Online courses are disrupting the way we look at education. If you want to get better at a particular skill, you don’t have to pay for expensive university fees. Instead, you can learn from the best in the business from the comfort of your home.

Through online courses, any entrepreneur or thought leader can share their knowledge with others. It can also be a great way to build your online reputation and earn some extra money.

How to Build a Successful Online Course

If you’re looking to build your own online courses, here is a quick guide to help you out. There is more to it than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at things you need to keep in mind while launching a course online:

1. Pick the Right Niche

Before you start creating content, invest some time into picking the right niche. You may be tempted to talk about Instagram, SEO, and marketing all at once. But if you want to succeed, you need to find your focus.

Don’t try to be everything at once. Instead, think about a specific problem that stresses people out. It could anything from facing writer’s block to not getting enough leads.

You need to make sure there is a demand for the topic you’ve chosen. Otherwise, there is no point in creating a course. You could do market research or leverage social listening tools to find out what people want to learn.

Keep in mind that you need to build your authority around the problem you choose. So, it’s a good idea to pick a niche that also highlights your expertise. If you’re a podcaster, you could teach your audience how to monetize their podcasts.

In short, pick a niche that you’re interested in and have experience in.

2. Pick the Right Online Course Platform

There are a number of platforms that can help you launch your online courses. They are easy-to-use and come with a lot of different features. If you are not familiar with them, it can be hard to decide which one is the best platform for you.

While some platforms give you complete control over your content, pricing, and marketing, others come with pre-made templates. Before you finalize the platform, be clear about your requirements.

For someone who doesn’t have much time, a platform with templates may be the right fit. On the other hand, a bigger company with designers may want more control over the design aspect.

3. Build As You Go

Don’t waste too much time planning your course modules. Of course, it’s good to be prepared. But if you waste too much time designing your course, the material may become irrelevant.

For instance, Cat Howell spent more than six months planning every aspect of her online course. But once she went online, she realized that her students had questions that weren’t a part of her course. In a month’s time, she had to re-design her coursework.

Her advice to those who want to design their own course is to publish the course first. See how the students respond and what kind of questions they ask. Based on that, you can update your course or make changes along the way.

4. Have Realistic Goals and Expectations

On the internet, you’ll find a lot of people telling you how they made a ton of money from their online courses. Sure, the world of online courses can make you rich quickly. But you’ll need to put in a lot of hard work. If you’re launching your first online course, don’t expect to get thousands of registrations right away.

You’ll need to market your digital products well. It can be a long and arduous process to build your authority and get recognition online. So, don’t be swayed by stories of others who are making a fortune. Set your goals and expectations based on where you are starting from.

5. Leverage Different Content Formats

Your authority is an important part of building an audience. But if your content isn’t up to the mark, people will lose interest eventually.

To engage your audience, leverage different content formats. Some people like to read, while others are visual learners. Keep this in mind while designing your course. Use photos, videos, infographics, GIFs, and text to ensure your readers stay engaged.

Also, keep in mind that certain information simply won’t fit into a particular video. For instance, it’s difficult to explain how to use a particular feature on Instagram only with text. You need photos to make the instructions easier to understand. The best way to improve your content quality is to use multiple formats together.

6. Get the Pricing Right

Your online course’s price will have a direct impact on how you can market it and what kind of students you attract. It also affects the kind of course you need to design and how much revenue you can get.

If you charge too little, your value may be undermined. If you overcharge people, you may not get many takers. Consider the effort and time you’ll have to put in to design your course. Also, take a look at the price of your competitors’ courses.

However, don’t try to beat it just to attract more people. Focus on marketing your course to those who will value it for the content. Your aim is to build a loyal audience who is satisfied with what they learn from your course.


It is easier than ever to build an online course. However, if you want to achieve success, you need to pick the right niche and platform. Begin with realistic goals and be prepared to adapt your course structure based on the feedback you get.

Use multimedia elements to make your content more engaging. Launching your course will take a lot of time and effort, so don’t sell yourself short to get more registrations. Instead focus on marketing to attract the right people.

Got a question about launching your online course? Ask away in the comments section. I would love to share my input.

Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.