The way people learn has changed drastically in the past few years. There is an insatiable hunger for online courses, whether for test preparation, job advancement, career change, or self-improvement.
The market for online learning is already enormous and expanding quickly as more individuals choose to work from home and invest time in acquiring new skills. According to Research and Markets, the global market for online education is projected to reach $325 billion by 2025, so it is the perfect time to start making money from your knowledge.
Whether you’re a subject matter expert, a seasoned professional, or you simply want to share your expertise, online course platforms can help you offer your knowledge to your audience remotely. The great thing about these platforms is that they can attract learners from around the globe and remove the barriers you face to making money from your content.
Online course platforms are obviously not the only way to monetize your content. You can take the do-it-yourself approach and directly sell your online courses on your website or social media. But if you don’t want to worry about technical stuff such as hosting, security, and payments, and you’re looking for a low-cost way of reaching a broader audience and driving sales with minimum effort, online course platforms are your best bet.
Choosing the right platform could be the difference between the success and failure of your course as a source of revenue. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for the best option, and choosing the right one depends on several factors. You need to consider
- What type of content your course offers to your students? Is it video-based or text-based?
- How tough is the competition among content creators in your niche?
- What is your budget? Can you afford a high commission on your sales?
- How involved do you want to get with the administration and marketing of your courses?
As the market grows and more companies enter the online education space, the options are becoming more varied and competitive. To help narrow your search, we’ve reviewed 6 standout platforms you can use to monetize your courses in 2022. They’re divided into two major categories and we’ve then narrowed the list based on each platform’s features, niche, and reputation among creators and industry experts:
Category 1: Platforms with a course library on which learners can find courses and enroll
They also take care of putting your courses in front of a large audience. These platforms allow you to get instant access to your target audience, which is great for quickly monetizing your knowledge and skills.
Some of the best-known platforms in this category include Udemy, Skillshare, and Preptical.
Category 2: Platforms that don’t have a course library and only give you the tools and infrastructure that you need to create your online courses
You can then market your courses to your audience. These platforms require you to build your own audience from scratch and drive your own traffic to them. They are ideal for experienced online educators looking to completely own their courses and brands. Some of the biggest players in this space include Kajabi, Thinkific, and Teachable.
Category 1: Platforms With A Course Library
Udemy is an online learning marketplace with thousands of teachers and millions of students worldwide. Teachers create courses on the platform that students can buy for a fee. In exchange, teachers receive a percentage of the revenue generated by the sales of each course.
If a learner is referred to the platform by the content creator, that creator gets 97% of the revenue. However, if the student enrolls via any other way, the creator gets 37% of that revenue. In the worst-case scenario, if the course sale is driven by a Udemy paid ad, you get only 25%.
Udemy is known for its user-friendly platform and a wide variety of courses. You can sign up as a teacher for free and start creating courses immediately. The enrollment fees for students are reasonable – usually between $10 and $100 per course. You can also sell bundles of multiple courses if you want to increase your earning potential.
If you’re interested in teaching on Udemy but don’t want to create your own courses from scratch, you can use the course templates provided by the platform. These templates allow you to focus on creating the content rather than spending time formatting and designing your courses. The templates are divided into several categories, such as business and entrepreneurship, design, computers, photography, and music production.
The most prominent courses on Udemy sit in the categories of development, business, IT and software, and design.
Skillshare is a fast-growing online learning platform that has a community of over three million members and 45,000 teachers from over 190 countries. It offers thousands of courses and hosts more than 15 million monthly visitors. The platform accepts video lessons created in any format, including YouTube links, and offers tools to help you convert your lessons into Skillshare-compatible videos.
Skillshare is often compared to Udemy, but it has stricter guidelines for tutors to get their courses on the platform. Skillshare is known for its intensive curation process. At least three employees review each course before they are published. As a result, course creators who are just starting out might be unable to compete.
Like Udemy, sharing courses on Skillshare is free for content creators; however, unlike Udemy, creators don’t sell individual courses on Skillshare. Tutors get a percentage of revenue determined by the engagement their courses receive. They can additionally earn by referring students to the platform through referral links.
Skillshare is focused on courses in the creative industries: illustration design, painting, photography, and videography. Learners can enroll in a $160 yearly subscription plan to get access to hundreds of classes in a variety of different subjects.
Preptical is an online course platform with a public library focused mainly on video-based test-prep courses. Hundreds of hours of video courses are available on the platform, and fresh content is added every week.
Preptical is known for its high-quality courses and its rigorous tutor selection process. Tutors are required to go through a multi-step application process, and a team of in-house curators reviews all submitted courses before they are approved for publication. This ensures that the content on Preptical is top-notch and that the instructors are qualified.
Once you’re verified as a tutor on Preptical, publishing your courses is straightforward. The platform offers easy-to-use tools to upload videos and add descriptions and supplementary study material to make sure students get the most out of their courses.
Similar to Skillshare, learners can get unlimited access to all of the courses published on Preptical by getting a subscription, but unlike Skillshare, they can get an affordable monthly plan for €29.99 in addition to the €239.99 yearly plan. Many of the courses published on Preptical are available to purchase individually at other platforms such as Udemy. However, by getting a subscription, learners can save up to 90% on their expenses.
Creating and publishing courses on Preptical is free for tutors. Since Preptical is focused on video courses, it uses an innovative subscription-sharing model to pay its tutors: Tutors get a share of all subscriptions made on the platform based on the watch time of their content. This means that if your content is attractive to users and is watched more, you’ll see higher revenue.
Preptical is currently focused on language test-prep courses such as IELTS, TOEFL, GMAT, and GRE, but it is planning to expand to university, school, and professional tests in the near future.
Category 2: Platforms Without A Course Library
Kajabi is a one-stop-shop solution for creating online courses. It gives you all the digital tools you need to attract, convert and engage with your students. This way, it’s more suited for tutors familiar with marketing automation, sales funnels, and payment gateways.
Kajabi has a sleek and modern design, making it perfect for courses in the creative industries. The platform offers built-in marketing tools that make marketing your courses easy. You can also use the built-in social commerce features to sell products directly from your courses. Kajabi integrates with Stripe to provide payment services.
Another great feature is the live feedback tool that allows you to answer students’ questions in real-time. Several assessment options allow you to test your students and track their progress. This can help you better engage with them and improve the overall quality of your courses.
Kajabi is one of the most expensive options and may not be suitable for beginners. It offers three tiers to the tutors using the platform costing between $149 and $399 per month. The lowest tier gives you unlimited content hosting with up to 250 active students each month. The next tier ups this to 1,000 students, and the highest tier gives you 5,000 students.
The good news is that Kajabi allows you to set the price tag on your courses, and it doesn’t get a cut from your sales.
Thinkific is a user-friendly platform for creating, launching, and managing online courses. Its powerful features include everything you need to start selling online courses quickly and easily. Thinkific serves over 50,000 tutors in more than 150 countries, so you can be sure it’s a well-trusted platform that you can rely on to make your online course business successful.
Thinkific allows tutors to create landing pages for their courses and design email campaigns and certificates. It also allows you to remove Thinkific branding entirely so that all your content, from website themes to pricing options to emails and certificates, will be branded as your own products.
In terms of business model, it is similar to Kajabi. Thinkific does not charge a fee for the courses you create but requires a monthly payment to access the platform and all its features. The tiers cost from $49 to $499 per month, depending on the features you’d want to use. They also offer a free plan with limited functionality so that you can try out the platform before deciding if you want to upgrade or not.
Similar to Kajabi, you can set the price tag on your courses, and Thinkific doesn’t get a cut from your sales.
Teachable is a beginner-friendly online course platform that makes the process of creating and selling profitable online courses a walk in the park. More than 1 billion courses have been sold on Teachable! This platform is intuitive and easy to use for even novice users. It has many features and makes it easy to customize each course to match the specific needs of your business.
Teachable is a platform similar in principle to what you get from Kajabi. It provides marketing tools for content creators, including an affiliate program to boost course revenue. The platform also has integrations with other platforms, including PayPal, Stripe, Zapier, Salesforce, MailChimp, and more, so you can manage your entire online business from one location.
In terms of pricing, Teachable is very flexible. You can start with an almost-free plan which charges you $1 + 10% transaction fee per sale. In other plans, the monthly fee is higher (up to $249), but you don’t get charged a transaction fee when you sell a course. All plans offer a free trial, so you can try the features before you decide to upgrade your plan.
Except for the free plan that allows you to offer only one course, all plans let you enroll unlimited students and host unlimited courses. Just like Kajabi, you have complete control over your pricing. Its features and attractive pricing make it a good choice for beginner content creators and tutors.
One Last Piece Of Advice
Marketing an online course and getting it noticed is the bread and butter when it comes to online course businesses. When you start exploring different online course platforms, you should know how they’ll help you build a connection with your target audience, as that’s vital for selling and promoting courses online.
You need to think about whether you are willing to spend the time driving potential learners to your course yourself or if you would prefer to put your course on a platform which does the marketing for you.
Remember that there’s always a cost involved this this, whether that be a fee from the course platform, a third-party marketing solution, or just your time so make sure you factor that into your calculations when working out your budget and costs.
Over To You
Have you used an online course platform either as a learner or a creator? If so which ones and what did you think of them? What were the good and bad points or something they could improve on to make your experience better?
Let us know in the comments below.