Tips on how to Create and Promote On-line Programs Utilizing WordPress (Step by Step)

Did you know that you can use WordPress to create a successful online course?

Selling courses online is a popular online business idea that you can get started with with a very small investment and no technical knowledge.

Whether you want to create an online course for sale or just want to add an online course for your existing students, this tutorial is for you!

In this guide, we will show you how to easily create an online course using WordPress. We'll also show you how to make money from it and make your online course a success.

Here are the steps we're going to cover to help you create an online course using WordPress:

Ready? Let's begin.

What do you need to create / sell an online course?

Here are the things you will need to create an online course.

  • A course idea where you can help others learn new skills.
  • A domain name. This is the address of your website (example: wpbeginner.com).
  • A WordPress hosting account. This is where your website's files are stored.
  • An eLearning administration add-on (also known as an LMS plugin) for creating and managing courses.
  • Your undivided attention for the next 45 minutes.

You can create an online course using WordPress in under an hour. We'll walk you through every step of the process.

Let's begin.

Step 1. Set up your WordPress website

There are many website builders and online course platforms out there that you can use to build your own website. However, we always recommend WordPress as it gives you maximum flexibility and freedom.

WordPress supports over 39% of all websites on the internet.

WordPress comes of two types, and beginners often get confused.

First there is WordPress.com, which is a hosting service, and then you have the original WordPress.org, also known as self-hosted WordPress. Read our guide on the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

We recommend using WordPress.org as it gives you access to all of the WordPress features you need.

To start a self-hosted WordPress.org website, you'll need a domain name ($ 14.99 / year), WordPress hosting ($ 7.99 / month), and an SSL certificate to accept online payments ( $ 69.99 / year).

That's quite a lot of entry fee.

Fortunately, Bluehost, an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate and a 60% discount on web hosting. Basically, you can get started for $ 2.75 per month.

→ Click here to take advantage of this Bluehost exclusive offer ←

After purchasing hosting, check out our guide to building a WordPress website for step-by-step instructions on how to set it up.

Step 2. Install and set up the MemberPress LMS plugin

After your WordPress website is ready, the next step is to install and set up a Learning Management System add-on. That way you can create your online course and add it to your website.

First you have to install and activate the MemberPress plugin. For more information, see our step-by-step guide on installing a WordPress plugin.

MemberPress is the best LMS plugin for WordPress. It's an all-in-one solution with full course management, lesson plans, subscriptions, access control, payment management and much more.

Course creators around the world use MemberPress to create profitable courses and earn over $ 400 million each year.

After activation you need to visit MemberPress »Settings Page to enter your license key. You can find this information under your account on the MemberPress website.

MemberPress license key

After you have entered the information, click the "Activate license key" button to save your settings.

Next, you need to go to the Payments tab and click the Add (+) button to set up a payment gateway. MemberPress supports PayPal and Stripe (Authorize.net support included in Pro and Plus plans).

Settings for MemberPress payments

Simply select your payment gateway and fill in the required information. You can also set up multiple payment methods by clicking the (+) Button again and repeating the process.

Don't forget to click the "Update Options" button to save your payment settings.

Step 3. Create your first course

The course creation process in MemberPress makes it easy to create and manage online courses. It comes with a very easy to use course builder that allows you to create courses, add sections, edit lessons, and much more.

First you have to visit MemberPress »Courses Page that shows a button to install and activate the course add-on.

Activate the course add-on for MemberPress

When you click on it, the MemberPress course addon will be installed and activated automatically and you will be redirected to the course page.

Add a new course in MemberPress courses

Simply click the "Add New" button above to create your first course. This will launch the MemberPress course creation screen.

Creating the course page

First you will see the "course page", on which you have to enter a course topic, a title and a description. The MemberPress course generator uses the standard WordPress block editor so you can get creative and create an impressive layout of the course page.

You can also add "course categories" and "course tags", specify a selected image and provide an excerpt from the course page under the settings on the course page.

Course page settings

Step 4. Adding Sections and Lessons to Your Course

MemberPress also lets you quickly add course content for each course without having to switch to another page.

Just go to the Curriculum tab and click the Add Section button to create your course overview.

Add course sections in MemberPress

You'll need to provide a title for a section, then click the Add Lesson button below the section to add lessons.

Adding lessons in MemberPress courses

After adding a lesson, you can start adding lesson content by clicking the edit button next to each lesson.

Edit a lesson

You will be asked to save your changes. After that, your lesson will open with the familiar block editor screen.

Adding lesson content

Here you can add your lesson content with the full benefit of the block editor. This allows you to upload images, embed videos, add text, offer downloadable digital products like powerpoints, PDF eBooks, actionable worksheets, and other course materials.

Don't forget to click the Refresh button to save your lesson. You can return to the course by clicking the "Back" link at the top of the editor.

Back to the course editor

Repeat the process to add more lessons to your course.

Don't forget to click the "Publish" button after adding course content to make your course available to authorized users.

Step 5. Create Subscriptions for Course Memberships

MemberPress makes it easy to sell online courses with subscription plans. You can create as many membership plans as you want, and users can choose a plan to pay for their online course.

You can also sell all of your courses under a single membership, offer free courses, or add different courses for each plan. It depends on how you want to structure your sales funnel.

Many people take a combination of free and paid courses to build their audience and maximize passive income.

To add a membership, just go to MemberPress »Memberships Page and click the Add New button.

Create a new membership

You will next be taken to the Create New Membership page. From here, you'll need to first provide a title for this membership plan and then add a description.

Create member page

You can then enter the membership price in the "Membership Conditions" field on the right. You can also select the access duration between lifetime, expiration date (recurring) or fixed expiration date.

Next, you need to scroll down to the Membership Options section. Here you can configure advanced membership options such as the login button, welcome email, price field and more.

Membership options

When you're done, you can click the Publish button to save your changes.

Repeat the process if you need to create additional membership plans.

Step 6. Limit course access to membership plans

The best part about using MemberPress is the powerful access control rules. With them you can decide who gets access to your online course.

Just go to MemberPress »Rules Click the Add New button.

Create a new access rule

This will take you to the Rules Wizard page. First, in the Protected section, you need to select the content that you want to protect.

Content access rules

For example, here we have chosen a single course under the Protected Content.

Below that, you need to select the conditions that must be met in order for users to be able to access this content. For example, we chose our membership plan here.

Don't forget to click the "Save Rule" button to save your settings.

MemberPress makes it easy to send users to the page where they can register and enroll for your course by purchasing a membership plan.

A link is automatically generated for each membership plan that you can add anywhere on your website.

Just edit a membership plan and you will see the link under the membership title. You can also enter your domain name manually followed by / register / your-Membership-title /

Link to register for membership

You can add this link anywhere on your website in a post, page, or navigation menu to direct users to the registration page.

Registration page preview

You can even share this link on your sales pages, webinars, podcasts, Facebook groups, social media and other traffic channels.

Pro tip: We recommend using PrettyLinks to create memorable short links for podcasts, webinars, and social media.

Step 8. Preview and customize your online course

With MemberPress you can use the classroom mode by default. This means your course pages and content will always look great no matter what WordPress theme you're using.

You can easily watch a course by visiting:

https://example.com/courses/

Don't forget to replace example.com with your own domain name.

All your courses will be listed there. You can click the Preview As menu to see what it would look like for the logged out users.

Course page in MemberPress

Clicking a course will open the course and view a course overview, sections, and lessons. It is very easy to navigate and tracks the user's progress so they can pick up where they left off.

Course navigation

You can also customize the course page templates by visiting Appearance »Customize Click the MemberPress Classroom tab.

Customize the Course View Pages

Here you can upload your brand logo and change the colors to match the rest of your website.

Don't forget to click the Publish button to save your changes.

Step 9. Sell your online course with more powerful features

Both MemberPress and WordPress are super flexible. That way, you can use them with other tools to grow your business and reach more users.

For example, you can create a powerful member page / community that offers courses as well as paid content and discounts.

You can also use MemberPress with other LMS plugins like LearnDash. This allows you to use LearnDash for course creation and use MemberPress for powerful subscriptions, payments, memberships and other functions.

Alternatively, if you want to sell other items like physical goods related to your course, swags, etc., you can manage payments and orders with WooCommerce. In this way you can create a suitable online shop for your website.

Step 10. Promote your online course

The other benefit of the WordPress + MemberPress combo is that it makes it easier for you to advertise your online course and make money online.

Let's take a look at some ways you can promote your online course, target the audience, and make it successful.

1. Create landing pages for your online courses

Your WordPress theme can help you create an extremely responsive website. However, you may need to quickly create landing pages to describe course details, present instructors, highlight special offers, and more.

Custom landing pages and sales pages have been shown to increase course revenue.

We recommend using SeedProd. It's the best WordPress page builder, and it allows you to create professional landing page layouts without writing any code.

SeedProd

For full instructions, check out our guide on how to create a custom page in WordPress.

2. Learn the SEO basics

Search engines are the main source of traffic for most websites on the internet. This is why you need to learn how to rank your online course website higher in search engines.

With the help of WordPress plugins and some basic SEO best practices, you can easily compete with the big ones.

We now recommend users to use the All in One SEO plugin for WordPress.

For more information, check out our complete WordPress SEO guide for beginners with step-by-step instructions.

3. Track marketing data

Many beginners develop their marketing strategy based on guesswork. You don't need to do this once you are getting actual data to make informed decisions.

For that you need MonsterInsights. You can use it to install Google Analytics and view readable reports on your WordPress dashboard.

You can see where your visitors are from, what they are doing on your website, your most popular pages, and much more. You can then improve your website to improve your conversions and increase sales.

4. Create an email list

After a while, you will find that most of your website visitors are not signing up for your online course. The problem is, once they leave your website, you cannot reach these users.

To fix this, you need to start an email newsletter. This is a great way to collect email addresses, reach those users and bring them back to your website.

We recommend using Constant Contact or ConvertKit for email marketing.

If you're looking for alternatives, check out our comparison of the best email marketing services.

5. Convert website visitors to subscribers and customers

Most of your website visitors leave the company without registering for your online course. Because of this, it is important to convert the abandoned visitors into subscribers or paying customers.

This is known as conversion optimization.

The best tool for this job is OptinMonster. It's the best conversion optimization software out there and it will help you grow your business with more leads and sales.

For more information, see our guide on converting website visitors to customers.

Do you need more tools? Check out our full list of the best tools to grow your WordPress website like an absolute pro.

Frequently asked questions about creating an online course (FAQs)

Over the past 10 years we've helped thousands of entrepreneurs create their own online course. Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about creating an online course.

How can I create high quality videos for my course?

Videos are an important element of online courses. It will help you better demonstrate your expertise and connect with your audience.

When you start out, there is no need to invest in fancy video equipment. A good Ultra HD webcam like Logitech Brio will do for most users.

You can use Camtasia or Screenflow for Mac for screencasts and screen recordings.

Recently our team started using the online video editing platform Descript, which can greatly improve your workflow.

Can I use other online learning platforms with WordPress?

There are many online course platforms that you can use to create and sell courses.

This includes Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, Udemy, etc.

You can use any of these alongside your WordPress website. Depending on your needs, these platforms may offer an easier solution for creating online courses.

However, they are generally more expensive and / or take a revenue share from your course sales.

What is the best webinar platform for course creators?

Nothing beats live webinars when it comes to online education. You can use it to increase the engagement of your audience and improve member loyalty.

We compared the best webinar platforms here.

Most of these solutions let you create live webinars, automated evergreen webinars, and tons of webinar engagement features.

How can I validate my course idea?

Creating online course content takes a lot of time and effort. For this reason, we always recommend users to validate their course idea in front of their hands.

There are several ways to validate a course idea.

You can take a poll or poll on your website, solicit feedback from viewers on social media, or check out your favorite blog posts or YouTube videos as the most popular can often be turned into courses.

What can I do to make my online course successful?

While there are many tactics you can use to make your online course idea successful and profitable.

The little known tactic that works really well is case studies. Unfortunately, they don't use enough course creators.

A case study can help highlight the most successful students in your community. Not only does this encourage others, but it can also help those who don't know how to get the most out of your products.

We use case studies in many of our own businesses as social evidence to drive conversions, but also to help our new users find encouragement and motivation.

We hope this article has helped you create a successful online course in WordPress in an easy way. You might also want to check out our tips on adding push notifications to connect with visitors after they leave your site. This is our comparison of the best live chat software for member sites.

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