In-Depth Guide for Creating Online Courses that Really Sell


Making reliable, abundant passive income is the dream of every designer… in fact everyone in general. But only a tiny segment of people are able to turn this dream into a practical life.
How can we, i.e. designers, generate a regular stream of passive income is something we discussed in an earlier article. Over there, we discussed that creating online training courses is one of the fail-safe ways to make passive income in the case of designers.

Since then, we have been receiving emails people asking for further insight on this topic. People who want the recipe for cooking up a course that smells so good it makes everyone get a taste of it. Today’s article contains that recipe. But first, let’s have a little background check.

Essential Info about Online Courses

Producing online courses is source of permanent income for so many instructors out there. The age range of people who enroll in various online courses is from 18-29 years. This means that the target audience for your online course could be from any age group starting from 18. Plus, there is another fact that more than 70% the audience that enroll in these online courses is based on females. In fact, it would take just too much time jotting down all the info, so here’s an infographic.

Infographic about Online Courses

Online courses are pretty useful when it comes to driving traffic to your blog. also used by blogs often to direct some traffic towards their blog and increase their reputation. The beginning of online courses started with the beginning of internet and today courses from cooking to soccer (alright, football!), and from design to writing can be found online.

Why Should You Create an Online Course?

Even though we already discussed these points in the previous article, but in case you missed that post, here’s a quick recap.

  • You don’t have to be there or meet your clients (students) personally in order to complete the task. It’s not a 9 to 5 job. Also, if your course becomes a hit, you might earn hundreds and thousands dollars. Of course, such instances are not common, but they do take place.
  • The number of your students is not limited. You get to teach thousands of people. Of course, the rates in online courses are on the lower side, but the number of students balances the low costs.
  • You get to learn a lot and get to know people who are motivated and like-minded. People have things to offer you that even you don’t know about. This is something you get besides money when you make online courses.
  • Online courses create a potential for up-selling. People sign up for your course and you start teaching them. However, you can market some additional things (such as books, your blog etc.) in your course.
  • Online courses do not require much investment like you need in physical products. Plus, if you use a course marketplace such as Udemy, marketing also becomes simple.
  • You can create a as many courses as you can. There are no limits, nothing can stop you to earn more than anyone else. It’s just about your commitment, knowledge and shrewdness.


Jerry Banfield created a course that earned over three thousand dollars in just first month. Now imagine if that course becomes a hit, how much more money it can bring?

Total Earnings

How to Get Idea for the Course that Really Sells?

Creating a course on the topic that you are least interested in is one of the worst ideas. You sure can copy statements from other people but if you do not have command over a topic, then you can never sell it.

It never means that you need to know all about a topic in order to sell it. Just think of something different that you know and do research on it. Try to learn what you do not know and there you go.

Strategies for Creating an Online Course

Quote about strategy making

1. Content

Knowing how to model your course is the most crucial part of creating an online course. You need to consider a few things first.

  • What is the information that you are going to deliver? OR How will you differentiate between useful information and crap?
  • How will you package the information? Will you divide it in chapters or lessons or will you deliver it some other way.
  • Through what medium you are going to convey your information? Will it be writing, audio or video?
  • For how long, the course will last? Are you planning it for a week or for a month?

2. Pricing

If we have stated that some courses charge thousands of dollars, then this does not mean you should charge thousands without even knowing the value of your course. You need to consider these first:

  • How much the course has cost you? After that decide the price of the course.
  • Is your course one in a million? Will people buy it even if you offer it for diamonds? The worth is of the knowledge and how valuable it is to people.
  • Check for the competition. Are there any other similar courses that people are offering? If yes then you need to do two things. Decide a lower price. If you do not want a lower price, then tell people how your course is unique from the existing course and why they should buy it.

3. Change your language

You do not want to create a course that is not specific. Like, create a course on how to get 10,000 likes on Facebook instead of creating a course on how to get traffic for your blog. These are small things that you need to consider before even starting to create your course.

4. Make it engaging

Another important thing to keep in mind is that telling is not training. You can say thousand words but they won’t matter if your customers are not learning anything from it. Try to include activities in your course. Make sure these are activities that your students can do without any hassle.

Strategies for Marketing your Course

Peter Drucker on Marketing

1. Money Back Guarantee

It is one of the cleverest marketing techniques you will ever get for anything. Keep one thing in mind that people are too kind to use you. Plus, the statement builds a sense of reliability. You will definitely feel the number of sign ups increasing.

2. Restricted Period

Now, this is another winning technique if you want your course to sell quickly. When you put a course on sale, just create a restricted period for which the course will remain open. This means that you can set a limit for which the people can sign up, say, 48 hours. What this does is that it creates a sense of urgency and people will sign up for the course quickly without any delay. This will also kick out any chances of signing up of people who can’t commit.

3. Offer Discount

Offer discount to people or at least make people feel that they are getting the product on discount. Also, if you want to market the course on a new level, then initially give away the course for free.

4. Create a Forum

If you think that you course can reach a lot of people, then create a forum for sign ups of your course. This forum will serve as a bridge between your students.

Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

Now here are some mistakes you should avoid making when or after creating the course. The mistakes have been taken from the experiences of top entrepreneurs and big internet people.

1. Creating a course and not market it

Yaro Starak, the founder of Entrepreneurs Journey, says that people work really hard in creating a course and forget if people even want to buy the course or not. It is seen that course teachers are best at teaching, but when it comes to marketing, they usually fail. You need to have a message to market your course. You need to have a reason. Sometimes this reason can lead you from no sales to unbelievable sales.

2. Offering same old facts

Andrew Warner, the founder of Mixergy, says that you should ask the customers what they want to learn. This means that you should not jump right into creating a course. Do some surveys and ask the audience. Sometimes the knowledge you are offering in your course is already available on Google. So, why would people pay for something they could get for free.

3. Focusing on the stuff

James Schramko of SuperFastBusiness says that people end up focusing more on the stuff and less on the results. Create your course in a way that you know your customer will make progress in the respective field.

4. Not involving audience while creating a course

Caleb Wojcik, the founder of Caleb Wojcik Films, says that the biggest mistake he made when creating an online business was not involving the audience while creating the course. Do share what you are going to cover in your course and share a release date with your customers as well.

5. Forgetting about navigation and user experience

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income brings this mistake into consideration that you should test how user-friendly your course is by asking some people take it for free. You are creating the course and you see it with your own perspective. Ask a few people to review it so you can see how the experience would be for the customers.

6. Creating long modules

Build My Online Store’s founder Terryin says that the biggest mistake you make when creating an online course is making the modules too long. The estimated time he mentioned is 15 minutes. This means that your modules should not be longer than that. After that, your customers start to lose attention and interest. So, keep the modules short and try to convey as much information as you can in these short modules. The customers want to learn things quickly.

7. Now knowing the audience

Jonathan Mizel of Traffic Evolution says that you should know what your audience will be. For this you need to do detailed surveys and create charts in respective order to target a particular audience. If you fail to figure out what audience your course is going to target, then you will fail to sell it.

FAQs of Course Makers

What if you can’t answer a question?

Online courses are not that hard to create if you have full command over a particular topic. But what if the students are smarter than you and ask you questions that you do not have answer to. These situations often occur. But the best thing about an online course is that you are not always face-to-face with the students. You can learn to answer the question first by taking your time and then answer it to the student. Plus, in the initial time of your course, or before launching the course, you can make some students read it and ask them what are the questions that come to your mind now. This will help you in covering each and everything that might come to a student’s mind.

What if you are not an expert in the niche?

Another concern is that people give up the idea of creating an online course because they think they are not eligible for the niche. Keep one thing in mind that if you are a scientist, then no one is asking you to create a course in arts. There are so many sub-topics in your niche so focus on them. If you are not confident enough and want to find a way then follow these and you’ll end up knowing a lot about the topic you want to cover.

  • Join two to three trade organizations in the niche you want to cover.
  • Read at least four e-books about the topic.
  • Give a free 2 hour seminar in a university near you.
  • Write articles for two to three magazines in the niche.

An online course can turn out to be highly profitable if you consider small things when creating it. You can only succeed if you make some mistakes. It is a thing that can be beneficial for yourself and your business as well. This means that you can create online courses for your individual income and to market your business as well.

Now you know the ways of selling your course but you must be wondering where you should sell your course. Well! There are hundreds of online platforms that allow you to create and sell your course. Some of these platforms include:



Fedora is a website that allows you to host courses directly on your own website and also lets you control your own pricing, student data and branding from a single place. You can start selling courses from $1 and give 10% to the site for each transaction. You can also choose their monthly plan.

Canvas by Instructure

Canvas online courses platform

Canvas is a cloud-based LMS, which is best for universities or high grade education and allows management of grades and course content. It also allows you to manage the discussions and materials with its incredible tools.

Google Course Builder

Google Course Builder

Google Course Builder is another amazing program that lets you build a course and manage it as well. There are some very complex tools created by Google for this platform that let you create the course in depth. From content to analytics, Google lets you control everything about your course.


It is actually Stanford’s new open-source MOOC platform. It is totally free and you do not have to purchase any expensive IP in order to create your course. This means that the teachers can now create and manage online course and all the content will always belong to them.


Pathwright is a course marketplace

In order to get introduced to Pathwright you can enroll into a free Pathwright 101 course. Pathwright is a completely free platform for creating and selling a course. However, you need to pay a percentage to the website of each sale that you make with it.


Coursera is one of the world's most popular MOOC stations

Coursera is one of the most amazing platforms for teaching as well as learning. It partners with top institutes and universities and makes better learning available for thousands of students. You can sign up to teach a course and get your information to thousands of people.



If you are into programming and computer science, then you need to start teaching here. You can even learn the style or method of teaching from here. Udacity also offers Nano-degrees which prepare a person for a job at organizations it has partnered with.



Content assembling becomes really easy with Udemy like YouTube videos, PDF documents and PowerPoint slides. You can create courses and then put them in marketplace to promote them. The website takes 50% of your profit.


Wiz IQ

WizIQ is perfect for those who want to conduct on-demand Webinars and deliver live. The site offers video sharing, audio sharing, desktop sharing and slide sharing so you can conduct the webinar without any inconvenience. You need to pay $19 per month to get started here.

Make sure the information that you are giving in your course is true and trustworthy. This is another fact that will get you a lot of students. The reason behind this is that people need a teacher who they can trust and rely on.

Final Thoughts

Before I present my conclusion, thank you so much for sticking with me in this very very lengthy article.

Okay, so final thoughts. Guys, the thing is that making online courses can help you in many ways. It gives you fresh ideas, it gives you fans and a geeky stardom. Of course, this is in addition to passive income you can generate.

But, just like everything else, you need to be passionate about it if you want to succeed in it. If you like to teach, if you like to give back to the young ones what you received from your seniors only then you’ll be able create something that actually sells.

Making a successful online course is a two-step process.

  1. Designing a course that is the need of a segment of people, and that need isn’t already catered.
  2. Marketing that course to your segment so that they could know you have answered their prayers.

If you can pull both strings, there’s nothing that can stand in your way of a regular, dependable, massive stream of income.

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