Online courses are a pretty hot commodity at the moment. And chances are, you’ve thought about building out one of your own.
Part of that process is asking the question, “Where can I sell online courses?” The good news is we have the answer.
Ahead, we’ll be diving deep into the world of online course software, from the best way to structure a thriving online course to the best platforms for selling online courses.
Let’s get it!
Wait, why would I want to sell courses online?
People sell courses online for a lot of different reasons, but there are three that we’ve seen over and over again.
- To share your expertise, experience, or passion. If there’s something that moves you—whether it’s your personal history or your encyclopedic knowledge of ‘90s sitcoms—there’s something to potentially build your course around. And there are plenty of people out there who share your same passions or motivations and who would be stoked to join you.
- To launch a new revenue stream. Let’s be honest. Figuring out where to sell online courses is also about bringing in income. Whether you’re targeting an existing audience or you’re starting from scratch, you can build an experience that’s so valuable, potential members will pay to be a part of it.
- To re-zhuzh or monetize content you’ve already produced. That’s right! You can also monetize older content that you created in the past. There’s a good chance that people will be willing to pay a premium for access, especially if it helps them change a habit, navigate a challenge, or accomplish something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve on their own.
When it comes to creating online courses—or launching an online course, or finding the best platform to sell courses online—there’s just one thing to remember: Your course is less about what you’re teaching, and more about what your participants are learning when they join you.
It’s also about how they learn. And that, my friends, comes down to structure.
How to structure an online course that sells
Before we get into the best platforms for selling online courses, let’s talk about how to best structure a course that’s both valuable for you, and a worthwhile investment for your students.
When it comes down to it, there are three different ways to offer an online course.
- Build a course with course content only. Most online course selling platforms offer this option and this option only. It’s when you offer a straightforward course with no option for community. For years it’s been the standard, but it’s no longer the only way to run a course.
- Run the course live. This is a great option for cohort-based courses, and courses that are offered within a larger community. When you “run a course live,” you build a course with your community front and center, adding course content live—or as you go.
- Pair the course with a dedicated course community. This is when you build out a course alongside a dedicated community. That way, your students become members and can connect, collaborate, and otherwise build relationships before, during, and after your course.
It’s up to you which of the above methods you choose, but know this: You open yourself up to amazing results when you pair courses and community.
Why? Because people learn most effectively when you create a journey for them to master something interesting together (aka, as a community.) And when they’re a part of a living, breathing, thriving community, chances are they’ll spread the word and bring more people to you, your course, your community, and your digital business.
Ultimately, in the search for the best platform to sell courses online, you’ll want to look for software that, at the very least, gives you the option to establish a community alongside your course.
And that’s not the only criteria to consider, either.
What to look for in an online course selling platform
To best set yourself up for success, there are a few key features to look for in an online course platform. Let’s take a closer look.
An online course selling platform with a community component.
Courses bring together a group of people with shared interests, taking them on a journey to master something interesting together. And as we mentioned above, establishing a community space alongside your course will be superbly beneficial, both to you and to your participants.
When you allow your course members to connect directly with each other—through posts, direct messages, office hours, and more—you give them the chance to tap into each other’s stories and experiences to fuel progress.
In other words, the more your course members connect with each other, the more they get out of your course. The more they get out of your course, the more valuable your course becomes. And as your course becomes more and more valuable, the more and more growth you’ll see.
At the end of the day, that’s exactly what you’re going for. And the best platform to sell courses online will provide just that.
An online course selling platform with features that help your members connect.
That being said, the best platforms online for selling courses will have features that enable those connections between your members. We’re talking direct messages, the ability to post, comment, and cheer on fellow members, and even finding course members nearby.
Even better? A platform that gives your members a way to offer feedback and share their ideas. Whether it’s via a recurring virtual event—like a weekly live Q&A session—or simply a poll feature, feedback can be crucial to improving your course down the line. Plus, it will help you make sure your course content is in line with what your members want and need.
TLDR: The best practice here is finding a sell courses online platform that offers you and your participants ample and various opportunities to build relationships with each other.
An online course selling platform that can grow with you.
Picture it: You start using a white label online course platform that offers just that: the ability to run an online course. Eventually, you have to start using another platform to nurture your course community. Then another, to start a membership subscription. Before you know it, you’re juggling a variety of third-party apps which is both stressful and expensive.
It’s not exactly an ideal situation, right?
That’s why it’s so, so important to choose an online course platform that has the potential to evolve with you. Because even if you’re looking to start small (which is a great idea, btw), you’ll want plenty of room to grow.
The best way to do that is to pick an online course selling platform that enables you to do more than, well, just selling courses. Instead, look for an option that gives you plenty of ways to expand. That way, whether you add in a mastermind group, a membership site, or host a couple of virtual conferences, you can do so without a bunch of pricey third-party applications.
An online course selling platform that your members can access anytime, anywhere.
The last piece of the puzzle! The best platform to sell courses online will offer you and your course members the opportunity to access said course from wherever—whether it’s via the web or a native mobile app on iOS or Android.
Truth is, we’re all on our devices all the time. By choosing an online course platform that’s available on mobile devices, you’re giving your participants a chance to take a break from doom scrolling and check in with their course material (and each other).
You’re also making your course that much easier to access, which means it’s top-of-mind for your course community.
Where can I sell online courses?
You’ve made it to the good part! Now that we’ve explored how to structure an online course for success and what features to look for in an online course selling platform, let’s dig a little deeper and look at a few of the best platforms to sell courses online.
Teachable is a popular online course platform with plenty of features to make building and selling online courses a breeze. Still, when it comes to other tools—whether it’s community-centered features or native apps—the platform is lacking.
Pros of Teachable
- A good variety of course features. If you’ve been researching where to sell online courses, Teachable has probably popped up a few times. The platform has a robust set of tools for course creation, enabling you to create anything from multimedia lectures to coaching sessions.
Cons of Teachable
- No community building features. While Teachable does offer opportunities for course leaders to connect one-on-one with their students, the platform has no community-building features to speak of. That’s a hugely missed opportunity, not only for connecting course members with each other but for impact and growth down the line.
- Limited availability. Teachable has an app, but only for iOS. Furthermore, it’s limited in scope: Members can access their Teachable course, but they can’t view lectures or attachments, and they can’t stream videos.
Bottom line: While Teachable is certainly a contender for best platform to sell courses online, its lack of community features and native apps means it can only expand with you so much.
Mighty Networks is a unique software-as-a-service platform where creators can bring their community, online courses, and membership subscriptions together in one place, under their own brand, instantly available on the web, iOS, and Android. With your own Mighty Network, you get a little bit of everything: the tools to create a virtual community, teach an online course, and much, much more.
Pros of Mighty Networks
- Lots of community-building features. We mean it: With a Mighty Network, you get a plethora of ways to forge connections between your members: discussion boards, polls, live-event integrations, and more. Plus, members can also connect on a deeper level with member profiles, a robust activity feed, and private direct messaging.
- Tools to run a course whatever way you like. Remember when we talked about the three different ways to run your course? A Mighty Network enables you to do every one, based on your style. You can run a course live, you can run a course alongside a dedicated course community, or you can close your course and limit the community aspect. The key here is you have choices.
- A win for availibility. A Mighty Network is accessible on the web and native mobile apps (that’s Android and iOS). Creators with even more robust followings can align with Mighty Pro, where they get their own branded app—without years of custom app development.
- It can evolve with you. Yes, a Mighty Network lets you combine course and community in whatever fashion best serves you. But it also gives you room to expand in the future, with the option for paid groups (mastermind, anyone?), membership tiers, and more.
Cons of Mighty Networks
- No native video (Update: native live video is available in online courses now!). One of the best ways to present online course material is via live video (bonus points if it’s native). We’re not quite there yet, but it’s a feature we’re working on and planning to release in the near future.
Bottom line: Mighty Networks is the best platform to sell courses online. That’s because it’s the only platform that lets you run a community alongside your course in one place, without having to keep up with a variety of third-party apps. Plus, it makes building a course easy (and beautiful!).
Kajabi is an online course selling platform that enables users to sell and market their online courses in one place. The platform touts itself as a place to integrate subscriptions, courses, and other digital products in one place, and it’s known for its strong marketing tools.
Pros of Kajabi
- Robust customization. Kajabi has a pretty powerful website builder that lets you create landing pages and product pages without a bunch of coding know-how. And as we mentioned above, the platform also lets users bring together every part of their digital business—from courses to subscriptions—in one place.
- A new mobile app. Kajabi recently released a new mobile app, so creators and members can access online course content on the go. It’s absolutely a plus that Kajabi has recently expanded its focus to mobile availability (even if they’re still working out some kinks). Better late than never!
Cons of Teachable
- Superbly limited community building features. Kajabi tends to mention its community features as an afterthought, perhaps because today, those features are pretty limited. Members can interact with each other, but only through a static community feed. To really enable your members to connect deeply, they’ll need much more than that.
Bottom line: Is Kajabi the best platform for selling online courses? It depends very much on what tools you need. We can’t deny that some of Kajabi’s features, especially customization and marketing, are very robust. But when it comes to features that enable and nurture those oh-so-essential connections between your members—the same connections that enable your digital business’ growth—Kajabi still has a long way to go.
The best platform to sell courses online is Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks has it all. And by “it all,” we mean robust tools to plant the seeds of a thriving course and community that’s so valuable, you can charge for it.
It’s also the only platform that gives you plenty of room to bloom (since we’re using the flower metaphor and all): Down the line, you can expand with memberships, mastermind groups, virtual conferences, and more. The best part? Your members can access your course anytime, anywhere, whether it’s on the web or via native mobile app.
And that’s saying something.