Complete step by step guide for creating online courses

Guide Online Courses
Guide Online Courses

Free Powerpoint Template suitable for creating courses. Easy to use with drag & drop image feature

People use the Internet for several reasons, including entertainment and socializing. However, the Internet is also a place to learn new things and find information. Are you having trouble figuring out how to utilize a new piece of software? YouTube is likely to have video instructions. This demand for knowledge and education has created a fantastic opportunity to be paid for your expertise. Hence, you can create your online courses and make money by teaching your skills to others. Our guide gives you valuable insight into the steps you can use to create the best online course for your students. To start us out, we have shared a few pros and cons of online courses below!

Before you plunge into your online course development, it’s good to weigh the benefits and drawbacks.


  • The development of online courses is easy thanks to user-friendly platforms.
  • You can provide courses that are complementary to your current course.
  • You can resell the same online course repeatedly to generate passive revenue.
  • Attracting learners from all over the world is easy.
  • You can use an online course to direct clients to any other products you are offering.


  • Creating an online course can be time-consuming.
  • Courses are usually only successful if they revolve around topics already popular.
  • It might not be easy to find the right price point for the online course you have created.
  • Some platforms can take a massive chunk of your profits.

How to Make Money with Online Courses

Here we will go through the recommended steps you should take to have a profitable and massively successful online course.

1. Choose a Topic for Your Online Course

When choosing a topic there are two factors you have to be extremely specific on!

  1. Who is the course intended for?
  2. What do you want to achieve after people take the course?

So for example in the case that your initial idea is ” Building a website “.

This topic is too broad.

You may think this will appeal to a huge group of people, but since it’s too vague and broad you will risk appealing to no-one.

So what do you have to do?

Make the topic extra specific and focused on a specific niche. For example

” How to create an E-commerce website using Shopify”

or even more specific

“How to create an online bookstore using Shopify “

Focusing helps people find relevant information quicker and therefore leaving out unnecessary information which they already know or don’t require.

Make a list of the skills you possess. You may find that there is a skill that other people will significantly benefit from. Do you have the talent to teach others in a specific field? Are you good at basic watercolour painting? Are you well-versed in speaking multiple languages? These are just skills that other people can find helpful and wish to learn. Find something that others believe you are good at.

The most important thing here is to provide value to the learners.

It is essential to mention that merely selecting the most suitable topic for your online course is not enough! Testing your course topic idea is vital too. So, how can you test the “viability” of your course topic idea?

Use the tips below

  • Create a good landing page and track those who will sign up for your online course.
  • Preselling your online course to assess sales is essential. A high sales volume will imply that your chosen topic has been received positively and vice-versa.
  • Share a post about your online course on your social media to check whether the engagement levels are high or low.
  • Leverage your mailing list to promote your online course and get feedback.

2. Evaluate the Market for Your Online Course

As an online course instructor, it is crucial to properly evaluate the market to avoid wasting time designing a course that no one wants to buy. Many people may be interested in learning more about your field, but are they willing to pay to learn it? Research who the ideal buyer for your course would be and whether they’re ready and able to buy it before you devote time to create it. You may use tools like google analytics, google ads and google trends to research the topic. It is always advisable to select a subject closest to your skills.

Let us highlight some of the tips you can use to evaluate your target market.

Identify the Most Relevant Keywords and Key phrases.

When you have decided on your potential topics for your online course, identify all the relevant phrases and keywords your potential customers use. These will be the search terms that they will type into Google when searching for information, such as the one on your online course.

Use Google Trends to see how popular your online course is. For example Yoga courses became much more popular during pandemic.

online courses google trends digithru

You can also search keywords in Google ads keyword planner and check how many people are looking for your course and what keywords people use.

online courses google ads digithru
online courses google keyword planner digithru

Assess Related Courses in the Market

Look around in your market to establish if there are many competing courses with topics like yours. If there is, there is an audience that may be interested in what your online course offers. Therefore, it is essential to develop strategies that allow you to differentiate your course and make it more appealing than your competitors’ online courses. You can check out popular online course marketplaces like to establish the level of competition, the number of students enrolled, prices, and the content of their online courses.

Use Clues from YouTube

The YouTube platform comes with auto-fill suggestions that tell you the search terms users search for many times. If you see a high volume of video results with many views on your topic of interest, your online course has a large potential market.

One trick that can help you evaluate the market for your topic and online course, and interact with it effectively, is niching down to a specific target audience. For example, instead of having an online course with a broad appeal, opt for a more specialised course. Avoid using a topic like “How to sell mattresses on eBay.” Instead, use one such as “How to sell Tempurpedic mattresses on eBay.”

3. Create the Outline of Your Online Course

If you’ve decided that there’s a market for your course, the next step is to determine what you’ll include in it. Because of the nature of a course, the information you give should go deeply into the subject and address all pertinent points.

Remember that no one wants to skim the surface and learn only the basics. Your course should comprise several lessons that effectively explain the topic.

You should also provide additional material that helps students learn your course more effectively. These materials can include homework and quizzes, and you will need to prepare these beforehand.

Outlines are crucial, especially when your online courses are video-based. Using a written script for your outline will help you create a highly concise and engaging video. You can lose your audience if they feel your course lacks direction and you keep moving from one topic to another aimlessly.

Creating a good outline for your online course helps you plan your lessons well. Ensuring your online course has a good outline is an effective way of digging deeper into your topic to allow you to make it more informative and resourceful to your learners.

You have to consider the following when creating an outline:

– Basic Course Information

This section should contain things like:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Requirements

– Course Schedule

Your students have busy lives. In order to help them learn better and manage their time create a course schedule engulfing the following:

  • The course’s start and end dates
  • The dates of each live session
  • The due dates to complete each learning activity and assessment

– Learning Outcomes

A vital part of your course component is listing the outcomes. Defined outcomes helps learners understand how your knowledge is being transferred to them, so they can retained it much easier.

The outcomes also create expectations for what learners are supposed to learn and will be able to do successfully one they complete the course. use action verbs to indicated expectations in the outcomes list.

Explain Each of Your Lesson Plans

  • Introduction – to indicate the importance of the lesson
  • Content – to describe the topic in detail
  • Summary – to wrap up and summarise the lesson’s content

Also remember to place assessments in the last lesson of each module or chapter. 

You can also use your outline in your promotional materials. It will serve as a preview of the online course content you will be providing to your learners and thus help them decide whether to enroll in your online course or not.

4. Select the Best Delivery Method for Your Content

Different online course instructors will prefer other methods of delivering their online course content to their students. It would be best if you used multiple approaches in your lessons. You can use various media such as text, images, audio, worksheets, infographics, and any other medium you find suitable to convey information. It is highly recommended to use pictures and infographics as much as possible and concise text that will not overwhelm the learners.

Let’s highlight these avenues in greater detail!

Using videos to deliver your online course content.

Course instructors use videos to offer online courses are the most engaging and commonly used channels because they are more memorable than text or written content.

We are visual creatures by nature, and our brains are wired to process visual content faster and more efficiently than written text. In addition, videos allow learners to have a more personal interaction with online instructors, thus significantly boosting their level of retaining any information learned.

Interactive videos make the lesson exciting and enjoyable, allowing your learners to assimilate the uploaded content quickly. You have the freedom to mix video content with graphics to make the courses even better.

Using audio to deliver your online course content also works wonders!

Audio content helps you effortlessly provide your online course content to students by enabling them to learn even while on the go! For example, your learners can listen to their audio lessons when they are going to their workplaces, school, workouts at the gym, and even when traveling.

Offering your online course content through audio is appropriate for online course providers who offer lessons concerning meditation, languages, and music. For instance, online instructors can provide audio file instructions regarding their musical classes. Audios are also excellent media that allow course instructors who use podcasts to offer their online courses to students.

A recommended tip is to include excellent and high-quality music, preferably at the start of each lesson. The main aim of this is to make the lessons you offer much more engaging. Many online course instructors extract audio content from their online video courses and provide it to learners, thus allowing students to listen to the course if they are in situations where they cannot watch the videos.

It significantly benefits learners who reside in areas with relatively low network connectivity as it saves them the potential headaches involved in downloading visual content. Audio content also usually downloads faster!

Using text to deliver your online course content.

Many online course instructors heavily use the text format to provide their content to students. One primary reason is that this format is a highly versatile medium for offering your content. You have the luxury of creating slides, documents, etc., including images, videos, and even hyperlinks in the textual content.

With the textual format, you can offer exercises and worksheets to your students. In addition, the design also allows online course instructors to create lessons in PDF format. Students can then access these lessons and save them for reading later. They also effectively make your video content more accessible to understand through captions and scripts under these videos. These captions and scripts often come in different languages, thus allowing the course to be open to as many learners as possible.

Offering your online course content in the form of downloadables.

When your students pay for your online courses, they usually expect to get value for their money. Downloadables ensure they have constant access to their content wherever they are.

Provide learners with online course content offered as workbooks, eBooks, guides, worksheets, podcasts, and supplementary courses related to your online course.

Providing your courses in the form of downloadables works so well because it is a convenient, cost-effective, and time-saving method. All a learner has to do is download the material on their laptops, desktops, smartphones, etc. They are good to go! Downloadables also ensure that your online course content reaches many students simultaneously.

Providing learners with your online course content through synchronistic methods

These synchronistic methods primarily revolve around the live interactions between students and instructors. The online courses that use this method are usually structured formally and have fixed deadlines. These deadlines clearly outline the timelines of every module you offer your learners and when each assignment needs to be submitted.

You can use Q&A sessions, live webinars, discussions, etc., to interact with your students for the synchronistic method. In addition, you can leverage popular apps like Microsoft Meetings and Zoom to offer your online course content to your students in real-time.

As an online course instructor, you can connect with your students in real-time and assist them to progress through the course smoothly. Learners can engage in productive and lively discussions that help them grasp your course content well.

5. Create Your Lessons

The most time-consuming part of designing an online course in creating your lessons. You can buy a popular online course for a skill that you don’t have, which saves you the trouble of creating classes that do not effectively meet your learners’ needs.

You must consider developing a logo or a color scheme that you will use throughout the entire class. Also, it is vital to ensure there are no mistakes in your written courses and videos by proofreading them and watching them before publishing. After this, get feedback from at least ten potential learners after creating your course, and incorporate their concerns into your presentations. The more insight you receive, the more the likelihood that your course will have a better quality. Don’t just create courses without such valuable input, or else you may create an online course that does not perform well!

6. Determine the Selling Platform For your Online Course

Creating a website to host and distribute your lesson is vital. However, this may be very time-consuming and expensive if you do not do it right. In this case, utilize an online education provider like Udemy or Skillshare to teach faster with less technological effort. These sites usually have different payment terms. Instructor payment on Udemy, for example, is determined by how you generated the sale. The advantage of using these platforms is that you can upload your course, and they will handle everything else, including payment processing. Most of these platforms don’t emphasize a great deal on exclusivity, and you may offer your course on many platforms. The list below highlights the best online course platforms to sell your content:

7. Upload Your Course Content

Upload your course once you’ve decided on a platform to work with. If the platform permits you to personalize your course by adding a logo or changing the color scheme, do so! Generally, the platform you upload your content on will help you develop your brand.

If you experience bumps when you are trying to upload your online courses, do not panic! These online course platforms, like Udemy, come with the most practical tech support and excellent customer support systems. These will help you upload your content quickly, even if you are not tech-savvy!

8. Market Your Online Course

You must advertise your course aggressively if you wish to get more students. Instructors are advised to promote their online courses themselves even if they are using platforms such as Udemy, where students may find you by simply searching the Udemy marketplace.

You have to create excitement around your course before people see your course page. This can be done on a landing page, through email or through youtube.

You can begin by developing a marketing strategy that addresses your target audience, where you get to easily discover them, and how you can persuade them to enroll in your course. Social networking, PPC advertising, Facebook advertisements, and content marketing are excellent course marketing techniques, and you can leverage them to reach your target audience effortlessly and cost-effectively.

9. Update Your Online Course Content

Check that your course information is updated and relevant every few months or so. Out-of-date material is ineffective for your students and might result in negative feedback. Don’t forget to check for and update any incorrect reference URLs.

Take surveys

To ensure that your online course content does not become stale or outdated, you can use data you get from market surveys.

For instance, you can come up with a set of questions that will help you evaluate your course’s effectiveness. Some of the survey questions you can ask include:

  • How do you rate your overall experience of the course?
  • Will you recommend the course you have just gone through to your peers?
  • How did this course help in your professional development?
  • What will you do differently now you’ve attended the course?
  • What aspects of the course did you like the most and the least?

The data and surveys you gather can significantly boost your efforts to update your online course. Let us highlight how!

  • As an online course instructor, you can use the feedback you get from your learners to identify existing trends. For example, you can use the feedback to establish if your students like the video lessons you recently uploaded and keep producing such content in the future.
  • Identify the content strategies that work and those that do not. Giving you a better chance of producing the best content for your students.
  • You can leverage the insight you get from the surveys to address problems in your online course.

As a best practice, online course instructors are usually advised to develop anonymous student surveys. These surveys give the learners the freedom to openly discuss the potential problems that may water down the quality of your online course.

Take notes

Another top-rated technique to help you update your online course is to take notes about the areas you may wish to modify while the course is running and you are teaching it. Take time to identify the problematic sections of your video content, audio files, etc., and make the necessary adjustments. It is highly essential to identify the areas that your students find particularly challenging to understand. Then, come up with ways of making your content easier to understand and memorize.


Finally, you are advised to select a specific time suitable for you during which you can improve the course you have created for your students. For example, you can choose the end of each week to be the time when you perform your course update. If you prefer waiting until the course has ended, that will still be okay as long as you find it suitable for you. The time you allocate to your maintenance and updating activities gives you an excellent opportunity to reflect on the quality and effectiveness of your online course. The benefit of doing this is it helps you to create a better, more engaging, and more profitable course in the future!

10. Repeat

No requirement limits you to only offering one course to learners. You can create additional courses that are linked to your first course if you wish to, and you can then recommend the extra courses to your students. In addition, you can also use your courses to promote your own published books. Various online platforms are available for self-publishing.

Recommended book on the topic

If you are looking for books to read deeper into the topic, the following book is a best seller books on Amazon about creating and selling online courses.

Final Words

Creating and selling online courses may be very profitable if you offer a high-quality course and reach your target market effectively. There’s no reason why you should not become an online instructor now that hosting resources are easier to utilize and more inexpensive. While creating all of the courses in your course might take time, it can become a lucrative source of passive revenue for you once published. Use the guide we have covered above to ensure you stay ahead of the game when it comes to providing the best online course in the market.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. chrismor4

    Selling courses has become really competitive and most platforms take a big chunk of your profits. Personally I don’t see courses as a way of making profit, yet they are still really good for promoting your business.

    1. Digithru

      Courses are a great way to promote your business and create authority in your niche.

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