Online courses in your content business distinguish expert creators from hobby creators. Only 9% of hobby creators sell courses, while 33% of expert creators building a small business do, according to The Tilt research.

The survey found that online courses also rank in the top three most profitable revenue streams. But how do you find an online course platform to host your online courses when you’re ready to monetize?

First, consider your requirements – and don’t just think about what you need for your first course. Identify potential criteria for upcoming courses and related services. You don’t want to pick an online course platform now only to find it doesn’t meet your needs for the next course, and you have to switch. Learning another system and promoting a different platform to your audience can present unnecessary challenges.

Select an #OnlineCourse platform that accommodates the needs for your inaugural class AND upcoming courses and services so you don't have to switch later, says @AnnGynn. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Do you want a one-stop online course platform where you can build a website, email list, courses, etc.? Or do you just need a place to host your courses? Will you offer quizzes and exams in your courses? Will you distribute certificates for students completing your courses? 

Will you price your courses individually or charge for a membership that includes the courses? Will you create a learning community connected to your courses where students can interact with each other and you?

Of course, expenses also come along with each platform. Most of the platforms charge a monthly fee – even free comes with a charge as you usually must pay a transaction-related fee for each sale. Evaluate the benefits for each subscription category and learn how easy it is to upgrade when your course listing or student group grows bigger.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular online course-related platforms:

  • Teachable: You can sell courses and digital downloads. Subscriptions range from $0 to $199 a month, plus transaction-related fees. 
  • Thinkific: You can build courses and communities as well as mobile apps. Starter plans range from free to $74 a month. 
  • Kajabi: Designed to be an all-in-one platform, creators can sell courses, coaching, podcasts, memberships, and communities. Fees range from $119 a month to $319 a month with no transaction fees.
  • Podia: Built as an ecosystem for creators, services start with websites and email lists to digital downloads, courses, webinars, and affiliate programs. Prices range from free to $75 a month. Transaction fees are not charged for the paid accounts.
  • LearnWorlds: You can host and sell online courses and related products. Prices range from $25 a month (plus $5 per course sale) to $249 a month.
  • Ruzuku: You can use templates or design your courses. Includes student communities. Free subscriptions are for instructors with up to five students. Paid subscriptions go from $99 to $199 for monthly plans (no transaction fees.)
  • LearnDash: WordPress users can opt for the LearnDash plug-in ($199 a year) or the Ultimate Course Creator bundle ($299 a year).
  • Academy of Mine: Designed for B2B audiences, this system is designed for professional training, certifications, and continuing education. It starts at $999 a month.
  • AccessAlly: A plug-in for WordPress users, Access Ally ranges from $82 to $124 a month, including three monthly tune-up training calls.
Popular online course platforms for creators include @Teachable, @Thinkific, @Kajabi, @Podiadotcom, @LearnWorlds, @Ruzuku, @LearnDashLMS, @Academy_Of_Mine. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

You may be familiar with course sites like SkillShare, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning. They are platforms designed for the students – they sell memberships that give access to the wide catalog of courses. Instructors receive a percentage of a monthly stipend or revenue based on the total minutes of their classes watched. Course creators don’t have control over the revenue, but they do benefit from the wide-scale general marketing and promotion done by the platforms. If you have a small audience right now, you may want to consider these options as a reasonable starting point.

Have a favorite online course platform? Share with us @TheTiltNews or email ann@thetilt.com.

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About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.