How To Create An Online Course: 8 Steps To Follow In 2023

In 2023, it’s quite easy to make an online course because you can use technology to record lectures and webinars, host interactive question and answer sessions, and more.

All this has made it is way easier to share knowledge with others by making courses online and you can think of it as a great way to earn passive income.

In this article, I walk you through the process of making a course by outlining the steps you’ll need to take to ensure it’s a success.

Before I start…

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How To Create An Online Course: 8 Steps To Follow In 2023 7

How to Create an Online Course in 2023

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How to start creating your online course today in 7 easy steps

Nowadays, online course creation is easier than it has ever been if you are serious about it given the tools and platforms you have at your disposal. It’s also one of the most profitable ways to make money online with often higher profit margins than other online businesses.

That being said, creating a successful online course that will make money online and have an impact on your customers in the process is not a guarantee.

create an online course

But with the help of a good blueprint, you can learn how to create an online course that positions you as an expert in your industry, makes you money, and sets your students up for success.

This guide will help you when create an impactful and profitable online course:

  1. Select a specific course topic and direction

Choosing a topic for your online course is one of the most difficult decisions you will make in this entire process. However, there are a few things you need to pay attention to that will make this step easier to implement.

First thing you need to do when creating your online course is to pick something you’re passionate about or have expertise in because this will ensure that your course is both informative and engaging.

how to create an online course

Your students want to learn from someone who is way ahead of them on the learning journey. They want to hear from someone with credibility because then they are confident that they are getting the correct information.

It helps if you are passionate about the subject because your enthusiasm will be infectious. It will also make you more willing to go above and beyond to ensure that your course is the best work that’s out there.

While your expertise and passion are important considerations when choosing your course topic, your course should have a high market demand to succeed.

Other than being good at something, when you are choosing a topic, you should also consider the resources you’ll need, the time commitment, and any potential challenges that may arise.

Think about what will make your course idea unique from others competing in the same field.

Once you narrow your list down a few options, research them further to be sure that you remain with something people are interested in and would be interested in learning more about.

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  1. Research your online course topic

Researching your online course topic is essential to its success. You should read up on the subject as much as you can and consider different opinions and viewpoints.

There are tons of online resources you can utilize such as search engines, libraries, databases, and blogs to learn about the current state of knowledge on your chosen topic.

Then pay special attention to any studies or reports related to it.

As you create an online course, find out what other course creators are doing. You can be inspired by observing the types of materials they use, their audience engagement and promotional activities.

As with any business, finding your potential competitors and understanding what they are doing can help you to shape how you will create and market your own course.

One of the best places to do your research is on other popular learning platforms. A couple of examples being Udemy and Teachable. In fact Teachable has a great resource giving course examples.

You can start by searching for courses related to your topic there as you look at different aspects of the course such as user ratings, content structure and delivery format to get ideas for organizing your own course.

Find out the topics and materials covered in those courses to differentiate your course from the competition.

As you research the topic, you can also seek to understand your audience to understand your ideal customer at the start of your course creation journey.

  1. Create Your Course Outline

To create a course outline, you should start by pinpointing your course objectives and breaking them down into specific topics.

This way you can plan how you want to structure the course curriculum and materials for the course.

With a list of topics, you can then create an outline that spells out the order in which each topic should be taught.

You should consider when you want to use different learning methods such as videos, readings, or interactive activities in your outline.

Additionally, you should include plenty of exercises and assessments to track your students’ progress throughout the course. Some course creation tools have this as a built in feature to enable you to quiz students.

Deciding whether to use videos or text to teach is also an important consideration when creating an online course because both have advantages and drawbacks.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution because videos are more engaging as they contain visuals and sound while text can often provide a more thorough explanation of concepts and materials covered in a course.

When choosing your approach, consider who your audience is and the types of topics you will be teaching. If you have complex topics that need thorough explanations, go with text. Videos can be used on simpler topics as they can make them more interesting.

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  1. Choose a platform to create online courses

Choosing a platform to create an online course is one of the most important steps in this process. There are multiple online course marketplaces each with different features and benefits; therefore, it’s important to understand the one that best fits your needs.

Nowadays there are many platforms that you can use to create online courses, including Teachable, LearnDash, Udemy, Thinkific, Kajabi, and ClickFunnels.

Each platform has unique features that stand out such as integrations with payment systems, pre-built templates, marketing tools, and analytics tools.

You should consider each platform carefully to find the one that offers the features you need most to create the best online course possible that fits your budget.

Also bare in mind that some course platforms will have additional features that might save you money because you won’t need to pay more on additional tools.

  1. Filming, Recording, and Editing your Online Courses

Filming, recording, and editing online courses can be a daunting task. You need to have the right equipment and software to produce quality course content.

You can either do the editing yourself or hire an expert editor.

Depending on the type of course you want to create, you may need to purchase or rent cameras, audio recorders, editing software, and other tools.

If you are doing a video course, when you finish filming, make sure you edit the footage well to produce professional-looking online course videos. If you have well-edited videos, your students will enjoy high-quality content.

There are many video editing software options for both Mac and Windows users. For Mac, there is Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid Media Composer. On Windows, popular choices include Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas Pro, and Filmora.

Each of these programs has its own strengths and weaknesses. That makes it important to do your research to find the one that will work for you. My personal favourite for editing is Adobe Premiere Pro as it has a vast range of features.

After choosing a program, read up on tutorials and other resources to get comfortable with it make the most of it.

If you don’t want to edit the videos yourself, hire a video editor to help create your online course.

A professional editor earns their living by making quality videos. They will have the necessary skill to do the necessary post-production work to ensure your course looks great.

They can also offer insight and advice on which equipment, lighting, and other factors that you need to produce engaging content for your students.

Working with a professional video editor is often worth the cost, since they can help you create an effective online course.

If you don’t know where to start looking for an expert video editor, you should visit freelance platforms like UpWork. The platform enables you to access quality professional talent quickly and affordably.

Since you want to find the right person for the job, take time to read the reviews or portfolio pieces that have been posted by potential candidates.

Discuss all the details of the project with your editor before hiring them so that they understand exactly what you want. Working with freelancers on online platforms can be an incredibly cost-effective option if budget is of concern as you create your course.

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  1. Start selling your online course

Now you are ready to launch your online course. Now that you have found the right learning management system, you need to find a platform where you can host it.

You can host it on a basic website, or you can use a website like Udemy to host your online course for you.

  1. Understand the Course Sales Funnel

Understanding the course sales funnel is a vital part of creating an effective online course.

You should pay attention to things like lead generation, customer acquisition, and customer retention.

You need to understand the process of how you get people from interested in the course to actually signing up for it.

This is where the platform you choose to sell the course on will come into play. If you go for a a platform like Kajabi or ClickFunnels you will build out a sales funnel to sell your course.

How you price your course will impact how you sell it. A low priced course is easy to sell whereas a high ticket course requires more comprehensive sales processes like online webinars and phone sales.

It can be beneficial to gain expert knowledge from someone who has created a successful course you can learn from to understand how they created their course and try to replicate their success.

  1. Market your content

If you want to sell your course successfully and gain more interest in it, it comes down to whether you’ve got an existing audience.

If you don’t already have an audience, you should create one.

There are various ways of marketing online courses. For example, you can do it organically via social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tik Tok.

Alternatively, you can go with paid advertising.

If you don’t know how to use paid advertising, hire an expert who is good at running ads. You can use a YouTube ads agency or Facebook Ads agency if those are your platforms.

To get the most out of the money you spend on advertising, ensure that you have a clear message and call-to-action that resonates with the target audience.

If you are running the campaign yourself, create a landing page on your website where users can learn more about the course and sign up for free previews or incentives that increase interest and conversion rates.

If you are relying on paid ads you should test them frequently to ensure they are performing optimally and that they are targeting the right audience.

If you use use paid ads wisely, you can significantly improve sales for online course that will make the extra cost worth it.

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What are the common mistakes to avoid when creating an online course

When creating a course, it is important to avoid some common mistakes that most people who create courses make to ensure success.

First, don’t create a course unless you have a thorough understanding of the targeted audience and the content that will attract their interest. Many a times, people create courses that don’t meet the audience’s needs and they end up not making a sale.

Not having an iterative approach for developing the course material. Using an iterative approach will reduce the chances of missing key topics.

Making the course too complex. Too much complexity can make it difficult for learners to engage with the course material and master its content.

Pros of Creating a Course

  • You can generate long-term recurring passive income when you sell online courses. With the best online course platform, you can automate most of the process.
  • Have will have full control and ownership of the course material
  • You will create opportunities for marketing and upselling related products and services
  • A course can enable you to develop an established brand presence in a particular market

Cons of Creating a Course

  • Creating a course requires significant upfront and ongoing investment in creating, developing and marketing the course material.
  • It is time consuming to produce high quality content that resonates with the target audience.
  • It is difficult to maintain user engagement over extended periods of time, which explains why most courses have a very low completion rate.

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Why you should create an online course

Creating a digital course is a good business idea with the following benefits:

  • Online courses have higher margins than physical products. After you account for costs that go into production and marketing, the rest of the money you get from your course can be profit. Courses can have margins as high as 85%. Meanwhile, traditional entrepreneurs selling physical products have slim margins.
  • Online courses generate passive income. An online course is one of the best ways to earn passive income. To create the course there’s upfront time, money, and effort but after that, you can generate income from it continuously. That being said, unless a course is download-only, if it is a cohort-based course with a live or community component, you will still have to be engaged.
  • Online courses are scalable. To create an online course, you have to spend a lot of time and effort upfront. But the advantage is that once you create the course, you can sell it to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people around the world. You can automate this process so anyone can buy your course with a few clicks. Digital products don’t limit you with the constraints that come with selling physical goods, like product inventory and packaging costs.
  • Online courses are low cost. It’s doesn’t usually cost a lot of money to create a course. Depending on the type of course you create, you may just need a few software subscriptions to host your course, send emails to prospective buyers, and build a community of learners. Creating a video course is more expensive if you want to make your video course look “professional,” but that pales in comparison with the costs of other online businesses.

How to make money Selling Someone Else’s Course as an Affiliate

Rather than creating a course, you can choose to sell someone else’s course to get started.

In this arrangement, there are little to no upfront costs and it is quicker to get started without worrying about creating content.

When you selling online courses by other people, you can benefit from their established brand recognition in a particular market

The drawbacks of selling someone else’s course as an affiliate is that you are dependent on another person’s resources and infrastructure, you have limited ability to customize or upsell additional products or services related to the main course, and there is lower potential for long term income than you’d get with your own online course.

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Tips for starting an online course

There are a few things you can do to make your online course more engaging and likely to be a commercial success:

  • To create an engaging online course, you should start by setting specific goals and expectations. Have a clear plan of what you want to achieve with your course and how long it will take.
  • Make sure everything is easy-to-navigate with clearly labeled sections and quickly accessible resources.
  • After planning out the content, get organized—create an outline that includes topics, deadlines, lectures, quizzes, and other interactive activities.
  • As you create your course, incorporate multimedia elements like visuals and audio clips to keep learners engaged.
  • As you prepare, consider who your audience is and what they expect from you. Think about the goal of your course and what the end result should be for those enrolled.


Creating or selling courses is one way you can make money online. It comes with the benefit of enabling you to earn passive income with relatively low marginal costs.

On the other hand, if a you are looking for quick profits with minimal upfront investment, then becoming an affiliate and marketing another person’s course is also a viable choice. However, you will not earn nearly as much money as the owner.

If you have the resources and time to invest upfront, consider creating your own course because if it is well received, it will be rewarding in the long run.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here and your decision will be informed by factors such as time availability, budget and expertise.

Before you leave

If you’re tired of scams and want a real solution for making money online check out my no.1 recommendation.

It’s helped me earn over $300,000 in the last 12 months alone:

Go here to see my no.1 recommendation for making money online

(This is a 100% free training)

How To Create An Online Course: 8 Steps To Follow In 2023 7

David Fortune has been the editor since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.

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