How Much Does It Cost to Create an Online Course?

If you are looking for ways to increase your online income streams, course creation may be top of mind. Due to the rise of their popularity, it is extremely easy to access course creation tools and online resources to help you put together the perfect course.

However, you have to spend money to make money in this scenario and you will have to invest some money upfront into creating and marketing your course.

How much does it even cost to create something like an online course? That is the burning question here that we will do our best to answer, from personal experience and the best tools in our opinion.

How Much Does it Cost to Create an Online Course?

I set out to create my online course at the beginning of 2020 before the craziness of what that year became to be. It took me a couple of months longer than anticipated but $494 later, I had my finished product.

Let’s break down those costs, shall we?

My course costs included:

  • Teachable course platform subscription ($119 per month)
  • Business lawyer fee ($175)
  • Pinterest ads ($200)

There were other costs that I had already incurred as they were tools I was already using for my blog but are necessary for a course. These include my domain with Godaddy as my course is pointed on a subdomain on that domain, Canva which is a design tool, and marketing for my course through Convertkit which is my email list provider.

This doesn’t mean you have to get a dedicated domain for your course. Although it may be necessary for brand awareness, etc.

When you factor in those costs for 1 month which would be equivalent if you were just getting started, then you are looking at an additional cost of $120 – $150. After you total these costs, the real cost ends up being closer to $644.

The cost of that could be much lower for you if you can secure a discounted domain name and cheaper email list provider.

Let’s dive into the different options of tools for what you’ll need to get started.

Best Course Platforms to Choose From

When choosing what course platform to use for your course, it depends on what features you need and if the price of the platform fits into your budget.

Do you want functionality such as custom style options, the ability to edit HTML, the ability to add affiliates, and ease of use? All of these go into your decision.

Teachable – Free for the First 14 Days ($119 per month after)

Teachable is free to get started with but after the first 14 days, you will have to pay going forward.

They have 3 pricing options that include:

  • Basic: $39 per month
  • Pro: $119 per month
  • Business: $299 per month

Each pricing level includes a certain set of functionality. The reason why we called out the Pro level and chose that level ourselves is because of the affiliate marketing integration. Which means they run the affiliate program for us so we can have other influencers promoting the course. And while the Pro plan has a higher price tag it doesn’t have transaction fees, which could actually make it cheaper in the end.

Podia – Free for the First 14 Days ($79 per month after)

Podia is a platform I found out about after already using Teachable, but find it to be much more user intuitive with a lower price tag.

Podia is free for a trial of 14 days and afterward has pricing levels that start at $39 per month.

Podia’s different pricing levels include:

  • Mover: $39 per month
  • Shaker: $79 per month

Similar to Teachable, each pricing option has different features with the Shaker level having the most features available – again if you want to have affiliates for your course you’ll need the higher level plan.

Video Creation and Screen Capture Tools

If you plan on including video content in your course then you need to decide which video creation tools to use.

Video Camera – Use Your Webcam

I used my webcam to do the filming for videos included in my course. However, my approach was pretty scrappy, DIY, and I didn’t need high-quality production videos.

If you do, I recommend investing in a video camera or a higher quality webcam.

Zoom Recording – Free

When I put together my course, I utilized the free version of Zoom and recorded my interviews and tutorials that way. Then I exported the video to upload to the course platform.

The only thing with this method is if you want to make edits to the video, you may need to invest in a video editing tool or explore free video editing tools.

Presentation and Design Tools

If you want to include recordings of presentations, design elements like banners, worksheets, and more in your course, look at the best and cheapest editing tool around – Canva.

Canva – Free ($12.95 per month for Pro)

Canva is the king of easy to use and cheap design tools. There is a free version available but the Pro version has many more options that you can use to your advantage when creating your course.

Features available with Canva Pro:

  • 420,000 premium templates
  • Save designs as templates
  • Brand kit
  • 75 million premium stock photos
  • 100GB of cloud storage
  • And more

With Canva you can create some of the following elements to include in and for your course:

  • Filmed presentations
  • Banners
  • Step by step photos
  • Enhanced headshots
  • Social media images for marketing
  • Advertising images to include in ads
  • Worksheets for each lesson
  • Templates
  • And even edit videos in the tool

Domain Name Options

As you know I have my site domain through GoDaddy and point my course to a subdomain (lysh.iliketodabble.com). It costs me $17.99 a year for my domain which is a great deal.

The price of your domain name depends on a few factors. If you want to use a simpler domain name like graphicdesigncourse.com then your domain might be more expensive due to its popularity. If someone already owns the domain you want to use, you might have to pay even more or settle on a different name.

I recommend you ask others in your community for an affiliate link when securing a domain name with a hosting provider. And if you are on a tight budget, consider looking at cheaper top level domain alternatives to .com like .co.

Business Lawyer Fees You Might Need to Factor In

When I created my course I consulted a lawyer for 2 reasons.

One, I wanted to include her as a resource and interview her for a module in the course. And two, I wanted to consult her on several legal concerns I had with some of my ideas.

When putting your course together, depending on your location you will have extra taxes to fulfill and will have to keep in mind how you include things that aren’t your creation like stock photos and gifs. It is best to consult a business lawyer on matters like this.

It is better to be safe than sorry. When in doubt, hire a lawyer.

Marketing and Advertising Tools

Alright, you have your course outlines, creation tools picked out, and have started to crank out content. You are coming closer to your launch date but are doubting ways you will sell it.

You will want to create some buzz about your course through a variety of marketing and advertising avenues. One way to advertise your course online is by creating and running ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest or running Google ads. Both avenues are pricey.

For those without an advertising budget, start with these marketing strategies:

Email marketing: Look at email list providers like Convertkit and Mailterlite and set up a landing page where people can sign up to receive notifications regarding your course launch.

You can also offer a freebie to get more signups and they will get notified when your course launches. Also, research email sequences that will work best for this and other ways to communicate on an email list.

Affiliate marketing: Reach out to others in your niche if they want to become an affiliate for your course if it fits as a perfect resource their audience might enjoy. The affiliate would promote your course with their affiliate link and make a commission on any sales made with that link (a percentage you set in the platform). That way both you and them make money.

Influencer marketing: Look for popular influencers in your niche or make sense with your course and reach out to them for ways you can do a small promotion and you would pay them upfront for this based on their rates.

Related: How to Leverage TikTok and Instagram

Wrapping It Up: Go Forth and Create

As you are looking at different tools and strategies for creating courses, don’t get too bogged down in the details. Find those with the features you want and the price that works, go for it, and start putting things together.

It is a waste of time to try and look for cheaper or better options because you think you can. You will end up stuck in the research of tools and your focus and finished result can also suffer from it.

Start with where you are, what you have, and get messy. Learn as you go and tweak where you can.

Test out the course with peers, followers that can get it for free with feedback or testimonial, or those that are potential affiliates. Take that feedback and tweak your course where you see fit for launch.

Often with ventures like this, there is a lot of learning by doing that goes on and once you tackle one task, they will domino from there.

After you get all your tools ready to go, costs are paid, you are ready to roll. And sometimes the pricier tool may make your launch experience smoother. But no matter what you spend on tools, the content and how you listen to your students will make or break your course.

Now – go forth and create something amazing.

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