Indie Brand Builder - Dan Chadney

How to Create an Online Course: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by: Dan Chadney

If you’re looking to learn how to create an online course, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will provide all the information you need to create an online course. We’ll dive deep into the process of creating a successful online course from scratch.

We’ll begin by helping you pick the perfect course topic through keyword research tools and analyzing popular topics within your niche. Next, as course creators we’ll ensure high market demand for your course idea by conducting market research and testing ideas using pre-launch landing pages.

As we progress, you will discover how to create compelling learning outcomes with multimedia elements and clear objectives for each module.

We will also discuss structuring modules & planning courses effectively while incorporating engaging delivery methods such as videos, podcasts, live webinars or Q&A sessions.

Finally, we’ll cover production tips like determining budgets and outsourcing tasks when necessary before creating an online course on a suitable Learning Management System (LMS) or online course platform

1. Pick the Perfect Course Topic

Choosing the right course topic is crucial for the success of your online course. To find a subject that resonates with potential students, start by researching popular topics within your niche on social media and using Google suggestions for keywords related to your field. You can also consider repurposing old content or focusing on specific passions and interests.

Utilize Keyword Research Tools

To identify high-demand subjects, use keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Ubersuggest. These platforms help you discover trending topics and analyze search volume data to ensure you’re selecting a profitable online course idea.

Analyze Popular Topics Within Your Niche

Beyond keyword research, it’s essential to stay updated on industry trends and discussions happening in your niche.

Join applicable chats, be part of Facebook groups, keep track of Twitter influencers, and sign up for blogs related to your field. By staying engaged with these communities, you’ll gain valuable insights into what prospective learners are looking for in an online class.

In summary, picking the perfect course topic involves thorough research using various tools such as keyword analysis software while actively participating in industry-specific communities.

This will help ensure that you create an engaging learning experience tailored specifically toward meeting the needs of your existing student base, which ultimately leads to greater overall satisfaction rates upon completion.

Choosing the right course topic is essential to ensure your online course’s success. With proper market research and keyword analysis, you can make sure that your chosen topic has high demand in the marketplace before launching it. Now let’s take a look at how to guarantee this by ensuring high market demand for your course idea.

2. Ensure High Market Demand for Your Course Idea

Before investing energy and resources into creating an online course, it is essential to verify that there exists a considerable requirement for the subject matter. By conducting market research and testing your ideas, you can ensure that your efforts will yield profitable results.

In this section, we’ll discuss various methods to gauge the market demand for your online course creation or idea.

Conduct Market Research through Surveys and Polls

To get started with understanding the potential of your new course topic, consider sending out surveys and polls to gather feedback from prospective learners.

This could be done by blasting your email list or reaching out to relevant communities on social media platforms like Facebook groups or Reddit forums.

Ask questions related to their interests in learning about specific topics within your niche, as well as any pain points they might have experienced when trying to learn these subjects previously.

Test Ideas Using Pre-Launch Landing Pages

Another effective method of validating market demand is by setting up pre-launch landing pages showcasing brief information about the proposed online courses. Utilize digital marketing strategies such as Google Ads campaigns, promoting the course landing page on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter using targeted hashtags, and sharing links within relevant blog posts or forums where potential students may be browsing.

  • Email sign-ups: Include an option for interested visitors to provide their email addresses if they’d like updates regarding the launch of the course – this not only helps build anticipation but also provides valuable data on how many people are genuinely interested in enrolling.

  • Limited-time offers: Offer early bird discounts or exclusive bonuses for those who sign up during the pre-launch phase, incentivizing potential students to commit before the course is even available.

  • Analytics tracking: Monitor your landing page’s performance by using tools like Google Analytics, which can provide insights into user behavior and conversion rates. This data will help you determine if there’s sufficient interest in your online course idea.

In summary, ensuring high market demand for your online course idea is a crucial step toward creating a successful and profitable educational product.

By conducting thorough research through surveys, polls, and pre-launch landing pages, you’ll be able to validate that there is an audience eager to learn from your expertise – setting yourself up for success as an online course creator and educator.

By conducting market research and testing ideas with pre-launch landing pages, you can ensure high market demand for your course idea. Next, we’ll look at how to create compelling learning outcomes that incorporate multimedia elements in lessons and develop clear objectives for each module.

Key Takeaway: 

To create a successful and profitable online course, it’s crucial to ensure high market demand for your idea.

This can be achieved by conducting market research through surveys and polls, as well as testing ideas using pre-launch landing pages with email sign-ups, limited-time offers, and analytics tracking. By validating that there is an audience eager to learn from your expertise, you’ll set yourself up for success as an online course creator and educator.

3. Create Compelling Learning Outcomes

Constructing magnetic and persuasive learning objectives is essential for creating a successful online course, as it helps to ensure student engagement, increasing the likelihood of their success and satisfaction.

Constructing captivating learning objectives can help to keep students motivated and excited about their educational journey, improving the likelihood of success and contentment with the course. Strategizing for producing effectual learning outcomes will be explored here.

Incorporate Multimedia Elements in Lessons

Today’s learners have diverse preferences when it comes to consuming content. To cater to these varying needs, consider incorporating multimedia elements into your lessons.

For example, you can use instructional videos, podcasts, infographics or interactive quizzes as part of your teaching materials. These engaging formats not only help maintain student interest but also appeal to different learning styles.

Develop Clear Objectives for Each Module

To create compelling learning outcomes, it’s essential to establish clear objectives for each module within your online course. These objectives should be specific, measurable, and achievable so that students know exactly what they’re expected to learn by the end of each lesson or module.

  • Specific: Clearly define what students should be able to do after completing a particular module (e.g., “Create an email marketing campaign using Mailchimp”). Avoid vague goals like “Understand email marketing.”

  • Measurable: Ensure there’s a way for both you and your students to assess whether they’ve achieved the desired outcome (e.g., through quizzes or assignments).

  • Achievable: Set realistic expectations based on factors such as the course’s difficulty level, duration and target audience.

Create engaging objectives for each module by incorporating multimedia components into your lessons to cultivate compelling learning results that will captivate students throughout their digital educational experience.

Remember, a successful online course is one where learners feel motivated to complete it and achieve their desired goals.

Creating compelling learning outcomes is essential to make online courses successful. By structuring your modules and developing an effective course plan, you can ensure that students get the most out of their experience.

Key Takeaway: 

To create a profitable course, it’s important to design compelling learning outcomes and incorporate multimedia elements into lessons.

Clear objectives for each module should also be established with specific, measurable, and achievable goals. By doing so, students will remain engaged throughout the course and achieve their desired outcomes.

4. Structure Your Course and Plan for Student Success

An essential aspect of creating a great online course is having a well-structured and organized plan. This not only ensures that your students can easily follow along with the material, but it also makes it easier for you to create new modules and update existing ones as needed. In this section, we’ll discuss how to effectively structure your modules and course plan.

Organize Content into Logical Sequences

The first step in structuring your course is organizing the course outline and content into logical sequences or units. Each unit should cover a specific topic or learning outcome, making it easy for students to understand what they will be learning in each module. Outline the topics for your course, then arrange them according to their relatedness or sequence.

  • Beginner courses: Start with foundational concepts before moving on to more advanced topics.

  • Intermediate courses: Build upon previously learned skills while introducing new challenges.

  • Advanced courses: Dive deep into specialized areas of expertise within your niche.

Include Assessments at Regular Intervals

Incorporating assessments throughout your online course allows you to gauge student progress and provide valuable feedback that can help improve their understanding of the material.

By incorporating quizzes, assignments, projects, or self-reflection activities into the course design from the outset, learners can develop critical thinking skills and be better equipped to progress.

Remember to always have an instructional plan in mind when building your academy; include quizzes, assignments, and interactive components that encourage active participation from learners.

A well-thought-out structure helps ensure student success while also making it easier to create new modules as needed.

Organizing your course content into logical sequences will help ensure a smooth flow of learning for the students. To further engage them, consider incorporating audiovisual materials and live webinars to provide real-time interaction with the course material.

Key Takeaway: 

To create an online course that actually helps students achieve the desired outcome, it is essential to have a well-structured and organized plan.

This involves organizing content into logical sequences, including assessments at regular intervals, and having an instructional plan in mind when building your academy. By following these guidelines, you can keep students engaged throughout their online learning journey while ensuring student success.

5. Engaging Delivery Methods

To ensure the success of your online course, it’s essential to select effective delivery methods that cater to different learning styles and preferences.

By choosing between text-based instructions or more engaging multimedia approaches depending on the subject matter of each lesson within the course structure, you can make lessons more appealing to various types of learners, thus increasing their overall satisfaction rate.

Use Videos, Podcasts, and Other Audiovisual Materials Where Appropriate

Videos are a powerful tool for delivering information in an easily digestible format. They allow students to see concepts in action and provide visual examples that can help solidify understanding.

Similarly, podcasts offer an audio-based approach that enables learners to absorb content while multitasking or on-the-go. Consider incorporating educational videos, podcasts, and other audiovisual materials into your online courses when they align with your learning objectives.

Consider Live Webinars or Q&A Sessions for Real-Time Interaction

In addition to pre-recorded content, live webinars and Q&A sessions can foster real-time interaction between instructors and students.

These formats encourage active participation from learners by allowing them to ask questions directly related to the material being presented. Moreover, live events create a sense of community among participants as they engage with one another throughout their shared learning journey.

  • Webinars: Host live presentations using platforms like Zoom Webinar, GoToWebinar, or Cisco Webex to cover specific topics in-depth and offer real-time Q&A opportunities.

  • Q&A Sessions: Schedule live sessions using tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or your chosen LMS’s built-in chat feature, where students can ask questions and receive immediate feedback from instructors.

Incorporating a variety of engaging delivery methods into your online course will not only cater to different learning styles but also enhance the overall student experience.

By offering diverse content formats and fostering real-time interaction, you’ll increase the likelihood of learner success while setting your course apart from competitors in the ever-growing online education course marketplaces.

To ensure your online course is engaging, use a variety of delivery methods such as videos, podcasts and other audiovisual materials. Now let’s move on to the next step in creating an online course: producing it.

Key Takeaway: 

It’s important to use engaging delivery methods that cater to different learning styles. This can include incorporating videos and live webinars or Q&A sessions for real-time interaction with students. By offering diverse content formats and fostering community among participants, you’ll increase the likelihood of learner success in the competitive online education market.

6. Produce Your Online Course

Investing in the production of your online course is crucial to ensure its success. The quality of your content will directly impact the satisfaction and learning experience of your students. Depending on the intricacy and needs of your course, you may need to invest some time and money into generating top-notch materials.

Determine Production Budget

Before diving into creating your course content, it’s essential to determine a realistic budget. Consider factors such as equipment costs (camera, microphone), software subscriptions (video editing tools), hiring freelancers for specialized tasks (graphic design, video editing), and any additional resources required for delivering an exceptional learning experience.

TOP TIP: There are many AI tools currently available for online course creators that can vastly reduce the time, effort and cost of creating a course. Check out my guide to creating an online course with AI.

Outsource Tasks to Freelancers When Necessary

If you lack expertise in certain areas or simply don’t have enough time to handle all aspects of the production yourself, consider outsourcing some tasks via freelancing platforms like Upwork. By delegating specific responsibilities to professionals with relevant technical skills, and experience, you can focus on other critical aspects of creating the course, while ensuring top-notch quality across all components.

This stage involves filming, recording, and editing your course materials. Ensure that each lesson is polished and professional by using appropriate lighting setups for video recordings or investing in good audio equipment for clear sound during podcasts or webinars. Additionally, editing techniques play a significant role in making sure that video lessons themselves are engaging without unnecessary distractions.

  • Filming: Use a high-quality camera and proper lighting to create visually appealing videos. If possible, invest in a tripod or other stabilizing equipment for steady shots.

  • Recording: Invest in a good microphone for clear audio during podcasts or webinars. Test different recording environments to find the best acoustics and minimize background noise.

  • Editing: Utilize video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X to cut out unnecessary footage, add transitions, and enhance the overall flow of your lessons. For audio recordings, use tools like Audacity or GarageBand to edit sound levels and remove any unwanted noises.

By implementing the aforementioned production techniques, you can create an engaging and informative online course for your students. B

y investing time and resources into producing quality content from the start, you’ll set yourself up for success when it comes time to launch your course on popular platforms such as Teachable, Podia, Thinkific, Kajabi, Mighty Networks, TrainerCentral, LearnWorlds, and more.

Producing your first online course requires careful planning and budgeting. Having the right tools can make your online course a success.

Key Takeaway: 

Investing in the production of your online course is crucial to ensure its success. Determine a realistic budget, outsource tasks when necessary, and use high-quality equipment and editing techniques to create engaging content that offers an enjoyable learning experience for students.

7. Set Up Your Online Course

Use online course software such as Teachable, Podia, Thinkific, Kajabi, Mighty Networks, or other popular platforms, to easily host digital downloads, coaching sessions, membership sites, and even offer coupons for promotional offers. This makes it easier than ever before to launch your own academy.

Compare Features and Pricing of Various LMS Options

To choose the best platform for your needs, compare the features and pricing of various LMS options available on the market. Consider factors like ease of use, customization options, integration with third-party tools such as email marketing services or payment gateways, and customer support quality provided by each company.

  • Ease of Use: Look for user-friendly interfaces that make it easy to create courses without any technical expertise required.

  • Customization Options: Choose a platform that allows you to customize its appearance according to your brand identity preferences so students feel more engaged while they are learning.

  • Email Marketing Integration: Select an LMS which seamlessly integrates with popular email marketing services like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, etc., allowing automated communication with potential and existing student base, increasing overall satisfaction rates.

  • Payment Gateway Integration: Ensure the chosen platform supports preferred payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc., making transactions hassle-free and smooth for both parties involved in the process.

Customize the Platform to Reflect Your Brand Identity

Your online course should be an extension of your brand, so it’s essential to customize the platform according to your unique style and identity.

Most LMS platforms offer a range of customization options, including colors, fonts, logos, and other design elements that can help you create a cohesive look and feel for your virtual academy.

Consider creating custom domain names or subdomains (e.g., to further enhance the professional appearance and credibility within your industry niche.

Incorporating these tips into setting up your course will not only make it easier for potential students to find and access content but also increase overall satisfaction rates among existing learners who are already enrolled in various programs offered by your institution today.

Setting up your online course is a crucial step to ensuring the success of your business, and it’s important that you take time to compare features and pricing among various LMS options. Now let’s move on to establishing a pricing structure for your courses.

Key Takeaway: 

Learn how to create and sell online courses by setting up your own virtual academy using Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Teachable, Podia, Thinkific, Kajabi or Mighty Networks.

Choose the best platform based on factors like ease of use, customization options, integration with third-party tools such as email marketing services or payment gateways and customer support quality provided by each company.

8. Establish Your Pricing Structure

In this crucial stage of creating and selling online courses, it’s essential to establish a pricing structure that caters to different budgets and preferences of potential students. This ensures that you’re able to reach a wide audience without alienating those who may not be willing to spend large sums upfront on their educational journey.

Offer Tiered Payment Plans and Installment Options

One effective strategy for accommodating various financial situations is offering tiered payment plans or installment options. By providing multiple price points with varying levels of access or benefits, you can attract a diverse range of prospective learners while also increasing the perceived value of your course offerings. For example, consider offering a basic plan with limited features at an affordable rate alongside premium plans with additional resources or personalized support for higher prices. LearnWorlds provides some excellent examples and guidance on how to implement these strategies effectively.

  • Basic Plan: Access to core course content only (e.g., video lectures, readings)

  • Premium Plan: Core content plus bonus materials (e.g., worksheets, templates) and/or group coaching sessions

  • VIP Plan: All-inclusive package featuring one-on-one consultations with the instructor in addition to all other resources mentioned above

Consider Discounts and Early Bird Specials for Increased Initial Enrollment Rates

To further incentivize enrollment during your first course launch phase, consider offering discounts or early bird specials as part of your marketing efforts. These promotional tactics can help create urgency among potential students while rewarding those who commit quickly by securing their spot at reduced rates.

For a restricted period, you could offer a 20% discount on the standard course cost in the initial week after launch. Alternatively, consider providing exclusive bonuses or additional content to early enrollees as an added incentive. Be sure to promote these offers through your digital marketing channels and social media platforms in order to maximize visibility and drive enrollment.

In summary, establishing a flexible pricing structure is essential for reaching a broad audience and ensuring the success of your online courses. By offering tiered payment plans, installment options, discounts, and early bird specials tailored to various budgets and preferences, potential students will be more likely to invest in their learning journey with you.

Creating a cost plan for your digital course is critical to make sure that you can get the most out of income and reduce customer attrition. With the right launch strategy, you can take advantage of market opportunities and increase enrollment rates quickly. Next up: launching your online course with success.

Key Takeaway: 

To create and sell online courses successfully, it’s crucial to establish a pricing structure that caters to different budgets. Offering tiered payment plans or installment options can attract a diverse range of prospective learners while discounts and early bird specials can incentivize enrollment during the course launch phase.

9. Launch and Market Your Course

To maximize the success of your online course, create buyer personas and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy targeting your ideal audience. By building buyer personas, sharing valuable content across various channels, and optimizing your sales landing page, you can effectively drive awareness and conversions.

Don’t forget – use power words in your content to boost conversions!.

Create Buyer Personas

Understanding who your target audience is will help you tailor your marketing efforts more effectively. Create detailed buyer personas by considering factors such as demographics, interests, pain points, and goals. This information will guide you in crafting targeted messaging that resonates with potential students.

Share Valuable Content Across Channels

Leverage different platforms like social media networks (Facebook or Instagram), email campaigns (MailChimp, Constant Contact) or even guest blogging on relevant websites to share engaging content related to your course topic. By consistently providing value through informative articles or helpful tips before launching the course itself, you can build trust with prospective learners while also generating interest in what you have to offer.

  • Social Media: Share snippets from lessons or testimonials from existing students on platforms like Facebook or Instagram stories.

  • Email Campaigns: Send out newsletters featuring exclusive previews of upcoming modules along with promotional offers for early bird sign-ups.

  • Blogging & Guest Posting: Write informative blog posts about topics related to the subject matter of the course; reach out to other bloggers within similar niches for collaboration opportunities.

Optimize Your Sales Page

An effective sales page is crucial for converting interested visitors into paying students. Make sure your sales page includes clear learning outcomes, compelling testimonials, and a strong call-to-action (CTA). Additionally, consider implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to improve the visibility of your course in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can help drive organic traffic to your sales page and increase enrollment rates.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to launching an awesome online course that reaches its intended audience and generates revenue for years to come.

Key Takeaway: 

To ensure the success of your online course, develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that targets your ideal audience. Create detailed buyer personas, share valuable content across various channels and optimize your sales page with clear learning outcomes, compelling testimonials and a strong call-to-action (CTA). By doing so you can effectively drive awareness and conversions for years to come.


Creating an online course may appear intimidating, but with the correct strategy it can be a gratifying undertaking. By picking the perfect course topic and ensuring high market demand for your idea, you can create magnetic learning outcomes that engage your audience. Structuring modules and planning delivery methods effectively are crucial to producing quality content.

Setting up your online school and establishing a pricing structure requires careful consideration. Launching and marketing your course successfully involves crafting compelling sales pages and building community around it. With these in mind, you can confidently move forward to create a successful online course.

If you’re ready to take the next step in creating an online course, contact Dan Chadney today for expert guidance!


How to Create an Online Course Step-by-Step

If you want to create an online course, follow these steps:

  1. Pick a relevant and in-demand topic.

  2. Validate your idea through market research.

  3. Define clear learning outcomes for students.

  4. Plan and structure your course modules effectively.

  5. Choose engaging delivery methods for each lesson.

  6. Produce high-quality content with proper audio and video recording techniques or outsource production if needed.

  7. Set up your online course using a suitable LMS platform like Teachable.

  8. Finally, launch, market, and build community around your course.

What’s the Best Way to Create an Online Course?

The best way to create an online course is by focusing on providing value to learners through well-structured content that addresses their needs while incorporating interactive elements such as quizzes, assignments, or discussions that promote engagement. Utilize various media formats like videos, audios, PDFs, etc. Choose a reliable LMS platform (Thinkific, Kajabi) and invest time in marketing strategies like email campaigns and social media promotions.

How to Create an Online Course to Sell

Create a valuable and marketable online course by selecting a profitable niche topic based on demand analysis; develop clear learning objectives; produce quality content using different mediums (video/audio/text); set up the virtual classroom via LMS platforms (LearnWorlds, Podia). Establish pricing structures including tiered pricing or payment plans; craft compelling sales pages; and employ effective marketing strategies to attract potential customers.

How to Create an Engaging Online Course

To create an engaging online course, focus on incorporating interactive elements like quizzes, assignments, or group discussions. Utilize multimedia content such as videos, audios, and infographics for better retention. Offer personalized feedback and support through email or forums. Host live events like webinars for real-time interaction with students and build a private community where learners can connect with each other and share their experiences.

Dan Chadney

Ever felt like your business should be getting more attention online? I felt the same way until I learned how to leverage SEO and digital marketing tactics to scale my e-commerce business to 6 figures per year. My name is Dan Chadney and before starting this blog, I spent 20 years as a web designer, front-end developer and SEO marketing specialist. Check out my online business guides and learn how to make money online!

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