5 Keys to Picking the Best Online Course Platform for Your Business

Hiker at fork in road

Let’s face it – deciding on a platform for hosting and delivering your online courses can seem daunting. Even with great platforms like Thinkific  available, it’s hard to get rid of that nagging question that dedicated course entrepreneurs always have in the back of their minds: “Is this really the best online course platform for me?”

I’ve spent the past 20 years building platforms, selling platforms, implementing platforms, and most recently, helping hundreds of individuals and organizations back the right platform for their course business. Here are five key lessons I’ve learned when it comes to making the right choice: [Read more…]

10+ True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses

photo of an orange in between two apples

Don’t mix apples and oranges when looking for an alternative to Udemy

[Updated July 2018] I run across a lot of blog posts that aim to highlight an alternative to Udemy, the major online marketplace for publishing and selling online courses and a very popular option for subject matter entrepreneurs.

In most cases, though, these posts highlight platforms like Teachable or Thinkific as alternatives. While, technically speaking, these are good alternatives (and I am a fan of both), I suspect that a lot of people searching on “alternative to Udemy” or “sites like Udemy” are really looking for a substitute for Udemy.

Why does it matter?!

Simply put, an alternative represents a different way of achieving the same goal – in this case, selling online courses.

A substitute, on the other hand, is a replacement – in this case, a platform that offers nearly all of the same features as Udemy.

While that may sound like just a bunch of academic hair-splitting, it’s actually a critical difference. One of the main functions of Udemy, after all, is to offer a marketplace, a ready-made destination for people who are shopping for online courses. This is one of the main reasons that edupreneurs flock to Udemy in the first place.

So, sites like Udemy – ones that are really like Udemy – need to offer a marketplace.

While both Teachable and Thinkific – both often touted as Udemy alternatives – offer significant advantages over Udemy in many ways, they do not offer a marketplace – and, as far as I know, have no plans to. (For other options like Teachable and Thinkific, see 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses.)

So, what other platforms do offer a marketplace for your courses? That is, which sites like Udemy may truly be a substitute for Udemy rather than (or in addition to) an alternative to Udemy? Take a look at the following: [Read more…]

The Best Learning Management Systems for Small Businesses to Sell Online Courses

[Updated June 14, 2018] The “learning management systems for small businesses” category has improved dramatically in the past few years for businesses interested in selling online courses. It used to be that if you wanted to sell courses, you either had to develop custom software or bolt e-commerce onto platforms that were built for corporate training or delivering college classes. Needless to say, this usually came with plenty of headaches and and a less than ideal experience for customers and channel parters.

Learning Management System for Small Business - Photo of Learning Management System return key on keyboard

These days, many small businesses may be able to take advantage of the new breed of platforms geared toward solopreneurs and very small entrepreneurial businesses that I cover in 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses. This is particularly true, for example, of Teachable, which has begun expanding its efforts to support enterprise customers, or Thinkific, which has implemented very strong features for selling to custom groups.

However, based on my own experiences and feedback from many small business owners, some of these platforms may not meet the more sophisticated demands of established businesses, particularly those that already have a significant base of face-to-face education customers. That’s why I decided to create a separate “learning management system for small business” page.  The following is my short list of platforms to consider. [Read more…]

Two Thinkific Changes Worth Noticing (Even If You Don’t Use Thinkific)

Image of Thinkific Site Builder promo text and templates

I don’t often write posts that highlight a specific platform vendor, but I think it is worth noting a couple of changes that Thinkific has made to its platform recently.

One addresses an issue I get asked about all the time by readers. Another supports what I think is probably the biggest revenue opportunity for many course sellers.

Both changes speak to where I think platforms – and businesses – are headed in the edupreneur market. [Read more…]

Will your online course be held prisoner?

Photo of locked prison doorThere’s a critical question that should (but often doesn’t) get answered when selecting a platform. Namely, “How easy will it be to move my online course to another platform?

You see, most course platforms provide you with a variety of tools for creating online courses, and that can be great for getting you started quickly. The problem comes down the line when you decide that you either (a) want to be able to distribute your course through additional platforms (e.g., maybe one of your customers already has a platform of their own), or (b) you want to change to a new platform.

Platforms are all a little different in how they approach course authoring and there simply is no “easy button” for exporting your course from one platform and importing into another. In most cases, you are going to run into a lot of headaches trying to do that and you will usually just have to start from scratch when assembling all of your course components in a different platform.

Now, that may not matter much if [Read more…]