How to Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website
How to Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website
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How to Sell Online Courses from Your Own Website

While many course creators use third-party marketplaces, selling courses directly from your own website unlocks higher profit margins and greater control.

With the right tools and strategies, you can build a full-fledged online academy on your domain tailored exactly to your brand. Follow this step-by-step guide to successfully sell courses on your site.

Why Sell Courses Directly From Your Website

Here are the key upsides of hosting courses yourself versus third-party platforms:

Increased Profit Margins

Marketplaces like Udemy and Teachable take commission fees from your course sales. Selling directly means you keep 100% of revenues.

Brand Control

Custom domains and site designs align courses seamlessly with your brand identity and messaging. Third-party sites look generic.

Own the Customer Relationship

You control the full customer journey and user experience start to finish. Marketplaces own student data and relationships.

Lower Overhead Costs

Avoid monthly platform fees by using plugins on your existing site. This optimized costs as you scale courses.

Room for Innovation

Customize learning experiences, offerings, bundles and pricing completely outside marketplace constraints.

Long-Term Business Asset

Your site becomes a tangible learning hub asset that accrues value over time. Marketplaces can kick you off anytime.

Clearly selling direct has compelling advantages, provided you handle the technology and marketing aspects effectively.

Step 1: Selecting the Best E-Course Platform Plugins

The foundation is choosing the right e-course platform to power your online courses on your WordPress or website CMS. Top solutions include:

LearnDash

The most popular WordPress LMS plugin for selling courses directly on your site. Offers extensive features for multimedia content, forums, quizzes, lessons and course authoring.

LifterLMS

LifterLMS provides slightly less advanced but still robust course functionality. Their themes and designs tend to appeal more to coaches and consultants.

Sensei

A free, open-source course plugin from Automattic built for WordPress. Lightweight option good for basic courses. Less features than paid platforms.

MemberPress

A flexible membership plugin with add-on course features. Easy to bundle courses into tiered membership packages. Integrates with WooCommerce.

Podia

A standalone course platform now offering WordPress integration. Combines course creation tools with marketing and analytics.

Evaluate options against your specific course model, features needed, design preferences, tech capabilities, and budget. Most offer free trials to test drive the platform before deciding.

Step 2: Structuring Your Website Navigation

With your course platform installed, organize your site navigation to showcase courses and maximize conversions.

Create a Dedicated Courses Page

Have a main “Courses” page that lists all courses in your catalog with overview snippets and options to enroll. This page becomes a hub showcasing your full academy.

Set Up Individual Course Pages

Build standalone pages for every course with detailed descriptions, previews, curriculums, testimonials, pricing and enrolment forms. These are your main sales pages.

Funnel Through Topical Content Pages

Create content pages targeting student interests like “Learn Python” or “Certified Public Accountant Prep” that funnel visitors towards taking related courses.

Integrate Courses Into Existing Pages

Add course features, lead magnets and enrollment opportunities across existing high-traffic pages like Services and Blog posts. Existing site visitors represent qualified leads.

Step 3: Accepting Payments Securely On Your Site

Selling courses requires integrating a payment solution into your website to accept money online securely. Here are top options:

PayPal and Stripe

Two of the most popular standalone payment processors that can plugin to nearly any website and many course platforms. Accept credit cards quickly.

WooCommerce

Adding WooCommerce to WordPress sites powers robust ecommerce functionality including course sales and shopping cart management. Fully customizable.

MemberPress

MemberPress seamlessly bundles payment processing into WordPress course sales. Students access content immediately after successful checkout.

Teachable Payments

Teachable’s built-in payment system works across any website you embed Teachable courses into. Reliable credit card processing.

Podia Payments

Podia courses come equipped with secure integrated credit card payments. No need for third-party processors.

Select a payment solution that fits your website setup and offers competitive transaction fees. Prioritize security and PCI compliance to avoid liability.

Step 4: Creating Value-Packed Courses

Now it’s time to actually create courses that compel students to purchase. Follow these best practices:

Clearly Define Learning Outcomes

Articulate exactly what tangible skills and knowledge completing your course will provide. Avoid vague, generic promises.

Getting ultra clear on the concrete benefits of your curriculum helps craft persuasive marketing messages.

Structure for Transformation

Don’t just present information – design immersive experiences that fundamentally transform how students think and act related to your topic.

Guide learners on an educational journey that shifts mindsets, builds skills and empowers them with new capabilities.

Address Pain Points

Identify your audience’s biggest struggles and questions around your topic. Craft course content explicitly to resolve those pain points and equip students with solutions.

The more directly your curriculum addresses frustrations experienced by the target student demographic, the faster it will sell.

Demonstrate Deep Expertise

Back up lessons with credible statistics, cited research studies, real-world examples and case studies that spotlight your qualifications in the topic area.

Proving subject matter authority establishes you as a definitive expert worth investing in. Don’t rely purely on surface-level commentary. Show off niche mastery.

Package Comprehensively

Go beyond the core curriculum to include bonus downloads,printable resources, FB community access, expert interviews, assessments and more that add tangible value.

The greater the scope of supplemental materials bundled with course access, the higher the perceived worth. Give students full learning packages.

Step 5: Pricing For Profit

Course profitability hinges on optimizing price points. Apply these pricing strategies:

Charge Premium Rates

Because you keep 100% revenue selling directly, you can price at premium rates without the large cut marketplace platforms take.

For example, charge $500 instead of $200 for a course by highlighting expanded scope, bonuses and exclusivity.

Offer Payment Plans

Allow students to pay for courses through installment plans over 3-6 months instead of lump sums. This increases affordability for higher ticket programs.

Just ensure your payment processor or course platform supports recurring billing for automated collections.

Introduce Tiered Packages

Sell different course “flavors” or bundles at staggered price points like Good-Better-Best packages. This captures wider budget segments.

For example, a course could be sold as a $97 ebook only, $197 video course or $297 full coaching program.

Give Volume Discounts

Offer decreasing bulk purchase discounts, like 25% off for buying 2+ courses at once or 50% off for 5.

Discounted cross-sells incentivize high-value multi-course orders and maximize customer lifetime value.

Create Hybrid Pricing

Blend one-time purchases like course bundles with recurring subscriptions for ongoing access.

For example, students buy lifetime course access upfront then pay monthly for membership perks. Subscription revenue funds continual content creation.

Step 6: Promoting Your Courses – Before and After Launch

Active promotion is essential for selling courses from your own site and driving direct traffic. Leverage:

Content Marketing

Create a blog sharing your expertise on topics tied to your courses. This attracts organic search traffic. Promote launches.

Email Marketing

Send email sequences to website subscribers leading up to launches, announcing releases, highlighting student outcomes, recapping lessons learned, etc. Tell an ongoing story.

Social Media Marketing

Run evergreen and launch-specific campaigns across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin and Pinterest. Post trailers, testimonials and behind-the-scenes looks to build hype.

SEM and PPC Ads

Bid on keywords related to your course topics and target student demographics through paid search and social ads. Budget $500-1000 per month to test and scale.

Affiliate Marketing

Recruit credible partners and influencers to promote your course in exchange for referral commissions. Leverage their audiences.

Retargeting Ads

Remarket specifically to past website visitors through ads across the internet. Keep your brand top of mind until they convert.

Step 7: Cultivating Student Success and Reviews

Helping students succeed builds positive word of mouth and improves conversion rates. Tactics include:

Onboard Effectively

Welcome students before the course starts with pre-read materials, FB group access, and a welcome email/video outlining what’s ahead. Strong first impressions matter.

Offer Supportive Community

Create private FB groups or forums for students to connect, collaborate on projects, share wins and support each other through challenges. Community builds retention.

Send Recap Emails

After huge lessons or milestones, send summary emails recapping key takeaways, common mistakes, and reminders to help concepts stick.

Gather Mid-Course Feedback

Survey students at the midpoint to identify gaps, pain points or aspects to improve. Apply feedback immediately to enhance their experience.

Celebrate Graduates

Congratulate course completeers through certificates, ceremony calls, grad boxes or parties. Reinforce accomplishments.

Motivate Reviews

Politely ask happy students for reviews on your site and third-party review platforms. Feature flattering testimonials in marketing.

Positive ratings and feedback from actual students provide the best social proof for conversions. But you have to proactively ask – don’t let them forget.

Conclusion

Selling online courses directly from your website unlocks game changing business advantages, from increased profits to brand control. Follow this blueprint to set up a high-converting online academy tailored specifically to your niche, expertise and audience.

With the right mix of technical execution, course creation fundamentals, intelligent marketing and student care, your educational impact and income can scale exponentially. You’ve got this!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why should I sell courses directly from my own website instead of using third-party platforms?
Selling courses directly from your website offers several advantages, including increased profit margins, brand control, ownership of customer relationships, lower overhead costs, room for innovation, and the creation of a long-term business asset. This approach allows you to tailor your online academy to your brand and niche, maximizing control and potential profits.

2. What are the key steps in setting up an online course platform on my own website?
Setting up an online course platform on your own website involves selecting the best e-course platform plugins, structuring your website navigation, accepting payments securely on your site, creating value-packed courses, pricing for profit, promoting your courses before and after launch, and cultivating student success and reviews. These steps encompass technical setup, content creation, pricing strategies, and marketing tactics.

3. How do I choose the right e-course platform plugin for my website?
When selecting an e-course platform plugin for your website, consider factors such as features needed, design preferences, technical capabilities, and budget. Popular options include LearnDash, LifterLMS, Sensei, MemberPress, Podia, and others. Evaluate each platform against your specific requirements and test drive free trials before making a decision.

4. What are some effective pricing strategies for online courses sold on my own website?
Effective pricing strategies for online courses sold on your own website include charging premium rates, offering payment plans, introducing tiered packages, giving volume discounts, creating hybrid pricing models, and considering the value provided to students. By optimizing price points and providing flexible payment options, you can maximize course profitability and cater to different customer segments.

5. How can I promote my courses effectively to drive traffic and sales?
Promoting your courses effectively involves leveraging content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads, affiliate marketing, retargeting ads, and cultivating student success and reviews. By implementing a mix of marketing tactics before and after launch, you can generate awareness, attract potential students, and drive conversions on your website.

Feel free to explore these strategies further and adapt them to your specific needs as you set up and promote your online courses on your own website. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

By Dani Davis

A true visionary in the realms of tech writing, digital storytelling, and e-commerce, Daniel Davis (known as Dani) has carved out an exceptional career spanning over 15 years. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dani's innate affinity for technology and creative expression propelled them to explore the intricacies of computer science while honing their storytelling abilities. Their unique blend of technical expertise and narrative prowess laid the foundation for their multifaceted success. Dani's journey has been marked by groundbreaking achievements, including authoring bestselling books that demystify complex technological concepts through captivating narratives. As the founder of the influential online platform "TechTales," Dani has created a hub for educational content, podcasts, and video essays that cater to tech enthusiasts worldwide. Moreover, as the head writer of InfoProductHQ.com, a leading resource for e-commerce and digital marketing, Dani has established themselves as a preeminent authority in the field of online business and entrepreneurship. Their consulting work, speaking engagements, and advocacy efforts have inspired countless individuals, solidifying their legacy as a true pioneer in the digital age.

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