If you want to create an online course, then it’s possible with WordPress. In this article, I will show you how you can create an online course website with WordPress. Developing an online course is one thing, and building a website for it is quite another. There are a couple of things that go into creating an online course website. You should at least know what you should include in your website design. Thankfully, it is easy to add such design elements using WordPress. All you need to figure out is what features you truly need. Let’s get to it.
Possibilities of Online Course Website
The first and most obvious thing about an online course is the content. Content is the course material that you want to provide. The course material usually consists of document files such as PDFs, images, and videos. The presentation and storage of this material are critical elements in your website design. WordPress is an excellent Content Management System that makes it easy to manage your content. Browse a couple of successful online course websites to get an idea of what content presentation you would like to have on your website. It is a good idea to avail managed WordPress hosting for your website to ensure speed and easy maintenance.
Once you are set with content, there comes the management of your students’ profiles and their learning progress. Both are essential for any online course to succeed. Managing the student data and profiles gives you more control over the users of your content. The ability to track learning progress gives the students the motivation to continue the course. You can divide the course in modules and let your students finish each module before going to the next section. Learning management is essential for an engaging and rewarding learning experience for your students.
The third and perhaps the most important part is marketing. How do you reach out to students? What do you offer to your website visitors? How do you market your online courses? What elements do you want to place on your website to make it easier for potential students to contact you? These are some of the questions you must answer before launching your online course. Marketing gives you students and without students, you won’t have a successful online course. Therefore, marketing is an essential aspect of any online course website. You should not neglect this part at any cost.
The last part I would like to add is a payment mechanism. How would your students pay you? What kind of payment modes can you accept? Which payment gateway you will use? What are the payment methods you can allow for your students? And what is the payment structure for the online courses you are offering? These may be technicalities but they are crucial for your website. A failed payment system means your website is doomed to die even before it starts to live. If you care about your website, then in addition to all the things I mentioned above, pay attention to the payment mechanism. It’s where the money is and you can’t afford to lose it. Yet, you will not just lose money with a faulty payment system, you will also lose the trust of your customers who will then never visit your website. Therefore, check often if this is working on your website.
There are many other things that go into the recipe for an online course website. I just mentioned the crucial ones above. You can add many other elements as you go along. Let’s see what you need to get started.
Things You Will Need
To create a good online course website, you need to have a proper WordPress theme. A theme provides for design and customization that you can use for your online platform. There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes you can choose from. The official WordPress plugin repository hosts free WordPress themes. Alternatively, you can go for premium themes as they offer extended features.
You will also need to create an appealing landing page. There are many landing page plugins that you can use.
Email subscriptions are crucial to build an audience. You can use contact forms, email subscription forms with the help of respective plugins. Plugins make it very easy to add email subscriptions. You may also use squeeze page plugins to create attractive squeeze pages that help you grow your email subscribers.
Page builders are amazing plugins that give you total freedom of designing pages of your website. You should definitely try page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, etc. With custom pages that stand out from the crowd, you make it engaging for your website visitors to browse through your website.
For marketing purposes, you will find it effective to use email marketing platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, etc. These services allow you to send customized bulk emails to your email subscribers.
You will also need a payment gateway integration to facilitate payments on your website. There are a couple of free plugins available in the official WordPress plugin repository.
These are some of the essential features you should check for. I have mentioned the use of plugins because using plugins makes it much easier to have these features than to design all of them yourself.
There are some services that offer the complete package for running an online course. These are called Learning Management Systems (LMS). Let’s have a look at what LMS is.
LMS and How They Can Help You
A learning management system (LMS) is a form of a content management system that specializes in facilitating online learning. LMSes are popular among online course websites.
Here are some of the popular LMS services: Teachable, LearnDash, ZippyCourses, AccessAlly, LifterLMS, Thinkific, CoursePress Pro, Sensei, etc.
LMS services offer a full-featured online course platform that includes support for multimedia content, customized learning process, student management, and payment gateways integration. It’s much less hassle with these services as everything comes as a part of the package.
You can easily add customized quizzes, discussion forums, and course completion certificates to your courses.
Drip content is a powerful feature that lets you automate the flow of your course content as per the progress of your student. This is a set-it-and-forget-it feature that greatly simplifies course management. You should definitely look for this feature when you choose an LMS for you.
As with all good things, LMS comes with a price. The pricing is different for each LMS provider and you may have a hard time deciding which one you should go for. Remember that you should get the features you need as it is a significant investment. You can try these services if they provide a free trial.
LMS is a great way to create an online course website. However, if you find it costly, you can always create your website with the features you want using customizations available with WordPress.
So we have briefly reviewed the features you will need in your online course website. There are a couple of design elements that we can add using WordPress plugins. Finally, we reviewed how an LMS can make it easy to create an online course website. I hope this article gives you an overall idea of what you should keep in mind while creating your online course website.