As the e-learning industry continues to grow, selling online courses has become an attractive source of income for many. Packaging your knowledge and expertise into an online course allows you to provide value to others while making a profit. But, what are some of the best ways to make money off your knowledge? 

There are many approaches to monetize online courses. In this post, we’ll introduce you to 7 different strategies you can apply to make money off your educational content online.

Multi-vendor platforms

Multi-vendor e-learning platforms such as Skillshare and Udemy allow you to sell and market your online course. These popular sites have a high number of users, meaning your online course is exposed to a larger audience. Course structures on these platforms are very simple, so creating and getting your content online is relatively easy. At the same time, selling on these websites saves you the trouble of having to create your own site, manage it, and generate sufficient traffic.

On Udemy, instructors can create and host their courses directly on the platform, marketing them to thousands of users. Courses are also sold directly to the student. However, it’s important to note Udemy takes a percentage on every course sale, which reduces the instructors’ revenue. When sales are completed with an instructor’s coupon code, Udemy charges you 3% on the purchase. However, when no code is used and courses are sold organically through Udemy, the platform takes 50% of the sale, significantly reducing earnings.

Unlike Udemy, Skillshare doesn’t operate by selling individual courses. Instead, they sell access to their platform as a subscription. Students with a subscription can access any of the courses on the website. Teachers upload their courses onto the platform and make money each time a Skillshare member watches their classes.

Selling on these platforms does have several downsides, such as having reduced revenue as compared to selling courses on your own website at 100% margins. Platforms with a vast course catalog like these ones will also display your course next to your competitors, making it more challenging to market your product.

Courses as products

Selling course access is probably the most popular and straightforward way to make money off an online course. Courses created using WordPress LMS plugins or other LMS platforms can be sold as products, which students can access and complete after they purchase.  Course bundles or packages containing several courses are also commonly offered to encourage users’ deeper knowledge.

Some popular LMS alternatives for WordPress you can try include LearnDash LMS, LifterLMS, and TutorLMS You can also try other platforms such as Teachable and Thinkfic.

Selling course certificates

Alternatively, you can allow students to enroll in your course for free and make money by selling a course completion certificate. This online course monetization method has been applied successfully by Coursera. By only selling course certifications, this website has been able to draw a high volume of students to enroll in their free courses. Ultimately, a significant proportion of course graduates prefer to obtain proof of course completion and purchase certificates to validate their skills and knowledge and share with their networks.

learndash course

Those working with LearnDash LMS can easily implement this monetization strategy by using the LearnDash Pay For Quiz/Certificate add-on. This add-on enables you to accept payments for LearnDash quiz certificates and course certificates.

Selling quizzes

Another way to make money from an online course is by selling access to your quizzes. This option means students will have to purchase each quiz, as if it were a product, in order to access the evaluation. When course completion requires passing all course quizzes, students will need to purchase and pass quizzes in order to get access to a course certificate. Depending on your course, you can do this for all quizzes or only important evaluations such as final exams. One of the advantages of this monetization strategy is that it can be used on its own or in addition to some of the other methods on this list.

Subscriptions 

If you have a course that you are continuously adding content to or that takes a long time to complete, selling monthly or weekly access to it through a subscription is another monetization strategy to consider.

Depending on your objectives, you can sell users a subscription to a single course or a group of courses. By setting up a subscription model to market your courses, you encourage your students to study on your site as a recurring habit. By purchasing a subscription rather than directly purchasing a course as a product, students sign up to become long term, repeat clients rather than one-time customers.

Membership site

You can make money off your courses by selling them on a membership site. These sites work by selling memberships to your users where they can access exclusive content, in this case, your courses. 

You can also create and sell different membership levels that provide access to different sets of courses. For example, you can offer:

  • Level 1 membership that gives students access to all beginner courses
  • Level 2 membership that gives students access to all beginner and intermediate courses
  • Level 3 membership that gives students access to beginner, intermediate and advanced courses

There are several tools you can use to transform any WordPress site into a Membership site. Some popular membership plugins include Restrict Content Pro, Paid Memberships Pro, and MemberPress.

Payment installments

To make your courses more accessible to students, you can allow them to pay for course access in several installments. This approach works especially well for courses sitting at a higher price point. By breaking down the cost into smaller, more affordable chunks, you’ll be able to attract a wider audience to your product.

Payment installments are set up similarly to small subscriptions that are charged on a monthly or weekly basis for a limited time until the full price has been covered rather than on an ongoing basis.

Are you ready to sell your online course?

Which of these monetization strategies would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to know what you think! If you are ready to take the next step and set up your e-learning website, don’t hesitate to contact our team of LMS experts for a consultation.