Online courses have become very popular since the last few years. Many people nowadays prefer to learn things online from their homes instead of attending classes which has increased the popularity of online courses. In this post you will know how you can earn money by creating and selling online courses.
What are online courses?
Online courses are the digital courses, which are viewed on the computers, smartphones and tablets as opposed to attending them physically in the classroom. Online courses are also called as eCourses or e-courses which means electronic courses.
Why online courses?
You should consider creating and selling online courses for the following reasons:-
(1) You get passive income. Once you create an online course, you do not need to do anything else. You just need to promote it and the sales would come. You may need to update the course sometimes, if required.
(2) Online courses are easy to create. It just takes more time than eBooks. You do not need any specialized technical knowledge or complex software to create them.
(3) People are preferring to learn online on their computers, smartphones and tablets from the comfort of their homes instead of attending classes so the demand for online courses is increasing. The online learning industry is expected to grow even more in the future.
(4) It saves your time, as you do not need to teach the same thing every time to different students. You do not need to go anywhere to teach or you do not need your own space for conducting classes. You just create the course once and put it for sale. It can then be viewed by any number of students at different times after purchase.
It is also good for the students as once they buy your course, they can view it anytime they want and as many times as they want.
(5) If you have good knowledge about a topic and you want to teach it to others but you are not comfortable speaking to people face to face or in front of people, then online courses are perfect for you. With online courses, you can teach others even if you do not have public speaking skills or confidence.
(6) You will do a lot of research on the topic on which you prepare an online course. By doing so it will increase your own knowledge on the subject. Therefore, you will not only teach but also learn in the process.
How you can earn money selling online courses:-
You earn money when someone buys your online course from the place where you listed it for sale on the internet at the price set by you. It is as simple as that. You will see later where you can list the online courses for sale on the internet.
Your earnings would depend on how many times your online course gets sold and also the price of the online course. More the course sales, more would be your earnings. You should create more than one online course. Creating and selling only one course would not provide you with much earnings even if it is highly priced. In order to earn good amount of money, you should create and sell many courses at different prices. The more courses you create and sell, the better. It will also increase your chances of selling.
There is no specific number regarding how many online courses you need to create to earn good amount of money but look to create and sell at least three to four online courses, which you can increase later if you want.
No need to be an expert:-
If you are thinking that only experts or teachers or highly knowledgeable people with excellent teaching skills can make online courses, then you are wrong. You do not need to be an expert on the subject on which you want to make an online course. If you have intermediate or even basic knowledge, it is okay. You can research rest of the information on internet or some books or other courses. You then need to put all the collected information together .You need to organize and compile it properly and create an course in a simple and easy to understand language.
Even if you have no knowledge on a subject but interested in it, you can still make an course on it. You just need to research a lot more on the subject before making it.
How to come up with online course ideas:-
To come up with online course ideas, first make a list of the topics on which you have good knowledge. Select those topics in the list on which you can make online courses.
Then see if there are courses already made on those topics on internet. For that go to Udemy website and search for your online course topic. If there are many courses on that topic and related topics and they have got many ratings and reviews, then you can say that the people are interested in that topic and its related topics. Making an course on that topic can be profitable. You can then go ahead and make an course on it. Similarly do research on other course topics on Udemy website.
In addition to the topics in which you have good knowledge, make a list of topics in which you are interested but do not have much knowledge or do not have any knowledge at all. Then go to Udemy website and see if people are interested in those topics. You can then research and gain more knowledge on those topics which have demand and make courses on them.
In addition to making list of subjects in which you have good knowledge, make a list of subjects in which you are interested but do not have much knowledge or do not have any knowledge at all. Then go and see if those subjects have demand. You can then research and gain more knowledge on those subjects which have demand and make E-books and E-courses on them.
If you have knowledge or interested in a particular topic and there are very few courses made on it but those courses have got lots of ratings and reviews, it may mean that people are interested in that topic but not enough courses are made on it, which is a good opportunity for you. There would be less competition for you for that topic so you can go ahead and make an course on it.
Avoid Creating courses on the topics in which you are not interested even if they have demand. You will get bored soon and would not enjoy the process of creating them and their quality would suffer.
Length of the online courses:-
The length of online courses depend mainly on the topic of the courses. Some topics are big so they require long courses to be made and some topics are small so they require short courses.
Some topics are vast and have many sub-topics within them. You can create very long courses covering all the sub-topics and aspects of an vast topic or make a smaller course which focuses on a particular sub-topic or sub-topics within that topic. It is up to you. There is no specific ideal length of an online course. It can be of any length depending on how much content you are going to cover in it.
Generally online courses can range anywhere from 1 hour to 100+ hours. Try to keep your online courses within this range. Do not make too short courses and do not make too long courses.
Pricing of the online courses:-
The pricing of online courses depend mainly on the length and content of the online courses. You can charge more for long comprehensive courses and charge less for short courses. In addition to length, the value of content in the courses also matter. If the content you provide in an course is very valuable and is not easily available on internet, then you can charge more for that course even if it is short in length.
Generally online course prices can range anywhere from 75$ to 1000$+. Try to price your online courses within this range. You can even look at the prices of other similar courses to yours on internet to get an idea for pricing of your courses.
How to create online courses:-
The most easiest and common way to create E-courses is by using Microsoft PowerPoint software. Create the slide content in PowerPoint i.e. Write the text and insert the pictures, charts, graphs and other visual elements in slides and record your voice explaining the points on slides. Add the transitions and animations as required. Format it properly. After creating the content and formatting it, click on the File tab, select the Export option, click on Create a Video, select the video quality and do other settings as per your need and click on the Create Video button. Select the location where you want to save the video, type a name for the video in File name: file and then click on the Save button finally. PowerPoint will create video file of the presentation and save in the location chosen by you. In this way you can create other videos in the course.
Sometimes you need to show the students how something is done so you need to record it while you do it. For this you need a screen recording software. You can use the inbuilt Screen Recording option in PowerPoint or you can use a specialized screen recording software such as Camtasia studio for that. There are many free screen recording software which you can use if you do not want the video editing and other additional features of Camtasia studio.
Use MS PowerPoint to create the theoretical content of the course where you list the main points on the slides and explain them using your voice. Use screen recording software to create the practical content of the course where you show students how to do something and record it while doing it along with your voice explanation.
You can record and show yourself talking in some of the videos in the course or you can record and show yourself speaking in the entire course instead of using the PowerPoint slide videos. Showing yourself is not compulsory. You can make online courses without showing your face. Most of the online courses have voice of the course instructor but not the face. It is the most common method. Some courses do have the face of instructor. Therefore, if you are comfortable, you can reveal your face by recording yourself speaking. There are some courses where it requires you to be in the videos e.g. If you are doing a course on yoga, exercise, etc. then you need to record yourself doing it.
You can also make whiteboard style videos where you write and draw on the virtual whiteboard using digital pen while explaining or even real whiteboard using chalk. It would give a classroom like feel to the course.
Where to sell online courses:-
You have the below options:-
(1) You can list the courses on online course marketplaces for selling them. Two of the most popular ones are:-
Above marketplaces take certain percentage as their revenue share from each course sold. Read their terms and conditions carefully before joining for more details.
(2) You can use the hosted platforms, which host your course files. Students purchase and access your online courses on these platforms. Following are some of the popular ones: –
All the above hosted platforms charge money monthly or annually for providing the hosting service. They provide many more services in addition to just hosting your course files such as quiz creation, certificates, custom domain, etc. depending on the plan chosen by you. Some of these platforms charge certain percentage of each course sold as transaction fees depending on the plan you have chosen. There are many more hosted platforms but I have listed the popular ones and the ones, which are priced reasonably.
(3) You can host the course videos on video hosting sites and embed them on your site. Following are some of the popular video hosting sites:-
There are more video hosting sites but I have only listed the popular ones.
If you do not want to spend money, you can host the course videos on YouTube with unlisted option and embed them on your site but it would not look professional as people would know that you are hosting your course videos on a free platform like YouTube.
You cannot stream the course videos from your site or blog because the videos are big in size and would slow down your site or blog. That’s why you have to use video hosting sites to host your videos and stream them from there. People can still view the videos on your site as you are going to embed them on your site.
In this option, you need a way to collect payments on your site or blog. You can use payment processors such as stripe, 2checkout, PayPal, etc. for collecting payment.
(4) You can store the course files on file sharing sites such as mediafire or cloud storage sites such as Google drive, dropbox ,etc. and allow people to download them on their computers after they purchase the courses on your site. In this option, people can watch your course offline.
You cannot store the course videos on your site or blog and allow people to download it from there. Web hosting companies do not provide big storage space for storing videos and do not recommend storing them on the site or blog. They may even warn or ban you for doing so. That’s why you have to use file sharing sites or cloud storage sites to store your course videos and files and allow people to download through them after purchase.
In this option too, you need a way to collect payments on your site or blog. You can use payment processors such as stripe, 2checkout, PayPal, etc. for collecting payment.
Some important things about online courses:-
Title and tagline:-
Title is the name of the online course. Every course has a title which indicates the content of the course i.e. what the course is about. The name should be such that it catches the attention of people to your course. People should understand what the course is about after reading it’s title. You can see the titles of other similar courses to yours on internet to get some ideas for your title but do not copy their title. Do keyword research to find the main keywords people are using to find the topic of your course. Include the main keyword or keywords in your course title.
Create or choose a good attractive image for your course, which is relevant to the course topic. You can see the images of other similar courses to yours to get some inspiration but do not copy their design or use the same image. Be original. You can use some stock photo as your course image after editing it, if required or you can use a photo clicked by you or create a design from scratch.
Disclaimer and copyright:-
Give a disclaimer and copyright notice before the beginning of the courses. Disclaimer notice is to protect yourself from any legal claims or charges being made on you by the buyers of your courses regarding the course content. It limits your liability in case of any loss or damage to the buyer because of your course’s content. You can give disclaimer and copyright notices using video or in a PDF document.
Introduction and conclusion:-
Introduction is optional. However, it is a good practice to have an introductory video before the start of actual course. In the introductory video you can thank the students for buying your course, speak something about yourself and your background so that the students can know about you.
You can also have a conclusion video at the end of course in which you recap what was taught in the course, give some advice and tell the students what action they need to take next.
Contents of the course:-
You can make a video in which you tell the contents of the course so that the students can know what they are going to learn in the course. For this you can list the main topics of the course. It is just like the table of contents of an eBook.
Some tips for online courses:-
Finally here are some useful tips if you decide to create and sell online courses:-
Read reviews of other similar online courses to yours on Udemy and other sites .Give attention to negative reviews. See what people’s complaints or criticisms about the course are, what is missing in the course which people want. You can then take those things into account while preparing your own course.
Give lots of examples in the course where possible so that it can help the students in understanding the concepts easily.
Use images, diagrams, charts, graphs, etc. where needed in the course.
Make course videos in at least HD 720p quality and make them of short duration. Do not stretch a video to more than 15 minutes unless the topic, which you are covering, is big one and requires the video to be longer. 5 to 10 minute videos are the best. Shorter videos are easy to grasp and the students do no feel bored and can watch with full attention.
After creating the course, view it completely and make the necessary changes, if required. Make sure the voice in the course is properly audible. If possible, provide captions for the videos in the course. Edit the course as required and make it final.
In addition to editing, proofread the course too before listing it for sale. Make sure that there are no spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in the text content of the course and in the text in videos.
Give a list of your other online courses at the end of each course so that the students can know what other courses you have created. It will help in promoting and selling your other online courses.
After listing the online courses for sale, promote them as much as possible. They cannot sell on their own. You need to take efforts to sell them.