If you are a relatively successful blogger who wants to enhance the revenue your site generates, what are your options? Premium content is the obvious avenue, with many bloggers opting for paywalled articles, podcasts, and ebooks, but one of the best revenue spinners for bloggers — and one that I see used relatively infrequently — is the online course. An online course can be a great way to develop a consistent stream of income from your site.
An online course is a natural extension of blogging, especially for bloggers who already write educational content. Whether you blog about travel, woodwork, fashion, or anything else, an online course can provide a solid alternative — or complement — to a reliance on advertising income.
Shawn Blanc is a just one example of a blogger who has made a great success of an online course. His eponymous blog has long been an excellent source of content focused on productivity and working better. Last year, he launched The Power Of A Focused Life, an online course that met with considerable success.
WordPress is particularly well suited to the creation of online courses, and there are several high-quality plugins and integrations that ease the transition from blogger to online educator. I’m going to take a look at three options that I have had positive experiences with.
Restrict Content Pro is not a dedicated course creation tool, but for simple courses it offers more than enough functionality. Restrict Content Pro does exactly what its name suggests — it allows owners of a membership site to charge for access to specific pieces of content. It’s easier to set up than the other options we’ll look at, but it’s not well suited to complex online courses that require functionality like quiz creation and grading.
CoursePress is a full-blown course creation and management solution for WordPress. It includes everything a blogger needs to create learning units with quizzes attached, and it’s especially powerful if you will be including audio and video elements in your course.
With options for free and paid courses, CoursePress includes a diverse set of payment integration gateways, and can accept both manual payments and automated payments.
CoursePress comes with its own theme, but it’s also relatively easy to integrate with other themes via a shortcut.
If you don’t need some of the more powerful features of CoursePress Pro, you should take a look at the free version.
WP Courseware is a strong alternative to CoursePress Pro, allowing prospective educators to build modular courses composed of both modules and units, each of which can have surveys and quizzes attached. Upon course completion, learners are awarded a customizable certificate, and they can track their progress. Particularly handy is the way that quizzes can be associated with progress, preventing learners from progressing until they have fulfilled the criteria.
If you’ve decided that creating an online course is the right option for you, I’d advise you take a close look at each of these options and some of the other online learning plugins available for WordPress before making a decision. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, but I’ve no doubt that among the plugins we’ve looked at, there’s one that will meet your needs.