Where should you host your online training course?
There are plenty of options and let me divide this into 2 big categories – a market place and self hosted platforms.
A marketplace will be sites like Udemy, Skillshare, Skillwise, Lynda, etc. Too many to list with more popping up.
The key feature of a marketplace is that the marketplace is where students and instructors meet. There are other instructors there selling their courses there too!
The advantages are a large number of potential trainees already there. Many of these are motivated learners (although I have people who paid for my course but never start). Marketing is done by the platforms so the platforms help you sell your courses.
The downsides is competition with other instructors and heavy discounting. In the end your course can be sold for very little money and the platforms take a significant percentage.
The worst thing is marketplaces don’t want you to take students off their platform. This is a very important point to remember when you use a marketplace.
Self hosting can be 2 things. Hosting it on a course hosting platform like Teachable, Thinkific, etc or hosting it on your website.
No matter which option, the main thing to remember with self hosting is that you have to do marketing.
You can host your course on your own website using various content management system including WordPress with the suitable plugins or use a purpose built learning management system (LMS) like Moodle etc.
On top of that, you can also host it on YouTube and Vimeo but that is not really a good way to do so.
YouTube is not a solution even with unlisted videos. Anyone with the link can share it to others. I use YouTube for marketing.
Vimeo has a simple pay to watch function but in the long run, I don’t suggest this because it is not really a course hosting platform. You can’t host other types of media like pdf, audio, text, etc.
WordPress + Plugins
While others may suggest this, I don’t like using WordPress for this.
I’ve used this in the past and moved away from it. What you are doing is to hack things together. If you’ve used WordPress long enough, you know that plugins break. In the long run you will spend too much time maintaining the site than to focus on your customers.
I don’t like to spend money but this is one place when paying a bit is an investment.
Trust me on this. Been there done that. Yes I really tried the wordpress + plugin + vimeo hosting method.
That leaves the best option which is a purpose built course hosting platforms. This is what I use now.
Course hosting platforms – Teachable, Thinkific, NewZenler, Podia, Kajabi
Course hosting platform are designed for courses in mind. This means that they cater to the user experience i.e. both the trainer/instructor and also your student’s.
The user experience is very important from the time a student signs up, pays and access your courses.
For the trainer the ability to provide things like supporting material eg PDFs and downloads, completion certificates, quiz, students progress are helpful for you to fine tune your courses.
The most important aspect is they handle the technical aspect so you can concentrate on teaching.
Having used Teachable and now on NewZenler, my preference is with NewZenler.
Most platforms provide the following basic function:-
- a sales page(s)
- host videos
- collect payment
- control student access
The majority of course hosting platforms are not designed with marketing in mind. This means you have to use another email marketing service to capture leads and market to your potential students.
NewZenler does the above and more. It includes built in marketing tools like
- custom landing pages
- lead capture pages
- sales funnel
- email marketing
- live webinars through Zoom
- course dripping
- bundling of courses and lots more.
- community discussion