How to Create an Online Course With WordPress.com and Share Your Knowledge

Are you looking for a way to monetize your WordPress.com blog? Do you have a special set of skills and a passion for teaching others? Need a way to demonstrate your expertise with potential clients or increase interest in a premium service? If so, online courses might be the perfect fit.  

Online courses are an excellent way to build brand awareness, boost engagement rates, and become an authoritative industry leader. 

But they aren’t always about making money. You can also use them to train new employees, add interactive curriculum to your school lessons, educate the community on key issues, and more.

As a WordPress site owner, you’re well aware of how great the platform is — WordPress powers over 43% of all websites online. This stat isn’t surprising, as WordPress has democratized the web, providing a platform for anyone who wants to share ideas, build a business, or create a community. There are so many possibilities for what you can create on WordPress, and the ability to create an effective online course is no exception. 

So if you’ve chosen WordPress.com to build your course, you’re in good company. But how do you actually do it? Let’s take a look.

Upgrade to WordPress Pro

If you haven’t already, step one is to upgrade to WordPress Pro. Although WordPress Free is great when you initially want to explore the platform, it’s limited when it comes to functionality. 

WordPress Pro lets you take advantage of more than 50,000 plugins that add more capabilities to help you grow your website, business, or store. It includes eCommerce functionality, so you can take payments without the stress of dealing with complicated setups. Plus, it includes:

  • A custom domain name 
  • Premium themes 
  • Unlimited WordPress plugins 
  • Premium support
  • 50 GB of storage (compared to just 1 GB)
  • An ad-free experience for your visitors

The above list is just the beginning. For a more in-depth comparison, check out all the perks of WordPress Pro here

Install the Sensei LMS Plugin

There are so many great WordPress plugins, but Sensei LMS is the go-to tool for building online courses. It’s the engine that will power everything you do. 

Sensei LMS was created by the makers of WordPress.com, so you know that it will provide a seamless experience from start to finish, along with the same great support you already trust. Plus, you can build engaging courses directly in the WordPress dashboard that you use on a daily basis. 

But using a plugin to build your courses doesn’t mean cookie-cutter results. There are endless opportunities for customization — no matter the kind of course you’re creating.  

Here are some of things you can do with Sensei LMS:

  • Offer courses as one-time products, memberships, or subscriptions.
  • Easily integrate slideshows, videos, image galleries, and other media to enhance your quizzes and lessons. This strategy helps reinforce concepts while providing a more engaging, interactive experience. 
  • Track student progress, giving you the option to provide personal attention and feedback. 
  • Benefit from free extensions, including Post to Course Creator, which allows you to create a course from the information you’ve already published as blog posts.

Create your first course

Now for the fun part! 

With the help of Sensei, creating a course requires little to no technical knowledge. You can build your curriculum using the block editor, similar to how you design pages and posts. 

To add a new course, go to Courses → Add New in the WordPress dashboard. Sensei LMS automatically adds a few blocks to the editor, including options for course outlines, signups, and contact buttons. When you create an outline, you can divide your course into modules, lessons, and quizzes, which makes it easier for students to progress through their learning experience. 

Each lesson can include everything from paragraphs of text to images, videos, and downloadable files. You can also create quizzes to assess students’ understanding, and choose to either auto-grade the questions or manually review them yourself.

Creating the right experience is going to depend on your subject matter and students. But creating a course is an art form that can be worked on and perfected over time. Learn more about creating effective online courses

View the full instructions for creating a course with Sensei LMS.

Decide if you want to monetize your course

There are several reasons to create an online course with WordPress.com, and they’re not all about making money. Even if commerce is your ultimate goal, you still may decide to keep your courses free as a way to generate new leads or demonstrate expertise.

Online photography courses offered using WooCommerce and Sensei LMS

But courses are a great way to drive revenue while providing a helpful service. So, should you make the jump to monetize your course?

There’s no clear answer to this question — it depends on your specific website and goals. However, here are some examples of when monetizing a course makes perfect sense:

  • People often ask for your expertise. For example, if you own and operate a custom furniture business, you may have customers that would appreciate a course covering basic woodworking techniques, niche tools, and mini-projects. If you have a blog about gardening, your readers could benefit from a course around building a successful raised garden bed. There are new possibilities almost daily. Cryptocurrency courses, for example, have become a major industry — a topic most hadn’t even dreamt of a decade ago. 
  • You already have a successful blog and want to add a revenue stream. You already have a plethora of content, so why not create a course using that information? Here’s a great guide to help you make this transition.
  • You want to solve a problem for your audience. No one knows your audience better than you. What questions do you get on social media or in your email inbox over and over again? What do you know that your clients, customers, or followers struggle with? You can create a course that solves this problem for them. For example, if you’re a financial planner or accountant, you might create a course about budgeting for a new baby or saving up for a home.
  • You sell products that also offer a teaching opportunity. If you already sell items on WooCommerce, or want to, courses are great ways to demonstrate their use, drive demand, and provide ongoing value. An art or hobbyist supply store could also sell online courses about painting with watercolors or crafting with found objects, promoting their products at the same time.

If you decide to monetize your course, you can do so with WooCommerce and the premium Sensei Pro extension

Share your knowledge

There’s a whole world full of eager students. If you have passion, skill, and the drive to create something amazing, WordPress.com and Sensei LMS offer the tools to make it happen. Our team is eager to support you!

Ready to create an online course with WordPress.com? Want to learn more? Check out these resources:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The WordPress.com Team

At WordPress.com, our mission is to democratize publishing one website at a time. Create a free website or build a blog with ease on WordPress.com. Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.

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