What You Need to Know About How to Create an Online Course


Two female entrepreneurs making a thumbs up feeling positive and successful.

So, you’re interested in packaging up your knowledge and want to know how to create an online course? Online courses can be nice little assets for your business, and have the potential to create a semi-passive income stream when done the right way.

But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an easy process. If you slap something together quickly and then sit back and wait for the dollars to roll in, you may be left a little disappointed.

To create a successful money-making online course, there’s a few things you’ll need to consider. Click To Tweet

First up, let’s take a look at the four components that make up a course:

1. Instructor:

This is you!

2. Course:

This is the product!

3. Marketing:

This is how you get the word out about your course! Unfortunately, this is no Kevin Costner Field of Dreams “if you build it, they will come” moment.

4. Students/Market: 

These are the people that have a need for your knowledge!

To have a successful money-making course, you will need to focus on and excel in all four components. If you fall down in any one area, you’ll be waiting a long time for those dollars to roll in.

Still pretty keen on getting an online course up? Let’s take a look at:

The three stages to creating an online course

Step 1: Planning

Add Modules
Break down your topic into main umbrella categories. These will be your modules and are simply a way to group together similar knowledge into a logical flow.

Add Units
Under each module, list the topics you intend to cover. Each topic is what we call a unit or lecture; these contain the actual information.

Enhance Your Course
Consider including PDF downloads such as worksheets, checklists, extra resources, quizzes, and completion certificates.

Type of Course
Decide on the form your course will take:

  • Text course
  • Audio course
  • Video course
  • Combination course

Step 2: Hardware and Software

You’ll definitely need a microphone if you’re running an audio or video course. Don’t rely on the internal microphone on your computer, as the sound quality will not be great.

Boom Arm
A boom arm holds the microphone and attaches to your desk.

Pop Filter
A pop filter attaches to the boom arm and sits between your mouth and the microphone. It reduces the amount of air hitting the mic, which reduces unwanted noise distortion, particularly on words beginning with ‘p’.

Lapel Mic
If you’re talking on camera, consider a lapel mic.

Lighting is only really necessary if you intend to be on camera, but it’s important.

Video Camera
If you intend to do on-screen videos, consider investing in a decent video camera.

Use a tripod to get nice and stable footage. You can also get tripod attachments that hold your smart phone.

Presentation Software
Chances are you’ll need a slide deck of some description. Consider using PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Slides.

Image Editing Software
You’ll want to create graphics for your slide deck but also for other aspects of your course, particularly graphics used for marketing. You can use free web apps like Canva and Pixlr for designing and editing graphics, and My eCover Maker if you’d like to make a 3D product image mockup of your course.

Screen Recording Software
You’ll need the ability to record your screen if using slide decks or doing screen walk-throughs. Quicktime is great for recording your screen, but it does not give you the ability to edit the footage, so you’ll need to use it in conjunction with editing software. Camtasia and Screenflow work great for recording your screen, and they have built in editing functionalities.

Video Editing Software
Check out iMovie, MovaviCamtasia or Screenflow to edit your videos.

Step 3: Hosting and Selling

Students will need somewhere to go on the web, to purchase and take your course. You have 3 main options for achieving this.

1. Marketplace

This is essentially a website that sells online courses from a variety of different contributors. As a teacher, you would create an account on the platform, and upload your course. You are bound by their terms and conditions and pay a large commission for each course sold.


For more marketplace examples check out our training in the Academy

2. Third-Party Hosted Platform

You pay a recurring subscription fee and create your course site on their platform. Have more control over the look of your site, so can match it in with your branding. You still pay a commission per course sold, but not nearly as much as you would on a marketplace.


For more Third-Party Hosted Platform examples check out our training in the Academy

3. Self-Hosted Platform

You control every aspect of your course site. Either add functionality to your existing website, or create a new website just for your courses. You can choose either a membership plugin, where students need to purchase a recurring subscription to your site to access courses, or a learning management software (LMS) plugin where students pay per course.

Membership plugin examples*:

LMS plugin examples*:

For more plugin examples check out our training in the Academy

* Those listed are for WordPress sites

Content Hosting

If you have PDF downloads, audio files or video files, you’ll also need to consider where these will live on the internet. For documents and audio files, try Amazon S3 and for videos, consider Vimeo.

Remember that you don’t have to do this all yourself. Figure out what you can accomplish yourself, and don’t be afraid to outsource the rest to streamline the process.

For a more in-depth look into how to create an online course, we have a Little Secret video training in the Fempire Academy called How to Create Online Courses. If you join the Academy, you’ll not only gain access to that, you’ll also gain access to our entire library of courses and training, and be instantly connected to other like-minded entrepreneurs to learn and grow with.

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1 Comment

  1. Jameson

    Great article if you’re looking to create an online course


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