How to Develop a Top-Selling Online Course In 2021

Do you agree that college tuition grows faster than financial aid? And this is an unfortunate fact that college students face today in 2021. As it’s already been reported, student loan debt has reached a whopping $80 billion in the US. And that’s a huge pile of cash. Yes, the price tag for college tuition is constantly going up and this is one of the reasons why distance learning gains popularity. Today, e-learning has become more common than it used to be in the past.

The popularity of e-learning equals a rising demand for more online courses and more content. It’s been estimated that by 2022 the worth of the e-learning industry will go up to $250 billion. Pretty impressive, huh? That’s why selling digital courses can become a full-time job for you in 2021 since the online education market only continues to grow.

The perks of becoming an e-learning instructor are:

  • arranging your own schedule
  • becoming your own boss
  • making a good income!

So, if creating courses online for further sales sounds good to you, treat this like any other business. In this blog post, we’ll talk about useful methods and strategies that should help to build a top-selling course.

Start Off By Planning Ahead And Stick To S.M.A.R.T. Strategy

No secret that one of the keys to success is planning ahead. When it comes down to creating online courses, there are also plenty of aspects to consider. So, try to break these aspects down just to make the process easier.

Start off by picking a subject that you’re skilled at or know plenty about. Do some research to see if there’s a demand for a topic that you teach. Make courses in areas you have made money from yourself or gained value with. Ask around. Ask your colleagues:

  • What do you think you’re particularly good at?
  • What can you help others with?
  • What mind-mapping can you do to pick a topic that sells?

Stick to the “SMART” strategy while planning course learning objectives, as well as structure. The SMART strategy stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-sensitive

Any best-selling online course is somewhat career-related. So, check what career fields are in demand and see what jobs are desirable to people at the moment. Today, due to the covid pandemic, lots of folks want to switch to work-from-home jobs. Online courses that teach computer technologies, online marketing, and digital arts are selling like hotcakes in 2021.

Use Different Multimedia To Engage Learners

Use different formats to present your knowledge and expertise and learners will always be interested to see what’s coming up next. Digital technologies are improving by leaps and bounds, including all kinds of multimedia (ebooks, downloadable course materials, audio files, relevant podcasts, etc.).

Don’t forget to check with everybody later on whether everything you provided in terms of multimedia is accessible to everybody from any location. Try an interactive digital tool called VoiceThread to get a hold of everybody and let your students utilize it as well. This software has been widely used by teachers and online instructors all around the globe. This tool has been great for explaining and demonstrating research materials, submitting presentations and projects, tracking students’ progress, etc.

Also, you will be able to create topic discussions online, help learners with anything that they misunderstood during the course. It will let you do both – leave your comments and have students write responses. Students can use this software for recording and playback recorded comments, as well as for asynchronous learning.

Come Up With A Selling Name

In case if you’ll end up having a minor headache while trying to decide what your title for the course should sound like, don’t be frustrated. Keep in mind two major aspects:

  • Simplicity
  • Expertise

Basically, simplicity here means creating a title that wouldn’t overwhelm learners by being too wordy or hard to understand. That’s what this learning objective actually implies. Keep it simple but, at the same time, try to demonstrate your professional competency, as well as expertise. Don’t forget about using keywords in the title. Focus on the exact subject matter which you’re going to discuss.

Make Your Online Course Look Cool And Fill It With Valuable Content

Since there are almost as many ways to build online courses as there are ideas for courses, instructors utilize anything from PowerPoint to Google Slides to put everything together. Some course creators make videos with just a webcam, others use full-on eLearning authoring software like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate. But there is one thing which is quite obvious – producing crisp, clear, and useful content for potential learners is important for making your course popular.

Most importantly, any course content has to be unique and free of plagiarism. If you provide content that is not unique, you’ll immediately put a limited value on your course materials. This also means that your online course won’t be accepted by eLearning platforms for further promotion and sales. On the other hand, by having a unique course with a high level of value will mean that you can rely on more positive referrals from learners. Plus, your own marketing/sales effort will become much easier to fulfill.

More hints for creating competitive content:

  • Focus on creating strong headlines;
  • Always be ready to provide answers;
  • Do a meticulous job while sourcing information;
  • Always stay accurate in your reporting;
  • Keep content engaging;
  • Use visual content for better communication;
  • Keep it rather short but to the point;
  • Make frequent updates for your course.

Find 3-5 people who are at the top of your niche, read/look through their content and make something similar. But don’t copy-paste somebody else’s work!

Shape Your Course With Technologies So You Can Put It Online

The most popular way of setting up an e-learning course is to make a series of videos and then divide them into sections or modules. In actuality, for the most part course builders use two most common types of videos:

  • Screencast (recordings from a computer screen)
  • Speaking directly to the camera (“talking head” vids)

In case if you’re planning to set your online course as a tutorial, then go with a screencast. Add a nice set of slides to your tutorial and put your recorded voice over it for narration. Screencast videos are easier to produce and actually a lot cheaper than other types of videos. Also, this works just as well for those who feel very uncomfortable speaking directly to the camera or who are camera shy.

A nice handy digital tool for making screencast videos is called Screencast-O-Matic. This screen recorder has a pretty simple interface and video editing is also available. So, if you’ve never dealt with screencasts before, try this handy software.

As of head videos, then you’ll need some external gear. Lots of people use a camera on the iPhone for recordings or a Logitech C920 camera will do the job just fine. However, if you decide to go with this type of videos, get some other basic equipment together that you’ll also need for recordings:

  • backdrop
  • lighting kit (mini led light works great for iPhone)
  • tripod (try Rhodes Octopus tripod if you use iPhone)
  • external microphone (Blue Yeti is a good one or try plug-n-play microphone)

Set a nice little kit with basic equipment for yourself. Just always make sure that there won’t be any echo or background noise on the spot where you make your videos. This is important for future editing and course promotions. People generally don’t like to hear any background noise while taking educational videos. Some are really picky about the sound quality. But don’t stress too much over the quality of your videos since it can slow you down a big time.

Pick A Market To Promote Your Course

A quick checklist of things that are also important to get done before you submit a course for online sales:

  • Analyze the target audience. Understand your future learners and their needs. Pay attention to parameters like average age, percentage of men and women, level of education, overall knowledge on this subject, experience, level of computer literacy, attitude to the learning process, and the topic itself.
  • Analyze the training goal. To fully understand the best way to deliver information, define the following: what the learning goal is, what kind of practice is necessary, what sequence learners should study and practice the contents, etc.
  • Prepare the materials. Prepare the necessary materials, examples, and case studies for creating practical exercises.
  • Create the course scenario. Consider in what particular order the material will be presented in the course.
  • Make your course aesthetic. Decide on the course’s design: illustrations should be consistent, any graphic element should help in the study of the material, and graphics should not distract the learner’s attention. Avoid cheezy fade-out effects, unstandardized colors, and button sizes. Pay good attention to details and quality.
  • Test the course. Gather a group of people to do some course testing. Collect their comments and bring adjustments to your content accordingly.
  • Estimate the price of your online course. But don’t make it straightforward. On the other hand, don’t quote a ridiculously low price on your online course. Go by researching eLearning platforms to see what prices are out there for courses similar to yours.

Want to be successful in sales and promotions? Learn about marketing and systems for selling digital courses by yourself. Or let the e-learning platforms do the selling for you.

Plenty of platforms available that will host your courses online. Some popular are:

  • Teachable
  • Skillshare
  • Coursera
  • Grinfer
  • Udemy

The best part of choosing this option is – you don’t need to actually do anything about marketing or selling. These marketplaces will take care of everything for you. So, just pick one that matches your needs and go for it.

Also, there is an option of creating a membership site on WordPress using Wishlist Member or some other. The challenge you may get into with WordPress is that you need to manage your website and courses by yourself, which can be tricky sometimes. So, keep this in mind.


As we know our whole planet is fighting with coronavirus and the government authorities are requesting you all stay safe in your homes. Instead of panicking about the corona, choose to look at this as an opportunity to do something you didn’t have time to do before.

With the fast expansion of smartphones and other mobile devices, e-learning has become one of the most trending industries right now. So why not start creating your online course right now?

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