When I first got into the e-course creation process, I had not the smallest idea where should I put all the content I have. Should it go in PDF? Some special platform? Blog? Book? E-mails? I was totally lost, but I found my way out. Choose the best of the online course platforms for your new passive income source with this guide!
Starting online course creation is nerve-wracking. There are so many things to get done that the choice of the platform should be the easiest of all! But… it’s really not. While others claim that email courses are the best, there are more and more courses coming up on Teachable* or self-hosted platforms… For starters, this might be one of the hardest decisions to make but that’s why I’m here for you! In case you’re already up for the next step, you can check ou Step-by-step guide to your free online course creation.
P.S. In case you’re already up for the next step, you can check ou Step-by-step guide to your free online course creation.
Which of the online course platforms is the best?
There are several things to keep in mind when choosing the direction to go:
- What kind of a content will you provide? Will it be written? Video? Workbooks? Live seminars? The most common way is to combine several of these, for example, video & workbooks, written content & weekly seminars or whatever rocks your boat! Several platforms offer various options so choose carefully!
- Will this be paid course? If you’re creating a free course that’ll drive new leads to your business, you might choose easier and cheaper options, for example, e-mail based online course.
- How many lessons will your course consist of? If the course is smaller, it’s easier to adapt to various platforms. If your course has more lessons, it’s important to consider how your users will be able to review it and get back to previous lessons for some reminders.
- How close do you want to get to your audience? Are you looking forward to keeping up the conversation? Would you like to be more distant? Would you like to create a community?
There really are many things to consider but don’t get confused! Let’s take a look at our options!
>> Email based e-course
Email based e-course can be created with email marketing services like MailChimp or ConvertKit. All you need to do is prepare templates for your content, schedule your newsletters and your online course is ready! (Of course, I skipped all that “create content” part…).
It is the perfect choice for small e-courses that can be easily read in the email, they don’t have impressive graphics that have to be easily seen (because not all email readers are turning on the option to see photos). Email based course is a great choice for a free course that will happen for a short term (few days or 2 weeks max).
It CAN be used for longer and bigger courses, but won’t be the best option!
>> Special online course platforms
- It is easily accessible all at once;
- your students have to log in the system to start their training;
- it is well systemised
- you don’t have to pay to get started! Other platforms might request some payment.
I personally use & prefer Teachable although I have worked with Thinkific as well as other platforms. It has a very simple and nice user interface, it offers all of the necessary options in one spot, besides that their pricing system is rather budget friendly.
At the same time, there are several reasons why people choose not to go with this option. First of all, there’s a long period of money holding (varies from month to three) if you’re on a free account. Also, you have to pay commission. And besides that, people like to host their courses on platforms that are self-hosted.
>> Course in blog posts
For a while, this was the option I chose for myself. It was an easy and cheap solution!
This means that you’re providing the access to password protected blog where you’ll share lessons daily. This option might have the lack of design adjustments. If you’re not a developer or designer yourself, your self-hosted website with course content within it might look… unfinished.
But it’s easy to manage and after all: we all are used to reading blog posts, so it’s nothing that special, right? You can choose the length of your posts, add any photos or links, downloads you need and besides that: schedule everything as you need it to be!
If you decide to host your course on your own blog, I suggest choosing Siteground as your hosting service + build your website on WordPress. Siteground really has the best possible support! Besides that, WordPress offers all kinds of extensions that you’ll find helpful.
>> Subscription (log-in) based website
This was one of the most serious options I was looking through but decided to leave a project like this for later.
Choose subscription-based website:
- If your course has tons of content;
- You’re looking forward to providing more info as the time goes;
- You want to keep your audience engaged;
- You’re ready to invest more
>> PDF files with your content / Ebook
PDF seemed like something way too easy for an online course and in the same time – something way too close to writing an e-book. After all: I am creating a course to be able to interact, help out and work not only on the course’s workflow but also on the content itself, from time to time. PDF creation wouldn’t let me do that as easy as other options.
If you really want to create your online course by using PDFs, it’s suggestible that you add in some other way of communication like Webinar or Live Chats to keep your audience engaged!
The decision to make videos can be worth tons! You can store your videos on Youtube or Vimeo and make it password protected.
People most definitely like to hear things instead of just reading them, they like to feel like they know the person that’s their coach and after all – videos are so much easier way to learn!
Here are several options when creating a video-based online course:
- Create videos & host them on any of the online course platforms
- Send your videos through e-mail
- Create secured Youtube channel and update it accordingly
There are many other options and the choice is totally up to you! If you do have the option to create good videos, don’t hesitate to do that! But don’t push yourself either.
> Audio + presentation
This is another good option for those who are not interested in video creation (raising my hand right here). For my latest online course, I’ve also chosen to work with audio + presentation since I’ve found that this works the best for me and my audience. You can create a presentation in Canva, use things like Powerpoint or Google Slides and record your voice with a simple microphone (might cost around $20-$30) and your phone.
These were the options I looked through to make a decision. Each of them has its own pros and cons. Your decision should totally depend on what kind of content you have and how much of it there is! After all, if you’re creating big e-course, it’s worth investing in it!
Before you go…
Here are some other resources you might find helpful:
- Lessons I learned while creating my first online course
- Forget everything you know, here’s what your course really needs
- Pre-marketing for your e-course
- Step-by-step guide to your free online course
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