In this article, I’ll show you the five most important elements or steps, you need to know before selling online courses on WordPress. With these elements, you’ll be able to design your own online course hosting website from scratch and can sell as many courses as you want.
To sell online courses on WordPress, you need the following elements. The top six elements are mandatory while the other two are optional.
- Domain name– Namecheap/GoDaddy
- Web Hosting– Bluehost/HostGator/SiteGround
- WordPress LMS plugin by LearnDash
- Video Hosting– YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia
- Payments– PayPal/Stripe
- Email-marketing service– Mailchimp/ConvertKit
- Google Analytics
- Integrations with Zapier or Automate.io
The very first element, you need to get started with selling courses online is a nice domain name. This is the name of your online school or your course website. For example, myschool.com or something that matches your course offering. You can get a domain name from Namecheap or GoDaddy.
After getting a domain name, the other obvious thing is to get web hosting. This is where you are going to install WordPress. Because a lot of people think that WordPress is just all you need to get started and it’s free to create an account on it and use it. But WordPress is just one of the main elements.
WordPress originally was just a blogging platform which typically used to create websites. However, over the years it becomes a robust content management system for building not only websites or blogs but also to create an e-commerce store, and now people can create an online hosting website to publish and sell online courses.
The popular web hosting provider for WordPress is Bluehost, you can go for other options also like Siteground, and HostGator and there are a lot of players out there but Bluehost is a great place to start because it is what “Recommended by WordPress.org since 2005″ and is affordable.
WordPress LMS plugin: LearnDash
WordPress by itself is not enough to host online courses, you need what is called a learning management system which is a type of plugin on WordPress. Without this plug-in, you cannot host and sell online courses. The most popular and widely used WordPress learning management plugin is LearnDash. You can easily install this plugin by simply searching it or you can upload and then install it.
This plugin allows you to take student registrations, to create chapters and lessons, you can also create quizzes and assignments, and basically everything that you need to run your online school.
After setting up your website and installing the necessary plugins, you need to host your course videos on a third-party platform that is specific to the video hosting. Because most web hosts
don’t allow you or are not optimized to deliver video. The three popular options for video hosting are YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia. YouTube is free but there’s an issue with YouTube, that it is not designed to host online courses, it is designed to host public videos or tutorials kind of things.
There are three modalities when you’re publishing your YouTube video.
- You can either make it public which is searchable by the entire world.
- You can make it private which means it’s only available to you or to anybody that is signed with your account.
- You can make it unlisted, that means it’s not searchable on the web but anybody who has the link can direct access to your YouTube videos for free
If you don’t have the budget to pay for a video hosting company then YouTube is the best option but it has several downsides.
It’s highly recommended that you choose something like Vimeo or Wistia because they allow you to protect your video links. So if somebody tries to access your course link from other sites other than yours’ then you can protect it as they cannot see it or download that video of a particular course.
Once you upload your video lectures onto the video hosting company then you have to embed it inside your lectures, and learning management system.
Now another thing, you need is a way to collect money on course purchases. For that, you need to create an account on either PayPal or Stripe which are the two most typical payment processing systems, and then you have to integrate with your learning management system.
Now, with these five elements, you can start hosting and selling online courses using WordPress. There are other useful elements also like email- automation tools, google analytics, Zapier, and Automate.io. These are optional but very helpful and a lot of people use as well to increase sales and grow more audience.
You can use email automation by integrating with either ConvertKit, MailChimp, or active campaigner Infusionsoft. With this, you’re able to send marketing emails to your students, you can build your email list to promote courses
You should build an email list or have somebody to promote your course. If you have already a huge audience on social media or something like that you need a way to promote your courses and usually email marketing software is the way to do that by integrating it with your learning management system.
With Google Analytics, you can see how your webpages and your landing pages are performing in terms of where the traffic is coming from, what’s happening with that traffic, and the behavior of the users visiting your website. You can also see how specifically well your landing pages are converting, if you’re sending people from your email the list you want to know how these visitors are behaving and whether they’re converting into paid customers or not. You can do that through analytics like Google Analytics or Mixpanel and there are many different analytics tools.
You can also integrate with something like Zapier or Automate.io to connect with thousands of third-party tools and can automate repetitive tasks.
This is not as easy as it looks. Most people think that just installing WordPress and uploading videos on it and then selling it, make them millionaires. You have to do all the hard work before selling online courses. Once your website is set-up and when you understand the entire system, then it becomes very easy for you to work on.