’t free, but they have different plans that will fit your budget and your needs. (*TIME SENSITIVE:  Teachable is currently offering a free 14-day trial.)

  • Basic for $29/month – This plan also costs a 5% transaction fee for each student and only allows 2 admin-level users.
  • Professional for $79/month – This plan has no transaction fees and 5 admin-level users. It also gives you advanced theme customization and an unbranded website.
  • Business for $399/month – This plan has 100 admin-level users, bulk student enrollments, and priority product support.
Teachable free trial

Teachable free trial

 

The best thing about Teachable is how simple it is for people to enroll and take the course at their own pace. You create and upload all the course materials, then they enroll and take the course.

Plus, Teachable will help you collect payments and set-up payment plans that charge your students automatically for you. Additionally, the platform will allow you to set-up discount and coupon codes, and even handle payments to affiliates on your behalf!

I also like how it splits up the course into modules. It can host videos and is overall super easy to navigate and use. And if your ideal audience tends to buy a lot of online courses, they can see all the courses that they bought inside of Teachable when they log in at once, which is a great feature.

#6 Stock Photos For Presentation Slides

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of images for your slides. If you are a photographer, it’s always best to just take your own pictures. That will save you money.

My favorite sites for unique and high-quality stock images are StockUnlimited and Deposit Photos. You can either sign up for monthly or annual plans.

StockUnlimited has a subscription plan, but if you don’t think you’ll use it after the course is over, you can also just buy credits too.

Deposit Photos also has a way for you to buy a package of credits to buy photos as you need them. Or you can sign up for a recurring monthly subscription.

Believe me, your course will be a lot more enjoyable if you have pictures to go along with it. These plans are affordable and worth the investment.

#7 Feedback Forum

Getting feedback from your students will only benefit you in the end. Your students are the ones who can let you know what was brilliant and life-changing vs what needs a bit more explaining and clarity from you.

I like to send out a survey form to collect feedback from my students on what they liked and what they would want to see added to future versions of the class. This allows me to continue to improve and enhance my courses as needed!

This doesn’t have to be overly complicated. You can easily do this on a platform such as Microsoft Office 365 Forms, SurveyMonkey, or evenTypeform. Once you get your feedback from your audience, make sure to apply it where you can.

How To Organize Your Online Course

After you sign up for all the tools you need for your course, now what? How do you organize your online course?

This is the fun part!

Give your course a very narrow focus. Instead of teaching “photography basics” narrow it down to “newborn photography” or “Lightroom editing for beginners.”

After you know what you are going to teach, it’s time to organize the information.

The more organized it is, the more enjoyable it will be for everyone that takes it and the more they will tell their friends to take it. Here’s how to organize your course.

  1. Introduction – Tell them what they will be learning. Give them a general overview so they are prepared.
  2. Break it up into very small steps – They are taking your class because they want to learn what you know. So be specific and explain things in detail.
  3. Every lesson should build on the previous one – Explain tiny pieces of information and build on that information in subsequent lessons.
  4. Create Assignments or Challenges – Give them ways to practice what they are learning. The difference between this and an eBook is that with a course they can learn hands-on. The videos and challenges will help them actually put what they are learning into practice.
  5. Conclusion – At the end, review everything they learned. Give them a call-to-action to practice what they learned. Encourage them to share it with you on social media to tell their friends.

Create Online Courses With Affiliates

woman taking an online course

When you launch and create online courses, it will be time-consuming, but it’s so worth it! But don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself. Utilize the magic of affiliate marketing. When you share a portion of the profits with people that bring you sales, that’s basically passive income.

I also really enjoy engaging with and fostering my social media community. They are often my biggest cheerleaders. Reach out to them and encourage them to help you spread the word about your course.

It might be challenging, but creating an online course is so worth it. It’s a great way to establish credibility in your field and it’s a wonderful way to earn a little extra money too.

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