How to Create an Online Course with WordPress

Since starting the Complete Travel Developer Course a few years ago - a bunch of my friends have been asking me how to create an online course with Wordpress.

And after too many back-and-forth's, questions and answers, tutorials, etc.  - I figured a nice step-by-step post to help you get started as soon as possible would help both you and me ;)

Just like many other websites or applications - the cost to get set up with online course development can range drastically.  We're talking anywhere from $500 up to $15,000.  Now if you're reading this post you're probably looking to stay more on the slim end of that budget.  And I'm happy to tell you that it's totally possible if you follow this guide.

How to Create an Online Course with Wordpress

Step 1 - Get set up with a website from Wordpress.org

I want to preface by saying there are options to get your online course up other than Wordpress.  You can use a landing page from whichever Learning Management System (LMS) you choose.  You can build a landing page with ClickFunnels or Leadpages.  Or you can spend a bunch of money hiring a developer to create a custom website.

In all of the above options - you're going to either get a landing page that doesn't fit your brand/message, be tied into a system (with monthly payments) that doesn't let you customize the way you want, or simply spend too much money.

The reason I'm teaching you how to create an online course with Wordpress is to get you set up with the least expensive and most customizable option.

You're going to need a bit of web development skills but don't worry - Wordpress was made for you to not need to touch any code.

First you'll want to get a domain, web hosting, and a premium Wordpress theme to set you out from the crowd.

Buy a domain from Namecheap.com  ~\$10/year

Get hosting from Hostgator.com  ~\$50/year

Purchase a premium theme from Themeforest.com  ~\$40

With Hostgator you can do a quick 1-click install of Wordpress and you'll get instructions from your theme on how to install it correctly.

If you don't trust your skills - I highly suggest taking my Complete Travel Developer Course.  You'll not only learn how to create websites on Wordpress, but you'll also learn how to create custom designs, and how to rank #1 on Google with SEO.

Step 2 - Choose a Learning Management System (LMS)

One of the most important steps when choosing how to create your online course with Wordpress is choosing the correct Learning Management System.

There's three factors to think about when choosing...

  • Cost
  • Flexibility
  • Ease of Use

teachable

The LMS I use and highly suggest is Teachable ~\$40/month

The fees are standard across other platforms - but what I really LOVE is the design and ease of use with the system - both as an instructor and as a student.  The admin dashboard is extremely simple for doing all kinds of things like editing lectures, creating coupons, and messaging students.  And what I think is by far the best part of Teachable is the design of lectures area for students.  It makes it fun, engaging, and almost gamified to go through lectures.

Now if you're not keen on paying the monthly fee there is another option.

You can use a plugin by Wordpress call Sensei ~\$130

Sensei is built by the team at WooCommerce which is the biggest e-commerce platform for Wordpress.  The plugin is built to easily be uploading directly into your Wordpress website with the click of a button.  Then all the editing of lectures and setting up payments happens directly in the same backend of your Wordpress website that you use to edit the rest of the site.

The biggest issue with Sensei however is that all of the videos you use will be run on YOUR website.  So if you're using a cheap hosting service and storing and serving up very big video files your website is going to be a drrrrrrraaaaaggggg.  Also, the design isn't as professional as other privately hosted learning management systems.  But if saving money is a top priority - starting with Sensei is a good first stop.

Step 3 - Get the Gear

So you're all set up with your online course development - now you actually have to make the course ;)

Practice really makes perfect here and you'll undoubtedly make some mistakes in the beginning or realize where you could have made things better.  But one thing that will help you on your journey how to create an online course with Wordpress is having the right gear.  And there's 3 categories of things you'll need to have in order to be set up for online course development success...

Video - Screenflow, Lighting kit ~\$200

Camera - Sony A6300 or use an iPhone - my first videos were using one ;) ~Free-\$1000

Sound - Blue Yeti microphone, Learn about creating good sound ~\$90

Again if budget is a big concern - you can follow some of the tutorials the guys at Wistia have created to set up a great video studio on a budget.

Step 4 - Lead generation

Really your Wordpress website is used for your Home Page, Blog Pages, and other Static Pages.  This may not seem like much in the beginning, but when you're looking to create a brand, add SEO into the mix and get serious about creating a platform you'll be happy you went with this customization.

The next step how to create an online course with Wordpress is building the lead (email) capture form that will help you sell your course to interested people.

The biggest and most well known system for lead generation and overall site growth is Sumo.

sumo

And naturally - Sumo has a SUPER easy way to install their plugin directly into your Wordpress website.

It's almost TOO simple to start generating leads in a couple of minutes!

Step 5 - Build Your Brand

One of the biggest letdowns in all of the tech world happens when you launch your newly created binary baby to the world and hear nothing but crickets.  Well, don't be surprised if this happens to you too.  This is what separates the entrepreneurs from the wannabes.  After you've learned how to create an online course with Wordpress, you need to develop a strategic marketing plan.

Social Media

Blog Posts

Content Creation

Outreach

There are a lot of steps that go into pushing your online course out into the world.  That being said it's totally doable and WELL worth the effort!

So there you have it.

Follow these 5 steps and you'll be on your way to figuring out how to create an online course with Wordpress.

PJ Manning

PJ is the creator and CEO of TravelDeveloper.com. A digital nomad since 2012 - he's constantly looking for where to work and surf next.