10 Steps to Make Money With Online Courses

Making your online course ready for sales can take up a considerable amount of
time, but with the right plan and a visually-promising platform, you can sell
and make money with just about any online course on the spot.

A great online course, created with passion and packed with valuable professional,
life- or recreational skills, can be life-changing for its consumers. As a digital product it brings prestige to its author – who is no longer a mere seller, but elevated into the role of a teacher. And of course (pun intended), selling a great course can be profitable too.

Like all other money-making ventures, your success depends on the need or desire for your course, and your ability to attract your target market. It’s worth putting the time into keyword and trend research to focus on what’s trending now and what people want to buy.

It can be a challenge to correctly price your course to maximize your income while still making it affordable for students. This part takes some trial and error and also involves looking at comparable online courses and getting an estimate of the market’s going rate vs. the amount you want to charge.

How to Create an Online Course that Sells

If you’re ready to delve into the world of online teaching, follow the steps below.

1. Choose a Course Topic

Make a list of things you know about the course. Perhaps it’s something your friends and family ask you for help on. Maybe it’s a skill related to your job (i.e., how to blog, take weddng photos or how to be productive working at home). Do you have a hobby you can teach others about, such as computer programming for beginners or how to improve your online marketing skills?

For better effectiveness, you will need to create a title that catches the attention of the learners but also one that works well in terms of SEO.

If you are clueless in topic creation or just wondering how to begin, this short handy
checklist can help you out:

  • Start with keyword phrases: Your keywords can be easily found through a search engine and directly inform target learners what your courses and business are all about.
  • Specify your audience: You need to decide what your course is referring to but
    at the same time you should be careful not to narrow it down too much.
  • Focus on key benefits: Try to share enough information to present the key benefits your course offers rather than telling your audience what it is about.
  • Keep it short and memorable: Make sure your title is easy to remember, so that people can spread the word easily.
  • Make it look as good as it sounds: Say it out loud as many times as possible
    to make sure you don’t stumble. If it sounds good then it most probably is.
  • Use keyword research tools: With the help of such tools you can generate
    plenty of keywords to use for your course and blog titles that will also play an important role on SEO related purposes.

2. Do Market Research

You don’t want to spend a lot of time creating a course that no one will buy. Many people might want to know about your topic, but the question is; are they willing to pay to learn it? Before you invest time in your course, research who the best buyer for it would be, and whether or not they’re ready, willing and able to buy it.

3. Outline Your Course

If you’ve determined there is a market willing to buy your course, the next step is in determining what you’ll put in the course. By the nature of a course, the content you provide should go deep into the topic and cover all important aspects. A course isn’t like a blog post, which often just skims the surface.

To help organize your course, think in terms of modules and lessons. A module would be the overall subtopic, with the lessons providing the details of that subject. For example, if you have a course on starting a blogging business, you might have a module on business blog plans. Your lessons in that module would include “How to determine your audience” and “How to identify your target market.”

4. Decide the Best Methods to Deliver Your Lessons

There is an expectation that online courses will offer a variety of teaching methods, such as text, video, worksheets, checklists, infographics, audio, and anything else that delivers information.

The trick is in determining what format is best for what you’re trying to teach. In some cases, you might offer two methods for one lesson. For example, if you were teaching a course on how to use Quickbooks, you might have both a step-by-step text instruction and a video tutorial on how to install and set up the software.

5. Create Your Lessons

It is the most time-consuming aspect of creating an online course. Consider creating a logo or a color theme that appears in all lesson content. Proofread your text lessons and watch your videos to make sure there are no errors or glitches.

6. Determine How You’ll Sell Your Lesson

For the most control, create a website to host and deliver your lesson. There are membership site scripts and WordPress plugins that can help you set up a system for selling and delivering your course.

For faster, less technical effort, you can use our online course platform or Learnworlds Pay from these sites varies, it all depends on how the sale was generated.

The benefit to these resources is that you simply upload your course and the sites take care of selling it to their members/market, including payment processing. The downside is that they own the market and platform. Plus, you’re competing with other course providers, which can mean the need to reduce the price of your course to compete.

7. Load Your Course Online

Once you’ve picked your platform, upload your course. If the platform allows you to customize your course, such as adding a logo or color scheme, add them. It will help you create your unique brand.

8. Market Your Course

Regardless of your platform, you need to promote your course. Start by creating a marketing plan that includes who your market is, where you can find them, and how you can entice them to check out your course. Great course marketing options include social media, PPC advertising, such as Facebook ads, and article marketing. There are many other free and low-cost marketing options as well.

9. Keep Your Course Information Up-to-Date

Every few months or so, check that your course information is current and relevant. Outdated information doesn’t help your students and can lead to bad reviews. Don’t forget to check and fix any broken links to resources.

10. Review and Repeat

There’s no rule that you have to stick with one course. If there are other courses you can teach related to your initial course, create those. You can then refer your students to these other courses. For example, if you offer a course on how to write a mystery, you can add a course on how to publish a book and/or how to market a book. You can also create new courses in completely different areas.

Creating and selling online courses can be quite lucrative if you’re able to provide a great course and reach your target marketing. Plus, with easier to use and more affordable resources to host your course, there’s no reason to avoid becoming an online instructor. While it can take time to create all the lessons in your course, once uploaded, it can become a profitable source of passive income to your existing business or as a business all on its own.

Selling Online Courses from Your own Website

Now, in order to sell your course, you will need to setup the online course platform and make it sales-ready. At this point you need to be reminded that a very important factor in all your marketing efforts is your personal brand.

  1. Create a Winning Landing Page – A landing page is your first point of contact with your customers and serves as the ‘homepage’ of your online academy. Since this is essentially your welcoming page you want it to be as attractive as possible and make potential customers fall in love with your business at first sight. When implemented right, you can collect precious leads and then convert these into your students.
  2. Visual Presentation – In this quest, you will have to supplement your landing and sales pages with interactive images, clips or videos that will entice potential customers and make them want to find out more in terms of what you are offering.
    • Use of Images – In order to make your online school more attractive, you can include images from your courses such as screenshots, photos from your course-workbook and your sales page. Your images should also be in high resolution so that they look professional and more visually-appealing.
    • Create Videos That Sell – Creating a promotional video for your sales page improves the quality of the customer experience and has the potential to increases your sales. A single video from YouTube or any other video hosting service can makes your site more searchable in the online world
      and maximises your reach. To get it right though, you will need to come up with a nice title, description, tags and some social media exposure to begin with.
  3. Adding Credibility with author bios and student testimonials – Author bios are a powerful marketing tool and have a proven record of success in the market. Just think about the kind of impact they make on LinkedIn – the top networking
    professional platform, job candidates use to get found for a job. Students also are more likely to trust other students since their opinion is more valuable than yours. What you should be aiming at is creating a professional image about yourself through the words and experience of those who are already your customers. Student testimonials, feedback reviews and quotes can draw in as many people as a promotional video can do.


Several new online course platforms are available to make setting up and selling your course easier than ever. Additionally, due to continually advancing technology, many of the tools and equipment needed to create a course are very simple to use, with professional-quality results.

You can create courses to sell as an addition to your existing business. For example, if you’re a blogger, you can offer a course that delves deeper into something specific in your blog’s topic area. If you offer a service, you can design and offer an online course for people who would rather learn and do the work on their own instead of hiring you.

Quality online courses usually offer students a variety of content delivery methods such as text and video, which can take time to create. Users expect to be able to have the course in a format to access on their phone or laptop, with video and audio files so they can watch or listen on their daily commute.

Like all other money-making ventures, your success depends on the need or desire for your course, and your ability to attract your target market. It’s worth putting the time into keyword and trend research to focus on what’s trending now and what people want to buy.

Leave a Comment