If you’re like me, one of your biggest pet peeves is confusing technology, especially when embarking on something completely new – like selling online courses. For many, technology is the first major roadblock that makes them want to throw in the towel. That’s why it’s smart to start off simple! After all, simple is just another word for “efficient”.
If you’re new to the e-learning realm and looking for a simple and cost-effective solution to create and sell online courses, then I’d highly recommend Coursecats. Coursecats gives you everything you need while leaving out all the rest. Its simplicity is borne out of its minimalist nature.
To understand what I mean, read on for a detailed Coursecats review.
What is Coursecats?
Coursecats combines premium theme elements with a powerful custom plug-in that reconfigures the backend dashboard of your WordPress (WP) site so that you can create and sell online courses all on one platform. Rather than having to spend thousands on web developers and designers, Coursecats takes on most of the burden by giving you absolutely everything you need to begin.
It functions as a hybrid solution between self-hosted online course platforms and third-party platforms because there are:
- Monthly fees (not just a one-time plug-in or theme fee)
- Extensive technical support (much more than you typically get with a plug-in or theme)
- Pre-designed WordPress templates (made especially for creating and selling courses)
- Hosting of courses on your own personal WordPress Website
So, while there are monthly fees, in exchange for them you get significant technical support – including a concierge service to set up your site – and your courses are part of your own Web site, meaning you have ultimate freedom with the look and feel of your course, pages, and brand.
Compare that to many third-party platforms that:
- Are very expensive
- Charge transaction fees
- Provide poorly-designed templates
- Offer very little, if any, integrations
If all of that sounds great, let’s take a closer look to determine if Coursecats is right for your particular needs.
Who uses Coursecats?
Firstly, people who like to get high quality things done quickly! I was shocked at some of the testimonies from – yes – real users who lauded how easy the process was. For example, one female entrepreneur mentioned creating her entire course from scratch over just one weekend. By Monday, she had made her first sale! Keep in mind that she wasn’t only completely new to the Coursecats platform, she was also completely new to course creation! Clearly, you can’t go wrong.
If you have a concept for a course, it’s important to get it done quickly! Momentum is important in business. Too many aspiring edupreneurs lose motivation and give up on their goals, and technological hang-ups are one of the biggest reasons. But Coursecats allows you to do a backflip over these hurdles so you can begin making money right away. Honestly, what could be more motivating than that?
In addition, Coursecats is definitely more appealing to people who are interested in simple and mainly video-driven course abilities. It might offer less in the way of functionality if you’re more sophisticated from an instructional standpoint. But even if you have been in the e-learning realm as long as I have, WordPress accommodates countless integrations for your customization needs. Don’t worry, these integrations don’t mean that you have to be a techie, they just mean that you can integrate all the other software that you’re familiar with into your site to maximize functionality!
Long story short, if you want to build a beautiful site that looks like it was developed by a 6-figure brand expert quickly and with minimal technological hassles, then give Coursecats a try! They offer a free 30-day trial!
What is WordPress (WP)?
By now, you’ve probably figured out that you need to have a WP site to use Coursecats. As a matter of fact, Coursecats is a common option for people who already run their own websites using WordPress because it allows you to host more than one course on the same platform using the same URL, which is super handy! If you are like most edupreneurs, you are probably tired of feeling overwhelmed with managing a long list of subscriptions to various software service.
WordPress is the most widely-used platform in the world for authoring blogs, creating beautiful websites, and developing software applications. By using plug-ins – third-party software with extra bundled functionality – you can essentially build your site into anything you want. The Coursecats plug-in (Course Nips) reconfigures your WP backend so that the interface is pretty much the same but still separate from your other/blog posts.
It also comes with plenty of different themes and templates to design your course and sales pages. The themes that WordPress regularly provides require expert design or programming skills, without which your site would look embarrassingly unprofessional. But once you’ve got Coursecats set up, you’ll have access to professional-looking website themes that make it look like you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars!
The Initial Setup – Coursecats Concierge Service
But what if you don’t have a WordPress site already? You might feel as though setting up a new WP site, domain hosting, and domain name is a lot of work. Don’t worry! It’s super easy to get setup! Coursecats has a concierge service that will walk you through the steps of installing WP, installing the Coursecats plugin, and pointing your URL to your webhost. And, if you’re curious about what all of these things are, Coursecats explains everything to you while doing the work for you, making the process more efficient.
How does it all work?
The backend of Coursecats is easy to navigate. Once their concierge services have set you up, then you can let your common sense and intuition navigate for you, especially if you already use WP for your Web site(s). Everything becomes a simple matter of plug and play.
The first thing you need to know is that all of the lessons or modules will be video-based. As a result, you can simply upload a premade video or add the video’s embed code from a site like Vimeo or Wistia. Actually, the latter options – like Vimeo, Wistia, and even YouTube – are the best route to take. Video files are huge, so if you upload many of them directly to your site, the sun will rise and fall before your site loads.
In addition, with a simple click of a button, you can also include PDFs, cheat sheets, MP4s, PowerPoint slides, and much more! All of these links are impossible for your audience to miss since they show up directly below the video lesson. It’s all up to you what to include, but the possibilities – even from an instructional standpoint – are vast.
It’s important that you focus on keeping your course nicely organized into different sections. So, the first thing that you do once you’re all set up and in the WP dashboard is click “Add New” near the top-left or side margin of the webpage. You can’t miss it! Then you can simply follow the instructions based on the logical order that the options are being presented to you.
For example, once you’re in, simply add the title of your course, lesson, or module and then from left to right, click on the tabs below where you can put in your images, descriptions, etc. If you’re not familiar with what a “Hero” image is, it is a banner image at the very top of your lesson page that your students or customers will see first.
You can also add introductory options, videos, and additional text. And right above the publish button (in blue to the right), you can preview the lesson to see how Coursecats structures everything for your customers. You’ll see how your students will be able to access your teacher’s notes, FAQs, and discussion questions for additional learner engagement. You can tell that Coursecats doesn’t simply focus on making the interface navigable for you – the creator – they also highly prioritize simplicity for the students as well.
Professional designs for your brand
As mentioned, the beauty of Coursecats is that they’ve provided tried and tested templates that make your brand look highly professional and maximize customer conversion rates. The pre-designed layouts are absolutely stunning and I doubt you’ll need much more than that, especially as a beginner. However, if you’d like to tweak things, then you could always hire a developer or pick up some CSS skills. In this way, regardless of your background, you’re never limited!
By the time you’re done, you’ll have a beautiful sales space, landing page, course page, etc. You’ll be able to show everyone what’s in the course, list awesome bonuses, tell them who the course is for, include more copy, provide answers to FAQs, and provide sign up buttons where people can opt-in to email collection and marketing campaigns and much more, all due to one plug-in.
Tutorials and technical support
Just because the interface is simple and intuitive doesn’t mean that Coursecats has skimped on customer support. One of the biggest features that makes it stand out amongst its competitors are the tutorials and technical support. Reviewers all over the internet have been raving about them. Though customer support is only through email, most people report that they not only receive responses in less than 24 hours, but that the support staff are consistently kind, courteous, and even funny!
One particularly helpful aspect of the tutorials that Coursecats offers is that it is a step-by-step guide. It’s not like you learn the entire process and then begin. You can learn along the way! I tend to be frustrated by tutorials that practically force me to watch the whole thing when I only need help with a certain aspect. It’s a waste of time. But Coursecats has done a great job at helping you minimize the time it takes to develop and get your course to market. Quickness is a priority, remember?
Therefore, you simply watch the video, do step 1, watch the video, do step 2. You’re not expected to memorize all the steps because they walk with you, making the overall process more productive, less time-consuming, and with minimal learning curves. And because it is a step-by-step guide, you can easily zero-in on the relevant parts if you get lost, say, in the middle or towards the end of development.
Additional Coursecats features
- Landing pages
- Video Series pages
- Membership integrations
- Unlimited updates
Coursecats, at no additional cost, gives you access to handy features like landing pages. This is your storefront where people get their first impression of your brand. You can upload your own logo and collect email addresses for marketing campaigns.
You also get a video series page which I highly recommend to maximize your customer conversion rates. You can create a valuable and compelling video that paves the way towards your course with a clever call to action at the end.
Much like the video series page, blog pages were also highly requested by customers and recently implemented by Coursecats. Much like the course page and landing page, Coursecats has designed the blog to be simple, elegant, and effective. Your customers can simply scroll down, click on what they’d like to read, as well as comment and link the blog to their social media sites.
In addition, one of the handiest integrations that Coursecats enables is memberships. Memberships allow you to interact with your customer base more intimately while generating residual income from monthly or annual subscription plans. You can create exclusive offerings for members-only, granting them access to a free course, bonuses, coupons, etc. There are many WP plugins for this purpose, but here are 5 solid options:
- Member Press
- Paid Memberships Pro
The nice thing about Coursecats is that they’re truly open to feedback and quick implementations. As mentioned, the video series pages and blog were highly requested and some of Coursecats’ latest additions. That in itself functions as another noteworthy feature of Coursecats – unlimited and regular updates. They’re quite diligent when it comes to keeping pace with the ideas and trends within the e-learning realm, as well as new designs that are tested to ensure high conversion rates.
Not only is Coursecats highly affordable, but their pricing plans are straightforward – one monthly plan and one annual plan. As usual, you get a substantial discount with the annual plan – a saving of $211 per year. The features in both plans are nevertheless identical.
Try it out free for 30-days! Like many other Coursecats users, you might even be able to get your course up and running and make your first sale all within the trial period, imagine that!
A quick final note on pricing – while you do need a credit card to sign up, you’re under zero obligations. Feel free to cancel at any time by emailing the support staff!
If you are looking a way to sell online courses from your own Web site – especially video courses – and you use or plan to use WordPress, it is hard to beat Coursecats as a great looking solution that makes it easy to get up and running. You’ll get the full flexibility and benefits of WordPress as your home base Web site while also having the tools you need to build out a catalog of engaging online courses. If that all sounds good, give Coursecats a try today!
By Sydney Mansaray for Learning Revolution