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Online Education

5 Tips for Creating Your First (Successful) Online Course

Think you have nothing to teach? Think again. Your website analytics will pinpoint exactly what you should turn into a course.
5 Tips for Creating Your First (Successful) Online Course
Image credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The internet has provided us with a lot of benefits over the years, and one of them is the ability for anyone, anywhere, to learn a new skill. No longer do you have to enroll in an expensive university course to learn a new subject or grow your skills; today, there’s a ton of online courses available. You can even create your own.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Get Serious About Online Education

Creating an online course is a great way to level-up your blog or website. With an online course, you can not only present yourself as a leader in your industry but make passive income from your website. In fact, according to Statista, the elearning market worldwide is forecast to surpass $243 billion by 2022. But, how exactly do you build a course that others will rush to sign up for?

Here are five tips for doing just that:

Pick the right subject.

Choosing a subject for your online course isn’t as simple as picking your favorite topic and diving in head-first. What you really need to do to choose your course topic is to determine what problem your target audience members face on a regular basis -- then help them solve it.

Related: Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Education Entrepreneur

For instance, if you’re really interested in budgeting but your blog or website is all about social media marketing, will a budgeting course be successful for you? Probably not. But, if your audience is coming to you for tips on social media marketing, a social media marketing course is one they’ll want to take.

Not sure what the most pressing problem is for your audience? Have a look at your website analytics to find out what your most popular content should be. Your most popular posts will indicate what your audience wants to learn.

Don’t start "from scratch."

After you’ve chosen your winning course topic, it’s time to get started on creating the content. But don’t start from scratch! If you’ve chosen the right topic, you should already have relevant content on your blog; so repurpose it.

Obviously, your course shouldn’t duplicate the content your audience gets on your blog for free; otherwise, you’ll have a ton of dissatisfied customers wanting their money back. The point is to take the successful content you’ve already written and expand upon it. Repurposing and deepening existing content will save you time by presenting your course's blueprint. 

Take your most popular content and expand upon it to create an in-depth, engaging learning experience.

Add visual and interactive content.

While plain text with a few images sprinkled in works for your blog posts, it won’t work for an online course. Your online course needs to be engaging; and if you're asking people to pay for it, it needs to offer more than your typical blog posts. That’s why extra visual and interactive content is called for.

Consider adding interactive quizzes, worksheets, templates, video tutorials or slideshows to liven up your online course. Not only will your students be impressed by what they’re learning, they’ll have fun doing it and be wowed by the extra elements you took the time to add.

Keep it simple.

Now you might be wondering how to deliver your online course and how users will access it. The answer is that there’s no need to create a complicated online portal. Especially if this is your first time creating an online course, you're better off keeping it simple. And the good news is that there are easy ways to deliver your course that won’t require restructuring or redesigning your entire website.

For instance, you could provide your course entirely through email. You could structure your email course to automatically send one email per day, "Lesson No. 1" on the first day and so on. You could also create a file bundle that people download right from your site that has everything they need to follow along at their own pace.

Market your course.

Once you’ve pulled together your online course, don't just put it on your website and expect it to sell. You’ve got to promote it to get people signing up like crazy. After all, the more people that know about your course, the more revenue you can generate.

Create a blog post announcing your online course and send out emails to your subscribers. Plus, market your course across social media, not just to your website visitors.

As soon as you get enrollments, ask your students for testimonials. Using social proof from satisfied customers is one of the most effective ways to generate more sales. According to studies reported on in Psychology Today, to learn what is correct, people look at what other people are doing. So, if users see that others are loving your online course, that information will help them make the decision to sign up too.

Related: 6 Companies That Are Teaching Educators What Good 'Disruption' Means

Over to you.

Don’t underestimate yourself: You have more than enough knowledge and skills to teach others something valuable. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start creating yours! With these tips for creating a successful online course, you’ll be able to share your expertise and make awesome passive income while you’re at it.

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