How to create an online course: pros and cons of creating your own platform

At last.

You have decided: you are going to create an online course.

Maybe you want to set up a virtual school and digitize your classes so as not to depend on face-to-face sessions.

You may already be willing to monetize your knowledge  and want to package it in an online training for a wider audience, who does not need to live in your city.

Or maybe, after a time providing services, you have decided to create an infoproduct to free up your time and extract a greater profitability  than what you now suppose every hour of work.

Whatever your situation, you need to find a platform to host your course.

The question is: what are you going to choose: your own platform or an external one?

In this article we analyze the keys that you must take into account when creating an online course first and, finally, what pros and cons you will find by choosing your own platform or an external platform.

Let’s go there!

Table of Contents hide ]

  • When to create an online course
  • How to create an online course
    • # 1 Organize by modules
    • # 2 Structure in lessons
    • # 3 Prepare your scripts and record your content
    • # 4 Upload the content to the chosen platform
  • Pros of choosing your own platform
    • # 1 More freedom
    • # 2 More resources
    • # 3 More control
  • Cons of choosing your own platform
    • # 1 More work
    • # 2 More expenses
    • # 3 More vulnerability
  • Conclusion: what to choose?
    • # Own platform?
    • # External platform?
  1. When to create an online course

Creating an online course does not have a perfect time.

All you need is:

  • knowledge that you want to share.
  • problem that you can solve  with it.
  • target audience that has that problem.
  • Start  working.

If you are clear about these four things, you have the basic ingredients to make a minimum viable product using a good MVP strategy  to help you launch it.

The next thing you need is to put this knowledge in order, extract the information from the market and, as we always say, create the action plan  to organize your objectives, projects and tasks.

One of these objectives may be researching your audience, defining your value proposition clearly and obtaining information from competitors  to create the minimum viable product that you can then improve.

When you have defined your product and the solution you provide with your course is very clear, it will be time to organize it, package it and present it to the market.

Or what is the same: it will be necessary to create the course itself, and later launch it.

Only when you have defined your product and the solution you provide with your course is very clear, will it be time to organize it, package it and present it to the market. @masymejoremprender #emprender #cursosonline


You should also think about whether you are going to give support or, on the contrary, it is a total Do It Yourself.

And in this phase we are going to focus now: how to create an online course.

  1. How to create an online course

Once you are clear about the course you want to sell, you have to set it up.

For it:

# 1 Organize by modules

This is like the subjects of the school books, remember?

For example, in Mathematics you had:

Topic 1: Geometric figures.

Topic 2: Addition and subtraction

Topic 3: Multiplication and division

And so on.


Because separating the themes gives clarity and helps to consume the content.

Use modules and facilitate a global understanding of the product you offer.

If you had to go through all the math all at once, you would go crazy, right?

When you go to create an online course, remember that separating the topics gives clarity and helps to consume the content. @masymejoremprender #cursosonline #emprender


Well don’t do that with your students. 😀

# 2 Structure in lessons

Subdivide the content into lessons included in the modules.

For example, within the geometric figures, what could you find?

Circles, triangles, squares, rectangles … And each figure would have an explanation.

Do the same with your course.

Separate, delimit, subdivide and you will increase the clarity and sense of progress of your students.

# 3 Prepare your scripts and record your content

Here is the result of your previous market research, target audience and your value proposition.

Write your scripts naturally and record yourself on video to upload it to the platform of your choice.

I recommend that you make  a video (no more than 15 minutes) for each lesson.

# 4 Upload the content to the chosen platform

And here the headache begins: do I ride it on my own platform, or do I go to a platform specialized in hosting courses?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option.

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  1. Pros of choosing your own platform

# 1 More freedom

If you choose your own platform, you can lay out the course however you want , without depending on the structure of the platform.

You design each lesson as you want, the colors, the menu situation, etc.

# 2 More resources

Working on your own platform, you have more capacity to work on a virtual campus, without having to outsource support or school on another additional platform, for example in Slack.

You can also do other things beyond the course and support, such as gamification, awards, progress scores … This depends on your creativity  and the options you are looking to  configure it as you want.

# 3 More control

When you ask yourself the blessed question of how to create online courses, you also have to think about  how to manage your content  and your procedures.

For example, when you host your online course on your own platform, you control the student registration and the payments of each one directly.

In addition,  you save the commission  (between 10% -30% normally) and improve the profit you get from each sale.

And something very interesting: you can know what part of the course each student is in  and analyze the level of “unhooking”.

Some external platforms for teaching online do not have this advantage, and the information they report to you at the metric level and the knowledge of your audience is gold.

In line with this, the communications and emails that you send can go according to the videos that person sees, for example.

  1. Cons of choosing your own platform

The previous three points are very good.

However, having everything hosted on your own platform is not la vie en rose either.

# 1 More work

In three words: you have to manage everything.

It is the B side of being in control, logically.

For example,  you must bill each student . True, this can be automated, but the point is that you have to take over.

The same goes for affiliations . And this cannot be automated, because you have to manually make payments  to each one and analyze the data yourself.

Having your online course hosted on your own platform is not la vie en rose either. @masymejoremprender #cursosonline #emprender


# 2 More expenses

The user interface is usually not as “friendly” or as intuitive as that used by specialized platforms for hosting courses.

This causes a higher learning curve.

And if you don’t master a bit, you will need to pay a developer or implementer.

(Yes, adding expenses).

On the other hand, you have to pay for the hosting of your website . And if you do not have a website, you need to make a minimum initial investment in this.

# 3 More vulnerability

If you choose to have your own platform, you need to be on top of your CMS updates (CMS = content manager, for example, WordPress).

With the updates you must be careful that nothing breaks . In other words, you need constant control and technical support for your website.

Keep in mind that if the platform fails and your students lose access to the content, you are also in charge of solving it.

  1. Conclusion: what to choose?

If it is your first course and you still do not want to go for many students, perhaps your own platform is enough for you.

However, if you have been in the market for a long time and are thinking of creating an online course  using an affiliation strategy  for a significant group of students, perhaps the best option is a compromise.

You can use an external platform for the topics of payments, affiliates and billing, and, at the same time, have the course on your own platform to manage the support (and delegate it to your team , for example).

You can use an external platform for the topics of payments, affiliates and billing, and, at the same time, have the course on your own platform. @masymejorcom #emprender #cursosonline


# Own platform?

If you opt for your own platform, you may need:

  • A hosting like Webempresa .
  • A CMS like WordPress .
  • A plugin for courses like Sensei or Learndash
  • If you make recurring memberships or payments, a plugin like Memberpress .
  • An email marketing manager, such as Active Campaign .
  • A billing program, like Quaderno .
  • A payment gateway, like Thrivecart .

# External platform?

If, on the other hand, you have assessed that what is best for you is an external platform, you have a wide variety of options:

  • Hotmart . Leader in the infoproduction market and the perfect tool if you are going to manage affiliates.
  • Invasion . The second best-known option. The big difference with Hotmart is that it does not include billing and collections, so you will need a payment gateway.
  • Third, the e-learning platforms that bring together a lot of courses. The advantage? They already have an audience. The disadvantage? Normally the price and the conditions are not set by you. This is the case of Udemy , Tutellus or Domestika for creatives.


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