Online education has secured a robust foothold in our contemporary society, serving as a convenient bridge between eager learners and esteemed educators globally. Today, the learning landscape is abundant with opportunities, allowing anyone to master professional skills or delve into new hobbies, all from the comfort of their homes. And for those possessing valuable skills, this digital learning ecosystem presents an incredible platform to impart your knowledge to others while earning substantial income. Hence, it’s no surprise that the global online learning industry is projected to soar to $100 billion this year, with expectations to double in the next five years.
As an online course creator, comprehending the mechanics of constructing marketable, user-friendly courses is crucial to ensure both you and your students reap maximum benefits.
Typically, launching an online course or school involves several key factors:
- Crafting an engaging landing page
- Utilizing an intuitive learning platform
- Effective marketing strategies
- Course creation and content development.
In this guide, we will primarily concentrate on elements related directly to the website, the landing page, and the learning platform.
Promoting courses – a fascinating subject in itself – incorporates audience engagement, sales funnel creation, free content distribution, demo lessons or mini-courses, and targeted social media advertising. We promise to delve into this topic in a separate article soon 🙂
Meanwhile, feel free to reach out to us via this form, and we’ll assist you in formulating a dynamic marketing plan to promote your courses.
Recently, I embarked on a journey to establish my own online school with the aim of periodically uploading diverse courses as time permits. Besides the standard requisites of aesthetically pleasing design and user-friendliness, my site construction entailed several additional requirements:
- Easy transition from one domain to another: A scalable solution was imperative to enable posting lessons in different languages across multiple sites without overlap among the target audiences. Ideally, managing these sites from a single admin panel was my goal for a streamlined process in the future.
- Flexible, universal payment acceptance: A solution that supports Stripe payments for an English-speaking audience, Internet acquiring for payments from other countries, and future support for cryptocurrency payments in regions where other methods may not work.
- Versatility in website creation: Rather than resorting to a conventional website builder like Tilda, I sought a flexible template that could accommodate a range of courses with minor cosmetic modifications.
- Affordable, efficient scalability: The goal was to minimize concerns about video storage and access duration for students. Opting for cheap video storage, hosting, and streaming that guarantee fast, reliable performance.
- Full control over the site files and learning platform: To circumvent potential issues faced by various online brands like Shopify when operating in different countries, I aimed to create a solution where all files reside on my hosting, ensuring complete security as the school owner.
These points align well with the needs of most online schools, offering flexibility, affordability, and control over the platform – elements critical to any successful venture.
After surveying all available platforms, it became evident that no existing solution offered the requisite flexibility and autonomy. Hence, the decision was clear – it’s time to construct our own online schools!
Course of Action
Now comes the exciting part – the creation of an online course. For this, we’ll use my case study – startups-academy.com as a reference.
- Crafting the Design and Structure
For this, the right inspirations can work wonders. It’s essential to identify successful projects and analyze their design strategies. For my online school, I adapted a successful model in the Canadian market to suit my target audience: tech-savvy individuals aged 25 to 45, seeking either to optimize their business or learn useful skills.
Structure is equally vital. Here’s the blueprint I employed:
- The Landing Page: This displays the course title, a compelling offer, and a call to action, providing a comprehensive course summary right on the landing page.
- Instructor and Work Samples: A brief introduction about myself to immediately personalize user interactions, and some insight into my credentials as an instructor.
- Course Relevance and Learning Outcomes: Detailed profiles of the course’s target audience and clear outlines of the skills and knowledge they can acquire from the course.
- Testimonials: Genuine feedback from previous students to provide a human touch and add credibility to the course.
- Course Preview: An introductory lecture or promotional video to familiarize users with the course content and teaching style.
- Course Content: A comprehensive course outline. By this point, users would have gathered enough information about the course and would be ready to delve into the detailed program.
- Contact Form/FAQs: Technical sections providing additional information.
- Payment Section: The final segment allowing users to make the payment.
This framework allows for an informative, well-structured landing page. And because the site is custom-designed, it ensures optimal functionality across all screen sizes, an advanced UI/UX, and attractive animations.
The sections are programmed to be easily repositioned on the page or have their content modified, facilitating swift course creation.
- CMS and Payment System
A CMS (Content Management System) facilitates content editing and provides ready-to-use extensions, eliminating the need to code from scratch. For instance, a basic extension for an online store allows product creation and facilitates the purchase process.
I selected WordPress as the CMS due to its popularity and the availability of numerous user-friendly extensions. Its open-source nature ensures that we can host all files on our own servers, maintaining exclusive ownership of the entire site code.
For the payment system, I opted for WooCommerce because it supports a vast array of payment systems and even crypto payments. Each payment system has its own registration process. For instance, Stripe requires your business data and promptly allows you to begin accepting payments. You’ll be ready to accept payments in a matter of minutes.
- Constructing the Learning Portal
Following a successful payment, the user should have immediate access to the learning platform. I use a WooCommerce extension called Sensei Pro for this purpose.
The platform includes comprehensive learning functionalities such as quizzes, interactive videos, and content access control for users. Additionally, it enables automatic course enrollment for users upon purchase through WooCommerce. Perfect!
Here’s a sneak peek of the platform’s user interface – link.
- Video Hosting
Next, you need to determine the optimal platform for hosting your course videos. The chosen platform should restrict video viewing to your domain only, provide high-quality, fast video content, and be cost-effective in terms of storage and delivery.
Kinescope.io was the best match for me. It offers relatively cheap storage, charges a nominal fee for direct video delivery to the user, and for storage. This enables providing lifetime access to your course videos without incurring significant monthly costs. Moreover, the service ensures video protection from unauthorized downloading and distribution.
- Additional Features
WordPress offers remarkable flexibility, allowing you to incorporate any functionality into your site. Here are a few features that might be beneficial for an online school:
- Messenger Integration: This feature sends notifications directly to Telegram when a course is purchased or a form is filled out, facilitating dynamic communication with users.
- Multisite Creation: Allows managing multiple sites on different domains from a single admin panel, ensuring efficient and convenient code maintenance.
- Platform Integration: WordPress supports nearly all CRM and marketing services, allowing tailored usage according to your needs.
- Telegram Bot Creation: Provides access to free tutorials, making it an effective channel for user engagement and marketing message distribution.
Ultimately, we have a platform that completely fulfills our objectives. It is user-friendly, cost-effective, offers immense flexibility, and guarantees exclusive code ownership.
Interested in implementing this solution for your online school?
Click here now to learn how we can empower you to build a successful online school!