WordPress is one of the most popular tools in the world, over 40% of all websites use it, which represents more than 400 million sites running it.
If you want to create an online course, using WordPress to create a website to host your course can sound like an interesting idea, especially because you can get many plugins for different use cases! But it still has a lot of drawbacks.
In this article, I’ll show you how to create a course with WordPress, the pros and cons of using it, and also give you an alternative to make you more productive.
How to create a course with WordPress
Well, according to the WordPress team, if you want to create online courses and sell them, you have to do the following:
- Upgrade to WordPress Pro (at $33 per month for the business plan)
- Install the Sensei Pro LMS plugin (at $149 per year)
- Install the WooCommerce plugin (free by itself, but the price increases as you install paid add-ons)
This would allow you to have a simple and affordable course platform that allows you to publish gated content and sell it.
But the problem with this method is that it doesn’t really allow you to create great online courses.
What makes a great online course
Great online courses bring results, here’s why:
Lectures encourage students to memorize facts, but they are not great if the goal is to actually APPLY the information to reach a certain goal, the same goes for reading, watching a video, or a demonstration because these methods are too passive.
Great courses help your students learn actively.
If we look at the 3 Active Learning methods:
- Group learning through communities
- Learning by taking action through deliberate practice
- Mastering a topic by teaching to others
Then using the Sensei LMS by WordPress is not ideal because you would need to install even more paid plugins or hire developers to create a custom forum to create a community, track the progress of your students, help them focus on taking action, or encourage peer-to-peer learning.
This would lead you to spending hundreds of dollars every month for a bloated cluster of plugins that would be hard to manage for you, and your students.
And we’re speaking from experience, we used to do exactly this for the courses we were selling with the YouTube channel Marketing Mania, and it was so hard to manage that we had a part-employee taking care of this system, which took even more time and money.
Also, students had to log in multiple times for each plugin we had with different passwords, the designs of the different plugins were inconsistent, and our taped-up system was breaking often, which was a horrendous user experience for them.
The best course platform to bring results to your students
In 2020, we decided to create our own course platform SchoolMaker to solve all the issues we had with our WordPress courses:
- We added a built-in community
- We made lessons more actionable by adding checklists
- We added the ability to sell directly from our platform (no need for WooCommerce)
- We made it all visually consistent with great user experience
- Getting a dedicated subdomain for your school
- And many more things…
Here’s a comparison between Sensei LMS and SchoolMaker
And the amazing thing is that you can set up SchoolMaker in a few hours, when it can take more than a week if you tape together a bunch of WordPress plugins.