Best Tools and Platforms to Create an Online Course

You'll move into course production after creating your course skeleton. Production includes creation of video, audio, text, images, and other features that you'll use to guide your Participants through your course Factors and to the Solution. Production also includes everything you need to deliver, market, and sell your course. See below the best course creation tools that I use and recommend to my clients.

BUT, before you dive in, note that course production is NOT the hardest part of course creation. It's instead the easiest target to blame for an unfinished or unsuccessful course. The all-too-common endless search for the "perfect platform" will delay everything and drown your motivation. Likewise, the endless attempt at getting your videos, audios, and other content "perfect" will take you into paralysis.

My point is that the production phase of course creation is mostly a mind game. Choose a course delivery platform/strategy that feels easy for you to manage and in line with the desires and needs of your intended Participants, knowing that you can switch platforms in the future. Then move out of your own way, do your best, be proud of your finished product, and learn from your mistakes. 

Disclosure: Some links below are affiliate links. This means that when you click and purchase, I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you). Also: I do not recommend tools that I have not been happy with as a paying customer.

Best Course Development System

Effective courses are built on strong foundations. Use a system to create yours.

Every awesome course needs a strong foundation. Build yours with the Online Course Model. It's a step-by-step system to help you create a robust course outline that makes every step of course creation more efficient and effective. 

Learn more and take the course over at:

Udemy

Skillshare

Best Online Course Platforms

Online course platforms are essential if you plan on selling more than one password-protected course and want to streamline the process.

I've worked on dozens of course/website platforms and learning management systems. Kajabi is the easiest and most cost-effective, comprehensive solution that I've used. If you need a solution to market, secure, and manage more than one online course, then consider it. It will likely save you time and money vs. cobbling a bunch of systems together. 

I recommend Zoom for live courses- and particularly for new courses.

If your Participant count is small, you may only need Zoom, your email, and maybe a Facebook group or other community space. You can even integrate PayPal with Zoom to make the Participant registration, tracking, and notifications more simple.

If you have a large audience already and your course has content for Participants outside of the live talks, then you'll likely want to pair Zoom with Kajabi or another platform specific for course delivery.

Related note on testing your course live... If you plan on selling an evergreen course (asynchronous delivery, meaning content is filmed prior with no or very limited live interactions), then testing out your course as a live, online experience before can be massively helpful. You'll learn SO much about how folks move through your content, obstacles that pop up, what really resonates, where they need more/less you... it's priceless.

  1. Teachable, Podia, Thinkific, Skillshare: All have pros and cons, mainly based on user comfort. I'd vote Kajabi over any of these, but some folks love these others. Do some research if you're not sure.
  2. Udemy and Skillshare: Particularly good to host a course that can generate exposure for you. Some niches have good revenue potential. One key negative is that your content is hosted off of your site and you don't have communication control with Participants (i.e., limited email outreach, moderation of comments- the usual when you host your course off your own website).

Best Video and Text Tools for Your Course

First: It's important to remember that you don't have to have exceptional video quality. If your Participants can hear and see you well, then you're likely fine. 

Second: Shoot for your best production quality that doesn't add any distractions to your Participants' journey through your course. Ideally, have an honest friend watch the video. Have them point out when the video or audio quality is distracting.

I'm a fan of my Google Pixel, phone tripod, external phone mic, and big windows for natural light. Finding your unique setup should be just as simple. Consider these resources:

  1. VideoMaker.com
  2. Grab a Udemy course on video production 101.
  3. Note that some platforms (like Kajabi) allow you to record directly into your pages/course body via your web/phone camera. You don't get the editing benefits, but it's a smooth way to get content in fast. 
  4. And remember Zoom! You can deliver your content live and then your Participants can also access later. No editing required!

Writing, like any other skill, takes practice. If you want to be a better writer, keep writing. Here are some extra resources:

  1. The classic book on the topic- On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
  2. The Artist's Way (overcoming blocks).

Best SEO Tools for Online Course Validation & Marketing

Remember, not everyone needs a big SEO strategy. If your market is local and you focus on in person connections, then you don't need to deep-dive into SEO.

If you want to leverage organic traffic, then consider making your effort far more efficient with SEMrush. It's a robust tool to improve your organic traffic. It's one of my most expensive monthly investments, but I find it really helpful. Here's a 7-day free trial. 

Fairly simple and effective! Learn more here

Ubersuggest is a free-for-most tool to help you with SEO. The paid plans are affordable as well. Simple, effective, and easy!

Extra Tools for Your Website

Below are user-friendly tools that I use and recommend to clients to serve their audience more effectively.

Elfsight offers user-friendly widgets that can be popped into a site for a variety of uses. Popups, forms, surveys, and more. Learn about the available apps.

If you're scheduling coaching/consults with Participants, you need something other than email. Calendly is simple and free-for-most. 

Surveys, assessments/intakes, homework... you name it and Google forms can handle much of it pretty well. Folks with large audiences will want a more sophisticated solution that links directly with their Participant/customer management system. Some course platforms have a forms tool baked in to handle just that situation. If yours doesn't and your audience is manageable, just use Google forms. It's free.

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