Whether you’re a small business owner looking to reach new audiences or an online entrepreneur that is just starting out, creating an online course is a great way of increasing your revenue.
The market for online courses has grown exponentially recently and many entrepreneurs have taken this opportunity to make their way into the online world and build content. There are many platforms available for course creators that will make this task easy and with a little bit of work, you can start selling online courses in a very short time.
Read more: What you need to know about the basics of selling online courses
The variety of online courses available right now is massive. That’s why it’s important to decide early on on the type of course that you would like to create, so you can find the right fit for your business. This may depend on several factors, such as your business type, budget, and what other resources you have available.
3 Types of self-paced online courses that could work for your business
Whether you absolutely love video, or you prefer just using text and images, you can create an online course that is suited for you. Here are three types of self-paced online courses that might work for your business:
This is the most basic type of online course that you could create. The initial investment is relatively low when it comes to time, effort, and money, and it’s also easy to update when needed.
Usually, a text-based online course has lessons that are mostly in the form of text, with some images sprinkled here and there. These types of courses are quite useful for explaining topics that are a bit more complex, where having visual reminders and detailed structures of what is being taught is important. Science, finance, software, biology, marketing, and more, are all examples of topics that could work really well for a text-based course.
Read more: 6 Tips on using visual elements in online course design
You may be thinking that these types of online courses must be boring and hard to go through, but that’s not necessarily true. It all depends on how you create the course and the tool you’re using.
There are online course platforms that provide a simple to use editor, with drag and drop templates for arranging your content and images, that will allow you to create a nice course easily. If you have the skills, you can even add in a bit of custom CSS and HTML to really make your course stand out.
A text-based course with a nice layout that is easy to follow and images that compliment your content can really be successful. Also, you can add some resources within your content to make it more interesting, such as embedding videos from YouTube or some web pages with interesting facts.
Most online courses nowadays are video courses and that’s because they’re interesting, they’re easy to follow, and work well for a wide range of topics. There are of course businesses that thrive on video courses such as health and fitness, design, personal development, lifestyle, and more, but it might work for your business too.
Read more: 10 Types of businesses that thrive through online courses
Video courses do require a larger initial investment of time and money to produce, but if you do it well the first time, your video course could become a steady stream of revenue for years, especially if it’s on a topic that can pass the test of time.
Read more: 4 Things to consider if you want to passively sell your online courses
There are multiple ways of doing a video course and it’s all dependent on your business type, budget, and other resources. If you’re comfortable with being on camera, you can do an explainer-style video course, where you sit down and walk people through your topic. These courses work well for easy-to-understand topics (like personal development) and also if you feel that having a real person at the center of the video could help with transmitting your message.
Another type of video course is what I like to call a webinar-style course. Here, you don’t have to be in front of the camera, you can just do a voice-over and use your computer screen to share the content. These work really well for heavier topics such as programming, where the focus is on the content that you’re explaining and not on the person doing the video.
Read more: How to create an awesome webinar presentation
If you need any visual aids in your videos to better explain certain concepts, you can add in post-production graphics, text, and other elements.
Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? You can create an online course that has both text and video. These courses work well for topics where it’s easy to convey ideas through video, but maybe you want your audience to also have your content in text format so they can easily reference it later.
For example, you might have a course where the lessons are all videos. In addition to the videos, you could also add a text version that highlights the most important aspects of that video. This can be really helpful in the cases where you require your audience to do tasks based on your videos and they need to go back and find a certain piece of content. Instead of watching the whole video again, they can just look through the text version and quickly find the information they need.
The amount of text versus videos that you add in your courses is up to you. If you have a course that is mostly text-based but you feel that for certain topics video might work better, you could create a few videos just to cover those sections.
Blended courses also means adding other interactive elements to your online courses besides text, images, and videos. For example, you can add a mini quiz after each lesson to test the knowledge of your audience. You can also add a survey at the end of the course to ask for feedback.
Read more: How to get feedback for your online course
And depending on the platform that you’re using to create the course, it is possible to design a seamless experience for your learners, combining multiple types of content and activities into a single engaging online course.
These are some of the most common types of online courses that you could create. Based on your resources and goals, you can select the best option for your business right now. Don’t think about it too much and work with what you have available at this moment. You can start with a text-based course and later create a video version when you have a bigger budget. You can also do a simple video course and later, build on that course by adding some surveys and quizzes. The important thing is to get started with building the online course that works for you!