Before anything, know this: looking for a way to create online courses for free doesn't make you a cheapskate. This might be your first course (or for charity: a resource to guide newbies), and you're not ready to splash a wad of cash.
So, we understand you!
Good news: you don't even have to splash anything. You can create any online course for FREE. This article will guide you.
Here, we will show you how to create, where to sell, and how to market your courses - all for free.
BONUS: if you read till the end, there is a guide on how to price your online courses.
So, shall we delve in?
Can You Create An Online Course For Free?
You don't have to spend a dime. It is possible to create an online course without a budget.
However, you would have to put in the work. You will be the one to record, package, launch, and market the course.
But don't fret; creating an online course is not as hectic as it seems. Besides, this article contains tips and tools to make the process simple.
That said, let's walk you through the specific steps to creating an online course for FREE.
6 Steps To Create An Online Course For Free
Whether creating a course for charity or as passive income, there is no point in doing what people don't want. In fact, it is a complete waste of your time.
But what's the harm? After all, you created the course with zero budget. Should you care?
Time is money. You could have used the same time on lucrative business instead of creating a course. So, always spend your time wisely.
In other words, research the market before you start creating any course. Ask these questions:
# Do people want what you want to share?
# Will people pay to learn what you're sharing? Ask this question even for charity courses!
# Are there questions left unanswered about my topic of interest?
Those questions are only a peek into the level of inquiry you need for market research. You'll need more than that to understand the scope of your audience.
So, what should you do?
Like the name, social listening means gathering information from talking points. Fortunately, you can do that from social networks.
So, start with Facebook. Join groups and survey the opinions of people regarding your topic of interest.
If you can't find an interesting group, you can start one and check the challenges of your target audience.
Outside Facebook, you can try forums (like Quora and Reddit). Check the trending topics if they tally with the motive behind your course.
Lastly, join online events; you can start with Twitter Spaces.
Unless you're using a business plan (which requires some payment) on your Facebook account, there is a limit to the insights you can explore.
For example, you can't estimate how often people search for a term or the trend of the searches.
But thanks to keyword research tools, you can check such insights for free. You can see the volume of searches, the trends, and even the competition.
That said, here are the recommended keyword research tools (they are free):
# Answer The Public: provides a list of questions asked about a term. This tool can help calm the doubts of learners.
Plus, you can use the questions as selling points to market your course.
# Google Keyword Planner: provide insights such as search volume and competition on searched terms.
Note: you can plug the questions from Answer The Public into the search bar to check their metrics.
# Google Trends: provides popularity insights on searched terms. Even better, this tool will show the peak periods.
Overall, Google Trends will help you choose evergreen ideas for your course.
Talk To Your Audience
Social listening and keyword research are GREAT. However, nothing will be as accurate as the information from the horse's mouth.
So, ask your target audience. Here's how:
# Compile the questions from Answer The Public into a survey
# Send the survey to Facebook groups
# Implore the members of the groups to pick the questions they would love to be resolved.
# Also, ask users to suggest other questions they want to be answered.
Now, what next?
Choose Your Topic
No one will bother to open your package, let alone enroll if the topic is not enticing.
So, you must generate interest and arrest people's attention with a well-crafted topic. More importantly, be specific - weed out vague ideas.
Here is what we mean:
Instead of "How To Make Money Online," go with a niche topic that reads "How To Make Money On Legiit As A Content Writer."
But is the second topic not thin? Can you make money using such a topic?
No. The topic is not thin. And yes, you can make money selling a course like that.
And BTW, that's only an example. Do this instead:
# Go back to step 1
# Who are the people asking questions on the Facebook groups?
# Is the search volume of the question lucrative?
# Does your target audience have a favorite or focus location?
Let the answers guide you!
For example, say the result of your audience research shows that Shopify store owners need guidance on scaling their businesses; an enticing topic can be:
How To Improve Sales For Your Shopify Store By 30%!
Note: you must be able to back any figures with concrete proof. Don't promise what you have not achieved.
Pro tip: Check the topics of the top-selling courses in your niche when in doubt. Select up to 5-7 options; highlight the similarities and replicate that for your course topic.
Structure Your Course
Structuring your course is not only beneficial for enticing the audience. Even you (the course creator) need a structured course. It will serve as a guide to keep your course content concise when production starts.
That said, here's how to structure your online course:
# Create learning outcomes
# Create modules or course plan
# Create course outline
The first step of building credibility is to let people know what they stand to gain from your course. The topic would have done justice to that.
However, topics only provide the overall objective. You still need to create specific, snackable goals. The following questions can help:
Sample course topic: "How To Make Money On Legiit As A Content Writer"
Learning outcome questions:
# What skills do you need to be a content writer?
# What makes good content?
# What tools do you need to write GOOD content?
# How to get content ideas What content fetches the most money?
# How to set up your content writing services on Legiit
# How to market your content writing services through the marketing channels provided by Legiit
Note: the questions are not the learning outcomes yet. You'll still need to rewrite them. E.g., By the end of this course, you will be able to demonstrate the skills needed by a content writer.
Modules or course plans are the easiest to structure. Once you have the learning outcomes, you can turn each into a module.
For example, we have 7 learning outcome questions. So, we have 7 modules.
Module 1 will teach the skills a content writer needs. The same principle will apply to the other 6 questions. Simple, eh?
Note: when creating modules, you must ask some vital questions to verify the content to gather and package. Here are some:
# What is the level of knowledge of the learners? Are they content writers who need to make money from their hobby? Or a random greenhorn who is new to writing?
# What must you teach within your modules? Should you start from scratch? Should you use the top-bottom approach?
The more levels of learners your course accommodates, the longer the time to compile it. If you're not ready for such an investment, revisit the title of your course - niche it down!
Outlining your course is less hectic than designing the learning outcomes and modules. In fact, it is more a summary than an actual job.
In other words, the course outline will be a table of content for your modules. So, you can generate that using a Microsoft Word table of content.
Or you could draw up the outline manually.
Either way, ensure that your modules and lessons are arranged orderly. Specific details like videos and tests must be highlighted in the course outline.
Furthermore, include the duration of each lesson in your outline. That way, learners will get a quick preview before they start each module.
We assume you have everything regarding the topic and structuring figured out. Now, you're ready to record your videos and type the content.
But before all that production headache, answer these questions:
What Is The Best Way To Deliver Your Course Content?
This question is arguably the hardest to answer when creating an online course. Should you only record audio content?
Would your learners prefer video content instead? Or should you limit the course to just reading content?
More importantly, which of the content types is most engaging?
Spoiler alert: there is no best way to deliver your course content. Don't waste time finding one. Instead, combine all the different content types in your course. Include audio, videos, and reading content.
The video content, particularly, is crucial to show technical steps. For example, when teaching a learner the tools needed to write good content, don't just list.
Your course should include a video clip of using the tools. E.g., show how to use Google Keyword Planner to find "high volume keywords."
Summarily, follow these tips to make your course content engaging:
# Use a combination of live and self-paced learning strategies
# Award trophies or grades to incentivize learning
# Include storytelling - e.g., how you started content writing, how much you have made, your experience using AI tools, how you scaled, etc.
Also read: what you must know about AI content.
How Long Should Each Lesson Be
Unfortunately, there is one fit-all length for online courses. The range will depend on the complexity of the course content.
For example, a course on "how to be a content writer" will be lengthier than one about "how to start and make money from dropshipping."
Furthermore, if your course requires to be endorsed by a standard body, the length must reach the minimum requirements.
But what about the top-performing course lengths? Is there any standard?
There is none we know of. However, we keep courses for freelancers at a max of 5 - 15 hours.
However, that's not the rule. The length of your course doesn't translate to more sales. The course content and your marketing effort, on the other hand, are crucial to revenue.
Moving On: What Do You Need To Produce An Online Course?
You can't outsource any of the production for a free course. So, you'll need time and dedication. After, ensure these tools are in place:
# A camera - your phone will suffice if you don't have a camera
# Canva - to design the thumbnails and infographics in your course
# PC screen recorder - use Free Cam to record your screen using a technical tool
# A Word processor - Microsoft Word or Google Docs will suffice
# Video editing software - use HitFilm Express to package your video content professionally. The tool might be overwhelming at first; it gets better with time.
Package And Host Your Course
If you've not yet packaged your course into a bundle, do so. But take your time if the content is not ready.
When you are set, launch your course on Legiit for free. Here is how to do that:
# If you don't have an account already, create one at https://www.legiit.com/
# Click the Selling tab, and then Courses
# Select "Create New Course"
# Input the course title - the topic from step 2
# Choose the fitting category, subcategory, and subtitle for your course
# Upload the thumbnail you designed with Canva
# Resize the thumbnail to fit Legiit requirements using https://picresize.com/ - it's free
# For the requirement tab, input your "learning outcomes" into the "what you'll learn" bar.
# Now, proceed to the Course Section > Add New Section to add your course content (videos and articles)
# When you've uploaded all your course content, publish the course.
Voila, you've created an online course for free!
So, what next?
Market Your Course
Whether your course will be sold or free, you still need to market it. You need people to test the course and give you feedback.
For those reasons, you must market your course.
But where should you market your courses?
# If you already have an email list, share your course with the subscribers.
# Share your course with the Facebook groups you used for social listening.
# Find additional forums and groups to market your courses. However, ensure you're not violating any rule. For example, Legiit Facebook Group allows its members to market their services and courses freely - provided that you follow our rules.
# Furthermore, you can market your course during live events.
Pro tip: when marketing, don't be overly salesy. Only project your course as a more resourceful piece.
Creating an online course is possible for free if you follow the tips in this article. Free or not, ensure your course content is helpful; you owe it to your learners.
And as promised, here is the BONUS: