How To Create an Online Course? (Full Guide)

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Are you planning to launch your own online course? 

That is a great decision, you are joining an industry that is worth 315 billion dollars, and is expected to grow a lot in the next few years.

So now is the perfect time to set up your online course business. 

But the real problem is: how to launch your first online course? How to get started?

Publishing your online course might be the last (and the most exciting) stage of its entire journey. Still, there are months of research, planning, and recording lessons behind the scenes.

I have been a course creator since 2016, and I know that it’s no easy drill. 

But I am also to tell you that it’s possible. It’s easy if you follow the exact process that I used to create 56 courses, which has helped me generate $1,615,000 in revenue. 

So how to create an online course successfully?

Here is the 10-step formula to create an online course:

  • Choose the right course topic
  • Choose your main value proposition
  • Validate your course idea
  • Create an online course outline
  • Brand your online school
  • Record and edit your videos
  • Pick the perfect online course hosting platform
  • Craft a high-converting sales page
  • Price your course the right way
  • Launch and promote your course

Let’s now dive into the details of each step, one by one. 

#1: Choose the right course topic

It would help if you researched in advance to launch a successful course. Because if you don’t, three things happen:

  • You publish a course nobody wants to buy.
  • You waste your time and effort on something that’s not sellable.
  • You lose your hope (or motivation) to continue.

All of these things are hurtful. Therefore, it’s better to invest some time to find a viable course idea that is profitable. 

I like to find out new course ideas using three methods:

  • Google Search: If you type a search term and see a few online courses on the topic, it’s a good sign. It signals a profitable idea because other course creators are also selling it.
  • Keyword Research: Keyword research gives you the exact numbers. Search for your course idea on your favorite keyword research tool and see the monthly search volume. If it’s high, many people search for this term and want to learn more.
  • Online forums: People often share their concerns in online communities. I keep an eye on groups where my target audience is. It’s my favorite way to find new course ideas.

One of these methods will help you find a viable online course idea; once you have it move on to the next step.

#2: Choose your main value proposition

There are millions of online course creators and thousands in your niche. So how will you ensure that your students take your course, not theirs? How will you make your course stand out?

That’s right! Your unique value proposition. 

It’s precisely the unique aspect that only your course can offer and no one else. 

In addition to uniqueness, your MVP helps students figure out what they will learn if they sign up for your course.  

Writing the main value proposition is an overwhelming exercise for many. Still, it’s not for you if you follow this simple formula:

“After completing this course, you will be able to…” + Verb + What students will do + How they will do it.”

Here are a few of my favorite examples using this formula:

  • After completing this course, you can build a complete website with Python.
  • After completing this course, you will lose 40 pounds in 30 days.

#3: Validate your course idea

After picking a course idea and determining your course’s unique selling point, you might want to confirm if “this” is the course people are willing to pay dollars for. 

Why? Because methods mentioned in step #1 will give little information about a course idea’s profitability. 

Now that you have the exact product idea to sell, now is an excellent time to confirm if it’s the right thing to invest time and effort. 

I’ve tried asking groups, creating polls, and other ways to validate a course idea. The perfect method is to pre-sell it. 

Go ahead and set up a landing page to sell your course idea, drive some traffic to it, and see if people are buying it or not.

Even if you get ten sales – it’s a good signal to keep going. 

Because, if nobody buys, you’ll save yourself from creating an unsuccessful course.   

#4: Create an online course outline

Now is the time to get things flowing fast. You already know your course idea is sellable; all you need to do is create a brilliant course that will get results.

Most online course creators struggle to record their first course; this is the trickiest part of an entire course creation process. Do you know why?

Because they start recording their course without planning, they’re still trying to figure out what to do next after recording the introduction video. 

If you plan out your course structure first, you’ll be able to record course lessons much faster and more organized. So, prepare an outline with an overall course plan and a detailed lesson description.

#5: Brand your online school

You might wonder if branding comes later. But no, it doesn’t. 

Your brand is much more likely to be recognized if it’s used consistently in courses and social media promotion. 

To use branding consistently across these places, it’s essential to take time and build a brand in advance. Such that you can use a familiar brand everywhere. 

You would want a brand that sticks around for a long time. To build a long-lasting brand, choose brand colors that evoke emotions and pick a memorable domain name. 

#6: Record and edit your videos

So far, you’ve set up the skeleton of your online course. Now is the time to work on the real stuff. That is, record your course video lessons. 

Make sure of two things here: video and audio. Both of these will have the power to make or break your course. So, pay special attention – you want your videos to be high quality and audible. 

Since you’re pre-recording everything, you get the freedom to record a lesson as many times as you want. So if you feel you’ve made a mistake go ahead and re-record it. 

But don’t get too worked up on tiny things; a few mistakes are human nature and can be good. However, to avoid significant errors get professional help and edit your videos. 

#7: Pick the perfect online course hosting platform

Now you have a lot of content, and you need a place to organize it all in the proper order. 

Find a reliable and beginner-friendly online course hosting platform that allows you to easily upload this material in a sequence. 

Remember your students while choosing a platform; find one that provides a user-friendly interface where they can access the course easily.  

#8: Craft a high-converting sales page

You may have created the best course on the internet, but if you don’t tell your students about it, they will not buy it. You need a page to display all the qualities of your course.

Your students will convert only after reading your sales page. That’s why having a high-converting sales page is essential. 

Here are my best tips for writing an online course sales page:

  • Design an eye-catching course thumbnail.
  • Write a compelling course title.
  • List your course core benefits.
  • Include students’ reviews as proof.
  • Add a FAQ section to answer any questions they might have.
  • Always add a call to action.

#9: Price your course the right way

A part of your online course conversion rate will depend on its pricing. So be smart when pricing your course. 

First, determine the market rate, so you only charge not too high and not too low. Google your course idea and see how others are pricing it. 

Once you get an idea, decide which pricing option you want. You can choose to have: 

  • One-time pricing: students pay an amount and get full course access.
  • Membership plan: students will have to pay a monthly fee to access your courses (this is a good option if you plan to launch many courses.)
  • Bundle pricing: you can bundle and sell all your courses for a considerable amount.

The best for beginners is to go with the one-time pricing option. I told you the other two if you want to try in the future.

#10: Launch and promote your course

Here’s the most awaited step. Hitting the publish button. 

Pressed it? Good. 

Now, wait for the sales to come. But, is it that easy? While it may be an ideal situation, that’s not what happens in real life. 

To get your course some students you will need to promote it and put it in front of people. Why? Because they don’t know that you’ve published a course, and the only legit way to let them know is to tell them.

So, go ahead and share your new online course landing page in all places your audience might be. You want to start with your social media channels, email list, and Facebook groups, and answer questions on Quora. 

Promotion is not a one-time thing. Since you’re starting as an online course creator, few people know about it. That’s why you need to keep telling new people about your course if you want to keep bringing in new students. 

Conclusion: How to Create an Online Course?

I just shared with you my 10-step process of creating a successful online course. 

If you take advantage of all and follow them in the correct order, you will create a course that people actually want to buy, and I think you will have a much higher chance of creating a successful course. 

Even if your first course is a small success, a few sales will give you the motivation to keep moving. Once you have been in the space for a while, you will start understanding the patterns and build a profitable business. 

So, you need to do two things: Get started and stick around. 

I started creating courses in 2016 but was not successful in the first year. It took me many years, failures, and hard work to build this business. 

But it was worth it because I can show myself as an example that it’s doable. So I’m glad to tell my story and help new course creators to start their businesses.

So, it’s your turn to start an online course business. Go and start creating your course today.

I’ve put together a complete guide on creating an online course, detailing the process from start to finish: How To Create an Online Course? (Complete Guide, includes Free PDF).

I hope you found this post helpful and that it gave you concrete steps to follow to create an online course.

I want to thank Jay Fulgencio, Ph.D. for the opportunity to share this here. 

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Vasco Cavalheiro Founder & Online Course Creator

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