There’s so much that goes into creating a course, it can be helpful to know where to start. That includes the themes and plugins you’ll need to make it work.
Here we plan to keep examples of some the more profitable or innovative online courses, or whatever we think is cool and worth sharing.
Browse the internet or Amazon and you find tons of examples of book covers, website design, and videography. Writing in a profitable genre is one of the most important choices you can make to determine the financial success of your book or online course. For those of us without the advantage of a big publishing house behind us, online and diy publishing has its own unique challenges. One of them is material topic. Certain areas and subjects are easier to approach and develop a solid following for.
Many of the broader categories are so well covered or cornered, they are nearly impossible to break into. Celebrity gossip, for example, is not one I can recommend. Unless it is an undying passion and goal, you could spend your life writing about it, and garnering no readership.
Moreover, with lack of solid editing and editorial staff for your book, blog or course, the overall quality of your writing and graphics will have a tough time competing with big ones. Consider the layout and cover design compared to that of professionals.
To counter some of these shortcomings, find a subject that hasn’t been thoroughly covered and become a specialist in that niche. In some cases, the area may have a small number of readers, but if yours is the only book in its category, that’s okay.
Placing your energy on a specific topic instead of a general read invites an audience that‘s been waiting for someone to speak to them. Writing in an area with little competition makes it easier to get footing and rise to the top.
If you’re interested in a broad topic and I cannot convince you otherwise, tailor your book or course to speak to a niche audience on the broad topic. This could mean a certain demographic—highly specific. A cookbook for gluten intolerance, for example.
I recommend browsing through all of the books in your “general” topic category. Once you get an idea for what’s already put there, find a way to speak to a group with highly specific needs.
Based on a thorough examination of the books on Amazon and the sales results over a period of time, specific is better than general. To read more about the subject see our other posts. For information on book or web layout, I recommend simply looking at successful examples.
Believe it or not, people want to know what you know. Even if you’re not a specialist in some field and even if you don’t have years of advanced education or training, you have something others need: knowledge. You know how to do something that other people need and they’re often willing to pay for detailed how-to instructions and courses.
What do you do for a living? You might hate your job–it might even give you back pain, but I guarantee there is someone out there who want to do what you do for a living. So, tell them how you got your job: “How to become a 2nd grade Teacher”, for instance.
Let’s say you’ve recovered from whiplash which left you with tons of neck and back pain. What did you do to get better? What worked, what didn’t. Was ice and heat the secret or did you fall in love with your chiropractor? Did you use Dr. John Sarno (the back pain guru)? Or did you try meditation? If you can document, in detail, how you got better and how you got relief you may have an ecourse to sell.
Say you do have some knowledge to share but you’re not passionate about writing it up. The alternative is to research an area of interest, learn enough to become knowledgeable in subject and write a course about it. They say the best way to master a subject is to teach it, because you can’t teach something you don’t know.
If you’re interested in learning more about back pain and tension myositis syndrome, click the link to view a great ecourse.
In the last article we touched on some of the software for larger universities and institutions. Here we’ll go further in depth into some of the software available for smaller situations—for instance one in which you would sell an info product or online course for free or in exchange for income.
We found a great example that combines the latest health trends with learning. It’s a self-directed course that people can take for healing back pain. This site is an amazing example of providing an extraordinary amount of information in a course. We’ve talked about this before, but when you offer your customers much more than what they paid, people keep coming. That’s exactly what we found on this site about Tension Myositis Syndrome. It’s a back pain condition that doesn’t heal through the usual methods.
The folks at www.MindBodySchool.com have produced a high level course you can take with guaranteed results. I recommend you check them out if you’re looking for examples, or if you have a bad back.
In addition to delivering great content, they employ a series of videos, multiple infographics and interactive assessments and exercises they call Explorations. Basically, as you go along in the course, you do these personal assignments that either examine your personality or help you uncover things in your life that are less than perfect. It’s a great tool to help students get the most out of the program.
Learning Platform: Woo
They’ve used the powerful and popular WooSensei as the learning platform, which is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. WooThemes has taken the market by storm producing some excellent themes for beginners that are also usable by developers. They’ve also produced some great plugins, including WooCommerce which has been downloaded over one million times.
About a year ago they came out with another plugin called Sensei. It’s only a year old and could still use some spiffing up. I’m not sure it’s going to happen based on the boards and what they’ve marked as “working on”, but aside from some of the quiz shortcomings, it looks great. Sensei is designed to work with your theme, so whatever designing and fonts you have now will transfer right over into the course. Very slick and very professional. The downsides are that you can’t time the lessons and you can’t use survey style questions in the quizzes. This seems like it shouldn’t be too hard considering WP Pro Quiz already offers those options for free.
Have you ever considered the possibility of selling your knowledge? You can.
Information Product History Lesson
Not long ago, a few serious entrepreneurs started what became a huge industry selling information products. Originally, people created pamphlets, book and eventually downloadable pdfs. Now a days you can find a myriad of FREE PDF information downloads available all over the web. They’re usually offered without cost in exchange for signing up for an email list or a newsletter. They’re a carry over from the past and often have a fair amount of helpful information.
The idea is that if you like what’s being offered, you will trust the source, subscribe and hopefully purchase future content. It’s amazing what’s available for free these days.
Check out this video, it’s OVER AN HOUR LONG!
New and Improved E Courses
As the market for books and PDFs has become so saturated, it’s hard if not impossible to get noticed and set your information apart from what’s already out there. Additionally, it’s hard for people to even find your information. It almost reminds me of the stories you used to hear about what happens to a manuscript that gets submitted to a publisher. It lands in the slush pile, which is a stack of thousands of books that will never be read. I think your chance of getting struck by lightning was greater than your chance of getting published.
It seems like things are the same way now for on demand books and downloadable free pdfs. What happened is it became way too easy to create these materials, so everyone started doing it.
The new way is to create video based courses where people can feel like they are in a classroom but in the comfort of their own homes. If I haven’t sold you yet, stick around….