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One of the best ways to start your own business is to sell online courses from your website.

You have knowledge that can help you create videos and eBooks. People who want to learn are waiting for your help, and selling from your own website is the easiest way to make it happen. 

Creating your own ecourse is surprisingly simple, and this article will walk you through the essential steps for selling online courses.

Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website: How to Succeed

1. Creating an ecourse
2. Sell video courses online
3. Sell online courses from your own website easily and quickly
4. Build a custom website
5. How to sell an online course

Online courses are more popular than ever. According to Statista, the global elearning market should bring in 243 billion USD by 2022. 

An important note: While you can absolutely sell your courses on a marketplace like Udemy or Teachable, there are major benefits to selling your work directly from your own site.

Some people prefer to sell online courses from complex learning management systems. But a website is effective and less complicated. There’s no need to invest in something complex when a simple website has everything you need.

A man focuses while working to sell online courses from your own website

Selling from an online platform you can control interactions with your potential and existing customers. You have the most control and independence. When you sell online courses from your own website you also keep a far greater percentage of your sales. 

Your course content won’t be limited by one-size-fits-all templates or marketing guidelines. You have the chance to connect your audience with your brand and build an email list of people who want to hear more from you. 

Online courses can be anything you want them to be. That’s exciting, but also a little overwhelming, so we’ve put together a guide to creating and selling an ecourse on your site.

1. Creating an ecourse

When you sell online courses from your website, your audience can easily access it anytime they’re ready to learn. That leaves you with a lot of different options for your ecourse.

Do you want to offer the option to meet one-on-one or with comprehensive video courses? Do you want to create an eBook of worksheets or do you want to share learning materials with your  students a little bit at a time? 

The best option gives your students a chance to learn at a pace that works for them, at different price points to optimize your revenue.

Choose a topic

Think about your professional experience and history. What content will help your target audience? You also need your ecourse to be original. You’ll want to use your personal journey. 

Why? Personal stories are more engaging and believable. They show your audience that you know what you are talking about by showing them why and how you are ready to teach this subject.

A quick tip: Another important quality in a great ecourse is someone who is passionate about teaching. 

It’s easy for some to perform in a video or create a great eBook, but it’s important to build community and engage your students to keep them hooked on your class. It’s not enough to be smart about your topic.

A man researches competitors as he learns how to sell online courses

Before you nail down your topic, do some research on what is already out there. Look at potential competitors. Some great places to start include YouTube educators and Facebook groups in your niche. 

Think about how your story and unique perspective can help you to stand out. Then, get creative and come up with at least 10 online course ideas. You might create a course for every idea or create just one ecourse from the list. 

Either way, if you want to make money, creating an ecourse is about meeting a need. Don’t just start with the course that sounds like it’s the most fun to teach. Fun is important, of course! But if there isn’t demand, you’ll have a hard time selling your ecourse.

Read more:

7 Reasons to Create and Sell Online Courses
How To Teach Online Classes (and Make a Side Income)

Set your price

As you complete your competitor research, take a look at how much other instructors are charging and how they package their courses. This can help you set your course at the right price. 

Students’ desire to learn and their ability to pay won’t always match up. So, you’ll need to really think about your primary audience when choosing a price for your ecourse.

It’s also a good idea to take similar online courses. This can help you understand how comprehensive your course will need to be for your desired price point. It will also help you figure out how to make your online course even better. The more value you offer, the more you can charge!

Come up with your course title

It’s easier to sell a specific course than a broad course. Be specific.

For example, an online course called “Introduction to Guitar Performance” could be an advanced or beginner guitar course. It’s tough to tell. “How to Talk in Performance and Introduce Your Tunes in Style” is a better course title because it is specific about what the course teaches.

A developer coding online is actally taking an online course from an online platform

Another example is “Programming for Everybody” vs. “Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python).” 

Both are appealing to an audience, but the former gives you a clear idea of what the course will cover and what skill level the course is aiming for.

If you’re looking for help, this generator could give you some inspiration. 

You may also want to look at one of these articles with tips for book titles:

Choosing a Title for Your eBook: Why Book Titles are Powerful Marketing Tools
Book Title Ideas: How to Choose the Perfect Title for Your Book 

Create your ecourse

You already understand the pain points, doubts and concerns in your niche. 

Your courses should teach your students lessons that touch on those pain points. Start with the desired outcomes and then work backward.

Real estate is a complex topic, so start with outcomes and work backward when creating an ecourse

For example, if you’re teaching a course on how to get your real estate license, don’t start with acing the final exam. Take a closer look at what stops aspiring agents from starting the mandatory education or learning about real estate investments. Then, help them with each obstacle they might face along the way.

Keep it simple

Your course needs to be simple and clear. It is tempting to add a little bit of everything, but there’s a reason you came up with a specific course title. Your audience will have a better learning experience if you keep it simple and focused on the specific topic.

You may also come up with new great ideas as you create your course. Save those for later unless they immediately relate to your course topic. If you try to put everything you know into a single course there’s a good chance you’ll overwhelm your audience.

Structure your ecourse

Create a structure and then organize your ecourse around it. Your structure should include your top objectives and outcomes. Then, outline the individual lessons that contribute to achieving each outcome.

Then, think about the most efficient way to deliver your content. Get to know different learning preferences to provide the best possible training for your students. 

For instance, short videos (2-5 minutes) can help keep easily distracted students engaged for longer periods of time.

You’ll want to create content in multiple formats including: 

Give yourself the time you’ll need to create the best possible course. It can help to set small daily goals instead of trying to do it all at once.

Nail down the visuals

Your online course needs to inspire the imagination of your students while also helping them understand what your course is about. Many buyers skim copy online, but they pay attention to visuals, and are more likely to remember a visual image

There are many different ways you can visually communicate what your online course is about

A good image for your online course is professional and attractive while giving your viewers a chance to get a first impression of you. Look at the images from your competitor research for ideas. Here are a few elements of a good product image for your ecourse:

  • Make the title easy to read
  • Find a way to create something approachable but unique with the resources you have
  • Get permissions for any photos or illustrations you use
  • Simple is best

You can always hire someone to help create images for you. You could try a freelance designer or illustrator to help you make something unique.

This is also a good time to start thinking about your brand, and what colors and logo you plan to use to promote your business.

Extra reading:
The Essential Brand Voice Template for Business 

2. Sell video courses online

One of the most crucial parts of any exceptional course is captivating visuals. So, no matter what you’re teaching, you’ll want to create a course online with interesting audio and video content. Again, you’ll want to keep it simple.

Think about who your course is for. Do they need step-by-step on screen instruction? If yes, recording your screen is a great way to share step-by-step instructions visually. 

Are your students in your industry mostly extroverts? If yes, they may find live sessions more appealing than video instruction because it’s more interactive.

High-value online courses are often video-based. That’s because video has a higher perceived value by customers. This makes it easier for you to ask for the price you deserve.

Audio quality is also important for online courses. You may have experienced a quiet teacher in classrooms before. That’s frustrating, but poor sound quality in a digital course is even tougher for online learners. Be sure to grab a quality microphone for your set up before you start recording.

Want to sell video courses online? This couple work together to keep their videos engaging

Something to try: 

Not every online instructor is into writing. If you find yourself getting stuck as you write out the content for your course, think about using video to create your content instead. You can use Zoom or Google Hangouts to record your lessons and those videos can become your course. 

Read more: How to Sell Videos Online for Profit 

And here are a few of our favorite tools for video editing and more:

Adobe Spark
38 Online Course Creation Tools That Keep It Lean

Now you have a finished ecourse that’s ready to sell! You’ll want someone you trust to be critical but kind to look over your online course and remove any confusing sections or errors. Find someone objective. Then, try not to take offense if they suggest removing or changing major sections of your online course.

Remember: Simple and clear are what matters while creating your ecourse.

3. Sell online courses from your own website easily and quickly

There are many ways to sell courses online. You can sell it through an online marketplace, course software, WordPress plugins, learning management system or your own website. The best decision? Sell online courses from your website! 

It’s easy to underestimate how complex it is to start a business. Many online platforms encourage you to add a ton of plugins and expensive tools. That process can be so overwhelming that many incredible instructors stop and never get their course online. 

But what you really need is to get the tech stuff done fast. This way you can just start selling your online course.

A business owner preps online to sell online courses from his website

So, now it’s time to create a website and add your online courses.

Using simple tools in the Selz dashboard, upload your digital course files with an image for your course. Add a description, set the price, and then add your new ecourse to your online store.

Selz has many useful features to sell online courses from your website:

  • Quick set up 
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth
  • Rent or sell streaming video
  • Instant and automatic digital delivery
  • Secure, expiring download links
  • 24/7 customer support
  • PDF stamping to personalize each copy with your buyer’s name for extra security
  • Easily add buy buttons or embed your entire selection of courses on your WordPress site or blog
  • Free SSL certificate for content and payment security
  • Powerful integrations for easy email marketing, accounting and more
  • Securely processes credit card and PayPal payments without changing your site
  • Easy to use analytics
  • Simple and quick checkout for your customers
  • Option to download to Dropbox or Kindle is quick and simple for your students to understand 

Sign up for your free 14-day trial yourself to start selling from your website with Selz.

4. Build a custom website

Now that you’ve added your ecourse to Selz you can start selling your course immediately from your WordPress or Blogger blog. You can also post your new ecourse directly to platforms like Twitter and Pinterest for purchase. 

But the focus of this article is selling from your own website, so we’re going to walk through what your site needs to connect with your niche and convert to online course sales.

It’s easy to get so caught up in how your site looks that you forget how it needs to work. And honestly, it’s much easier to create a beautiful site than it is to build a site that’s easy for your students to use!

You may be more familiar with online learning portals with access to course materials. These are convenient for students who are already familiar with the portal you choose. That said, for many students these portals feel complicated and confusing to navigate. 

Before you start building your site, it’s a good idea to list out what kind of pages you will need to add to your website to sell online courses:

Home page

Make it easy to navigate to different parts of your site.  This way your students can access their downloads, new course offerings and the main pages of your site, depending on what is most helpful to them.

Blog

Using the Selz store builder, you can add a blog to your site for free. You can use the blog to build SEO for your site. 

You can also write unique blogs for each course. In each blog, you can talk about how your course can resolve the pain points your students may be feeling at each point of their buyer journey. Then, add links so it’s easy for your readers to make a purchase. 

Product pages

Once your initial online course is live, think about how you can add to it to really sell the value of your course. Selz makes it easy to add a video to your product listing, which is very appealing to students who may want a better idea of your teaching style.

A young man builds a website to sell online courses

About page

Many students choose a course because of the reputation of the teacher. Your About page is an opportunity to share your credentials and professional acuity. It is an essential tool for showing students who you are and why they can trust you.

Before you start sharing your new website, ask some friends or colleagues to test out the user experience of your new site. Look for the same kind of person you asked to proofread your course. 

You’ll probably have many versions of your site, always improving the experience for your students, but it’s always a good idea to get a second set of eyes before you launch!

5. How to sell an online course

It’s time to promote your new online course. Get ready to put in some serious time on your marketing. You have complete control over the way you market and sell your online courses, and your ability to drive visitors to your new website will be a major factor in determining your success.

Read more: 10 Proven Marketing Ideas for Course Creators 

A man focuses on his marketing, which is key if you're learning how to sell online courses

One way to do this is by creating a landing page for your niche using popular keywords. You can use your Selz theme to create an attractive page for collecting emails from potential students, then send targeted emails to get them to sign up for your course. 

Pay-per-click advertising can help drive interest and traffic to your landing page from the first day you launch!

Another great way to generate emails and interest is a lead magnet. Consider giving away a free eBook or student success case study to build interest. The aim is to get someone interested enough to land on your website and to then consider buying your online course.

Use social media channels like LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest to connect with your audience. Also, be sure to set up abandoned cart emails. These can help you build a relationship with students who haven’t finished their purchase and may need a little nudge to get started.

Check out this excellent source of practical marketing ideas just for course creators.

Wrapping up

Creating your own online course is a lot of work, but it’s also a really rewarding way to share your knowledge while increasing your passive income. 

Creating and selling an online course on your own website takes a little more investment than adding your content into a marketplace. But the control, flexibility and independence it gives you to promote and shape your online courses will pay off in the long run.

Ready to get started, but not sure you want to do it on your own? We can help with that too. Start selling your ecourse online today.

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.