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How To Create An Online Course (And Make A Profit)

How To Create An Online Course (And Make A Profit) In 2020

The online course is one of the emerging market segments with a really strong demand globally. Driven by the need for social distance but as people try and like what they find it has become a real alternative to classroom-based learning. Further, it offers convenience, comfort, and safety in your own home. In addition, the ability to undertake study at your own pace also increases the amount of knowledge retained.
Dr Jim Ken completed an online survey of 965 people who had recently taken an online course and greater than 70% said they would do their next course online.
online course survey

Dr Jim Ken completed an online survey of 965 people who had recently taken an online course and greater than 70% said they would do their next course online.
It comes as no surprise that Google has also understood this and is introducing its own solution that is likely to disrupt the tertiary education sector. 

Google Has a Plan to Disrupt the College Degree - Google's new certificate program takes only six months.

Also, an online course or virtual study offers one of the best business models to digital entrepreneurs today. 

Today, we are going to share key steps to start the creation of an online course and structure it to make a profit from day one.
There are a lot of people curious about how to do this and after exhaustive research and from our own experience of delivering online courses we have listed down steps that you can follow to effectively begin your journey to share your knowledge online and make it into a business.

We Review the Top 5 Course Delivery Platforms

How do I create an Online Course?

Choose a Course Topic

Seems obvious but this is probably the most important step in the process, to begin with. You need to niche down so that your course will actually deliver a measurable result and therefore the participant is likely to take another from you.
Do not go too broad at first - establish credibility at delivering online or virtual specific topic course results first.
In choosing a course topic, you have to determine what you are good at and comfortable teaching. Skills, knowledge, and capacity are key factors to consider. Also, understand your customer, what are they wanting to get out of taking your course. Defining this will allow you to focus on your target market or audience. 

Perhaps this is something that is related to your job, hobby, or talent, (i.e., how to start a blog or tips on how to be an effective graphic artist) that would generate interest and excitement among your audience. We suggested that you start on the basics and simple things for you to have enough time to research, adjust, and learn.

You can start by searching through the internet in your chosen course topic. Think about what your competitors are doing and make them as your source of reference but make sure not to duplicate their own work. Be creative!

Another thing is to make sure you are innovating - look at adding the latest content - perhaps teaching by real life stories - this always makes it more interesting for the person taking your course.  Do this means your are creating a unique edge and advantage over your competitors.

Next, be sure to make your course description organic and simple and by using sought-after keywords that you can rank for in the search engines. If the keywords are to competitive in Google you make look at Bing and Yahoo - while the search volume is not as high - in the beginning this is ok as long as you get some students - really look after them and you will find that word of mouth and comments from them on their social media will all help build momentum and soon you volume of students will increase.  Do not forget to use powerful adjectives, verbs, and a well-constructed mini course outline title that will get your audience’s attention.
course planning

Create a Course Outline 

If you have decided on what course topic to choose, it’s time to think about how you are going to deliver or share your knowledge to the students in an organized and understandable way.
Outlining is basically having a summary of your written work; a structuring; a final plan.
Set Learning Goals
Be clear on your course learning goals and the outcome for your students.
Determine the key objectives of your chosen topic
List all the skills required in achieving your key objective
Make a checklist of the latest industry content for your chosen topic (brainstorming and researching would help you in this step)
This will let you create a master plan - really a list of each course module sequentially with the skills you need and the skills the student will acquire at each step. A really good outline tool is Dynalist
dyna list
Show here is the free version of Dynalist and it  has enough functionality for you to produce this course online.

One of the great things about Dynalist is that you can easily move sub sections around to create the best course outline possible.

You can also add checkboxes and mark off each task as it is done.

One of the main reasons I like Dynalist is that it keeps the planning simple and straight forward.  Many of todays tools are just too complex for what you want and need.
Break Down Your Course Topic into short segments and again Dynalist is just great for this.

Consider the attention span of your students no matter what your chosen course topic is. Can you even imagine how tiring it can be to stare into your computer screen for an hour? Experience shows that around 15 minutes with a short revision is around an optimum length. But it will vary by subject.
With the 15 minutes per module that you have, make sure your content is engaging. To effectively do this, you have to focus on what is important. Get straight to the main and subtopics because todays online learners are used to finding exactly what they want to learn online in minutes and then solving their knowledge issue quickly.

One of the marketing lines we find works is to present your course as "curated content" and this saves your user time - they do no not have to go searching all over the internet - all their answers will be found in your course.

  • udemy dashboard

    Student Dashboard

  • teachable dashboard
Course platforms

Course Platform Will you host it yourself or use a service

On what medium are you going to deliver your online course? 

Are you going to create your own website with a Learning Management System or LMS as they are referred to? Or use Udemy, Skillshare, Google, or other existing platforms? While these options will deliver a course to a students there are distinct differences. This article is only going to cover the questions - it is a whole series of articles needed to dig into the detail of each one. However do not get frustrated with some much choice but rather remain true to your goal of developing an online course and get it out there on any platform.  For the first time I am going to say - make it easy focus on designing the best course possible and then marketing it so you get students - that is what is going to earn you money - not choosing the perfect platform first - kinda like the "chicken or the egg scenario. Better is use the Nike slogan - and JUST DO IT. By that I mean get your course in the market as fast a possible. Having said that lets take a quick look at some of the platforms.

Hosting Yourself On Wordpress

It is a given that you will need a website and I strong suggest to use Wordpress and the addons and plugins are almost unlimited. Apart form hosting Wordpress is a free platform - although some of the plugins you will need to pay for. 

There are a lot of LMS or learning management platforms available on word press.
LMS for wordpress
And the above is just one example - Unless you are prepared to invest some time and money evaluating and then learning these Wordpress addons, initially you may be better to consider some of the established platforms.  At least in the beginning - again remember what is going to earn you money fastest is getting an awesome course produced and proving to your self that you can do it. Usually the fastest way is to get it up online as fast as possible.

What I did was to get my course onto an existing platform first - proved there was a market for it.  After I had done that I improved and renamed my course and then relaunched it on my own website. To this day my initial course still sits on another platform and brings in some money.  If I had wasted time trying to do everything myself I may never had launched my course.

Udemy as a Course Host

udemy dashboard
Here is a Udemy Dashboard. 

By publishing your course on Udemy what you're effectively doing is getting it right in front of a market of buyers who are already looking to complete online courses and learn. This is a powerful platform but it is not free. The founder of Udemy recently said on average that course creators earn 800-1000 per month.

Teachable as a Course Host

Here is a Teachable Dashboard. 

In response to dissatisfaction with other platforms, the Teachable team has created a platform that enables you to offer online courses “on your website and control your branding, student data, and pricing all from one place.” The pricing model that teachable offers are very popular and attractive. 

You can actually use the platform for free, however you must then pay $1 + 10% for all your transactions
teachable dashboard
Having your own website has lots of advantages - including a cost-saving but do not underestimate the difficulty of deploying an online learning platform with security etc - it is far more complex than developing your own single page website. This is why some of the above platforms like Udemy and Teachable are fairly popular.
Also with your own website, you have to take responsibility for putting more effort into marketing, web designing, and all the technical stuff behind like email lists and subscriptions just to mention a couple. But upside is you can ensure the privacy and security of your online course, you can take control of your site or domain, and you can take control of the pricing.

You just need to weigh up the pros and cons depending on your abilities. 

My strong recommendation is to design your course first - make it the best that you can and deploy it onto an existing platform so at least you can test it, get feed back and some money coming in. It also lets you develop an audience. In the background if you can then work on your own system. 

It is worth noting if you choose to partner with existing websites or other software programs, marketing would be less hassle on your part since they would do much of it for you and considering that several thousand students are already on these platforms.

Online Study - Huge Growth Over the Next 5 Years

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-how to choose the right platform - we cover the top 5
-how to choose a webhost for online study - what must you look for 
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