Create an online course

This guide is to show you how you can create and sell an online course from conception to promotion and finally the sale. Below are the topics we’ll be covering.

  • Course creation
  • Publish and manage your courses online
  • Promote and sell your courses
  • Case example of a system you can create without any experience
  • Create an online course for free

How to Create an online course

Creating an online course can be easier than you might imagine and can be a great way to earn extra money if you treat it like a business venture. For any online course to succeed, there has to be demand for the subject, and you can use tools like Google trends to check out the level of need for your topic.

Also, writing and publishing an online course doesn’t have to be expensive to start up, but this will mean more time and effort if your budget is tight.

I’m not going to re-write the book and explain all the steps involved in writing your online content, since e-Student has an excellent, comprehensive guide on conceptualizing, writing, and publishing an online course, including a step-by-step approach that includes the below topics. Just remember when you’re searching your target audience, use keyword search tools like SEMrush and Mangools, as well as google trends.

Try Mangools’ Key word finder below.

  1. Choose Your Course Topic
  2. Identify the Target Audience
  3. Gather and Structure Your Knowledge
  4. Create an Online Course Outline
  5. Choose Your Online Course Software or Platform
  6. Create the Course Content
  7. Make Sure Your Content is Engaging
  8. Create an online Community for Your Course
  9. Gather Feedback for Your Online Course
  10. Adapt, Improve and Update

The average online training course sells for between $50 (£36.32) and $100 (£72.64), and the courses don’t have to be long and detailed, the more in-depth. The more you can charge with some courses fetching $ 1000’s.

Outsource to Fiver

If you are worried that your writing skills may not be up to scratch, don’t worry, you can outsource your whole course writing, including your sales strategy on Fiverr, for much less than you think; just take a look. (


Sell courses Online

Once you’ve created your course content, you can start to think of the ways your students can access your course online. I’ve outlined some of the mediums below. I’ll explain the merits of each in a moment, but I would suggest that in terms of reaching a wider audience, you make it available to as many as possible, provided the course material is a good fit.

  • Publish on eBooks
  • Publish on Udemy
  • Use a Hosted eCommerce learning platform
  • Use a learning management system (LMS)

Publish an eBook

Depending on your course content, you can publish this as an eBook. I’m not going to cover the steps in this guide. I’ve already written a guide on how to do this. (see my eBook guide)


Create an Udemy Course


Udemy is a Huge open online course provider, with over 40 million Students worldwide in over 180 countries and 65 languages. So, you can see that they have a massive reach in terms of potential sales.

You submit the course content is in video form, so you will have to record your training, either with yourself, by sharing your screen, or via an animated video.

Just remember to check out the competition in your field to make sure you can compete before making your video on;

If you’re going to record your training yourself, then you’re going to need a couple of bits of equipment to make this happen.


Udemy will accept video quality of 720p and above, so a good Smartphone will do the trick, just pay attention to the lighting, try to make sure you eliminate shadow. If possible, use lighting equipment, there are lots of budding amateur photographers out there, so if you can borrow some lighting equipment from a friend or colleague, then that would be beneficial; you can generally pick what you need up for around $120 US £120 UK.




Video Screen Recorder.

Although you don’t need a teleprompter, it will make life so much easier if you have one, especially if you’re recording long and continuous video. It will also save you hours of editing later if you stumble and stutter your way through the recording. You could use some free online software such as teleprompter mirror

If you’re going to record your video screen, you’ll need to use some screen recording software. If you’re using Windows 10 machine, then you have the “Xbox Gamebar” built-in.

Just type this into your search bar, then if your hardware is sufficient, you can record your screen. If not, try OBS projects free opensource software


Although you don’t need a teleprompter, it will make life so much easier if you have one, especially if you’re recording long and continuous video. It will also save you hours of editing later if you stumble and stutter your way through the recording. You could use some free online software such as teleprompter mirror


This is an area in which I wouldn’t skimp. Make sure your sound recording is sufficient since your audience needs to hear you clearly and Udemy will reject videos with poor sound. You may need to invest in a microphone, gear4Music have a good range of mic’s starting at as little as $36/ £30

The best place to record is in a confined space with plenty of soft furnishings to absorb the sound and prevent echo.


Sign Up to teach on Udemy


So now you’ve written your course content and recorded your video, it’s time to sign up to teach at Udemy. You can do this here

Once you go through the straightforward enrolment process to create an account, you can submit your video for review. If Udemy likes what they see, then you’re up and running.

Videos are a minimum of 2 hours, but the average is around 4 to 6 hours in length.

Most courses sell for around $20/£15, but once you’ve made your video, it’s up there for repeat sales; remember to review it occasionally to ensure that the information is still accurate and relevant.

Course Creator

If you want your course to be more detailed and in-depth, with more interaction with your students, you might want to considerer a learning platform that incorporates a complete course creator/builder. You can choose from two types: Hosted eCommerce or Learning Management system (LMS) plugin for WordPress. There are lots out there, but I’m just going to focus on two for each type.

The things you are looking for these to include are

  • Easy to use course builder
  • Built-in payment gateway or integration with PayPal Strip or woocommerce
  • Drip fed courses
  • Advanced assessments
  • Quizzes
  • Badges and certificates
  • Good reporting tools
  • Email responders or integration with Zappier
  • Social network for students such as Buddypress
  • Forum software for students such as bbpress

Hosted eCommerce Learning platforms.

These are hosting platforms such as Teachable.

And Thinkific specifically built to host online training. They are the Shopify for online courses rather than retail. They have many additional features, such as the ones above. These would be my platforms of choice for my teaching business since they are explicitly designed to deliver courses, and so I would expect to generate more profit and a better user experience; this makes any small additional cost worth the price.



Teachable is an excellent example of a hosted online learning platform where you can use its excellent design tools to build your course. They have lots of features and a free version that has lots of features and includes unlimited courses and third-party integration. I particularly like the fact you can integrate their domain with your website domain.

The prices are below; the first free and basic plans include a transaction fee of $1+10% for the free version and 5% for the basic, so they are not entirely free.


$29 Basic (Per month if paying annually)

$99 Pro   (Per month if paying annually)

$249 Business  (Per month if paying annually)



Thinkific is another excellent platform with great features. They also have a free version which has fewer features than Teachable. It has limited courses; however, theirs is genuinely free, and their more advanced packages have some excellent tools, making them a great choice if you want to try before you buy one of their upgraded packages.

Their pricing is below


$39 Basic (Per month if paying annually)

$79 Pro  (Per month if paying annually)

$399 Premier  (Per month if paying annually)

Hosted eCommerce Learning platforms include


Zippy Courses 






zenler zippy FTK_ACADEMY-OF-MINE (1) teachery-logo braincert skill jar pathright

Learning management system (LMS)

learndash learnpress

Learning management systems such as LearnDash and Learnpress  are very similar to hosted learning platforms; however, these are hosted on your own domain as a WordPress plugin and as such are cheaper but have many of the same features.


LearnDash has all the same features and add-ons as a hosted plan, such as

  • PayPal Sripe and woocommerce integration for payment
  • Easy to use course builder
  • Integration to social tools such as Zapier for mail lists, bbpress for forums and buddypress for social network
  • Advanced quizzes and assessments
  • Badges and certificates

Because you’re hosting this on your own Website domain, you get everything you’d get in a hosted plan, but for a lower price; however, you still have your own website/domain running costs to maintain. If you don’t have a Website yet, read my guide on Build a website (for Beginners), I’ve listed the prices for the Learndash packages below.

$159 basic ( per year)

$189 Plus ( per year)

$329 Pro (per year)


Learnpress is another LMS; however, it is open-source software designed for WordPress and is free.

It doesn’t quite have the polish that Learndash and other paid-for LMS platforms have, and there is little support for the product other than on forums. I still think it is an excellent bit of software for beginners; however, I’d be concerned that if I’m competing against other course providers, then mine might not stand up. There are some add-ons below that you can add to Learnpress for a cost; these are one-off payments and not monthly subscriptions which make it great value.

LearnPress Theme Bundle – $249

LearnPress PRO Bundle – $249

Paid Memberships Pro – $39.99

Assignments – $39.99

Frontend Editor – $39.99

Stripe add-on – $39.99

WooCommerce – $39.99

Frontend Editor – $39.99

myCRED add-on – $29.99

Announcement add-on – $29.99

Co-instructors – $29.99

Commission – $29.99

2Checkout – $29.99

Net add-on – $29.99

Random Quiz – $29.99

Co-instructors add-on – $29.99

myCRED add-on – $29.99

Collections – $19.99

Coming Soon add-on – Free

Sorting Choice – $19.99

Course Review – Free

Fill-in-blank Question – Free

Student List add-on – Free

Course Wishlist – Free

Offline Payment – Free

I have only reviewed two LMS platforms since the intention was to give you an overview of what they are and their capability. I’ve made a list of other LMS platforms you might want to consider so that you have an informed choice of which one to choose.

Promote and sell your courses

Most of the  hosted course content sites we’ve mentioned above have their own marketing campaigns which draw significant traffic; however, you’re still competing against other course providers on their sites.

It’s always good practice to do your own advertising through your website via pages and blogs. To send traffic your way, you could use Google AdSense or Facebook adverts.

For free traffic, you can use social media; the primary forms of social media and how to promote your courses on them are in the list below

Social networking sites


Image sharing sites

Video sharing sites

Discussion forums

Social networking sites

Facebook logo Twitter instagram logo snapchat logo

Social media is a brilliant way to advertise passively by commenting on users’ posts and directing them to your site or your affiliate’s site through your links. Many of these sites have specific communities that cover various topics and interests; just join a group or community that fits the topic you’re promoting best, and then interact with your users. Some sites don’t allow indirect advertising, so maybe comment on someone’s post and offer advice or mention a product you love to use; when asked more about this, you can reply with a link to that site. ( your affiliate link).

There are lots of sites social network sites out there and include








tumblr logo reddit logo plurk logoJPG twister logo

Microblogs create specific posts to encourage audience interaction and discussion; the most popular of these are Twitter, tumbler and reditt and are a great way to discuss a topic that relates to your particular niche while slipping in the odd affiliate link within the discussion. most Microblogs include audio, images, and video

My favourite is Reddit, which has over 1.5 billion subscribers; it is a mixture of social news, groups, and forums; the site divides into sub-credits, covering many subtopics for you to join in and comment on.

There are lots of Microblogs out there for you to promote your business and include








Image sharing sites.

flickr logo instagram logo pinterest logo

Image-sharing sites capture people’s imagination quickly since we all respond to visual input. The most popular image-sharing site which incorporates a social element are Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest.

These sites are a good platform for eCommerce sites to promote their products, and you will see lots of photos of products on Pinterest with a link to the merchant’s site. People use these sites to get inspiration for interior design, entertainment, fashion and beauty, and many other topics, so it is a great way to showcase your product visually.

youtube logo dailymotion logo vimeo logo metacafe logo

Video sharing sites are another excellent way for eCommerce sites and Review sites to showcase their products. A video gives you the chance to visually showcase your products and demonstrate them in action; however, because of this, competition is tough from other affiliate marketers. There are tons of unboxing and review videos out there, and if you are able to make yours stand out, then you can expect to get a great method of free advertising.

YouTube is obviously the most popular of the video sharing sites; however, there are plenty of others too, including



Facebook Watch



Discussion Forums.

reddit logo quora logo stack overflow logo gamespot logo

Just like microblogs, discussion forums are another great place to drop your affiliate links into the conversation, just pick a topic that’s relevant to your promotional product and start recommending your services. Discussion forums are full of people searching for answers to their problems which gives you the ideal opportunity to solve their problems while promoting your service.

Some of the most popular discussion forums are



Stack Overflow




If I can give you a last word of advice, try to keep most of your comments helpful and informative and not constantly referring to your products when you are on these sites and forums. Stick to maybe a 70-30% to 80 – 20% in favor of genuine advice and reflection, with a small percentage towards promoting your product, making sure to make your referrals relative to the conversation, since most sites don’t encourage direct advertising.

Case example of a course you can create without any experience.

I promised you a case study of an idea to get you started. These video tutorials can be listed on both Fiverr and Udemy; if you look on Udemy and search my first topic, Health and Safety you’ll see that many on the front page have also used animated video’s. I’m sure that with a bit of creativity; you could more than compete. However, with these kinds of videos, you can approach small and medium-sized businesses directly, which means you also get to cut out the competition.

Animated Video Courses

Video courses are one of the fastest-growing forms of online course content today: the most engaging being Animated Whiteboard and Cartoon Videos. By adding a visual representation of what you’re teaching, you’ll find that your presentation will not only be much more engaging, but your viewers will retain more of what you’re teaching. They’re not only listening and reading, but they’re also watching.

When we first started looking for ways to make extra money, and before we created our website, we toyed with the idea of creating Animated induction videos for Small to Medium businesses. These are the type of video’s that you cover when you first join a company, and some of the subjects are mandatory by law, so the demand is high and include such topics such as.

Health and Safety at work

Manual handling

Data protection

Diversity and inclusion

Racial awareness

Company ethics

Working as a team

The larger companies will create their training in-house, but most Small to medium businesses will outsource these. Also, the beauty of selling to small and medium businesses is that you don’t have to go looking for your customers online.  Most companies advertise their details so you can pitch them directly without having to compete for their attention.

Take a look at our Websites home page, and you’ll see that we created a Whiteboard Animation video for matched betting by using software from Doodly 

We had no prior experience of this, and you can create a video like the one below in less than 1 hour

Doodly offer two plans, Starter and Enterprise, with the below prices for their software

$49 (£35.60) to $69 (£50.13) per month or $240 (£174.36) to $480 (355.25) if paid annually

I find whiteboard video’s the most engaging; however, there are cheaper alternatives, such as the animated video creator below.

doodly-logo-white-bg vidtoon

VidToon  One-time payment of $49 (£35.60)

You  might be worried about using your voice on your videos, but again you can also outsource this on Fiverr

if you want to use a cheaper option, you can use one of the many text-to-voice software, such as the one below.

Voicely One-time payment of $49 (£35.60)


Speechelo One-time payment of $47 (£34.14)


If you decide to make and sell an online training course, please let us know how you get on, and we will be happy to promote this for you

Contact us at

Good luck!