Selling online course makes for an ideal side business idea. Besides helping other people improve their skills, it establishes your credibility as a professional. Plus, you get to work from anywhere at any time, generating passive income without abandoning your career.
If you’re thinking about selling online courses, there’s no better time to do it than now. Experts predict that the value of the global eLearning market will reach $325 billion by 2025, making it a lucrative business idea to start.
Keep reading to find out how to sell your eLearning business with WordPress. This content management system has various learning management system (LMS) plugins that make the entire development process easier, even for beginners.
1. Register a Domain Name
A domain name is a website address that links to a specific IP address. It lets users access your website via a browser. Since it functions just like a physical address, there are no two domains alike.
There are many domain registrars that provide domain registration services for users wanting to reserve domain names. Pick a domain name that suits your needs, complete the registration process, then connect it to your hosting.
A good domain name should be brandable and memorable. Using normal spelling and avoiding hyphens will improve its readability. Opt for .com as the most popular top-level domain if possible, as it will boost the site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
2. Choose a WordPress Hosting
Hosting is an online service provided by a hosting provider that publishes website content on the web, making it accessible online. Since WordPress is self-hosted, you need to purchase a hosting plan to run it.
There are multiple hosting types to choose from. However, consider going with WordPress hosting for optimal performance. This hosting type comes with various features and tools optimized for the CMS’ security needs, an excellent choice for users who are new to WordPress.
When choosing a hosting provider, consider the price, speed, and performance. Getting an uptime guarantee ensures that your site will always be available. Don’t forget to check the customer service quality on customer review websites.
3. Set Up Your WordPress Website
WordPress hosting generally comes with a one-click installer for easier installation. All you need to do is find this tool in your hosting account’s control panel, then run the installation wizard.
If, for some reason, your hosting provider doesn’t provide a one-click installer, do it manually. The WordPress package and installation steps are available on its official website. Alternatively, contact your hosting provider’s support team to help with the installation.
4. Customize the Website
A theme is a collection of files that make up your website’s appearance. WordPress has many free themes in its theme directory, each catering to a different niche. Visit theme marketplaces like ThemeForest and MyThemeShop for premium themes.
Choose a theme that’s responsive and mobile-ready. Consider the color palette, fonts, and element placements ‒ your website should be easy to navigate and understand. Picking a fast-loading theme with the help of a speed test tool will help boost your SEO.
After installing and activating your chosen theme, make all the necessary changes to it. Use the built-in text editor located in Appearance > Theme Editor to customize the theme files’ code.
If you’re not familiar with coding, consider using a page builder plugin like Elementor or SiteOrigin. Most page builders come with drag-and-drop functionality and beginner-friendly tools, making the editing process easier for beginners.
5. Choose and Install LMS Plugin
A plugin contains bits of code that extend a website’s functionality. Like themes, each plugin offers different functions and tools ‒ you only need to install the ones you need. By installing an LMS plugin, you’ll get the features required to create and sell online courses on your WordPress site.
You can find an LMS plugin in the plugin directory. Some of the best ones include MemberPress, LearnDash, and LearnPress.
When choosing an LMS plugin, make sure it has all the features you need to create and sell online courses. For example, some plugins offer a content-dripping feature for releasing scheduled content. Others let you create quizzes and tests, making grading your students easier.
Last but not least, your chosen plugin should provide payment gateways preferred by your target audience. International audiences tend to prefer PayPal and Stripe, as both payment gateways accept various payment methods worldwide.
6. Determine the Online Course Content
Once your website is up and running, it’s time to think about the course you want to sell. Picking a niche to focus on will make planning the course outline and content easier. Plus, doing so will help identify your target audience and stand out from the competition.
The rule of thumb is to go with a niche that interests you. Doing something you love will make you feel more fulfilled and productive when growing the business.
Alternatively, choose a niche that aligns with your career. Having relevant licenses or certifications as proof of your skills will surely boost your brand’s trustworthiness. At the same time, the online course business will further solidify your credibility as a professional in the respective field.
Above all else, make sure your chosen niche has high market demand. Research all the options available before making your choice, and don’t be afraid to ask others’ opinions.
7. Create Your Online Course
After finding your niche, start producing online courses. Create a course outline and decide its learning objectives. Having a syllabus and short and long-term goals displayed on the site will answer your target audience’s expectations regarding your course’s value.
Use the course outline and short-term learning objectives to divide the learning content into chunks. Stuffing too much information in a single course will only overwhelm your students, harming their learning experience and motivation.
Last but not least, decide on the type of content based on your target audience. If you have enough time and resources, consider producing both text and video or audio-based content.
Doing so will make your course accessible to people with vision or hearing impairment and those with specific preferred learning styles.
8. Promote Your Online Course
Kickstart your online course business by promoting it on various platforms. Use social media channels like Twitter and Instagram to broaden your reach, particularly if your target market is young adults. Consider purchasing ads to further boost conversions and traffic.
Creating a mailing list is another low-cost marketing strategy to try. Entice visitors to subscribe to your newsletter with promo codes and free courses. You can then send promotional materials and repurposed content to the subscribers to encourage purchases and word-of-mouth marketing.
Selling online courses is an excellent way to help other people and make a living out of it. The preparation stage may take quite a bit of time and work. However, it lets you be flexible with your working hours and earn passive income without leaving your day job.
While there are many ways to sell online courses, establishing a website will give you control over the business’ marketing and branding aspects. You can do so for free using WordPress, as the robust CMS is free to download.