How to Create Online Courses on Your Blog
Tutorials are huge right now. The trend of searches has been going away from informational content to solving problems as our lives progressively go more online.
Blogging platforms like Medium have built their business model around the fact that people are willing to pay to get access to narrow, in-depth instructional blog posts that get into the nitty-gritty of implementation of new skills.
Google realizes this, too, and rewards long in-depth posts that engage readers, as measured by time on site.
On that note we let’s talk about how you can level up as a blogger while leveraging your expertise to create online courses that people will pay for.
Find an Angle
As you may have already found, you aren’t going to be successful in creating a course about a topic just because you’re an expert. First, you need to do your homework and find out if there are already courses in your field of expertise and where the gaps in coverage are.
You also must gauge the interest level people have for the topic. For instance, if there are not a lot of courses available about your topic, is it because you are the first to notice the opportunity or because people just aren’t interested.
Because it’s the internet, let’s start by assuming there’s a wealth of courses about your topic. You need to determine a subtopic, or niche, to answer questions people are searching for or asking about in forums that aren’t being covered by other content providers.
For example, there are lots of courses about blogging out there. But not all of the courses talk about how you can structure your articles into topic clusters, for instance. Maybe you can devote a course talking about this, from how you can extract content ideas for your topic cluster and how you should link them to each other.
One tool you can use to search for a good niche is Quora. The site covers everything under the sun. Look for questions related to your expertise that people didn’t answer correctly.
If you are wanting to develop a coding course, StackOverflow might be a good place to start. It might also make sense to google “[your topic] forum” to find relevant threads. Make sure to limit your search to the most recent year or so to dodge wasting your time with stale discussions.
Set up Your Tools and Equipment
Since you already have a blog, you can set up an online course there.
First, you need to identify the tools you need to use.
If you’re using WordPress for your blog, there are membership plugins like Wishlist Member that locks content you create on your site.
The only way people can access those pages is if they subscribe to your paid tiers. This way, you can monetize your course without the added expense of using another platform to set things up.
Other functionalities you must consider before creating your course are the following:
- Video capture (determine if your standard video capture tool is sufficient)
- Audio capture/recording (most operating systems have one that comes standard separate from the video tool if needed)
- Screen recorder, like CloudApp
- Video editing tool (for more advanced functionality that a screen capture tool might not be able to provide)
- Best presentation software to build your slide deck
Outline Your Course
Next, you need to think about how the content of your course is organized.
It’s best if you can outline the course first before you start recording anything. Flesh out your ideas first and organize each module to ensure that they flow and progress logically according to the topic you’re discussing, even go so far as writing out the script for each video.
For example, if you’re going to discuss topic clusters, you need to include the following information:
- Keyword research
- Internal linking
- Content structure
- Case studies
The intro should set the tone of the course as it lays down its foundation and sets the expectation that the people must have upon entering your course. Also, you should define the goals they will achieve after finishing through your modules.
The case studies are a vital part of your course. This shows to people that what you’re teaching works. There’s no reason for people to buy your course if you can’t produce the results that your course sets out for people to achieve.
Present statistics and real-life examples based on your experiences to help communicate the effectiveness of your concepts and teachings.
When recording your courses, you have to decide whether to record yourself behind a solid background or just stick to using slides and discussing each point.
If this is your first course, it’s best to keep things simple and just stick to presenting the course using slides. Once you get more comfortable with the recording process and have more budget to record your videos in a more professional studio, then it’s time to take things to the next level.
Also, expect to make mistakes when recording. It’s not going to be perfect but what you can do is limit the mistakes so you don’t keep repeating the same module just because of a single error.
What you can do is break down the module into different sections.
For example, record a section of the module then hit pause when done. Take a break and practice the lines for the next section before recording it. If you do commit a mistake, you can just repeat from the time when you last paused your video.
Field Feedback and Iterate
Once you’re done recording, it’s best to invite some beta users as a focus group whom you can send the course for review.
The group must consist of your peers who are equally as knowledgeable as you are and people who aren’t familiar with the topic.
This way, you can get different comments about the course and what you need to improve on it to make things better.
This is important because there might be details in the module you missed or a topic you didn’t cover that is important in the course. You can then make the necessary changes and additions to ensure that the course is useful for all levels.
Professional Development Courses You Should Take to Succeed as a Blogger
Freelance writer for hire by day. Heavy sleeper at night. Dreams of non-existent brass rings. Writer by trade. Pro wrestling fan by choice (It's still real to me, damnit!). Family man all the time.