7 Ways to Build a Successful Online Course Business

On the internet, there are dozens of ways to create passive income streams that you can use to build your wealth.

You can create an online store, develop a cloud-based product, or start a blog that makes money with Google AdSense.

The possibilities are endless. It’s up to you to choose your own path in the world of online entrepreneurship.

Contrary to popular belief, the opportunity to sell online courses isn’t reserved for the academic types only.

As long as there’s a demand for the knowledge you possess, it’s plausible for you to create a sustainable online course business.

To help you succeed in the eLearning industry, allow me to share with you seven tips on creating, promoting, and selling your online courses.

1. Pick Your Platform

If you have an existing website with a steady stream of traffic, you can build and sell your online course using your website for free.

This means that you won’t have to formulate a new marketing strategy from scratch just to attract potential students. You can build from an existing asset that you already have — your website.

Content management systems like WordPress allow you to offer “premium” content that only registered members can access.

You can do this with a plugin like Membership & Content Restriction, which works by letting you create subscription plans and restrict content via shortcode.

Once you figure out how content restrictions work, you can proceed uploading your course materials as regular posts and pages.

Fortunately, WordPress already supports various content types and multimedia — from videos to downloadable PDFs.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you should completely rule out eLearning platforms.

After all, services like Kajabi offer plenty of benefits such as subscriber management, landing page templates, payment processing, and coupons.

Through the platform, you can run your online course business in one place, making it easier for you to streamline your process and scale your business.

2. Look for Similar Courses

Let’s face it, before you even register to an eLearning platform, there are probably tons of other creators who already offer the courses that you want to create.

It may be discouraging at first, but a somewhat saturated niche can actually be turned into an advantage.

After all, you should now have plenty of references as to what your target audience prefers.

Furthermore, checking out what your competitors already offer will allow you to craft unique and valuable course materials.

You just need to look for different angles, provide more actionable steps, and discuss real use cases (among other things).

Whatever you do, don’t build an online course that has the exact same content and structure as someone else’s.

You don’t want to come off as a copycat — unworthy of any attention whatsoever.

3. Discuss New Trends

Aside from improving upon what’s already available, you can also create more intriguing courses by observing the latest trends.

A handy content research tool like BuzzSumo can help you with this step.

Simply go to their site, type in your keyword, and wait for the tool to bring you a list of the latest, most popular content.

7 Ways to Build a Successful Online Course Business 1

Of course, observing the trends alone will not be enough for you to put together all the topics that you can include in your course.

Most of the time, you need to dig deeper and look for actionable advice that you can cover.

4. Diversify Your Content Types

Are you struggling to find new or unique information to cover in your online course?

Another strategy you can consider is to repurpose an existing resource into a different content format.

For example, with a little creativity, you can piece together an entire webinar using the information from any long-form text post on the web.

In addition to webinars, here are other content types you can consider for your online course:

  • Downloadable PDFs
  • Infographics
  • Slideshow presentations
  • Audiobooks

5. Optimize for Mobile

According to a press release in 2016, mobile devices have officially surpassed desktops in terms of internet traffic.

Regardless if you run an ecommerce store or an online course business, you need to think about the experience of mobile users if you want to keep your business afloat.

The good news is, your online course should be fully mobile-ready if you built it with an eLearning platform.

If not, however, then you may need to manually integrate mobile-friendliness or develop a mobile version of your site.

If you have no clue how mobile-friendliness works, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test for the needed steps.

7 Ways to Build a Successful Online Course Business 2

6. Develop an App

You can take mobile-friendliness even further by packaging your online course into a full-fledged mobile app.

For this, you’ll need the help of a freelance app developer or a certified service provider. Unless, of course, if you are versed in app development yourself.

What makes mobile apps amazing is it’s a surefire way to augment the learning experience of your mobile users. It will also cement your authority as an information provider.

When it comes to promoting your mobile app, it’s imperative to publish it through mainstream app stores — specifically Google Play and the iTunes Store.

You can also leverage services like LinkTexting to boost the discoverability of your course app.

7 Ways to Build a Successful Online Course Business 3

It works by promoting your app to your website traffic via embeddable widget, app store buttons, and smart popups.

Through Linktexting, even though your customers aren’t online, you’d still be able to target them since your customized message will be sent via text message.

7. Have a Lead Generation Strategy

Even with the best course in the world, the majority of your web visitors won’t convert on their first visit.

Having said that, instead of letting your web visitors leave without you getting any value out of the time they spent visiting your site, make sure you have a lead generation strategy in place.

A typical approach involves you adding CTAs and opt-in forms that can turn your visitors into email subscribers, allowing you to promote special offers and new course materials (among other things).

Take note that some eLearning platforms have built-in tools that can help you with lead generation strategies, including remarketing ads and email campaigns.

Although they sometimes come with additional fees, they are certainly worth your money.


Building an online course business can be an exciting endeavor for online entrepreneurs.

Just remember that no matter how innately skilled or lucky you are, there’s no such thing as an overnight success.

With the tips above, you can adopt a more strategic approach as you work your way to the top of the eLearning industry.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.