Summary (TL;DR): In this article, we are going to explain how to create an Online Courses website. We’ll go over things like the best website-building platforms for building an Online Courses website, what pages to include, and the steps to building a website.
In the realm of education and learning, having a dedicated online course website can be a game-changer. It provides a platform where knowledge can be shared, skills can be honed, and ideas can be discussed, all within the reach of a click. To build a website for this purpose is essential.
Whether you're an educator aiming to extend your teaching beyond the four walls of a classroom, or a professional seeking to share your expertise with a wider audience, building an online course website can be a rewarding endeavor.
This guide will walk you through the process, providing practical steps and insights to help you create an engaging and effective online learning platform.
What is an Online Courses Website?
An online courses website is a digital platform that offers educational courses across a wide range of subjects. These websites provide a virtual learning environment where individuals can acquire new skills or deepen their knowledge in a particular field at their own pace.
The courses can be delivered through various formats, including video lectures, interactive quizzes, reading materials, and discussion forums. Some online courses websites offer certification upon completion, which can be beneficial for professional development. They have revolutionized the traditional learning system, making education more accessible and flexible for people all around the world.
What Should an Online Courses Website Include?
1. A Homepage
The homepage is the digital "front door" of your online course website. It's the first page visitors see, and it sets the tone for their experience. A well-designed homepage clearly communicates your brand's identity and the value of your courses. It should highlight key courses, provide easy navigation to course categories, and include strong calls to action (CTAs) that guide visitors towards enrollment. The importance of the homepage cannot be overstated as it can significantly impact your site's bounce rate and conversion rate.
The homepage is the main page of a website, and it serves as an entry point to the site’s content. For this reason, it’s one of the most important pages on your website.
Since it’s the first page your visitors will see and as it sets the tone for the rest of your site, it’s prudent to consider its design, your branding, and how it will be represented, including colors, fonts, logos, and taglines.
With a well-designed homepage, you can create a positive first impression and encourage visitors to explore your website further.
A homepage usually contains the following elements:
- A site navigation menu with links to important sections and pages that will allow users to easily navigate your website.
- Call-to-action buttons (CTAs) that will be clearly visible, with a clear call-to-action text that will encourage users to click on it and perform the desired action, like, for example, signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
- Many homepages contain a hero section to immediately catch the user’s attention and nudge them towards performing a certain action.
Note: Common Ninja has a wide selection of call-to-action buttons that you can easily add to your website.
2. An About Us Page
Another important page to have on your website is the “About Us” page. This page is crucial to establishing credibility and building trust.
The About Us page often contains information about the organization, its mission, its history, and the people behind it, enabling users to establish a connection with the company and learn more about the organization and its values.
Note: Common Ninja has a great selection of widgets that can enhance your “About Us” page.
3. A Contacts Page
A “Contacts” (or a “Contact Us” page) is another, very important page to have on your website. It provides visitors with a way to get in touch with the website's owners or administrators. Typically, it will include contact information about the business (like a contact email address, phone number, and physical address), as well as a contact form that a visitor can fill out and send to contact the website’s owners.
This page helps to further build trust, improve user experience, and enable other businesses to contact the website owners regarding open new business opportunities.
Note: Common Ninja can improve how users contact you via a free and easily customizable Contact form.
4. A Header & Footer
Headers and footers have become an integral part of website design, and anyone building a website should add them to their website.
Having a header and a footer on your website will improve navigation, create a consistent look, support your branding, provide important information, and improve conversion with CTAs.
The header typically includes branding elements (like the colors, logo, company name, etc.), and navigational menus (to other pages, login options, etc.).
The footer will also include branding elements, as well as links to other pages, but its design enables adding more links, CTAs, and other information, in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner.
While the above elements are true for all websites, an Online Courses website requires a few more elements.
This is essentially the "store shelf" of your website, where all your courses are displayed. Each course should be represented with an engaging image, a compelling title, and a concise yet informative description. The catalog should be easy to navigate, with courses logically categorized and the option to sort or filter courses based on different criteria. This is crucial for helping potential students find the course that best fits their needs and interests, which in turn can increase enrollment rates.
Individual Course Pages
These pages serve as the detailed "product descriptions" for each of your courses. They should provide comprehensive information about the course content, learning outcomes, course duration, instructor credentials, pricing, and any prerequisites. Including user reviews or testimonials on these pages can also build trust and influence the decision-making process of potential students. These pages are key for converting site visitors into enrolled students.
Registration and Enrollment Forms
These forms are the gateway for users to become students. They should be user-friendly, requiring minimal time and effort to complete. The importance of this element lies in its direct impact on your conversion rate - a complex or lengthy registration process can deter potential students and lead to abandoned registrations.
If you're offering paid courses, a secure and reliable payment gateway is essential. It should support multiple payment methods (like credit/debit cards, PayPal, etc.) and currencies to cater to an international audience. The ease and security of the payment process can significantly influence a potential student's decision to enroll in a course.
Once a user is registered, they should have a personal dashboard where they can track their progress, see their enrolled courses, and access other course materials. This personalized element enhances the user experience, making it easier for students to manage their learning and stay engaged with the course content.
Course Delivery Platform
This is the medium through which your course content is delivered to the students. It could be a video player for recorded lectures, a webinar platform for live sessions, or a text-based platform for written content. The quality and reliability of your course delivery platform directly affect the learning experience of your students.
Discussion Forums or Comment Sections
These platforms foster interaction among students and between students and instructors. They can enhance the learning experience by providing a space for questions, discussions, and feedback related to the course content. This sense of community can increase student engagement and satisfaction.
A section dedicated to answering common questions can help users find quick solutions to common issues or concerns. This not only improves user experience but also reduces the load on your customer service team.
Testimonials and Reviews
Sharing positive feedback from past and current students can help demonstrate the value of your courses to prospective students. This social proof can be a powerful tool for increasing enrollments.
If you offer a large number of courses, a search bar can help users find the right course more easily. This improves the user experience and can help increase enrollments.
How To Create an Online Courses Website?
Step 1: Choose Your Website Builder
There are lots of available website-building platforms today. How many you ask? Well, there are well over 200 website and e-commerce builders.
Clearly, not all are on the same level or for the same purpose, but the sheer amount is both fascinating and scary. Fascinating because it means that there’s a lot to choose from, and scary because there’s too much to choose from.
Luckily, there are around 20 that truly stand out in terms of the features they offer, how easy it is to use them and their prices. We have a great article about the best website builders out there that you should definitely take a look at.
Great Website Builders for Online Courses Website
While the above gives you a broad overview of website building, here are some website builders that could be great for building an Online Courses website:
Udemy is a marketplace for online learning and teaching with over 130,000 courses and 35 million students. As an instructor, you can create a course in your field of expertise, upload it on Udemy, and earn money every time a student purchases your course. The advantage of Udemy is that it provides you with a large existing user base, which can be beneficial for new instructors who are just starting out. However, Udemy takes a significant portion of your course sales as commission, and you have less control over your course pricing and branding, as all courses are hosted on the Udemy platform.
Teachable is an all-in-one platform that allows you to create, host, and sell your online courses. With Teachable, you can create a fully customizable “school” that matches your brand’s look and feel. You can host your course content, manage students, and track analytics all from one place. The platform also offers integrated payment processing. The advantage of Teachable is that it gives you a lot of control over your online course business. However, it does come with a monthly cost, and advanced features are only available in the more expensive plans.
Kajabi is a comprehensive platform for online businesses, with features for creating websites, products, programs, marketing campaigns, and more. It's more than just an online course platform; it's a complete business platform that includes email marketing, landing pages, and website hosting. The advantage of Kajabi is that it offers a wide range of tools in one platform, which can simplify your tech stack. However, it's one of the more expensive options, and it may have more features than you need if you're just looking to host an online course.
Skillshare is an online learning community where anyone can teach a class. As a teacher, you'll be part of a community of professional creatives teaching in fields like design, business, tech, and more. The advantage of Skillshare is that it's free to create and host a course, and you can earn money through monthly royalties based on the number of minutes watched in your classes. However, you have less control over your course pricing and branding, as all courses are hosted on the Skillshare platform.
Thinkific is a platform that allows you to create, market, and sell your own online courses. It offers a range of features, including course creation tools, a website builder, marketing tools, and more. The advantage of Thinkific is that it gives you a lot of control over your online course business, and it has a free plan that allows you to host one course. However, to access advanced features, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Podia is a platform that allows you to create and sell online courses, memberships, and digital downloads. It offers features like email marketing, a website builder, and the ability to create a community for your students. The advantage of Podia is that it offers a lot of features in one platform and doesn't charge any transaction fees. However, it doesn't offer a free plan, so you'll need to be ready to invest in a monthly subscription.
LearnWorlds is a powerful, easy-to-use, and reliable training solution for individuals and enterprises. It offers a range of features for creating, selling, and managing online courses. The advantage of LearnWorlds is that it offers robust editing tools and discussion forums to keep students engaged. However, to access advanced features, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
LearnDash is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create and sell online courses on your WordPress site. It offers a range of features, including course creation tools, a focus mode for students, and advanced monetization options. The advantage of LearnDash is that it integrates with your WordPress site, giving you a lot of control over your online course business. However, it's a bit more technical than other options, so it may not be the best choice if you're not comfortable with WordPress.
WizIQ is a cloud-based learning management solution (LMS) for higher education, test preparation, tutoring and business users. WizIQ helps users prepare tests and assessments, create tutorials, analyze reports, manage learners and more from a unified dashboard. The advantage of WizIQ is that it offers a comprehensive set of features for online teaching and learning. However, it's more suited to educational institutions and businesses than to individual course creators.
Choose a Hosting Plan (Optional)
Depending on what website builder you choose, you may have to get a hosting plan separately. We have a great guide on the top 10 hosting providers available on the market. Mind you that many of these offer the option to get a domain name, too.
Choose a Domain Name (Optional)
Depending on what website builder you choose, and on what hosting plan you choose, you may have to get a domain name separately.
Step 2: Start Designing Your Website
Choose a Template (Optional)
Some website builders offer pre-made templates that you can choose from for specific website types. This is a great way to save time on design.
Choose Color Schemes
Color schemes are super important in website design and branding. They're not just for show—colors can really affect how we feel and react. If a brand chooses the right colors, it can guide our eyes where they want, make us feel a certain way, and even get us to take action.
This is where color theory comes in. It's basically the science of how colors work together and how they make us feel. For instance, blue usually makes us feel calm and trustful, red stirs up energy and passion, and green symbolizes growth. So, when a brand chooses colors that match its vibe and the feelings it wants to evoke, it can really boost its recognition and trust with customers. Super cool, right?
Font pairing is like the secret sauce in website design and branding. Just like colors, the fonts you choose can really set the mood and deliver your brand message. You've got to think about the vibes different fonts give off. A fancy script might feel elegant, while a bold, all-caps font can scream confidence and power.
The trick is in finding fonts that complement each other without clashing or looking too similar. That's why we do font pairing. You want your headline font to grab attention, but it needs to work well with your body text font, which should be easy to read. So, for instance, you might pair a decorative font for your headers with a simple, clean one for the body text. Get it right, and you're on your way to a website that looks super professional and keeps your visitors reading. It's a bit like a good music duo—each part's got to be good on its own, but together they create a whole new level of awesome!
Add a Hero Image
The hero section of a website is like the opening scene of a movie—it sets the stage and grabs your attention. It's that first big chunk you see when you land on a website, often with a big image, a catchy headline, and a call to action. It's there to quickly show you what the site or the brand is all about and, hopefully, make you want to stick around.
Choosing the right elements for your hero section is key. A stunning image or background can draw people in, while a powerful headline can spark interest. Then there's the call to action, which could be a button or a link, nudging you to do something—like shop now, sign up, or learn more. So, think of the hero section like your website's elevator pitch. It's got to be punchy, engaging, and super clear about what's on offer. If it's done right, it's like a friendly welcome mat that invites visitors to come in and explore more.
Calls to Action (CTAs) on a website are like your friendly tour guides. They tell you where to go next and what to do. You'll often find them as buttons or links with words like "Buy Now", "Sign Up", "Learn More"—you get the idea. They're super important because they help guide your visitors and encourage them to take the actions you want them to.
But here's the thing: all CTAs are not created equal. A good CTA is clear, concise, and compelling—it tells you exactly what you'll get and why you should click on it. And where you place them can make a big difference, too. You want to position your CTAs where they'll be noticed, like in your hero section, at the end of a blog post, or even in a pop-up. So, think of CTAs as your website's friendly nudges, steering your visitors in the right direction and getting them to engage, interact, and hopefully, become customers. It's like having a good salesperson right there on the page.
Step 3: Publish The Website
When you are done setting up and designing your website, publish it. And that’s it.
How To Enhance Your Online Courses Website?
Enhance Your Website With Powerful Widgets
While many of the website builders we recommended are great for building your Online Courses website, they are somewhat limited in the features and tools they offer, and, in a competitive world, every additional feature that you can add to your website can be a game changer.
That’s where Common Ninja comes in to save the day.
Common Ninja offers an extensive, ever-growing collection of professional and reliable widgets that will help you save time and money and improve your website beyond what your current website-building platform offers.
Common Ninja’s widgets are free, fully customizable, perfectly responsive, and easy to use (just check our YouTube guides), so be sure to check them out, and greatly improve your website.
Content is an important part of any website, no matter what niche it’s in. Content can include anything from text, images, videos, and other media that informs, educates, or entertains the audience, and we highly recommend that you add good content to your website.
It is crucial for several reasons:
- It provides value to visitors — good content, can provide value to users, whether these are guides, service or product comparisons, tips, tricks, or other equally helpful content.
- It builds trust and credibility — by creating good, well-written, and well-researched content, you can increase trust in your brand and improve its credibility.
- It improves SEO: Search engines like Google prioritize websites with high-quality, relevant content, so by creating content that includes relevant keywords and provides value to your audience, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
- It drives conversions — well-written content that addresses pain points, with strategically placed CTAs can drive conversions, such as sign-ups, purchases, or inquiries, up.
- It establishes your brand’s voice and identity — the content on your website is an opportunity to establish your brand’s voice and identity. Consistent and high-quality content can help your brand stand out and create a memorable impression on your audience.
Optimizing a website is essential for improving its visibility on search engines, increasing traffic, and improving the user experience. Here are some effective ways to optimize your website:
- Remove unnecessary distractions
- Improve page speed
- Optimize for mobile
- Optimize forms
- Write good copy
- Write good CTAs
- Define and communicate your value proposition
- Localize content
Promoting a website is essential for increasing its visibility and driving traffic to it.
It requires time & effort, and here are some ways that can help you promote your website:
- Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are great for promoting your website, building a following, and driving traffic to it.
- Email marketing: Building an email list is an effective way to promote your website, reach your audience directly, and keep them updated on your latest content or products.
- Paid advertising: Paid advertising through platforms like Google Ads or social media ads can help you reach a larger audience and drive targeted traffic to your website.
- Collaboration: Collaborating with other websites in your niche can help you gain exposure, drive traffic to your site and improve your SEO via backlinking.
- Incentives: Offering incentives like discounts, free trials, or giveaways can attract new users to your website and encourage them to share it with others.
Building an online course website is more than just a technical task; it's about creating a vibrant learning environment that is accessible, engaging, and effective. As we've explored in this guide, it involves careful planning, thoughtful design, and the strategic use of various tools and features.
Remember, the goal is to create a space where learners can easily access and interact with your content, engage with you and their peers, and ultimately, gain new knowledge and skills. With the right approach and resources, you can build an online course website that not only delivers your content but also fosters a dynamic learning community. Here's to your success in this exciting endeavor!