How to create an online course website: Share your knowledge for profit

Creating an online course website can be an effective way to build your knowledge empire and earn profit.

More people than ever before are turning to online platforms after the pandemic to learn new skills or gain knowledge.

The global eLearning market is expected to reach $400 billion by 2026, it’s time to create an online course and cash in on the opportunity.

With the right tools and guidance, starting your own online course website is just a step away.

What’s in this guide for you?

  • You will learn about selling courses through a website
  • How to create a perfect online course that sells
  • How to easily create and manage an online course website

Let’s begin our journey to create a thriving online course platform!

chapter 1

Chapter 1

Understanding the benefits of creating an online course website

chapter 2

Chapter 2

Inspiration for your online course website

chapter 3

Chapter 3

How to choose the topic for your online course

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Create an online course website with WordPress

Chapter 5

Selling online courses with WordPress

Chapter 6

How to promote your online course

Chapter 1

Understanding the benefits of creating an online course website

We’re on a journey to show you how to build an online course website.

But before we begin, have you ever thought about why it’s great to sell courses on your own website?

In this chapter, we’ll talk about the advantages of having your own website, like:

1. It’s your own kingdom, and you can grow it as you like.

2. Share your knowledge and expertise with a broader audience.

3. It’s your platform, so you can make it as flexible as you want.

4. Enjoy total financial freedom with no revenue-sharing concerns.

benefits of creating an online course website

Your own online course website offers a bunch of benefits you won’t get from a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform.

Benefits such as:

Share knowledge and expertise

As an educator you can share more knowledge and expertise with students.

Just imagine all the incredible possibilities!

Such as:

  • Engaging discussion forums
  • Encourage peer-to-peer interactions
  • Assign challenging projects and assignments
  • Provide valuable course resources and downloads

By linking platforms like Facebook groups and LinkedIn communities to your website, you can foster a vibrant online community.

Let’s not overlook the importance of Q&A sessions and quizzes. These elements add an extra layer of engagement.

This keeps your students actively involved in the learning process.

Flexibility and accessibility

Another benefit of having your own online course website is that you have total control over how learners access the content.

You can provide the tools they need to access the material in the most convenient way possible.

For example, in addition to having a responsive website that works seamlessly on different devices, you can take it a step further by offering a mobile app.

This will maximize the learning experience.

Let’s not forget about when the internet is not available. That’s where the magic of offline learning comes in!

By providing a way for your students to download the course content, they can continue learning even when they’re offline.

Complete financial freedom

MOOC platforms take a pretty hefty cut of your hard-earned revenue for every course you sell.

It’s the price you pay for using their server space and giving students access to your course via a third-party system.

Take Udemy, for example. Instructors there have to share over 60% of their revenue with the platform.

That’s a big chunk of change!

If your sales happen to come from phones, get ready to fork over an extra 30% to Apple and Google.

Tweetable text

But having your own online course website makes you the boss.

If you set up your own course website, whatever you charge for your course is yours to keep!


MOOCs tend to dominate search engine rankings, but your course might end up getting lost among the thousands of others on the platform.

When you have your own online course website, you have complete control over the design, search engine optimization (SEO), pricing, and marketing strategies.


And unlike most MOOCs out there, you get to interact with your students in a more personalized way.

You can create a strong bond, foster a dedicated community, and provide a solid foundation to scale your business.

Chapter 2

Inspiration for your online course website

Selling online courses is awesome when it’s all happening on your very own website.

Ever wonder what successful course creators do? A bit of inspiration can really light that fire within you.

So, let’s quickly dive into some success stories and get you inspired to be like them one day! 😊

online course websites inspirations

Need inspiration?

Here are some of the most successful examples of online course websites we know of:

Ramit Sethi

i will teach you to be rich homepage

Ramit Sethi is a successful personal finance expert who teaches how to start living a rich life.

He offers a variety of courses on his website “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”.

His techniques are so popular that Netflix featured him in How To Get Rich.

Jamie Oliver

jamie oliver homepage

Jamie Oliver lives on the belief of empowering people with his knowledge of cooking.

This British chef got fame from his television show The Naked Chef in 1999. He is committed to educate people on how to cook better and feed themselves better through his online courses.

The Jamie Oliver Cookery School has taught over 100,000 food fans.

Matt Kepnes

matt kepnes homepage

Matt Kepnes lives a dream life. He’s been traveling the world for more than a decade. He travels and makes money at the same time.

What’s great is that he chose to share his travel knowledge with the world through his online courses.

Matt has successfully built a vibrant travel community by offering his valuable tips on travel and money making.

Chapter 3

How to choose the topic for your online course

Picking the right topic for your course is like writing the first chapter of your success story.

When you nail it, you’re on your way to success!

In this section, we’ll guide you on choosing a course topic that you’ll truly enjoy working on.

You’ll discover how to explore your interests and find your passion.

We’ll show you how to use online tools and communities to see what’s trending.

And don’t worry if you’re not an expert yet; we’ll also share tips on becoming an authority in a popular subject.

topic for your online course

Before setting up your online course website, we recommend choosing the right topic you want to teach.

Here’s how to come up with a topic:

What is your passion?

The goal is to choose a subject close to your heart, something you are always passionate about.

If you’re already an expert in that subject, even better!

It could be your childhood hobby or something you have learned professionally over the years.

For instance, a baking skill you perfected by assisting your mother all these years.

Or, as a professional tax lawyer you’ve gained tremendous experience and honed your skills – a secret sauce that always helps your clients.

So what’s your passion?

If you wonder how to find your passion, let us help you.

Grab a pen and paper and jot down everything you love, achieved and can do.

Don’t worry if you’re not an expert in that topic. Knowledge can be learned, passion cannot!

A little more help finding your passion

Still nothing useful comes to your mind?

Use the following tips to bring out everything you’ve got to offer.

Explore your interests

What makes you lose track of time?

It could be your love of art, cooking, painting or anything else that gives you immense pleasure and satisfaction.

Recall childhood dreams

What you dreamt about wanting to become when you were younger.

For instance, as a child you’ve always loved playing doctor and helping people. This can be a clue to explore healthcare or medicine.

What energizes you

These are activities that make you feel energized, motivated, and alive.

For instance, you may love speaking in public or participating in debates sparking a passion for advocacy or communication.

Discover a hidden talent

You never know what you are holding inside until it comes out.

For instance, you join a dance class and discover that rhythmic movements and expressions make you feel truly alive.

Turn your values into passion

You may have strong beliefs about something and your values drive your actions.

For example, you strongly believe in sustainability and environmental conservation. This can help you think about green living and sustainability.

Seek feedback from others

Sometimes, the people around us can provide amazing insights.

Your parents, friends, colleagues or mentors can have a knack for recognizing your strengths.

For example, your friends always come to you for advice on fashion and style because they know you’ve got an amazing eye for trends.

Choose something others want

When you have your passion figured out, it’s wise to check out what’s in demand.

For instance, being a photographer, you may be interested in classical photography techniques.

But if most of your target audience wants to learn about how AI tools can help refine images in post production, you may want to make that a part of your course.

Here’s how you can collect the information:

  • Talk to friends: You can talk to friends or run a poll in your network to know what people think about a specific topic.
  • Create tutorials: You can also create a tutorial on the subject to see how people react to it. This will give you tons of valuable insight that will help you correct your course.
  • Research online: See if there are existing courses on the subject. If there are, that means there is an audience out there for the topic you are passionate about.

Existing competition does not mean you will have less opportunity. It means there’s likely a sizable audience interested in the topic.

Does your idea solve a problem?

If your idea solves a problem, that’s a great topic for a course.

To check in advance what people search the most for, use social platforms to refine your searches.

Reddit and Quora are great platforms where people look for solutions to their problems.

You can also use Answer The Public to find out what kind of questions people ask online about a particular topic.

Google Ads is another effective tool to find out the search volume for particular keywords.

google ads keyword search

It’s primarily designed for buying Google Ads, but you can use it for free to get lots of useful insights such as keyword variations, search volume and competition.

Be an expert on your passion

be an expert

So now you have figured out your passion, is it enough to launch an online course?

When students sign up and enroll in your course, they expect in-depth knowledge, deep understanding, and accessible teaching.

It’s an added benefit if you have an educational background and professional experience that coincide with your passion.

It’s not mandatory, but it’s definitely beneficial!

In our examples, Ramit, Jamie and Matt are not just passionate, they are experts at what they do.

Their students trust their abilities which is why they subscribe to their courses.

Does it mean you have to spend years gaining what it takes to launch your first course?

Teaching is a serious business, but having no expertise in the subject you choose doesn’t mean you can’t quickly establish authority.

You don’t have to be Henry James or Charles Dickens.

But you also don’t want to spend weeks building a course only to find your students already know more than you!

If you want to become an expert in something, let us help you with an example.

How to become an expert

Let’s say you are fascinated by digital marketing.

Learn the basics

Start by studying the basics such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and email marketing.

You can start with free courses on digital marketing. HubSpot Academy and Google Digital Garage are great resources to use.

Work on a real world project

Learning is a continuous process but don’t forget to get practical experience. Once you have a good grasp of the fundamentals, work on real-world projects.

You can work as a freelancer or join a team of digital marketers in a company. Use any opportunity to apply your knowledge and learn from real-life situations.

Show your expertise

Next, go one step ahead. Connect with local companies and offer your services.

Create a comprehensive digital marketing plan for them, develop and execute their social media marketing campaign, or optimize their website’s SEO strategy to improve its visibility in search engine results.

These projects will provide you with valuable insights to showcase your expertise.

The more you get your name out there associated with your subject of choice, the easier you’ll find it to build authority.

Learn from the experts

Stay up to date with trends and use every opportunity to meet with digital media experts.

Digital marketing conferences, webinars, or local meetups come in handy if there are any in your area.

Engage in discussions, ask questions, and learn from their experiences.

Increase your knowledge

Invest time and effort in ongoing education. It not only helps your career in general, it helps you become a better teacher too.

Enroll in advanced online courses, join mastermind groups and get certified from reputable organizations.

Create a blog

It’s time to build a community of existing and wannabe digital marketers. Create high-quality content for them and back it with facts and case studies.

Whatever you create, always give it a personal touch. You can produce in-depth articles and videos on digital marketing strategies and the latest trends.

Give your audience a reason to trust your knowledge, actively engage with them and prove yourself as a digital marketing expert.

Do you think it will take years before you are able to launch your first online course? Remember, if you’re a natural marketer, it will require less time and energy to achieve your goal. Same applies to other industries.

Test your idea

So you’ve done your research and chosen a topic that you’re passionate about.

Before doing all the hard work for the course, let’s test it first.

Get inside the minds of your target audience. Find out what they think about your idea.

This could save you a lot of time and effort!

Reddit course thread

Create a mini course on the topic and share it on your social networks.

The goal is to get real feedback from the people who matter most. The people who already know you and like what you do or say.

Platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Facebook groups are great places to start.

They let you engage with your audience, fine-tune your course, and watch it become an absolute hit!

Chapter 4

Create an online course website with WordPress

Now that we know what we’re up to, it’s time to dive in and start building that awesome website for selling your courses.

Wondering which platform to use? Look no further – it’s WordPress!

In this section, we’ll tell you why WordPress is the way to go and what advantages it brings.

We’ll even throw in some real-life examples and talk about how flexible and scalable WordPress can be.

Ready to get started? Let’s do this! 🚀

Use CMS for online course website

When you’re all done with the prerequisites of creating an online course website, let’s get into the action.

Why use WordPress?

Let us tell you why we think building an online course website with WordPress is an absolute winner:

1. It’s super user-friendly. No need to stress about being a coding guru or a tech wizard. WordPress is designed for all skill levels

2. The possibilities are endless. With WordPress, you can create any kind of website you desire

3. It’s fast and responsive. WordPress has everything you need to build websites that load quickly and look fantastic on any device

4. One of the most awesome things that makes us love WordPress is its huge ecosystem. Need a fancy plugin or a cool integration? You got it!

times website on wordpress

You will find lots of top websites using WordPress. Websites such as, Microsoft Blog, Sony Music and many others. The list is endless!

WordPress is known for its flexibility. You will find a wide range of themes and plugins specifically designed for creating online courses.

This gives you the power to customize your website however you want.

It has a vibrant community of developers and designers that offer a wealth of resources, tutorials and support.

wpcrafter homepage

It’s easy to deal with any design challenge, whether you want to do it yourself or need a hand.

The WordPress official site and WPCrafter, are some of the top resources to get incredible tutorials.

One of the biggest advantages of WordPress is its SEO friendliness.

Because it’s built with search engine optimization in mind, your online course website will rank higher in search engine results.

Get the SEO right and your course will be more visible and more students will be able to find it.

rankmath homepage

Plugins such as Rank Math SEO and Yoast SEO can do all the heavy SEO lifting for you.

Finally, WordPress offers eCommerce integration, allowing you to sell online courses and manage payments.

You can create secure payment gateways, offer discounts or coupons, and even create subscription-based revenue streams.

suremembers homepage

Plugins like SureCart, WooCommerce and SureMembers are the top eCommerce tools you can trust.

WordPress is the perfect tool for educators, coaches, and experts looking to share their knowledge through an online course.

Get a domain name

A domain name is the address people type into their web browser to visit your website. It’s your online identity, or the name of your website.

For instance, you need to type into your browser to visit our website.

Wondering how to get a domain name? Let’s make it easy with the following steps:

  • Research your domain name: Do extensive research and come up with some ideas for your domain name
  • Think of keywords: Think about keywords relevant to your business idea. Use the tools we discussed earlier to get catchy keyword ideas
  • A simple name: The desired domain name should be easy to pronounce and spell so it’s easy to recall and type
  • A good domain registrar is a must: Next, check the availability of your domain name from your domain registrar or web host and register it if it’s available.

Need suggestions for the domain registrar?:

Choosing a domain name is a crucial step. Take your time, choose wisely, and make sure it aligns with your website’s purpose or brand.

With the right domain name, you’re off to an excellent start!

Buy the right web hosting

siteground hosting

You can’t take risks with your dream project. Choosing a web host is a make-or-break decision.

Imagine you choose a web host that is super cheap but suffers from downtime, slow speeds and security issues.

Can you afford to work with a host like that?

Consider the following when choosing a web host:

  • Plan everything. Think about how many students you want to enroll, the size and format of the course (video, audio PDF, text) and what kind of features you will need such as quizzes, chat or forums
  • Your web host should support elearning. Look for a web hosting provider who can deliver hosting for sites of the size you want to build
  • Look for the best uptime. Make sure they promise uptime that’s no less than 99.99% to instill confidence in their reliability
  • It all boils down to performance. Your web host should prioritize performance. Look for features such as SSD storage and a content delivery network (CDN) for swift global access
  • Value the security of your website. Since you want to accept payment from students, data security is of the highest importance. Prioritize a hosting provider with robust security measures. Look for features like SSL certificates, regular backups, firewalls, and malware scanning
  • Customer support is vital. If you encounter a problem, you should be able to get help 24/7 through chat, tickets, email and preferably phone
  • Balance out budget and features. Consider your budget and compare the prices and features offered by different hosting companies. It’s critical to find the right balance between affordability and value
  • You should be able to scale anytime. Finally, find out how many concurrent users servers can handle. Make sure your web host makes it easy to scale your server resources when the need arises

If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to make an informed decision and have enough time to focus on the success of your project.

SiteGround, Hostinger, GreenGeeks and A2 Hosting are some great choices for eLearning websites.

Create your WordPress website

This is the most exciting part for us. We love creating WordPress sites that load fast and look beautiful!

You can install WordPress in multiple ways. Whichever method you choose, it takes only a few minutes to have a fully functional website.

Let’s watch the whole process:

The two most popular methods are manual installation or the web host’s auto installer.

We will use the second option in this tutorial.

siteground login page

We signed up with SiteGround as our web host for this tutorial. Let’s login to access the dashboard area and follow these steps:

  • Choose your CMS: Once inside the customer dashboard, click on the Websites tab and select WordPress on the next screen
  • Create login credentials: Next provide some details, and set your login information. Make sure to set a strong password
  • Choose plugins if you want: Next, choose additional features such as plugins you want for your WordPress site. This is optional now as you can install anything you want later
  • Double check everything: The installer will ask you to review your settings to make sure everything is correct. Double check everything and press the Confirm button
  • Just getting ready: After a few moments, you’ll see a notification tell you your WordPress site is ready

Go to, enter the login info and you are good to enter your website’s admin panel.

In case you want to see everything happening, here is an awesome video.

Create a course website with readymade templates

A WordPress theme is a design template that controls the appearance, layout and style of your WordPress site.

Astra digital marketing course template

Install Astra theme

We recommend using the Astra WordPress theme! It’s the ideal theme for any website, including an online course website.

Astra is an exceptionally popular theme and comes with loads of features, such as:

  • It’s fully customizable from header to footer
  • It has modern design throughout
  • It’s ultra fast and delivers awesome performance
  • It’s secure
  • It’s fully responsible and compatible with most WordPress plugins
  • You’ll find it very user friendly and highly interactive

Above all, it comes with over 250 templates – a vast library of professionally designed templates you can use in any situation.

Let’s install Astra!

Inside WP admin, go to Appearance > Themes, press the Add New button to open the theme repository.

press add new button

Search for Astra to install it. Activate it when the option appears.

search for astra theme :

Once activated, you can customize Astra however you want.

The free version offers a wide range of options inside the Astra menu. Or you can access those options from Appearance > Customize.

customize option in astra free theme :

If you’re looking to take your game to the next level, Astra Pro is the way to go!

It’s packed with premium features that will definitely give your rivals a run for their money.

Coming back to the free version, we will show you another way to give your website the look you want without touching a line of code.

Let’s import a template.

Import an LMS template

Using predesigned template for our online course website saves a whole lot of time.

We need to install the Starter Templates plugin to allow access to the template library.

Go to Astra > Dashboard and install the Starter Templates plugin.

You will be redirected to a template import wizard that will walk you through the entire process in a few clicks.

Click the button Build Your Website Now.

starter templates wizard

Select a page builder of your choice on the next screen. We will go with Block Editor for this tutorial.

select the page builder

On the next page, type LMS or Learning inside the search box. You will see a number of related Starter Templates on your screen.

You can filter them using different controls. For example, you can choose between free and premium templates depending on your needs.

starter template library filters

The free ones work just fine but if you need more features, a premium template will do an awesome job.

We will import “Learn Digital Marketing” for this example. It’s an excellent template for someone who plans to offer digital marketing courses.

learn digital marketing template

Whenever you import a Starter Template, you get everything pre-configured: images, styles, fonts and layouts.

You can customize everything of course, but you can import a complete website in less than a minute.

On selecting the template, the import wizard will ask you to align it with your brand. You can upload a logo and change fonts and colors as you see fit.

brand your template

It’s a wonderful feature that allows you to personalize your site from the beginning.

The import wizard may recommend essential plugins as it moves forward. It’s up to you to install or skip them during the import process.

essential plugins to install

One last step. Astra would like to know a few things about you so that you get better customer support and amazing discount offers from time to time.

astra user information

Press the Submit & Build My Website button when you’re ready to start the import process.

astra template import process

Click the View Your Website button when it appears on the next screen.

congratulations your astra site is ready

Congratulations! You have a professionally designed online course website ready to customize!

your website homepage

Customizing your course website

During the import process, Astra installs a world class page builder Spectra which makes customization as easy as 1-2-3.

For instance, if you want to change the image and text on the homepage, open it in edit mode from Pages > All Pages.

open homepage in edit mode

Select the area you want to replace and you will see related settings in the right sidebar.

edit homepage with spectra :

With Spectra, you can change any part of your website however you want.

Note :

Sometimes you may come across a strange message when opening a page in edit mode.

The message could read as “This block contains unexpected or invalid content.” You will also see a button Attempt Block Recovery nearby.

Don’t worry, these are nothing serious!

In such a case, press the button to let the page builder resynchronize the block. The page builder takes less than 3 seconds to correct it.

attempt block recover error

Install an LMS plugin

Now our website is up and running, it’s time we added an LMS (Learning Management System) plugin.

An LMS plugin makes it super easy to manage and offer courses on your website. You get all the features to kick start your online course business in minutes.

The trick is to choose the one that best suits your needs.

To make things easier for you here are the top 3 we think are worth considering:

All three learning management systems (LMS) start at $199/yr each. LifterLMS and Tutor LMS have free versions so you can try before you buy.

LearnDash is our choice for this tutorial because it offers all the features we need for an online course website.

On the LearnDash website, go to the Pricing page to select the plan you need.

LearnDash offers two solutions:

  • A standalone plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites
  • A cloud solution where LearnDash hosts a pre-built website on their server with LearnDash pre-installed. You also get access to prebuilt templates for your website

We want to install LearnDash on our self-hosted WordPress site so we’ll choose the first option – standalone plugin.

The good thing about choosing the standalone model is that you get complete control over how you shape your website.

Select the plan that is right for you and proceed with the purchase process.

learndash pricing page

LearnDash will then provide access to the customer dashboard to download the plugin.

Download the plugin to your device so it’s ready to use.

Next, return to the WP admin area to install the plugin from Plugins > Add New menu.

how to install plugin

Choose the file to upload and press the Install Now button and then Activate when they appear.

Setup LearnDash LMS

When you activate the LearnDash LMS, it gives you two options: Get Started button to start the setup wizard or Dismiss Setup Wizard to skip it.

We recommend using the setup wizard.

learndash setup wizard

If you choose to launch the setup wizard, it will require the license key and email. This will validate your copy of the plugin.

Validation is critical as it allows you to get regular updates and information from LearnDash.

learndash license key

License validation is the first step. Go through the rest of the three easy steps to complete the setup wizard.

learndash setup wizard

Choose No when it asks Do you want to charge for your courses?

learndash charges option

We don’t want to configure a payment method right now. You can do it if you want, but we have a better plan for that.

In the next step, the setup wizard will tell you which essential pages it will create for you now. It will also ask you to activate certain addons.

For this tutorial, we will activate the Course Grid.

learndash course grid addon

Press the Save and Complete button and LearnDash LMS will set everything up for you.

One last thing. LearnDash LMS will ask you to share your usage data with StellarWP, the parent company.

Whether or not you allow it is up to you. The plugin will work perfectly in either case.

learndash usage data

You may notice the LearnDash LMS > Setup page appears by default after completing the setup wizard.

learndash setup page

It shows options to design your site and configure payments.

You can configure them here but as we mentioned earlier, we have better plans to accept a wide variety of payment methods with SureCart.

We’ll do that in the next step.

For the design, we’ve already selected a professionally designed template for our online course website.

If you want to completely change it, you can rerun the Starter Templates setup wizard from Astra > Starter Templates.

Create your first course

You’ve done most of the hard work to reach this point. Now let’s create your first course.

Go to LearnDash LMS > Courses and press Add your first course button.

learndash create your course

Inside the course editor, add a course title and description underneath in the blocks.

It is up to you whether you want to use text, images, or videos.

It’s similar to a blog post editor, so you can add categories, tags, and featured images to this course.

learndash course editor

Now we want to add course content.

Before we add the content, let us briefly explain a few important things:

  • A course is like a book you want to write
  • A lesson is like a chapter in our book. You can have multiple lessons depending on your course. So a lesson is the first piece of content to add
  • Your book can have multiple sections or subsections inside each lesson. In LearnDash LMS, we call these sections topics

Now, click on the Builder at the top to access the LearnDash LMS course builder.

learndash course builder

First create a section heading by clicking on the New Section Heading button.

learndash course section heading

Note: A section heading isn’t linked to course content. You can drag and drop it anywhere you want.

Now, press the New Lesson button, name it anything suitable and press the Add Lesson button on the extreme right.

add new lesson

Next, click the drop down arrow to open space for topics and quizzes you want to add to this lesson.

dropdown to show add new lesson and quizzes

Press the New Topic button, enter the name of the topic and press the Add Topic button on its right.

You can add as many topics as you want. Similarly, you can create quizzes that students can take after each lesson.

add topics

To avoid losing any changes, remember to save the draft.

When you are done with changes, press the Publish button to save the course.

Pro Tip :

You can rearrange anything in this course builder by dragging and dropping it anywhere you want.

Just click and hold the mouse left button on the small dots next to each element and move it anywhere inside your course.

rearrange elements

You can quickly edit the name of lessons or topics by hovering your mouse over each item and pressing the edit icon.

quick edit topics

We edited a few elements so they look like this.

updated topics and lessons

How to add content to lessons and topics

Did we forget to add content to lessons and topics? No, we didn’t.

We created a sample course outline to show you how to create lessons and topics using the course builder.

Now we will show you how to add content to each item.

You can access the lesson from within the course builder or go to LearnDash LMS > Courses to open the desired lesson.

edit learndash lesson

Inside the lesson editor, add relevant content in any format you want be it text, image or video.

Press the Update button in the top right corner after adding the content.

add content to lesson

Similarly, access the topics you created earlier from LearnDash LMS > Topics and add content to each one.

add content to topics

Pro Tip :

You can add categories, tags and a featured image to each lesson and topic like you can with WordPress blog posts

Chapter 5

Selling online courses with WordPress

Your website is all set for your first online course.

But what’s next? How do you add courses and start accepting payments?

Well, it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. You just need to add a few important plugins to:

1. Create and handle courses.

2. Accept payments from anywhere in the world.

3. Manage memberships.

Don’t fret; we’ll not only tell you which plugins to use but also walk you through how to add them easily.

Let’s get started! 🛠️

selling online courses

So far, we have secured a domain name, arranged hosting, set up WordPress, created an online course website and set up our first course.

Now let’s show you how to charge for access.

Here are the best eCommerce solutions an online course website can utilize.

SureCart is our choice of eCommerce plugin for this tutorial for being an exceptional solution that suits any online business.

Why use SureCart?

You can take advantage of a wide range of powerful features that are essential for your online course website.

Here’s why SureCart is the right choice:

  • Multiple payment methods: It offers a huge variety of payment methods such as Stripe, PayPal, digital wallets, bank debits and more
  • Lots of payment options: Your members can pay in multiple ways including one-time, recurring, split-pay, donations or name your price
  • A performance beast: It’s a cloud-based solution so it’s lightning fast and highly secure
  • You know everything: SureCart’s built-in analytics tell you everything about your customers, orders and payments
  • Design the way you want: It’s fully customizable so you can design checkout pages however you want
  • No conflict, no hassle: SureCart integrates with all popular WordPress plugins
  • It’s easy on your pocket. You can start free and upgrade later when you’re ready

And the best part is, you can sell anything with SureCart, no matter what it is!

Install and set up SureCart

You can install SureCart easily from the Astra dashboard.

Go to Astra > Dashboard and click on Install under the Useful Plugins widget.

install surecart

This will automatically launch the setup wizard that configures SureCart in 5 steps.

You will see two buttons on your screen: Create New Store and Connect Existing Store.

create new surecart store

Press the Create New Store button and set the default currency and brand color on the next screen. Press the Continue button when you’re ready.

surecart setup wizard

On the next screen, SureCart gives you some choices. You can import sample data based on your business type to make things easier to understand.

Since our site offers online courses, we’ll choose Courses surecart sample data .

Press the Continue button in the bottom right corner.

enter email address

Enter your email on the next screen and press the Continue button.

surecart store is ready

Congratulations, your store is now ready to customize!

Press the View My Store button to see a grid of sample products.

surecart product grid

You can click on each product to see what the checkout page looks like.

surecart single product page

Sign up and connect to a payment processor

There are two more steps left: signing up with SureCart and connecting a payment processor so you can accept payments.

This part of the process SureCart handles on its servers.

In the WordPress admin, go to SureCart > Dashboard.

Locate a notification at the top of the screen that says “Complete your store setup to go live”.

surecart notice to complete the setup

Click on the Complete Setup link to load a sign up page. Enter your information and press the Sign Up button.

signup with surecart

SureCart’s price plan page will appear on the next screen. Choose the plan you want.

For this tutorial, we will go with the free plan.

The next screen will allow us to add store details. Once you have added the details, click the Next Step button.

surecart store detail

The next screen will let you connect with Stripe, PayPal and Mollie.

Press the Connect button to sign up with each payment processor.

surecart payment processor connectivity

Once you are done, press Back to WordPress to return to the dashboard.

Integrate LearnDash LMS with SureCart

Now the SureCart is configured, it’s time to integrate it with LearnDash to offer the course we created earlier.

Let’s begin the process.

Go to SureCart > Products and press the Add New button.

Enter your product details. You can add in the description the same text you added in the lesson.

Choose a featured image and more if you want to.

surecart product detail

Press the Add A Price button and enter the name and price.

You can leave the Payment Type at default which is One Time and then press the Create Price button to set the price.

add a product price

Scroll down a bit and press the Add New Integration button. This is where we will integrate SureCart with LearnDash LMS.

When the popup appears, choose LearnDash Course from the Integration dropdown and the course name from the Course Access dropdown.

Press Add Integration button to complete the process.

surecart learndash integration

Press the Save Product button in the top right corner.

Create a checkout page to sell the course

Creating checkout pages with SureCart is fun. They are easy to manage and fully customizable.

Let’s create a checkout page to sell our Digital Marketing 101 course.

Go to Pages > Add New and choose a suitable title. Then press the eye-shaped icon to its left to disable the field.

This way your checkout page title will not appear on the live site until you’re ready.

checkout page title

Next, click inside the first block and type “/” to invoke the block list. Choose the Checkout Form.

block list to select checkout form block

This will show a checkout form widget with two buttons: New Form and Select Form.

press new form button

Since we didn’t create a checkout form from SureCart > Forms, let’s press the New Form button to create a new one.

set form title and press next button

Pressing the button will show a form title field. Enter a name and press the Next button.

Choose a form design that suits your needs. SureCart comes with a variety of pre-designed forms for users’ convenience.

You can customize these forms anytime to align with your branding.

Let’s choose the full page layout and press the Next button.

select form design template

We will add the product to this form we created earlier.

Press the Add Product button.

press the add product button

Choose a product from the list.

choose product from the list

Leave everything else at default and press the Create button. We will revisit some of the settings in the following section.

product selected

There is one last thing to do. In SureCart, every checkout form that you create has the status set to “Live”.

We need to change it to “Test”.

Click on the status field at the top of the form and choose the value Test.

form status

After that, click the Publish button to create the checkout page.

Create a Thank You page for members

Let’s quickly create a thank you page for members who purchase our digital marketing course.

Go to Pages > Add New and name the page Thank You.

You can add anything here to show how grateful you are. You can make this page more interesting by adding a video message to guide your students.

create thank you page

Press the Publish button to create the page.

Now, we need to integrate this page into our checkout form. We want anyone who buys our course to be redirected to this page.

To do this, open the checkout form we created inside the checkout page.

If you wonder how to get there, go to SureCart > Forms and open the desired checkout form.

open the checkout form

In edit mode, click on the form and you will notice some options appearing in the right side bar.

checkout form in edit mode

Enable the Custom Thank You Page to show a list of all pages.

Select the Thank You page from the list we just created.

select the thank you page from list

Press the Update button to save the changes.

Change LearnDash LMS course status to “Closed”

What is this?

By default, every course we create in the LearnDash LMS can be accessed by the public. The plugin sets the Access Mode status to Open by default.

We only want students who are enrolled to access this course, which is why we will change its status from Open to Closed.

Go to LearnDash LMS > Courses and open the desired course in edit mode.

Go to the Settings page and select the Closed option under Access Mode.

learndash course settings

It will now show the Course Price and Button URL fields.

Set the course price to what we choose at the time of creating the product in SureCart. That’s $425 in this example.

For the button URL field, copy the checkout page URL and paste it here.

learndash course price and button URL

Later, press the Update button to save the changes.

Test the course

Let’s open the course to see how it works.

Go to LearnDash LMS > Courses and copy the course URL.

course page URL copy

Use your browser’s incognito window to fully test. Safari users can use the private window option.

learndash course page

If everything is working correctly, you won’t be able to access the course without purchasing it.

To purchase the course, students need to press the Take this Course button to open the checkout form.

course checkout page

Next, enter the payment details in the checkout form to test the transaction.

After a successful transaction, the Thank You page will greet the students.

Note :

SureCart has a built-in mode that lets you test payments without making an actual transaction just to ensure everything works.

thank you page for members

Ah, you made the payment but there is no way to access the course!

Now what do you do?

How to access the course

Once the Thank You page loads, we want to give students the option to access the course they purchased.

One way is to take them to a student dashboard.

IDeally, when someone enrolls in the course, the thank you page should offer them a link to access their student dashboard.

Let’s take care of that now.

Create another new page and name it Student Dashboard.

Select a block and type “/” to search for the Tabbed Customer Dashboard block.

create student dashboard

When the dashboard appears, press the + sign to add the customer dashboard tab.

add customer dashboard tab

After adding the new tab, select it to show its title option in the right sidebar. Change it to “My Course“.

change tab title

Next, press the + sign in the middle to add the LearnDash Course Grid block.

learndash grid block

Once added, click on it to show setting options in the right sidebar. Change the settings to your liking.

learndash grid block settings

We changed the number of columns from 3 to 1 and it looks like the image below.

change column settings

Press the Publish button after you are done with your changes.

Now open the thank you page in edit mode. Select a block at the bottom and press the + icon to add a button block.

add button block

Next, add the URL of the Student Dashboard page to this button.

If you want to change the button text, you can do it by clicking on the button to anything you like.

button added

Press the Update button to save changes.

Test the course page again

Open the course page again in an incognito window and see how it works this time.

Hopefully, it worked exactly how you wanted it to!

Remember this is just one logic we used. You can do anything with SureCart!

Chapter 6

How to promote your online course

You’ve got an amazing course on your website, and now it’s time to spread the word.

In this section, we’ll dive into the best strategies and tried-and-true methods for promoting your online courses to reach a wider audience.

Why wait? Let’s learn how to promote it! 🚀

How to promote your online course

It’s a smart idea to know who your course is designed for. Think about the people who would benefit the most from what you are teaching.

Are they photographers, software developers, emerging entrepreneurs or language learners?

Understanding your target audience will help you tailor your marketing efforts.

Harness the power of social media

Social media holds great power!

Use every opportunity to be active on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

facebook online course promotion

Quora is a goldmine. It has over a billion active users every month where people come to hunt for answers.

Share engaging and valuable content related to your course topic. Interact with your potential learners and respond to their queries.

Oh, and don’t be shy to run social media ads to reach a wider audience.

Be more precise with Google Ads

Who doesn’t use Google? It’s a source of tons of traffic for your website from all age groups.

Use SEO techniques to rank higher and get more traffic.

With Google Ads you can target your audience and get much better responses.

When you know who you are targeting, Google Ads can be more productive.

You can narrow down and target your audience and get precisely the kind of traffic you want.

The thing we love about Google Ads is you can set a daily budget that suits your pocket.

Use the power of content

It’s a serious game but long lasting. Content is still king!

Create valuable content around your course topics. It could be blog posts, videos, podcasts, or even fancy infographics.

Turn your visitors into fans by giving them something extra they won’t get elsewhere.

Share this content on your blog, and don’t forget to spread the word through social media and email newsletters.

Show the world your expertise!

Look out for influencers

Influencers can be your secret weapon.

Identify the movers and shakers in your field, those with a big online following.

A single tweet or a short TikTok video can be magic.

Collaborate to promote your course through guest blog posts, interviews, or by simply getting their stamp of approval.

Their endorsement will do wonders for your course’s credibility.

Use discounts and freebies effectively

There’s nothing better than a freebie or a discount.

The idea is to give people a free preview of your awesome course.

You can go one step further and offer them a free ebook or host a webinar and give them a taste of what they can get by enrolling in your course.

Don’t stop here.

Create a buzz with special discounts for early birds.

People love a good deal, and it’ll encourage them to jump on board.

Take advantage of email marketing

Emails that are creative and precise are extremely powerful.

It is a good idea to start building an email list of people who are interested in what you have to offer. Make it a habit to give them a regular update of the most valuable information.

Craft engaging subject lines that will make them open your emails. Get creative and give them a glimpse of what’s inside.

Blend things well and include tempting offers about your course. You’ll be blown away by the results.

Collaborate with other creators

Get in touch with other course creators and join forces with them.

See if there are those who offer courses in complementary niches and see if there is a possibility to collaborate with them.

Consider co-hosting webinars, creating joint content, or even offering special bundle deals with your partners.

By joining forces, you will be able to reach a new audience and give your course an additional boost.

Testimonials are gold

testimonial are gold

Share how existing learners feel about your courses.

Put those glowing testimonials on your website, landing page, or social media profiles and display them so that everyone can see them.

A genuine response from a satisfied learner builds trust and encourages others to join in.

Make sure that you are active in the communities where your target audience hangs out online.

Help others by sharing your knowledge, answering their questions, and being helpful.

It is always great to have a link to your course in your signature or profile, so you can share it with the world.

Remember, promoting your online course requires time and effort.

Make sure you are consistent, try different strategies, and keep an eye on what’s working and what’s not.

Final thoughts

The online learning industry is worth billions of dollars and there’s a place for everyone.

Whether you’re a musician, chef, educator, athlete, or anyone with a burning passion to share your knowledge and experience, there’s a spot for you too.

The best way to kickstart your journey is by building your very own online course website.

Don’t worry if you’re new to all this. Our in-depth tutorial is here to guide you through the process of creating your website from scratch.

We’ve got all the information you need, including the top-notch tools that add the secret sauce in your venture.

What kind of educator are you? We’d love to hear your story. Feel free to share it in the comments below.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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