There are plenty of free online courses online… What are the benefits of offering a free online course for your audience?!
>> Want to create your first online course? Check out this Course Creation Guide!
Let’s talk about free online courses.
Yes, online courses can be a great source of passive income and an additional way to monetize your blog. But what are the benefits of free online course creation?!
* This blog post includes affiliate links.
The Benefits of Offering a Free Online Course for Your Audience
Today the internet is FULL of online courses about almost any topic you can imagine. Some of them are free while others are offered at affordable pricing (ranging from $19 to $50 or so), as well as some high-ticket items costing several thousand…
So why should you join the crowd and create a free online course yourself?
The simple answer – because it’s working. Here are some of the reasons!
REASON #1: It will attract your perfect audience
Choose to create an online course on the topic that your perfect audience is interested in.
Are they looking forward to growing their blog? Learning the basics of design? Writing the perfect copy?
By creating a free course, you’ll let your audience know more about your focus, your experience and skills. Therefore, they might be more interested in anything else you have in store.
REASON #2: It can explode your mailing list
If you have an interesting free course to offer – something your audience will really value – your mailing list will explode in no time.
People LOVE getting value for free. At this point, it doesn’t really matter whether they have to click a link to get it or sign up with their email. Therefore, signing up is a no problem for a topic they’re genuinely interested in.
Besides that, once they are hooked, they’ll come back for more and will be ready to pay!
REASON #3: An easy way to prove your expertise
Show your expertise! This will increase your credibility and prove your knowledge.
Once you put out a free online course, your audience is already hooked. It will be a lot easier to make any future sales (as long as the free course is valuable!).
Ideas for your first free course
If you have no idea what kind of a course to create, evaluate what your audience will be the most interested in:
- What are the questions they ask?
- What are the goals they want to reach?
- What kind of knowledge can you provide to help them?
Here are some of the course ideas that convert really good:
- “Step-by-step guide to…”
- “How to earn money with blogging”
- “Basics of HTML/CSS for creative business owners”
- “How to create a successful Amazon store”
The final decision really depends on what your audience is interested in and, after all, what is your field of expertise!
How to create an online course on Teachable
After helping plenty of online entrepreneurs to transform their 9 to 5 careers into online courses, as well as creating my own online courses, I have found that Teachable is the most convenient platform to get started with.
BEFORE STARTING: You can already have your content ready or you can create it along the way. Having ready content can be really helpful so you wouldn’t have to overdo anything. But the work in progress is also a nice way to do this.
// If you want to learn more, using my step-by-step video guides, make sure to join Course Creation Lab! //
STEP #1: Sign up on Teachable
Click “Create a course” on top of the right corner and sign up for your Teachable account! (“Get started” button will lead you to pricing plans which can trick you into making the purchase instead of starting out for free)
First of all, it will ask for the basic account info.
Afterward, you’ll have to create your School. All of your separate Courses will be held in your School. So basically it’s the storage for all you’ll produce.
You can name your School in your own or your business name. For example, “Ieva’s School” or “Therandomp School” (I’ve chosen the latest). If you’re covering one specific field or working in a targeted niche, you can easily name your School after that. For example, “Websites for Starters” or “Copywriting School for Elderly”.
Remember! School’s title should not be the same as your Course’s title. One School can contain several courses (either on one or several topics).
STEP #2: Finalize your profile & school settings
On the left, you see the menu with the basic features, on the right – your school(-s).
Yes, you can create more than one school! For example, if you’re a designer and also a writer, you can create one school for your design-related courses and another one – for your writing-related courses.
I suggest having just one school if you have no big plans just yet. It can have as many courses as you can imagine.
So it’s time to finalize the basic settings. In the Settings section, you’ll see the option to upload your Gravatar, correct your name, email or password.
Then click on My Schools and click on the school you already made. This link right there is something you can save in your Bookmarks. It’s basically where all the fun happens.
On the left, you see the menu with all the most important things you’ll be working with while on the right there’ll be some stats and info about those who are signing up.
Let’s understand the left Menu panel!
- DASHBOARD is all about the info you see: signups, logins and other statistics.
- USERS is where you see info about each one of your students: name, email, signup date, etc.
- SITE is where you can edit your school in general. For all school, you’ll have to live with only one Header font, one link color, etc. Therefore, if each of your courses asks for specific branding details and you’re not a developer – create separate schools for them. My best suggestion is to create one branding for your school and all of its courses.
- TRANSACTIONS, obviously, are all about the payments you’ve received.
- EMAILS is where you can send emails to all of your students, etc.
- COURSES is where you see the list of all the courses you’ve created. In case you want to create a new one, click on the “+” icon by the title COURSES.
- PLAN + HELP + SETTINGS. Is all pretty obvious, isn’t it? The plan is where you can upgrade your Teachable account. In Help section, you can contact support and in The settings section, you can adjust your profile settings.
- YOUR PHOTO + NAME. When you click there, you get back to that page with all of your schools.
STEP #3: Course basic info
When you click on your created course or on “+” icon, you get transferred to a new course Menu.
On the left, there’s now a course-specific menu. On the right, you see all the basic info you should fill out. It includes course name, details, SEO, branding (background photo, icon, etc) and additional settings you may or may not work with.
When you want to change or add the author, you should click on the Author window and choose the option to add a new Author. It might give you a message that the changes won’t be saved but no worries about that (unless you’ve already written the rest, then CLICK SAVE). You can add separate Author descriptions/photos for separate courses or you can just create one for everything.
The subtitle is the one that shows up right under the title on the Sales page. You can choose either to write it or no. Usually, it looks nicer with the subtitle.
The description you can change later on as well since it’ll be a part of your Sales page but when starting out, you can write some basic info there so you understand how everything looks like before the copy is ready.
SEO is a very important part. Make sure to create a simple URL for your blog. Don’t use numbers or dates. Make it obvious. The same goes for the Title and SEO Description. Both should be keyword rich.
Thumbnail is the image that will be showing up on your School page as the course indicator. See it as a cover for the course. It’s the best if it’s branded and with the Course name on it but you can also use a simple Stock photo if you have no design skills or willingness to create one now.
Once everything is done, you can scroll back to the top of the page and check out how the page looks like now by using the Preview of the Sales page!
STEP #4 Course content
This one will have the shortest explanation which might turn out to take the longest time. Obviously, because it’s time to prepare your content! In case you already have it all set and good to go – amazing. Anyhow, let’s take a look at how you can add content to your Teachable school.
On the left course menu, you see a section Curriculum and that’s exactly where all of your course has to be located. You can create sections and different lessons in each section. For a free course, it’d be fine to have 2-3 sections with several lessons in each one of them. You can vary with exact numbers, it really depends on how you prefer to lay out your content.
Whenever you click on New Lecture button or on existing lesson, you can add and edit content. Teachable offers to add video, audio or PDF file, add text and quiz so you can add either all or several of these, whatever works the best for you and your course!
If you add a simple text, you should click the orange button “Add Text” before you go out of the editor. My #1 tip: write content elsewhere and copy it there. It’s the safest way to go! Later on, you can always get back to the added text and edit it. You can also add links, photos and other related media within the text (welcome to the 21st century!).
// If you want to learn more, using my step-by-step video guides, make sure to join Course Creation Lab!
STEP #5: Set up the pricing
Well, hello, the obvious choice! Since we’re creating a free course, I won’t get much into that. Go to the section Pricing and choose Free. Voila! The rest is done for you! (and I wasn’t true about Step #4 having the shortest description)
STEP #6: Create the sales page
At this point, we’re going to skip several other Menu options that really are not necessary for a free Teachable account and free online course. So let’s get to that Sales page creation right away!
I suggest to keep it simple if you’re offering a free course. Add the background photo and a decent title + subtitle. Write a description that’ll let people know what are they here for and what will they get from your course. Add Authors profile. And another button to enroll! Since I’m not a Sales page guru or the best copywriter in the town (or even just a copywriter in general), I won’t get into details on WHAT you should put there. But think of it this way: if you’d see this free offer, what’d make you to spend some time for it and sign up? What kind of photos/copy would make you go “oh, this is nice..”?