Where is the best place to sell online courses: your website, or eLearning platform?
For many online teachers, they have to make the first decision that they want to create their new online course on hosted eLearning platforms such as Udemy or Thinkific or self-hosted solutions such as WPLMS itself on their own website Do it. Or some other WordPress friendly Learning Management System.
Of course, each side has advantages and disadvantages, and both solutions have become very successful using both of them. However, careful planning is needed to navigate the right solution for your business. Making the right choices for your eLearning course usually depends on what you want to achieve, and how much control and responsibility you want on the final product. To help you understand this, here is a run-through of some of the top professionals and Oppositions of self-hosted eLearning.
Pros: You control experience learners on your website.
On most hosted eLearning platforms, your course should be consistent with the host site's structure. You can do very little to customize the experience or to be different from others on a site selling similar courses. Your control over things like refund policies or payment methods is limited.
But on a self-hosted website, all these decisions are yours, and according to whatever business policies you like best you can make them independently. You can sell eLearning though you prefer without jumping with any hoops at the end of the platform.
Cons: You have to do all your set-up work yourself.
Of course, making your own e-learning website comes with its responsibilities, and not everybody is interested in the trouble of setting up their own site. If you do not have the expertise, you may have to learn it. If you are not more than DIY-er, then you may have to hire someone who knows what they are doing. And if you do not have any financial resources to rent, you will find that a hosted platform is a better option for you.
Pros: Your customers are your own.
On a hosted platform, your students are a forum customer, not your It restrictions the ability to sell them in the market and serve them effectively. Using the e-learning platform means that you have full access to your learners. You can keep an eye on your metrics, keep your new courses in the market, and respond directly to any customer complaint.
Cons: You’re responsible for your brand and marketing strategy.
Of course, there is an inherent interest in selling courses in hosted eLearning websites. They have created a complete marketing strategy around it, and they have brand recognition to return it. In some ways, being affiliated with these brands is free marketing. But it comes at the cost of making your own brand and business model.
If you want to take the last seat on your marketing, then you can post your site on the hosted platform and stumble it on visitors. But if you want to create your own brand, a self-hosted platform will give you more control.
Pros: You keep the full profits.
Most eLearning solutions earn their profits by taking the percentage of sales from courses launched on their platform. But when you host on your site, all those benefits are yours. Are not deducted from the hosting platform.
Cons: The overhead is all yours, too.
Of course, this does not mean that you are free to spend. On the contrary, there are still very high overhead costs with running a website, including actual web hosting costs, domain name costs, security costs etc. Again: You make your decisions about these things, but then you do not want to.
Pros: You have full access to audience metrics.
Want to know what your visitors are doing on your website? Or how about your learners joining your curriculum? Analytics is highly demanding, which means that most of your platform options will have some basic tools. But if you really want detailed information that provides tools like Google Analytics or Inspectlet, they will not cut it.
Your hosting platform cannot offer that information if you want to know which page visitors enter and exit, or how far they scroll on the page, or where on the page are clicked. And it would be very difficult to add it in itself.
Cons: You have to know what they mean.
That said, more analysis capabilities are not pro-all to everyone. Unless you know how to understand your searches, more information is unlikely to be used for you. And all of them believe that you have time to look closely.
Viewer analysis is important for creating a quality online course, and it will help you learn more about their meaning. But if you do not have the time or patience to work through them, then a hosted solution can give you a report that is easy to understand, even if they are simplified.
Pros: It’s your business, and nobody else’s
Do you want to make your own business, or piggyback someone else? It’s your decision. And the way you go, you can create valuable online courses that are likely to be profitable. But when you can live on a hosted website, you cannot do business. You will never become part of anyone else's.
More control means more responsibility, but also more profit.
At the end of the day, the best place to sell online courses wherever you feel most comfortable. If you mainly see your e-learning course as a fun side-gig, then a forum like Udemy or Thinkific can be fine as well.
But if you want to sell online courses as a living, then a hosted platform can leave you with many restrictions. Only a self-hosted e-learning website will provide you the necessary control to achieve that goal.
Obviously, our prejudice is towards self-hosted eLearning because hosted options such as Udemy do not offer control, most teachers require to excel. However, it is clear that for some online teachers, the professionals listed above and the opposition can easily be reversed. To be responsible for your marketing or to have full access to the audience's metrics can go anyway.
If you just want to focus on your curriculum and nothing else, then a hosted platform can be a more comfortable solution. But if access and control are positive for you, then self-hosted is what you want.