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Tools for Building Online Courses

 Developing and marketing online classes is simpler than you might think. You don’t need to be an expert in digital design to put together an engaging, informative program of study that customers will love. Read on to learn more about online course-building tools.

Choosing a website builder

Building a website to host your online courses may feel like your biggest barrier to getting started, but it doesn’t have to be. You can access tons of tools online, like design templates, that allow even a complete web design novice to build a beautifully functional website. 

It’s important to have the flexibility to put your own personal stamp on your site—not just in terms of the way it looks, but also the ways in which your customers are able to access course content. 

Your site builder should enable you to set up your website to support:

  • Members-only sections: You'll need to have a payment platform set up, so that members can have access to exclusive content and other opportunities.

  • Booking: Empowering customers to sign up and pay for their own course participation on the spot will help convert browsers to customers.

  • Embedded or hosted video: Video is the most popular medium for online learning material. Learn more about hosting videos on your website.

  • Embedded audio: Let your customers learn while they listen.

  • Code blocks: These let you embed quizzes and other custom third-party learner content into your site.

When you offer all these features, you’ll have a site that’s much easier to market and sell to potential learners.

Enabling learners to subscribe

Offering a members-only area of your website is a great way to monetize your workshop content. It leaves the rest of your site available for non-paid content, including free courses to attract paying customers and show site visitors that the workshops behind the paywall are worth their time and financial investment.

Members-only areas are a great community-building tool, too. They provide your audience with access to unique content, which can help build trust and loyalty with your brand.

Setting up course scheduling

Giving customers the ability to schedule classes on your website has a number of benefits. An online scheduler like Squarespace Scheduling lets your audience book individual workshops or purchase packages or ongoing memberships to your courses.

When you enable self-scheduling, you can also create a sense of urgency around course sign-ups. “Limited places available” evokes scarcity, which can increase the demand for your workshops—no one likes to miss out.

Another useful benefit of a scheduling tool is that it allows you to automate email and text reminders. These reminders keep your customers informed and remind them when to show up for class, which helps to cut down on no-shows and last-minute cancellations. 

Embedding and hosting course content

The most engaging online workshops and courses offer multiple ways for customers to learn. Your students should be able to watch, listen, read, download, and interact—and your website builder should allow you to enable those options easily.

Podcasts

The ability to create and manage podcasts on your site means you can offer customers free audio teasers of your course content in the main body of your website, before they sign up for members-only content.

Video

The most popular medium for delivering course content, video allows you to deliver visual and audio content to the same or higher standard as you would in a physical classroom. You can natively host videos on your website or use free video uploading tools to host your members-only content and then embed it within your website.

Downloadable content

Your course may include downloadable content like e-books, essays, and whitepapers. You can make these materials easily downloadable from your website by embedding third-party code. Looking for more ways to monetize your course materials? You can make your downloadable content a digital product and sell it on your website.

Third-party quizzes

Survey or contest platforms allow you to create quizzes you can set for your learners to test their knowledge. With Squarespace, you can embed this interactive content into your website using code blocks

Delivering workshops via webinars

Live workshops via webinar give you the chance to deliver your course content in person, with two-way interaction, at a set time. Most webinar platforms allow you to easily screenshare your website with learners, and share links, files, and facilitate discussion in the comments. Limited sign-ups for live workshops can also make them more enticing to your audience, who will gain direct access to you.

You can also use tools to host video gatherings right on your website. This has the added benefit of boosting your website’s traffic—you’ll be driving customers directly to your site for workshops, rather than to an off-site platform. If you record your live workshops, you can also host them on your site so that anyone who misses out can access them from your archive. 

With such tools at your disposal, there’s nothing stopping you from delivering a learner-driven platform that secures and maintains your reputation as a thought leader and subject matter expert.

Ready to launch your courses? Learn how to set up pricing and collect payments.

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