There’s never been a better time than now to start an online course. But with so many online course platforms to choose from, how do you know which one is the best?
In this blog post, I’m going to review the 8 best online course platforms for bloggers.
Why start an online course?
Creating and selling an online course creates an additional stream of revenue for your blog. Best of all, it doesn’t take away from your other monetization methods, like ads, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing.
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to be an expert to create an online course. You just need to be able to move people from level A to level B.
Do you have a particular subject you’re passionate about and want to help others with?
Have you personally gone through a transformation and want to share how you did it?
If so, you’re going to want to look into starting an online course to supplement your blog income.
To start an online course, you first need to choose an online course platform, also called a learning management system.
What is a learning management system (LMS)?
A learning management system (LMS) is the platform you use to build and display your online course. A LMS handles delivering the content to your students, tracking their progress, and any stats reporting to course creators.
Using an LMS is essential when starting an online course because they do all the heavy lifting. All you have to do is upload your video or text lessons, split them into modules or chapters, and add any additional printable worksheets.
What to look for in an online course platform
Choosing an online course platform is a really big decision and shouldn’t be done lightly. Here are 4 things you need to consider when looking for an online course platform.
Is it easy to set up?
Your energy should be spent creating your course, not dealing with the technical aspects of setting it up. The best course platforms make it extremely easy to build your online course.
Do you have full ownership?
Some course platforms have you host your course on their platform. This limits your ability to brand your course, market it, and even price it.
Does it come with marketing tools?
The best course platforms have built-in tools to help you sell your online course. These tools can help save you time and money.
Is there customer support for course creators?
Some course platforms are too big for their own good. As a result, they may offer email-only support, if any.
What are the best online course platforms?
There are dozens of course platforms to choose from, each with unique features and price points. The LMS’s that I’ll review here are tried, tested, and proven to help you build a digital course empire!
Here are the 8 best online course platforms for bloggers.
Teachable is a simple, easy to use, all-inclusive platform that’s extremely popular with bloggers.
Their website builder and platform are easy to use and requires no coding experience on your part. The layout of Teachable is simple but its customization tools and features are great for beginner and advanced creators alike.
This all-in-one platform is great for beginning your online course journey because of just how easy it is to use. If designing and web creation scare you, Teachable is great to get the information you want out there effortlessly.
Finally, they have a built-in sales template to help you sell your online course from your blog.
Pricing: Teachable starts at $29 per month with a 5% transaction fee, or $99 per month without.
Learndash is a WordPress plugin that makes integrating your course to your blog easy.
With Learndash you can create an unlimited number of courses. This means you can split a larger course into beginner, intermediate, and pro levels to help you sell more courses.
The functionality and varied use of Learndash can be great for advanced users. There are a bunch of free or premium add-on’s for your courses. However, for beginners these functions can be confusing and may slow down your process. The wide variety of functionality within the course may prove to be a little too much for some users.
Overall, Learndash is a great platform to build your digital course empire, but a little tricky for beginners.
Pricing: Learndash goes for a one-time $199 fee.
Thrive Apprentice is the course platform I use here at Do Six Figures. One of the reasons I use it is because it’s a WordPress plugin that easily adds course functionality to your blog.
You can design your lessons using the Thrive Architect page builder. This means creating lessons is simple due to their drag and drop page builder.
You can add video, text, or audio lessons, and even allow comments in each lesson.
Pricing: $67 for Thrive Apprentice
AccessAlly uses a WordPress platform to host the instructor’s courses. The benefit to this is that all of your various offerings can be linked together easily.
For example, you can offer an online course or a recurring subscription. You can provide links to other products, therefore easily up-selling or cross-selling your entire line.
It is a full online portal with the ability to have different looks or themes on all your various offerings.
Additionally, AccessAlly allows the instructor to charge for their course in a variety of ways. PayPal is used for a one-time charge or purchase. Stripe is used for recurring payments such as a monthly subscription plan.
The instructor keeps 100% of their revenues and in return, the instructor pays a monthly or yearly fee to AccessAlly for the right to host those classes. Those fees calculate out to a range from $82 to $129 per month.
AccessAlly does have a free course wizard that helps you create your course offerings. In addition, you have the ability to set up varied release schedules of your offerings so that subscription plans have access to new content on a regular basis.
Pricing: $82 per month
This site is focused on creating interactive content for your students, with a heavy focus on video interaction.
Learnworlds also has many features that competitors do not, such as, Interactive Video Player, Interactive E-book Reader, Advanced Quiz and Exam Capabilities, Social Community Builder, Copyright Protection, and more.
The payment plans range from $29 per month to $299 per month. The basic plan has a $5 transaction fee with every sale, so eventually moving up to a bigger plan is recommended.
There’s also an online community building feature. This is great for reaching out to other creators and expanding your customer base. This brings a little of the marketing aspect directly from the site, which is always a plus, however not a necessity.
There are many great features on this site that separate it from the competition. However, payment can be trickier with this site.
The platform doesn’t allow you to offer both card and PayPal options together. Also, the checkout process isn’t optimized for conversions like with other comparable online course platforms.
Pricing: $24 per month with a $5 fee deducted per sale
Thinkific is a standalone hosted platform, which makes it ideal if you don’t have a blog or website.
Thinkific puts all you need to create and distribute an online course on one site. While there is a free version without the bells and whistles, you’re going to want to upgrade to the pro version if you’re serious about selling courses online.
The pro platform gives you marketing tools, the ability to create multiple courses, memberships, and bundles to increase sales.
As far as creating your courses, you can easily customize your course with Thinkific and designing is simple with the help of their free templates.
Also, they have advanced selling options so you can bundle, sell separately, or all together for your course. You can find everything you need to create a quality course with Thinkific, which is why I’m ranking it as the best course platform for bloggers.
Pricing: Thinkific has a free option! The pro plan starts at $49.
Podia offers the ability to offer courses in a variety of ways including single or bundled courses as well as pre-selling courses before your official launch and even testing out a potential course to potential students.
The type of content you may offer is unlimited and Podia even offers a way to quiz your students to keep the content interactive and engaging.
The Podia platform allows all aspects of your homepage and your sales pages to match your branding and your courses in a flexible layout.
Cross-selling additional products or offerings is easy to set up as well. Payments for your courses are collected either through PayPal or Stripe and there is no holding period for accessing your funds. All collections are kept 100% with the instructor.
One unique aspect of trying Podia as your choice of platform is that they offer a 30-day guarantee so you can try before you buy. You can get a full refund of all payments if you decide this platform is not for you and request a refund within the first 30 days. After that, canceling or changing plans is hassle-free and can be done without penalty.
Pricing: $39 per month
Your course offering through Udemy will be available on a global scale. Your course will have a potential wide impact as their student base encompasses over 35,000 students in over 180 countries.
For the beginner, Udemy has free videos that you can access with advice on how to best create and present your course. There is also access to free worksheets, examples, and curriculums to assist an instructor in the creation of a course.
Additionally, there is a broad instructor community with unlimited 24/7 help with more experienced instructors. The support offered makes the process stress free. Instructors get paid monthly for courses purchased by students either through PayPal or Payoneer, whichever is preferred.
There is no fee to be an instructor on Udemy but rather, the revenues earned through sales of courses is shared between the instructor and Udemy. The instructor’s share of revenue could be as high as 97% on self-promoted sales with a much lower percent earned on courses purchased through Udemy’s efforts.
The instructor retains the rights to their course and is only limited to using that same course for a lower price on other teaching sites.
Wrapping it up
Overall, whatever choice you pick as far as platforms go for online course creation, ultimately creating great content is what matters.
Yes, the platforms have different features that can each appeal to course creators in different ways, but at the end of the day that doesn’t matter if you don’t have content.
Spend time curating your content and making it the best it can be. From here, pick one of the sites I talked about to be your launching point to begin your digital course empire!
Experiment around and see which platform best suits you. The time to begin course creating is now and any of these sites will give you the power to do just that. You have a talent or expertise that’s unique to you, so, go and share it!
Until next time,