How to Create an Online Course: 3 Things You Need to Know

Is it possible to gain personal, professional, and above all economical independence by creating online courses? Do you want to learn how to create an online course to sell to your audience?

Today, you can create an online course to do that. It is not a secret that this market is expanding and becoming increasingly bigger. You can upload your online courses to major online learning marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare. They are known to have large audiences of students waiting to take new online courses.

The eLearning market has gotten much bigger and the growth projections have changed significantly due to the pandemic.

Post-COVID research suggests that the market size has crossed $250 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach around $1 Trillion by 2027.

how to create an online course to sell
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That is why in this article you find three things you absolutely need to know about building a successful online course.

1. Audience for Your Online Course

The first thing you need to worry about is finding your audience of reference. Without a public willing to listen, you will rarely find someone willing to buy a course.

You can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, you will not be able to sell it.

So, your initial focus should be to research and cultivate your ideal audience for your online course. When you analyze it, try to discover what they already know and set your stage for that. There’s no reason to teach under their level. Understanding what skills or knowledge your users need to gain will help you create an effective course.

Obviously, this community must draw value from what you share with them and it should be as specific as possible. Here, it’s once again about one of the most important points in internet marketing and blogging: the niche.

The more specific your target audience is, the easier it will be to actively engage and create a dedicated community for your online course.

But How to Involve This Community?

Creating and sharing value. I think videos today are the best way to do it and you can use different platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.

It really does not matter too much which one you choose, but the content you share.

Remember, social media is a powerful diffusion tool, but you must always have a “base” for addressing these users. This base can be your website, your blog, your email list, or your database.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Building a house on someone else’s ground is not the wisest choice! – Erik Emanuelli” quote=”Building a house on someone else’s ground is not the wisest choice! – Erik Emanuelli” theme=”style2″]

2. Tools for Your Class

The second important element is the tools. Without using the right instruments. you can hardly sell or promote your knowledge. You will need the right tools to create your online course.

In practice, what you really need is software for managing member areas, sales pages, and email marketing.

Clickfunnels is just one of the few available. You will need to send emails and manage the creation of any page you use for selling and promoting the course.

However, you can do it with other tools like WordPress and Optimizepress, but your project may become complex when you need to integrate several pieces.

how to create an online course to sell
You can use WordPress to create an online course.

Another great tool to offer your online course is called Kajabi. It’s an all-in-one platform to make it easier for you!

Also, you will need a payment management service. Again, in this case, there are several options with pros and cons.

Clickbank, Stripe, and PayPal are just some of the options available. Clickbank in particular, as it also deals with managing billing, refunds, and affiliate networks, which could be an advantage.

Content Creation Tools

In addition to this, you will need content creation tools. You can start with your smartphone. By now, almost all phones have excellent cameras and quality is often semi-professional. And good natural light replaces any expensive lighting system.

As far as editing programs are concerned, there are many free ones that do well their job. iMovie or QuickTime are some tools you can use to record screencasts and edit your videos. It is not difficult to use them and you can get great results without having to invest thousands of dollars in expensive software. You could even use Powerpoint to create slides and videos.

An alternative to setting up everything on your own (with all the resources mentioned above), there are several services you can use to help you create and sell your online course.

In particular, I recommend Kajabi, a platform where you will have all the tools you need, under one roof. You will be able to set up a membership site, create a landing page, manage your mailing list and send emails, create your online course and even build a website.2

3. Knowledge to Create Your Course

It is at point three, but in reality, it is the most important. Obviously, without specific knowledge, you can not create anything we have talked about so far.

It does not matter to be a super-professor with dozens of years of experience. Many times, you just have to be a step ahead of your audience and know something that others do not know.

Try to think for a moment about what you are passionate about or if there is something for which your friends or acquaintances contact you for information. You will surely find something you know and somebody else does not.

Obviously, your preparation and skills are proportionate to how much people will pay for your courses.

While you are building your content, use humor. Try to find the right balance in it, and add your personal touch. Share stories or anecdotes that help illustrate your points to engage the users.

use humor
Use some humor in your content to keep your audience engaged in your online course.

Keep the modules of your course short. I think fifteen minutes is the target for learning modules.

Also, variety is important. A great course should include a variety of audio, visuals, video, and text. And remember, the more specific the content of your course, the better.

[clickToTweet tweet=” Your preparation and skills are proportionate to how much people will pay for your courses.” quote=” Your preparation and skills are proportionate to how much people will pay for your courses.” theme=”style2″]


These are three important things you need to know before starting to create an online course. I hope this post has given you a general overview of this ever-growing world.

E-learning and online courses are going to become a trillion-dollar business a year and they are revolutionizing the world where we learn and share information. If your class is not selling read this post on how to improve an online course. 


Now, it’s over to you.

Have you already created an online course to sell where you share your knowledge?

Which suggestions can you give?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below on how to create an online course. And don’t forget to share the article, if you liked it. Thanks!

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  • Hi Erik and Lisa,

    Wonderful advice here. I’ve created my online courses and it is a lot of work before you unfold it. The planning like you mentioned above and tools we need are necessary. We then need to outline the course and start building it. Once it is edited…that’s a big job….its ready to launch. And if you have done your homework well you would know who your target audience is and blast it out to them.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Donna, where do you have your online courses? I didn’t know you had any online. I love Udemy because they are big and people search on their site for them. Makes it easier. I’ve got another to launch soon. I need some more time to work away at it. Thanks for coming by and I hope you are ready for some snow this weekend 🙂 You will get more down at the coast than us. A strange weather year. We are below 20 degrees this am. Stay warm!

  • Prosper Noah says:

    Hi, Erik great post and tips you got up here on Lisa’s blog

    Online courses no doubt is one of the best ways to earn income from the internet and if done properly could help you make a living…
    I know this because I’ve personally spent thousands of dollars purchasing courses to help in my internet marketing growth.

    I mean, take a look at Udemy, it’s one great example of how successful the industry is

    Anyone can venture into this market and make some good progress as long as they follow the right steps.

    And you’ve listed those tips, tools, etc. in this post.

    Cool stuff once again, it’s my my first time coming across your writeup and I’ll make sure to visit your blog and explore some other ideas.

    Do have a great time man

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Prosper, Erik did a great job with these tips. I love having my course on Udemy, they have such a large audience it’s easier to sell than if I did it by myself here. I’m working on another too 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Prosper, I hope all is well your way.

  • Soumya Roy says:

    Hello Erik and Lisa, thanks for this informative post, it is really helpful for me.
    I have been providing training since last 6 years now and in last couple of months I was planning creating online courses, not for selling but for community building and lead generation purpose. We already created couple of videos and in few weeks of time we are going to publish those on YouTube. This post was really good as it forced me to rethink some of the things which I were thinking of doing differently.

    Soumya Roy
    Founder & Lead SEO Trainer

  • Deb Dey says:

    Hi, i don’t want to sound rude but are not thesedays there are way too many online courses available and therefore, the market is a bit tough to get into? I am not 100% sure about this but this is just my personal opinion.

    • If you put it like this, it’s like for the thousands of people who open a blog every day, trying to make money on the internet.
      And of those thousands per day, 99% of them fail to make any money, 0,9% make some, while 0,1% make the big numbers. See?

      Of course the market it’s crowded, but there’s always a niche to discover. Plus, if there are many courses on a specific market, it means there is plenty of money in it. So, why can’t you build a course that, even if it’s in that crowded market, can stand out because of your personality, for example. Or because you can explain things in a way that people will learn a lot from you and, based on different marketing factors, can make your course popular.

  • Moss says:

    Hi Lisa, Hi Erik,
    Great to meet at Lisa’s space Erik. Online course has become so phenomenal that every blogger is looking forward to create one, including myself. Yes, it’s on my radar and I’m definitely got make it.

    Why is online course a hit in the digital marketing space? Because it is one of the best ways (if not the best) to make money online.

    However, to get it right as you pointed out, you need the audience, the right tools, knowledge, etc. These are fascinating tips for a successful online course. The tools you mentioned are breathtaking.

    Video for example is stunning. In fact, study revealed that by 2020, videos will account for about 80℅ of all Internet traffic. I’m glad I stopped by to read this article.

    Thank you Erik and Lisa to sharing ?:-)

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Moss, you haven’t met Erik yet? He’s awesome and full of digital knowledge and more 🙂 I have it on my bucket list too ever since doing a webinar a few weeks back with SMhack.
      I love the tools Erik shared here. Wow, 80% of web traffic by videos? That is huge Moss. I have to start making more videos myself. I started to and then got a bad cold for a few weeks so my voice was all messed up. I hope to do one or two this weekend. Thanks for coming by Moss and have a great rest of the week.

    • Wow, 80%???
      That’s really huge..and .well, if I think about it, a few years ago on my FB feeds I was just seeing photos, now it’s all about videos!
      So yes, every serious internet marketer should really jump on this bandwagon.
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment, Moss.

  • Hi Erik and Lisa,

    Creating a sellable online course has been on my to-do list for the last few years now. Interestingly, I’m learning a lot about the logistics of setting up a course and everything else.

    For me, your first point was the stand out. You really need to know that you are creating a course that’s going to help a specific audience overcome a particular problem. Otherwise, there’s no point in creating something that no one cares about, right?

    I absolutely love creating videos, and I agree that this is the platform to aim for when creating visually consumable content. I used video to create a free mini course for my blog some time ago, which has been quite successful, so I know video is the way to go should I ever decide to create a premium course.

    Thanks Erik, this post was educational and you’ve opened up my eyes to more possibility of creating a great online course for my audience.

    Have a great rest of the week, and you too Lisa.

    – Fabrizio

    • Hi Fabrizio,
      we’re in the same boat.
      I’ve been thinking about building an online course since a couple of years already, and I finally started working on it.
      I hope to have it ready soon.
      I’m glad you enjoyed my contribution at Lisa’s blog, and I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing your views.
      Have a good rest of this week, Fabrizio! 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Fabrizio, thanks for stopping by to read Erik’s post here. Oh yes video is becoming so hot today and a great way to increase your reach on Facebook and other social networking sites. I’m glad Erik helped to open your eyes on this online course making and how to create a sellable one. Good luck with yours Fabrizio. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  • Vishwajeet Kumar says:

    Hello Erik,

    Online courses are growing at a rapid pace and people also love to buy these courses. Online courses save peoples time and money as well. It gives them ease of learning from anywhere in the world. I have also purchase some courses online before starting my blogging journey. Thanks for sharing these great insights.

    Have a great day 🙂

  • Hello
    Very informative post you have written here. Great to know that in 2015 $107 was spent on the e-learning business worldwide. Creating online course is also a best way to show your skill and also best for making money online.

    Now-a-days people wants to do online course because of many benefits includes we can do this course from anywhere and many more. All these points are very effective and helpful to create an online course. Thanks for well explained.

    Thansk for sharing.

    Best wishes,
    Praveen verma

  • Anand says:

    Hello Erik and Lisa,
    Very Useful Article Keep It……

  • Ravi Chahar says:

    Hey Erik,

    It’s good to see at Lisa’s blog.

    Nowadays, many coaches are selling online. Giving online training.

    It’s really important to find the right audience to demonstrate it.

    Thanks for spreading the words about it.

    Enjoy your day.

  • Cori Ramos says:

    Hi Erik,

    It’s great to see you here on Lisa’s blog!

    Thanks for putting this together. I’ve been thinking of doing an online course but I haven’t quite gotten around to start the planning phase. These tips you shared are going to be really helpful!

    And thanks for the tools you suggested – it never occured to me to go through Clickbank. Seeing that they handle the backend of things like billing and refunds – it would make sense to use it. Someone also recommended Optimizepress. I’ve heard great things about it. 🙂

    Great post Erik! No doubt I’m passing this on! Have a great day!


    • Hi Cori,
      good to see you too! 🙂
      And glad to hear this post helped a bit in realizing your online course project soon.
      Thanks for commenting and sharing.

  • Hello Erik,

    Nice to see you here on Lisa’s space 🙂

    Great tips over here 🙂

    This is so relevant, online courses are trending these days, every body is up to get into this business.

    Here are some great tips over here for getting our online courses. Targeting our ideal audiences is must, so that when we are
    done with creating the online courses it could hit hard to our audiences. It would be better to go for a survey before composing
    the online courses.

    I was planning to start my online business, but not this year, because I am now just analyzing some of the data so that
    I could hit the road hard. This article of yours hit me on the right time, as there are some tools you mentioned about
    like Kajabi. Its always good to get some expert views on a particular topic which can help a lot of people

    Thanks for the share.


    • Hi Shantany,
      I really appreciate your support.
      And thanks for the thumbs up on my guest post at Lisa’s space. 🙂

      P.S. Good luck on starting soon your online business.

  • Bren Lee | Designs by Virtual Bren says:

    Hi Erik! It’s fab to see you here at Inspire!

    Hey Lisa!

    This is a great tutorial on how to create on online course. I know many that are doing it and are very successful with them. At some point in time, I’d like to create a few myself. I’ve created snippet ones for my clients but to pull them all together and offer as a course, Fantabulous!

    Thanks for sharing this, Erik! Great guest, Lisa!

    Happy Monday to both of you!


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Bren, thank you, Erik did a great job on this one. I loved doing the webinar a few weeks back and hope to start doing more. I loved the tools Erik shared with us too on how to do it. Hope you have a great day ahead Bren and thanks for coming by.

    • Hey Bren,
      good to see you too! 🙂
      And thank you so much for the positive comment.
      You should indeed put online courses into your next projects.
      It can really be a profitable way to build an income with the internet.
      Happy rest of this week!

  • Susan Velez says:

    Hi Erik and Lisa,

    Great read, especially for someone who plans on creating an online course.

    This is something that I want to delve into later. As you mentioned, first things first.

    I need to focus on building up my audience.

    I don’t want to spend hours creating something that no one wants to buy. I’ve done that before.

    Personally, I love buying and learning from online courses. Of course, I won’t buy unless I know the blogger. Don’t want to end up wasting my money on something that isn’t useful.

    Thanks for taking the time to share these tips with us.

    Have a great day 🙂


    • Hi Susan,
      as you stated, everything in its time.

      After your name has become quite recognized and you have built a solid base of fans, you can create your course.
      Or, you are a monster at marketing and you can do it right away, if you are able to sell it.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my new contribution at Lisa’s post.
      I appreciate your positive feedback.

  • Hey Erik!

    Good to see you on this blog as well! 😀

    I would say that selling an online course, of your own, is one of the best ways to create an online income.

    Specially, if you are building a niche blog.

    You do want to sell your own products, and it is definitely the best way to quickly build that income stream.

    You are giving great tips here. You do need the right tools to create and deliver your online course.

    I’ve created mini online courses in the past. I like offering a Membership. I like to build it on a WordPress site.

    The WordPress Platform can be very useful to create online courses – thanks to the plugins you can add to your blog site.

    And I agree with you. Videos are the best!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Hi Freddy,
      good to see you here too! 🙂

      I’m working on building my first online course and I agree with you. I think it’s one of the best methods to generate an income with the internet.
      And there are so many ways to settingthis up. You just need to find what works best for you.

      Thanks for the nice words, glad you liked the article.

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