Making your first online course

Many business owners such as consultants, therapists and coaches are making online courses as part of their website offerings. But if you’re creating your first ever online course, the journey can be daunting. Worry, not! This article gives the basics on how to get started with online course addon for your business website.

Tools for online courses

As a website owner, you have a choice. You can create your online course with tools such as Teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific as well as an elearning addon for your WordPress website – LearnDash. So which option is best for your business website?

We love LearnDash because it connects well with your existing WordPress website and shop. That means, your customers can purchase an online course from the same website where they see your business offers and a business story. Looking for examples? Here is one of our customer’s websites with an online course.

How to plan your course

Planning your online course is as important as recording your lessons. With a clear course structure, your students will truly learn from you!

Choose topics

The first step is to look at the big picture of your online course. Just take any book and see the list of chapters to get inspiration. Now, imagine how your course could have a similar list. What will people learn about when going through your course?

We have a tip here. Take a sheet of paper or better, a bunch of sticky notes. On each sticky note, write down “I will teach ….” On each sticky note, write down all ideas that come to mind when you think of your online course. One idea per sticky note. Now, group similar ideas together. Well done! Here, you have a big picture of your course. We can call this list your course chapters or “course modules” or a “course outline”.

Get a template

Now, when you have a rough idea of what your course will be about, get ready to get some help for teaching. It’s always easier to teach with a visual presentation. Imagine how your customer will feel like looking at the screen. Surely, their attention will follow you when they see visuals on the screen. We call it “course slides” or “course presentation”.

There are two ways to get your course presentation together. Hire a designer to create an online course slides for your PowerPoint or Keynote. Or, use a template from Canva or Google Slides . A template is a great start. It will help you to get your ideas out of your head. You can always get in touch with a professional designer in the process.

When you have a course presentation template, fill it with course materials. Imagine you’re in front of your student. Fill each slide with whatever comes to mind. You’re a teacher here. Overall, if you have 3 chapters in your course, this means you will have 3 presentations prepared. Each presentation will be used to explain one chapter in your book (online course, I mean!).

Next step is getting used to be in front of the camera!

How to record video lessons

For this article, we’re looking at the basics of making your first ever online course. So, we’ll use the easiest way to record your lessons: Zoom.

Prepare tech. Have your laptop connected to the WiFi. All screens like Internet browsers closed. Open Zoom, your video and audio on. On Zoom, share a screen with your course presentation.

Prepare yourself to teach. Wear the colour and a smile. Get lots of light to your face. It’s acting time. Yay!

Record your video lesson. Hit the “record” button. Smile. Imagine you’re delivering the great news! Talk through the slides.

Pause the recording. If you’re sharing some exercises where you want to show something with your hands or face on camera without the slides shared, simply pause the recording, un-share the slides, hit the record button again and do the exercise as part of the lesson. Then, stop the recording again, share the slides, continue with the slides. Tip: These bits can be edited later on as well!

Close the recording. When finished and closing the Zoom, a pop up should show up saying “saving this recording on your computer”.

Editing video lessons

Rewatch your recordings and do it again if needed.

One thing to mention about editing your video lessons. Yes, of course, we can go fancy with editing your videos, like adding a logo before and after each recording or adding sounds in the background, but this article is about the basics of making your online course, so let’s forget about those fancy things for now.

The most important when making your first course is to get going and get used to be in front of the camera. The rest is easy and comes step-by-step.

How to add lessons to the course

When video lessons are recorded, we have two options to put them on the Internet and onto your online course made with LearnDash and WordPress.

The easiest way to move your video lessons online is with Youtube. Simply, upload your videos to Youtube unlisted setting, from there we can embed it into your course. “Youtube Unlisted Setting” means videos can be seen with a unique link and this way added to your course. But these unlisted videos won’t appear on your Youtube channel.

If you prefer to keep your videos completely private and accessible only inside your online course, then choose a paid Vimeo PRO account. Vimeo ensures privacy and works great for embedding private video links to your online course.


In general, technology aside, what you want out of your online course is your personality shining. You want to connect with your learners in a human way. So here we have a bunch of funky tips ready to boost your creative mood!

  • Smile and improvise with the body posture (“gorilla exercise”)
  • You’re the actor here delivering great news!
  • Wear colour or funky outfit – to spark a funny mood!
  • Alternative to outfit – decorations that spark a funny mood!
  • Lights on
  • Record in short chunks (3-5 mins per recording, 15mins max) with creative mood in mind, when still feeling rested
  • Conversational tone is great, starting with a question is perfect

What do you say? Have you tried recording your first ever online course yet? How did it go?

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