Is ‘create an online course’ on your to do list for this year? If not, it certainly should be – here are 20 reasons why you should create an online course in 2020 >>>
Did you know you are sitting on a potential goldmine? If you have a blog, you already have the skills, resources, expertise and audience needed to create and sell a profitable online course.
All that stands between you and actually seeing that money is channelling some of the time and energy you currently put into your free blog posts into creating and marketing an online course instead.
If ‘create an online course’ is not on your to do list for this year, then it’s time to rewrite that to do list! Here are 20 reasons why you should create an online course in 2020 >>>
1. It’s builds your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
Who are you more likely to trust – a blogger who just blogs on their topic or a blogger who also has a course on the topic and a string of testimonials on how that course has helped their students achieve real results?
It’s a no-brainer, right?
Just HAVING an online course positions you as an expert in your niche. It gives you more credibility and authority and will make your audience trust you more.
But, assuming your course is good, it won’t be long before your students are queuing up to share with you and the rest of the world how great your course is.
You can then use these testimonials as further proof of your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness in your niche. Which will, in turn, encourage more people to buy your courses and write rave reviews… and so it becomes a virtuous circle.
Better still, improving your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness will help your blog perform better in search engine rankings too. This is because E-A-T is now an important ranking factor. Google wants to prioritise high quality content in its search results and one of the ways it does that is by promoting content which has a high level of E-A-T.
2. It allows you to diversify your income
Many bloggers are highly reliant on one source of income – especially ad income.
One of the greatest developments in the blogging world over the last couple of years has been the rise of ad companies, like Mediavine, which pay really decent ad revenue to bloggers. This has enabled many bloggers to earn a full-time income from ad revenue.
The downside of this is that now many bloggers are hugely reliant on ads for the majority of their income. In many cases ALL their income. I don’t really need to point out quite how precarious that is!
It’s fine, of course, while the going is good – but what happens when the bubble bursts? What happens if some economic shock sends ad revenues tumbling? Or an almighty Google algorithm change means your traffic plummets and with it your ad income?
Relying on one income stream is never a good place to be.
Creating an online course allows you to diversify your income and leaves you in a less precarious position financially.
3. You don’t need a big audience
One of the huge disadvantages of earning money from ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts etc. is you need a lot of pageviews to earn decent money. (And in the case of sponsored posts, you also need a large social media following.)
This is not the case for online courses. If you make a course that is exactly what your audience needs and are willing to pay for, you can make good money even with a tiny audience!
For example – if you have a $100 product, you only need to sell 10 a month to be making $1,000 dollars a month. Contrast that with ads: in order to make $1,000 a month through ads you’d need around 100,000 pageviews per month.
Are you watching and waiting for the magic 25K sessions? You can create and sell a course way before then (and potentially make way more money, too!)
4. The money is really good!
The average instructor at Teachable* (the online course platform I use) makes over $6,600 on their course, with many course creators earning thousands of dollars every month from course sales – even those with small audiences and tight niches!
Courses have an extremely high perceived value and, as a consequence, course creators are able to charge considerable amounts of money for them.
This is in stark contrast to ebooks. You are unlikely to be able to charge much more than $20 for an ebook (even if you are really famous!), but you can easily charge $100 or more for an online course – even if it’s your first course and you only have a small audience.
The data Teachable has amassed from its 23,000+ course creators shows that when you launch your product to your email list, usually at least 2% of your list will convert.
So, with a list of just 1000, you’ve got 20 customers. If they each buy your course priced at $300 course, you’ve just earned $6,000!
And, in fact, if you target your product well, your conversion rate is likely to be even higher. When I first launched my SEO Jumpstart course, 5.7% of my list bought my course in the first week!
(Side note – the majority of your online course customers are likely to come from among your email list, so if you need a gentle prod to get on with sorting out your email marketing, this is it… Do it now, so when you come to actually sell your course you’ll have more subscribers to sell to!)
5. It’s very easy to create an online course
It’s much easier than you think to create an online course, especially if you use an online course platform, like Teachable* to host your course.
Once your account is set up, you create lessons in much the same way as you would a blog post. Teachable takes care of all the complicated backend tech like taking payments, enrolling students and making your course look like a high-quality professional course (even for those of us not especially blessed with design skills!).
Again, contrast this with selling ebooks where you are responsible for all the design, formatting, selling and financial logistics.
Of course, to sell your course you will also need to do some research to understand what your audience needs (but you are probably doing this anyway to ensure you are creating blog posts your audience is actually interested in reading) and some marketing to make your readers aware of your course (but if you are actively growing your email list with opt-in offers, and already keeping them engaged with high quality emails, this won’t be hard!)
You will also have to create an attractive sales page to convert your interested readers and subscribers into paying customers, but again, Teachable makes this super easy with its drag and drop sales page builder and super simple streamlined checkout process. (For example, I have to click through about 8 different pages to check out when I place my online grocery order – with Teachable it’s just ONE!)
And, of course, once you’ve created your first course, it gets much easier to do the next one, and the next one, and the next one after that…
6. You can start for free!
One of the things I LOVE about creating an online course is that you can start for free.
There’s a free plan* available on Teachable that will allow you to create your course for free. You get almost all the same bells and whistles as you do on the paid plan – everything you need to create a beautiful looking course… and, in fact, you can start actually selling your course on the free plan too.
You can have up to 10 students on the free plan, which means you can be sure your course idea will actually sell, before having to upgrade to a paid plan.
And once you start selling more than this you know you are onto a winner. The cheapest paid plan is only $29 a month* (and that’s for unlimited students and unlimited courses) and so all you need to do is sell one course per month to have more than covered your costs!
This free plan facility was what initially sold Teachable to me – it took all the risk out of the equation… I could take as long as I wanted to create my course, with no pressure to start selling it ASAP to cover my costs, and I knew that if it turned out no one actually wanted to buy my course, I wouldn’t have lost any money. (Fortunately, it turned out lots of people did want to buy my course, which meant I had to upgrade to the paid plan pretty sharpish!)
7. You’ve got the skills
If you are a blogger, you’ve got all the skills necessary to create a course. Creating an individual lecture is no harder than creating a blog post (in fact it’s easier as individual lectures tend to be shorter than blog posts) and, if you’ve chosen your course topic will it will be easy and fun to write / record the material, as it will be on a topic you know well and enjoy talking about.
As a blogger, you are good at writing and good at communicating with your audience. You are good at teaching and explaining complicated concepts in a simple way. You are good at promoting your blog posts, so promoting your course will come easily to you. And you are good at listening to your audience and providing them with what they want – a skill which is invaluable if you want to create a course which sells well.
8. You can repurpose content
The chances are you’ve probably created a lot of the content for your course already. After all, you have a blog full of blog posts you have written. Some of that content can be repurposed and turned into the basis of your course. Then all you need to do is add additional material where there are gaps and more detail where necessary, as well as extras – such as action steps, videos and downloads.
The reason why people buy courses is not to get information they can’t get any other way (after all you can learn almost anything for free on the internet if you look hard enough for it), it’s to save themselves the time it would take to find all the information for themselves and to get it in a simple, structured way which guides them step by step towards their desired outcome.
9. Your audience wants you to
Tap into the goldmine you are sitting on!
As a blogger, you already have an audience who trusts you and considers you an expert on your topic. It’s almost certain that among your established audience you have many readers who would love you to create a course on your blog topic – who are, in fact, desperate for you to do so. Who, once you announce you are creating a course, will be actively saving up for it and/or eagerly opening your newsletters each week, hoping to hear more about the course you are creating and when it will be available.
Bloggers often feel they can’t be successful course creators because they already give so much away for free. But, in fact, the exact opposite is true. It’s precisely because you have created so much free content for your audience that you WILL be a successful course creator – your core audience trusts you, and wants to hear more from you and is absolutely desperate for you to create a course and sell it to them.
You are literally sitting on a goldmine – all that stands between you and some serious money is your willingness to stop thinking about it and get started creating and selling that course!
10. You can quickly and easily validate your course idea
The most important thing to get right in course creation is your course topic. If you create something that your audience genuinely want, they will bite your hand off for it (even if the course itself is not ‘perfect’).
However, get your course idea wrong and, even if it is the greatest course ever made on that topic, if your audience don’t want it, you are not going to sell a single course.
That means validating your course idea is the single most important step of the whole course creation process.
If you were starting from scratch, that would be pretty tricky.
But the good news is as a blogger, this part is relatively easy!
You have your Google Analytics, which will tell you which are your most popular posts. This will give you an excellent indication of what your audience most wants from you, especially if there is a common thread running through your top posts.
For example, almost all of my most popular posts are on SEO, so for me it was a no brainer that my first course should be an SEO course.
But you shouldn’t just rely on your analytics – you should also ask your audience.
And again, this is where us bloggers have the advantage. We already have a large social following AND an email list of subscribers to ask. (You did get started on building that email list, didn’t you?)
When initially planning my courses, I validated my course ideas in numerous different ways from the very direct ‘I’m planning to create an online course, what would you most like me to create one on?’ … to the much more subtle ‘What’s your greatest struggle with blogging and/or productivity’.
Once I’d got my general idea, I was also able to ask my audience what they wanted to see in that course, again through subtle questions like ‘What aspect of SEO do you find most difficult?’ and less subtle questions like ‘What would you most like to see in my SEO Course?’.
The nice thing about asking questions like this is the people who reply to you are also the people most likely to buy from you. And because you’ve asked their opinion every step of the way, they will feel like they have a vested interest in your course and have helped you shape it… which makes them even more inclined to buy it.
11. You can easily use opt-in offers to further validate your idea
Once you have your course idea, you can further validate it by creating an opt-in offer on the same topic – this has a double whammy effect.
Firstly, it further validates your course idea – if people are willing to hand over their email addresses in return for your freebie, there’s a good chance people will be willing to pay for a whole awesome course on the topic. Conversely, if no one signs up for your freebie, then you can bet your bottom dollar no one will want your paid course.
And secondly, it will help build your email list… and with exactly the right people – people who have a genuine interest in your course topic and a desire to learn more about it.
As great as blogs are, your email list is always going to be your most valuable asset when it comes to actually selling your course.
People who land on your blog might not be ready to pay for an online course – either because they aren’t convinced they need it yet, or because they don’t trust you enough yet (when they first arrive on your blog, they don’t know you from Adam! That’s why you want to get them on your email list.)
But someone who stumbles across your blog might be willing give you their email addresses in exchange for a free resource.
Once on your list, you can send them a nurture sequence which gets them to trust you and convinces them of their need for your course. THEN they are much more likely to buy when you hit them with a sales pitch.
12. You’re already established on Google
If you have been blogging for a while and have posts ranking on Google, you have a huge advantage compared to course creators who don’t have blogs. You can create a course on the topic of your highest ranking blog posts and promote that course within those high-ranking blog posts, to earn money on autopilot!
Better still, you can write blog posts actively targeting keywords your target audience might be searching for.
For example, one of the keywords I target for my course is ‘jargon free seo course’. My course scores 3 out of the top 4 search results for that term and dominates the image search. Someone searching for ‘jargon free seo course’ is highly likely to be intending on buying an SEO course and be very interested in mine as it offers exactly what they are looking for.
13. It builds a tribe of loyal followers
A course will not only give you an additional income stream, it will also help you grow your blog – with the right people – and build your tribe.
Successful customers will naturally want to share their success with their friends and followers, which will inevitably lead to their friends and followers coming to check you out.
Which should lead to more successful customers sharing about you with THEIR friends and followers – a virtuous circle.
Better still, happy customers are likely to become your most loyal followers: reading every blog post, hanging on your every word, following you everywhere, commenting and sharing your stuff and buying everything you sell.
There’s a famous article by Kevin Kelly of WIRED magazine that says that you only really need 1000 true fans. The logic is that if these 1000 true fans spend just $100 a year on products you sell, you’ll be making a cool $100,000 a year, every year.
It’s a brilliant argument for why it really pays to niche down, but it’s also a really good argument for creating online courses. Online courses create loyal followers.
(Interestingly there was a fascinating followup article recently by Andreessen Horowitz which said that because of online courses and people’s willingness to pay premium prices for online courses, now you only need 100 true fans… who are willing to pay $1000 a year – well worth a read!)
14. You can make money from your FAQs!
Do your readers ask you the same questions over and over again?
This is a strong indication that they would be interested in a course on that subject.
You can literally turn your FAQs into money, by making a course that answers the most common questions and then selling it to your readers.
Say for example your blog is all about keeping chickens and people are always asking you for tips on how to get started. Make a course on ‘How to get started with keeping chickens’ and then when anyone asks you a question, give them a few basic pointers, then direct them to your course for more in-depth info.
People quite often email me asking questions about SEO. I always try to answer as helpfully as I can (given time constraints), then I direct them to an article or two on my blog for more free help and to my course if they want to go more in depth. It’s amazing how often an email reply like this has resulted in a sale!
15. It’s (almost) passive income
Due to the evergreen nature of online courses, you only need to create your course once and then you can sell it over and over again, earning money on autopilot – even while you sleep!
Of course, it’s not 100% passive. You do have to create the course in the first place, answer student questions and keep the course updated, as and when things change.
But still, it’s a lot more passive than creating a physical product or pitching for and writing sponsored posts every month!
16. It’s scalable
With something like sponsored posts there is a limit to how many you can physically write each month – even if you were offered hundreds! And this obviously limits your earning potential.
Again, the same is true if you offer services. There are only so many hours in the day. And so, there are only so many clients you can take on. Again, this limits your earning potential.
With courses there are no real limits on how much you can earn. The more courses you create, the more you charge for them. And the more students you get, the more you earn!
17. Online courses give you back control
Sometimes it feels like you are not really in control with blogging: you are at the mercy of social media algorithms, Google updates, the whims and wishes of PR companies and brands, and so on.
Creating your own online course puts the control back into your hands. You decide what topic your course will cover, exactly what goes into your course, how much you will charge, when and how you will promote it, if and when you will discount it and by how much, if it will be available on evergreen or during live launches only…
And it puts you in control of how much money you make too. The bigger you build your email list and the more promote your course, the more money you will make.
18. Channel more of your time into money making activities
You could carry on churning out free blog posts every week for the next year, OR you could spend a little less time creating blog posts (AND faffing around on social media!) and use that time instead to validate your course idea, create opt-in offers, build your email list, create a course and sell that course.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with creating lots and lots of free blog content. In fact, it’s precisely because you’ve created all that free blog content that you have attracted a great audience, built up trust with them and are therefore in a really great position to profit from online courses.
However, if you don’t then also create something to SELL to that audience, you are missing a trick!
19. If you don’t, someone else will
Believe me, there are people out there hungry for what you can teach them. There are people in your audience desperate for you to create a course they can buy.
But if you don’t create it, someone else will and your readers will buy that blogger’s course instead. (Even if your course would’ve been way better!)
Basically, you are doing your audience a disservice in NOT creating a course for them 😉
20. It’s a growing industry and the potential is massive
Precisely because there is ‘so much free information out there’, more than ever people are craving targeted courses which provide them with a fast track solution to their problems without having to wade through all the information for themselves.
It’s not surprising then that the online learning industry is booming! In fact, The online learning industry is expected to reach more than $240 billion by 2021, according to Global Industry Analysts.
And bloggers are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this growing trend.
If you have not jumped on the online learning bandwagon yet, then now is the time to do so and take advantage of that huge goldmine you are sitting on right now!
Over to you…
Online courses offer a great way to diversify and increase your income, establish yourself as an expert in your niche, build a tribe and make money from content you’ve already written.
If you’re not doing it now, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. So, what’s holding you back? Comment below and let me know!
Or have you already created a course? What do you consider to be the best reasons for creating an online course? Have I missed any reasons? Let me know in the comments below!
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- How to create your first online course – 10 step plan!
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- 14 reasons why your blog is not making money (and what to do about it!)
- How to treat your blog like a business (and start actually making money!)
- How to turn your blog into a profitable business in 2020
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