The Top Platforms to Host and Sell Your Online Course

The Top Platforms to Host and Sell Your Online Course

June 25, 2024
Online Certification and Badges

You've created a great online course, and the next step to monetization is to select a platform to host and sell it. With so many choices, picking the right one can feel overwhelming. This guide helps cut through the confusion by highlighting the main features to look for when choosing an online learning platform. We’ll also explore some top options and discuss what makes each stand out. By the end, you'll be equipped to pick the perfect LMS to launch your course with confidence. Once you’re set-up, you can easily create and offer additional courses as part of a training program.

Key features to consider when choosing an online course platform

These are the main features to prioritize when selecting your online course platform:

  • Ease of use (for both course creators and learners): This is critical. It should be simple to upload lessons and other materials. Learners should be able to navigate the platform intuitively and easily find what they need. A clunky interface frustrates everyone.
  • Course creation and authoring tools: Look for a platform with strong course management tools. This could include drag-and-drop editors, templates, and options to upload different content and lesson types. The easier it is to build your course, the faster you can launch it.
  • Integration capabilities: Most platforms offer third-party integrations, but choosing one that connects with your existing tools is most important. For example, you may need an integration with payment gateways like Stripe to process eCommerce transactions.
  • Customization options: While some platforms offer basic options, like customizable colors and logo usage, advanced users might want CSS or Javascript editing capabilities to create a unique look. Not all online course platforms offer that level of customization.
  • Analytics and reporting: You want to get insights into your courses' performance to determine its success. Look for online course platforms that track metrics like active users, returning students, new students, course enrollments, course completion, revenue, average session time, total session time, and certificates granted. Bonus for those who can connect learning data to business-level impact.

Best online course platforms

Below are some of the best online course platforms to consider, depending on your needs.

1. Skilljar

Skilljar is a learning management system (LMS) that empowers you to create and deliver engaging online courses. Unlike some platforms focused only on online course creation, Skilljar has features that streamline the entire process, from building courses to monetization.

For example, one of Skilljar's key strengths lies in its certification capabilities. It allows you to design, manage, and deliver certification programs, all within a user-friendly platform. Reward achievements with LinkedIn shareable certificates and certifications that boost both learner pride and your brand visibility.

Skilljar integrates with leading payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal, making it easy to accept payments and manage transactions securely. Plus, for businesses using Salesforce, Skilljar has a powerful Salesforce integration. Skilljar's Salesforce integration allows customers to send student interaction data to Salesforce in near real-time. This integration can help businesses create a single source of truth for customer data, improve product adoption, and increase team efficiency.

Skilljar's native analytics provide valuable insights into enrollments and completions, allowing you to see how learners are engaging with your course material across different offerings or learner groups. You can also export data in CSV format for further analysis to make data-driven decisions and improve your online education program.

2. Kajabi

Kajabi is an LMS functioning as an all-in-one platform that integrates course creation, payment processing, podcast management, sales, and marketing tools. Kajabi has marketing automation tools like email sequences, so you can nurture leads and keep your audience consistently engaged with your course material and offerings. On the sales side, Kajabi has built-in sales funnels which are pathways that guide potential students through the buying journey.

3. Teachable

Teachable is a user-friendly course creation platform that offers a robust toolbox to design, manage, and sell online courses. For example, you can offer subscriptions for ongoing revenue or create course bundles to group related content and incentivize larger purchases. For those needing more design control, Teachable offers advanced customization options.

4. Udemy

Udemy is another popular online course platform. It functions as both an online course marketplace and a convenient learning platform for students. Udemy has a wider pool of instructors and a large selection of engaging courses in a variety of fields.

Udemy includes many features in its user-friendly interface. Students can engage with a variety of multimedia formats that enhance course content. Think articles, PDFs, and even subtitles for better accessibility. Udemy also integrates features to support ongoing assessments, like assignments and practice tests, to help students solidify their learning and gauge their understanding of the material.

5. Thinkific

Thinkific is a software platform that caters to educators looking to create, market, and sell their knowledge online. Thinkific allows users to build high-quality courses using different multimedia formats. Whether they prefer video courses, audio recordings, text content, quizzes, or even assignments, Thinkific can handle it all. Thinkific includes features for memberships and subscriptions, allowing users to create recurring revenue streams by delivering exclusive content.

6. Podia

Podia is an online platform that allows creators to build and sell online courses, memberships, and digital downloads. It also allows users to host webinars, manage email and affiliate marketing, create custom websites, and schedule drip content. Podia lets you build a community around your content and offers free or paid spaces where students can connect and initiate conversation.

How to choose the right platform for your business

Here are some key factors to consider to ensure you choose a platform that aligns with your specific needs and goals:

  • Business model alignment: Carefully assess how the platform's strengths complement your unique business model. Are you selling short, information-dense courses or comprehensive training programs with more complex content? For example, Udemy excels in facilitating shorter courses, while Skilljar gives you everything to design in-depth programs with certifications.
  • Scalability: Think long-term. While you might be starting with a single course today, envision your potential for growth. Will the platform adapt to accommodate an influx of students or a diverse course library? Platforms like Skilljar boast robust scalability, so your future success won’t be hindered.
  • Support and community: Building a successful online course business requires ongoing support. Evaluate the platform's customer support options. Does it offer a comprehensive help center, guides, a self-paced academy, and a strong customer success partnership?
  • Costs and pricing models: Everyone has a budget. Some platforms offer a free trial period so you can test-drive it before committing. Freemium plans give you basic features for free with the option to upgrade to more advanced features. Be aware of any transaction fees charged for selling your courses. These fees can eat into your profits, so factor them into your pricing strategy.

Sell online courses and drive revenue with Skilljar

Skilljar is your one-stop shop to transform your product knowledge into a thriving online course business. Skilljar's user-friendly interface simplifies the course creation process. This lets you focus on what you do best—building high-quality content—while Skilljar handles the hosting and delivery. Even better, Skilljar has the analytics tools to track student progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure the overall success of your course.

Watch our product tour to learn how it makes content creation easier and equips you to deliver impactful learning experiences.

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