What Course Platform and Tech Do I Need to Create an Online Course?

November 3, 2020

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Stuck spending late nights googling which course platform or tech you need to create an online course?

If you’re still ‘thinking’ about creating an online course but you haven’t yet gotten started, my guess is that the answer is yes.

Obsessing over online course tech and software is one of the biggest blocks that stop people from getting started.

It’s course-procrastination at its finest!

Let me overcome this hurdle for you and break down the tech and software you need to create your online course, and my recommendations for tools and platforms.

Let’s dive in!

online course

Let’s Talk Expenses

Creating an online course is one of the best ways to create leveraged income in your business, that doesn’t require you to swap your time for money. You probably already know that, right?

One thing that you might NOT have considered, however, is the low overhead that online course business models typically enjoy.

Unlike physical product businesses with inventory costs, brick and mortar business with rental costs or even service based businesses where the biggest ‘cost’ is time, online course businesses involve ONE upfront investment of time and otherwise? Costs are pretty minimal.

There’s marketing costs, of course – same as any business.

But in terms of operating expenses?

The main one is software.

It’s important to mention this prior to diving into the best tools and tech for online courses. It can be easy to fixate on the cost of particular tools without considering that they are the very mechanism that allows an online course business to operate, and also one of the few costs there are.

Choose the right tools, and things will run smoothly, you will save time and energy trying to piece a million different things together and you will streamline your business.

Get it wrong however, and you’ll end up with tech headaches, hours and days in lost time and a bad user experience for not only you but also your students.

Tools, tech and software are quite literally the ‘tools of the trade’ for an online course business, and in my view, not something that you want to ‘scrimp’ on at the sacrifice of quality.

So, with that said, let’s dive into the ‘must haves’.

Essential Tech and Tools for Creating an Online Course

Here’s is a list of the items that I consider to be essential to an online course business:

Essential:

  • Course Portal: This is where you will host your course videos and content, and provide password protected access to your students.
  • Funnel Software: This is the how you will use to build out all of your funnel pages, for example sales pages, opt in forms and thank you pages. Ideally, you would have a solution that allows you to easily link the pages together and that allows you to track and measure your stats through your funnel so that you can optimise your results.
  • Check Out Software: You will need a shopping cart so that people can easily pay you! Ideally, you will have one that integrates easily with online solutions like Paypal and Stripe.
  • Email Service Provider: You will need an email service provider to send your list automated emails promoting your course launches, evergreen funnels and to welcome your new students to your course.

Strongly Recommended:

  • Video Hosting: You will need a place to host your course videos.
  • Countdown Timer: A countdown timer enables you to infuse your launches and evergreen funnels with urgency to encourage sales and increase your conversion rates.
  • Affiliate Management: Affiliates are a great way to increase both leads and revenue in your business. Affiliate Management Software allows you to manage these relationships, track payouts and more.
  • Webinar Software: If you use webinars to sell your course, you will need software to go live with chat functionality. Note that I don’t recommend expensive ‘official’ webinar software.

All in One Platforms vs Separate Tools

There are two possible avenues for you to go when it comes to the specific tools and system you use for each of the above.

Firstly, you can purchase individual items and integrate them with each other either natively (if they allow it) or using a tool like Zapier. I would recommend this only if you are very comfortable with tech, and not stressed out by the idea of troubleshooting integration issues or dealing with ‘tech gone wrong’.

The other option is to go with a all in one platform that includes some or all of these features ‘built in’. There are more and more of these options on the market, and they usually involve customer support for tech, set up and ongoing issues in addition to the tools themselves. This can be a great option if don’t want to deal with the ‘tech headaches’ that come along with the DIY route. On the flip side, they can come with design and other limitations and with some of the more popular course platforms out there, their popularity means that there are a lot of online courses out there that look exactly the same (something that I am not personally fond of).

My Personal Recommendation

I personally use an all in one solution called 10XPro, which includes many of the items above ‘in built’ as well as very good customer service when required. I’ve been able to customise my site to look beautiful, and to ensure that it doesn’t resemble some of the other most popular all in one platform’s ‘cookie-cutter’ portals.

It houses my funnels, courses, check out pages, affiliate management, countdown timers (and many more features I’m not yet making use of!). It DOESN’T house my emails (Infusionsoft), video hosting (Vimeo) or webinars (Zoom). The reason that I personally use 10XPro is that it saves me both time trying to get different tools to ‘talk to each other’, and money paying for those tools individually.

Of course, no ONE solution is right for anyone – which is why my own coaching program, Launchpad, is tech agnostic and allows you to use whichever platform or suite of tools that you like best and that best fit your budget.

My Personal Tech and Software Expenses

Full disclosure: Because I recommend 10XPro to others, I no longer pay for the service because I receive recurring affiliate commissions from anyone that signs up on my recommendation. Whatever tool or all in one solution you go with, I recommend choosing one you genuinely love and feel proud to recommend to others, so that you can offset the course of your own hosting (side note? With 10XPro, it’s very easy to have a small badge on the bottom of your pages which lead your site visitors to a trial page. You will then receive a commission if that person purchases).

If I DID pay for 10XPro, it would $199US a month (with a significant saving for annual payments, which would make it $149US).

My other expenses are my email service provider (cost depends on list size), and video hosting ($120US a year).

For comparison, other all in one solution offer ‘basic’ levels (Karta is $99US/month, Kajabi is $119US/month) at a more affordable rate, or plans comparable to 10XPro for the same amount.

In comparison, if I were to pay for tools individually, here is a very reasonable and realistic example breakdown of costs:

  • Course Platform – Thinkific: $39US/month
  • Checkout – SamCart: $99US/Month
  • Countdown Timer – Deadline Funnel: $49 – 99US/month
  • Video Hosting – Vimeo: $12US/month
  • Funnel Pages – Own Website for Funnel Pages (Free)
  • Connecter – Zapier (to connect features): $29US
  • Email Service Provider – depends on number of subscribers.

TOTAL: $230US (minimum, and likely higher).

Summing Up

Regardless of whether you go with an all in one or ‘piecemeal’ solution, you will likely spend around $200US a month on your course tools. I consider this an important cost of doing business, and recommend that you choose a platform that will grow with you as you do.

No platform is 100% perfect, but for me 10XPro is the right choice. If you do want to go with an all in one solution, I recommend signing up for a few free trials and seeing what you like, committing to making a decision within a week and then going all in. Course Platform-prastination is a real thing, and it’s stopping you from getting started.

To trial 10XPro, head to steviesayssocial.com/10XPro.

Links and Resources:

Other Free Resources:

  • Want to start a podcast? Check out my free INSTANT ACCESS masterclass now. Click here.
  • Want to create a signature online course? Download the free checklist with everything you need to know. Click here.

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