Online training helps prove your prospects and expertise as well as deliver profits. Since the global e-learning market is growing rapidly, there is no reason not to make money from this potential niche. Another advantage is that you can sell your site when you need money for 20-30 times its monthly profit.
Most trainers decide to use learning management systems (LMS) for online course management due to their convenience. These systems make it easy for you to manage students’ learning progress, export reports, and quickly expand courses.
Do you know that you can still create, share, and sell online courses on WordPress without the help of an LMS? You need to install a few free plugins.
In this article, we will discuss two main reasons for not using an LMS. Then we will show three simple steps to create and sell a course on your WordPress site.
Why Creating Online Courses Without an LMS
Two common reasons are explaining why you shouldn’t use a learning management system to create and sell online courses on your WordPress website. An LMS seems complicated for those who want to provide simple courses. What’s more, a complete system with advanced features might cost a considerable amount of money.
Provide Short and Simple Courses Easily
An LMS proves useful to create long online courses containing more than 100 lessons each course. It best fits for courses in technical fields like computers and technologies requiring students to learn a lot of skills.
In case you want to provide simple courses with a few lessons, installing a whole learning management system causes such a waste. For example, courses about parenting, home improvement, food, or beauty and makeup, and more shouldn’t take students a lot of time to learn.
Cost Less Than an LMS
While several LMSs are freely available on the WordPress repository, most of them limit features until upgrading to the premium versions. The Pro version of an LMS itself costs from 100 to $500 per year. In addition to that, you have to pay for forums or membership plugins, allowing visitors to subscribe and make purchases.
Without an LMS, you can save thousands of dollars every year. You need to install some alternative free and popular plugins. Each of them will replace one of the functions of an LMS.
How to Create E-Learning Courses Without an LMS
Once starting to create and sell your online course, make sure that you’ve already set up a WordPress site. You can download a theme from WordPress.org, then use a self-hosted service and buy a domain name. A domain name costs about $15 per year, and the price of hosting is $7.99 per month. Once you successfully set up your WordPress website, it’s time to create and make money there.
Before digging into how to create and sell online courses without an LMS, let’s understand what makes a basic online training website.
Firstly, you have to produce learning materials. Since you want to sell and make money from these courses, you must provide monetization options too. Then, there should be a payment gateway on your site so that students can pay for the course.
Step 1: Build an eCommerce Store Using WooCommerce
Trusted by over 1.6 million people and empowering 94.3% of all stores on WordPress, WooCommerce has become the most popular plugin for e-commerce websites and sites selling online courses in particular.
Reasons for Choosing WooCommerce
There are specific reasons for choosing WooCommerce to sell online courses.
- Free plugin – You don’t have to pay for the plugin. It comes with great free features so that you can start building a simple e-commerce website. There are no monthly maintenance costs. But, If you want to enhance the features of WooCommerce itself, then you pair it with some great plugins such as WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping and WooCommerce Order Export.
This plugin enables you to export WooCommerce order data swiftly. Your reports can be scheduled as well as automatic and customized to contain exactly the data you want. You then receive the same exports through FTP or email in CSV format. Plus, this is one smart plugin as it can remember which orders you already exported so no redundant reports are created.
Determining shipping fees is no longer a hassle if you use this plugin. It can automatically do the calculations for you regarding shipping fees based on destination, weight, item quantity, and cart total. Advanced shipping rules can be applied, shipping classes used and unique shipping method names created. What’s more, there are special shipping rules for logged-in users that can be applied thus allowing you to reward loyalty and encourage sign-ups/registrations.
- Customization – The plugin is highly customizable. There are nearly 40 Woo themes for you to choose from. Many of which are available freely in the WooThemes Store. You’re able to integrate with a lot of other plugins seamlessly to maximize the benefits of this plugin.
- Course Content Optimization – You can install Yoast SEO and fill in the optimization field of your course page with keywords, title tag, meta description, and slug. Then let WordPress handle the job.
WooCommerce allows you to add shopping carts to your stores so that customers can make purchases easily. Shopping carts help you sell online courses, manage and track orders, and accept a wide range of payment methods.
There are several other monetization methods, such as membership, subscriptions, course bundles, or course licenses, etc. However, if you intend to use one of these methods, you have to build a membership website and create user roles for members.
Deliver Your Courses to Learners
You can choose two ways to send learning materials to students: provide the whole course at one or drip content. The former method lets students see all the lessons at the same time.
For the latter solution, students can only take the next lesson when they finish the previous one. You can password protect your courses to make them private. Once students complete the first one and do the assignment, you can send them a password to unlock the next lesson of the course.
Step 2: Create Your Learning Materials
Choose Content Types
It’s necessary to decide on the kind of content you want to deliver to students. There are various content types to consider, depending on your niche.
You can provide reading content using ebooks, white paper, or blog posts. Or you can write down explanations or guides there. You can also display images and infographics along with the text, as well.
Videos should be used to show tutorials and webinars. It’s perfect for beauty and makeup courses. Students can watch and follow the instructors with ease. According to Forrester Research, one minute of online video brings the same as 1.8 million written words.
There are other content types you can consider for your online courses, such as presentations, slides, and audios, etc. It would be great if you can use multiple content types in one course. It helps diversify your training materials, and learners can read explanations, watch tutorial videos, reference white paper, and more.
Create WooCommerce Products
It’s quite simple to create and list WooCommerce products. You can click on the Products section in your WordPress navigation menu then Add New.
In the editing page, you can write product descriptions, add product images, and provide prices.
Want to provide downloadable products like ebooks or videos? Remember to tick on the Downloadable checkbox.
Tests and quizzes help measure students’ achievements effectively. Without questions, you won’t be able to know if your students complete the courses.
You can also evaluate your teaching effectiveness via tests and quizzes. If most students couldn’t pass the test, you will need to look at how you deliver knowledge via these courses.
Among a lot of tests and quizzes plugins for online courses, Psychological Tests & Quizzes appears as one of the most popular solutions.
The plugin enables you to create both typical or advanced psychological tests. You can run all questions of a test on a single page or one question per page. Students can see the passing progress in their browser’s title. There are other useful features you can apply to your test too.
Step 3: Choose a Payment Gateways
Once installing WooCommerce, adding shopping carts to your store, and preparing course materials, you must set up payment gateways. PayPal and Stripe are the two largest payment gateways in WordPress, enabling you to send and receive money.
Install PayPal Plus for WooCommerce Plugin
PayPal Plus for WooCommerce allows you to receive money directly from the customers. There are various payment methods, from paying with your PayPal account, via direct debit, or via credit card.
Upon installation and activation, the plugin is inserted to your WooCommerce Payment Settings page. You can enable the plugin option and get started with some major settings.
You can change the gateway payment description, test payments via PayPal Sandbox, or redirect users if they click the Cancel link on the PayPal checkout page. Remember to save your changes after finishing your settings.
Install WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway Plugin
WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway comes as a useful plugin to accept payment online directly on your site via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Bitcoin, and more.
You can download the plugin freely from WordPress.org and upload it on your website or search for the plugin from Plugins → Add New in your admin dashboard.
Once activating, go to the Payment tab in your WooCommerce Settings page.
You can choose different types of stripe payments there. Just enable the toggle and click “Setup” to start your settings.
Similar to PayPal, you can change the payment description and set up test mode on the Settings page. On top of that, the plugin allows you to customize your Payment Request button. You can change the button types, themes, and height.
Get Started to Create and Sell Online Courses
There are several ways to create and sell online courses on your WordPress website. Apart from learning management systems (LMS), you can also create your courses online with some other plugins.
There are three steps you need to take to create and offer simple courses. Firstly, make your WordPress site into an e-commerce site. Then, create learning materials. The last step is choosing a payment gateway.
If you have any questions about how to create and sell online courses without an LMS, let us know in the comment section below!