Adding Online Courses to Your WordPress Websites | Captain Coder

Adding Online Courses to Your WordPress Websites

Marisa VanSkiver / Captain Coder Podcast / October 18, 2022

woman working at computer to add digital courses

Have you thought about adding a digital course to your business?

As a service provider, chances are you’d like to add some steady, recurring revenue to your bottom line so you’re not always chasing that next sale, that next client. Taking your unique expertise and wrapping it up in an online course is a great way to add a different kind of service to your business.

Before you say you can’t do that or there are too many digital courses out there, the online education industry is expected to boom to $198.9 BILLION by 2030. Now is the perfect time to get started.

What Digital Courses Look Like

If you at all help your clients with any kind of repeatable system, courses are totally possible for you.

While I don’t have a course right now, you can bet that I plan to add one in the next couple of years.

Digital courses don’t have to be overly complex, either. You just have to think about how you can take your students through some kind of transformation. What can you teach them that they can apply in their own business or life to see some kind of success? Solve a pain point that they have?

The Dreaded Tech Stuff

Unless you’re like me and you geek out about all the tech, adding a digital course to your business can feel overwhelming. After all, you have to decide how you want to deliver your course – through videos, slideshows, downloads, etc – and then you need to decide how to give access to only the people that paid you for that course.

There are, admittedly, more and more online course platforms on the market. If you’re just getting started, you can use Thinkific’s free tier or you can dive into something a bit more professional but higher priced like Kajabi. Both of these provide an out-of-the-box solution but live on Thinkific or Kajabi, not your own website. They also tend to require you pay a monthly fee to host your course, meaning you can be continually spending money even when you’re not bringing it in.

Can you add a digital course straight into your website and not pay on-going membership fees?

Adding a Digital Course to Your Website

The short answer is yes, of course you can! There are many options out there that allow you to create an online course website. But if you’re like me and like having full control of your website, you want to have control over a big piece of the revenue of your business, too, by not having your digital course live elsewhere.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when your digital course lives somewhere besides your website, it can be hard for your customers to find it. Sure, you can include a landing page or a login button on your website, but the entire user experience of purchase and logging in to work through the course is a lot easier if they can go to the same domain name to find it, instead of having to bookmark or remember one that’s a long URL with another company’s domain in it (i.e. yourdomain.kajabi.com or youdomain.thinkific.com).

Using Learning Management Systems

Luckily for you, there is a better way. As we’ve talked about recently, WordPress is incredibly flexible and allows you to add on to it as you need. The great thing is that there are lots of options with WordPress to add an online course to your website.

Here are my two favorite options:

LearnDash – This premium plugin is great if you’re doing a more traditional course, with walked-through modules and lessons. It allows you to give access to only those that have purchased the course and even integrates with WooCommerce to be super easy to sell.

WooCommerce Memberships – Another premium plugin, WooCommerce Memberships is great if you want to have specific pages of your website visible only to those who have purchased memberships. It also allows you to provide product discounts to people in your membership tiers and lets you have multiple levels.

Seinsei Pro – Straight from WooCommerce and Automattic, this premium plugin works with WooCommerce and gives you a full Learning Management System right in your website. Add quizzes, certificates, content drip sequences, and more.

Keeping Your Entire Business in One Website

One thing that you’ll want to keep in mind is that any service you use to house part of your business somewhere else gives away part of your control to someone else. Don’t get me wrong – Thinkific, Kajabi, and other platforms can be a great way to prove your digital course is viable upfront without spending a lot of money to get it going.

However, if you want to have a long-term digital course in your business, much like your website, it’s best that you have control of that. After all, you never know how long those platforms might exist. But if you build your digital course into your own website, it’ll live as long as your website does.

WordPress makes adding a digital course to your website pretty easy and straightforward. And of course, if you want help with making your online course work within your own website, let’s chat! I’d love to help you get your online course up and running.

And pssst, if you want to see a client that I helped add a set of digital courses to their existing website, check out The Hatchery Chicago.

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