How to create an online course: The insanely complete guide

This course creation guide is free, we don't even ask for your email
Free Guide: How to create online courses - The insanely complete step-by-step guide for creators | Product Hunt

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You've heard it all before:

Online courses are the future of education!

e-learning is the future of education article
Source: educations.com

Online courses are a way to make a lot of money!

How to Make $2.5MM as a Solo Founder by Teaching What You Love with Adam Wathan
Source: indiehackers.com

But also:

People don’t finish the online courses they take!

90% of people abandon the online course that they are following without completing it
Source: thriveglobal.com

All online courses are scams!

Seven learning scams to watch out for
Source: raconteur.net

They’re all true. Except for the “All online courses are scams” one — even if there are definitely scams out there, and they make it harder for the rest of us when creating courses.

So here’s the deal:

In this (ridiculously complete) guide, I’ll show you how to make courses the right way, so you can:

  • Make more money
  • Help your students get awesome results
  • Not get called a scammer

Sounds good ? Let’s go.

What makes a great course

This is what I asked myself when I was writing this guide, I wanted to write the best resource on the internet on online course creation, and give it all for free.

To do so, I worked with someone who has a decade of experience in course creation:

Hi, I won’t bore you with my “mindblowing results”, but please allow me just THREE bullet points to brag:

  1. I run a 7 figures course business with no ad spend
  2. I’ve helped thousands of people launch their first course and tracked which approach gets the best results
  3. I run a software company that helps course creators make more money

All of that matters because it gives us data on what makes a good course.

Stan Leloup, founder of SchoolMaker

Stan Leloup Face

Last year, we helped more than 500 course creators launch their first course, and helped many others build more profitable course businesses.

And we realized that the course creators who were generating the most revenue do a few simple things right:

  • They have a clear positioning
  • They are engaging and completing their lessons is fun
  • They give students a sense of community
  • They focus on action rather than on vague “knowledge”
  • They bring results to their students through deliberate practice
  • They have high converting sales pages and emails campaigns

Obviously, there are already a bunch of resources online on “how to make an online course”, but they basically boil down to “make some videos and upload them”.

Maybe that was enough 5 years ago, but it's not the case anymore.

That's why we created this guide. (This, and also to promote SchoolMaker - but more on that later: I promise you that 100% of the info is free and we don’t have a paid course to sell you).

What you will learn

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create online courses that:

  1. Stand out from your competitors
    Most courses are information dumps, but you can create courses that actually help your students go from point A to point B and guarantee them tangible progress.
  2. Are community-based
    Communities can change people’s lives and turn them into your best ambassadors, which leads to more sales.
  3. Establish your expertise in your field
    By crafting a course that provides insights and value to people in your field, which can lead to more opportunities.

If you’re creating your first course, you’ll learn how to do an awesome job on your first try.

Or if you already have some courses, I’ll show you how to take them to the next level.

And let’s be clear about one thing: you don’t need to have all the answers to create a great course.

As long as you know what you’re trying to get out of this guide and focus on what’s in front of you (like reading the first chapter), you will be able to create a course that can change both your life and your students’.

Alexandru Golovatenco Face

Alexandru Golovatenco

Begin your course creation journey
How to create an online course book cover
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What's in each chapter of the course creation guide
👇

Begin your course creation journey
How to create an online course book cover
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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus pulvinar elit ac ligula rhoncus, sit amet tincidunt elit lacinia. Phasellus posuere, ex vitae dapibus tempor, augue purus volutpat turpis, nec accumsan neque tellus sed ante. Etiam vulputate, dolor ac vestibulum imperdiet, felis mi maximus elit, vitae ullamcorper diam tortor non diam. Donec blandit arcu orci, tincidunt aliquet tellus semper a. Suspendisse pellentesque tempor nunc at suscipit. Maecenas id ullamcorper nulla. Vivamus suscipit euismod velit non dictum.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus pulvinar elit ac ligula rhoncus, sit amet tincidunt elit lacinia. Phasellus posuere, ex vitae dapibus tempor, augue purus volutpat turpis, nec accumsan neque tellus sed ante. Etiam vulputate.
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FAQ

Is this guide really free?

Yes, it is entirely free.

How much time does it take to complete this guide?

If you spend a few hours per day on building your course, this guide can be completed entirely in 6 to 8 weeks.

I've also written an article on how much time it takes to create a course here if you're interested.

Why focus on a pre-launch?

In this guide, you will pre-launch your course a few weeks after starting creating it, this is because it allows you to get market validation by getting your first sales, and increases your chances of building a more successful final product.

What equipment and software do I need to get started?

I added the list of tools and software you will need as you create your course on this guide's checklist page under the "Material & Software" tab.

But I don’t recommend focusing on gear now, the most important thing to do right now is to choose a course idea and validate it!

How to know if my course will do well?

It’s always hard to know if a project will do well before starting it, so this guide focuses on a method that allows you to validate your course’s viability before you’ve even filmed your first lesson.

Through surveys and market research, the guide will help you choose the best angle and get a precise positioning that resonates with your students. Once you nail your positioning, you will focus on finishing your first module as quickly as possible to get your first pre-sales.

This approach ensures that you spend your time on the right things, and that you don’t create an online course that no one needed in the first place.

Do I need an existing audience to launch my course?

Yes, we recommend having an audience because market research, surveys, and getting beta-students are easier to do when you have an audience.

You don't necessarily need to have a huge audience to make course sales though.
Based on the hundreds of creators we helped launch their courses, we recommend having at least 300 people in your email list or 1000 subscribers on social media before pre-launching your course.

Created by

Alexandru Golovatenco

Alex has enrolled in dozens of courses on marketing, development and design. He ended up with varied skills — and also a collection of best practices for teaching online.
He wrote the guide you’re reading.
Produced by

Stan Leloup

Stan has been creating courses for a decade. He built a 7-figure online course business called Marketing Mania.
He is also the founder of the website you’re on: SchoolMaker.

Start your course creation journey