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Hosting Your Online Course

When it comes to hosting your online course, you have two main options: self-host or use a third-party platform to host. There are benefits and challenges to both routes. Today I’m going to teach you the difference between the methods. By the end of this post, I want you to be confident in making this crucial decision. Remember, knowledge is power.

Option 1: Self-Host

Why self-host?

When you choose to self-host you need to be comfortable with higher risk and rewards. You retain complete control of the process and final outcome of your course. You also must do all the work behind creating a successful course: market research, promotion, advertising, building the actual course, and deciding on the price.

The best part about self-hosting is the freedom it gives you to choose how to produce and sell your course. When you go through a third party platform to host your course, you must play by their rules and inevitably forfeit some control over your product.

What is self-hosting?

Self-hosting your course is the act of building, promoting, and selling a course on your own website with total control of the format, advertising, and price of your product. You also assume full responsibility for each phase of this process and the final outcome, good or bad.

How do I self-host my first online course?

There are many ways you can self-host your online course, but today I’m going to walk you through hosting with Vimeo Plus. Why Vimeo? Because it’s cheap, easy to use, and offers solid analytics to really understand who is watching your videos and how long they watch for.

There are five steps you need to take in order to self-host a Vimeo video on your website.
  1. Create a Vimeo Plus account: Head on over to Vimeo and sign up for a plus account. With Vimeo Plus you get unlimited bandwidth, password protection, and private link sharing. These tools are essential for protecting your site and offering your course to paid customers and not people looking for free giveaways.
  2. Upload your video: Navigate to the video section of your profile and click on upload your chosen video.
  3. Change the privacy: You will want to change the settings of your Vimeo course so that only paying customers can see it. First, password protect your video by selecting a password that your audience will need to type in before they can watch the video. Second, change the embedded settings to only allow the video to be embedded on sites you choose. Otherwise, people could embed your course on their site for free.
  4. Create a password protected page: This is where you will post your video and share it with your customers. You can do this simply on Wordpress, or if you like Blogger you can do a variation of this on your blogger site.
  5. Create a sales page that links to your video page: First, learn how to create a great sales page. Next, make sure to include a PayPal button at the bottom so that customers pay for access to your site. You then send them the required passwords and you’re all set.

Option 2: Use an outside platform to host

Why use a platform?

While you may forfeit some control when choosing to use a platform to host your site instead of self-hosting, platforms come with a unique set of advantages and opportunities. First, much of the marketing is done for you. When you are just starting out, it can be hard to drive traffic to your video. That’s where platforms help you gain exposure and lead to increased business.

It all really depends on how much time you have and how willing you are to do the extra steps. If you want a fast, easy start with fewer controls then platforms are the way to go.

What is platform hosting?

Platform hosting means taking a video you create and own and parking it on a popular platform website like Udemy, Thinkific, or Teachable in order to tap into a wider audience from the start.

How do I use a platform to host my course?

There are so many good options when it comes to platforms to host your online course. I’m going to go over the steps for Udemy, but many of these steps will be similar across multiple platforms.
  1. Create a Udemy account: Create an account on Udemy using your email.
  2. Sign up to be an instructor: It costs you nothing to become an instructor. All you need is an idea and a passion for sharing your idea.
  3. Structure your course: After creating your course log on to the instructor dashboard and pick your target audience. Setup your curriculum by uploading videos and photos. Give each lesson a title and perhaps throw in some educational quizzes for your audience to remember your content.
  4. Publish your course: Before you publish you will need a Udemy sales page. This is the landing page that introduces your course and gives your audience a clear reason why they need your lessons. Be sure to give them clear value and make it worth their time to check out your course.
So there you have it, the two main options and simple steps on how to host your course. What hosting options have you experimented with? What works best for you?

Related Articles

How to Validate Your Online Course
Creating Your First Online Course
6 Crucial Reasons You Need to Create an Online Course
Finding Your Lecture Style


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