by Adam Preiser updated September 24, 2019

How To Make An Online Course Website

Learn how to turn your website into an online course website where you can sell courses, offer quizzes & certificates, every feature included.

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If you thought that expensive services like Kajabi, Teachable, Thinkific and the like were your only option for having an online course website, then think again.

Sure those services are great, but do you really want to pay hundreds of dollars per year on a platform that you don't own or truly control?

I made this simple to follow tutorial to show you exactly how to make an online course website for free. All that is required is a web hosting service and some of your time. That's it!

This how to make a website tutorial is the perfect Kajabi alternative or Teachable alternative. 

Tools & Services Used

Sales Page Download

SiteGround


SiteGround is a highly recommended web host online because they have catered to WordPress users and yet still have affordable pricing. They are most known for their fast performance and equally fast support.

Key SiteGround Features:

  • Free SSL Certificate
  • FAST Knowledgable Support
  • WordPress Staging Enviroment
  • Free Website Migrations
  • Daily Backups

SiteGround is a solid choice for your web hosting needs. They cater to WordPress websites and offer fewer resources than their competitors, but higher reliability.

Check Out SiteGround

Astra Theme


Astra is a free WordPress theme that is focused on speed. Optionally you can purchase the Pro version for $59 which adds some additional settings and options.

Key Astra Theme Features:

  • Not The Fastes Theme, But It's No Slouch
  • Lots Of Free Demo Sites
  • Flexable Mega Menu Feature
  • Custom Layouts Options
  • WooCommerce Support
  • LearnDash Support

Astra Theme is a fair choice for any WordPress web design project. I suppose the biggest question is if you even need to purchase a theme these days as page builders are doing all of the same things you would need a theme for. For example, Elementor has the free Hello theme that lets your page builder do all the work.

There are still some good reasons to purchase a pro theme, but for most people, they most likely will be fine with a free theme.

For me though, I think Astra Theme has not kept up with current trends and I no longer recommend it.

There are much better modern themes available that offer inbuilt header and footer builders vs being restricted to 3 layouts, plus more flexible page and post layouts.

Check Out Astra Theme

Elementor


Elementor is a WordPress page builder that has taken WordPress web design by storm. It has the deepest feature set, yet is very easy to use and master. Elementor is the most full-featured free page builder. There is also a Pro add-on to add additional developer features.

Key Elementor Features:

  • Live Front End Page Editor
  • Website Personalication Features
  • Template & Block Library
  • Extensive Mobile Responsive Options
  • Most Powerful Popup Builder
  • PRO Create Custom Headers / Footers
  • PRO Create Post Type Layouts

Elementor is the strongest page builder currently available. They consistently release new features that are in line with current design trends. This means you will be able to keep your website relevant.

Elementor Pro is an incredible value considering all the additional modules and power features that it includes.

If I were starting a new website project today, Elementor would be the page builder that I would choose. I consider it a must have WordPress page builder that is a pleasure to use.

Check Out Elementor

LifterLMS Website

LifterLMS


LifterLMS is a free learning management system for WordPress. They also have paid extensions available that start at $99 per year per site.

Key LifterLMS Features:

LifterLMS is great as a start. The one thing that I think is insane is their pricing model. Yes, I am complaining about pricing something I don't like doing.

You will at least need to buy 1 payment gateway, but really it's smart to offer more then one way for your customers to buy from you.

But man, the price of their bundles. I just want to know what they are smoking to come up with this stuff. I think their community and user base would grow so much faster if they had realistic pricing.

Check Out LifterLMS

Video Transcript

Adam
Adam
My passion is making the best quality video tutorial online, for non-techies. When I am not behind the camera, I am usually helping out one of my YouTube subscribers.

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  1. Hi,
    very nice & informative lecture, contributed me very much.
    i’m looking to build a platform that hosts multi-instructors (like coursera etc.)
    can your method be applied to creating a multi-instructor LMS that has a front-end course builder for the instructor without him having to go into wordpress backend?
    have you had experience ith learnpress plug-in?

    thanks.

  2. Hey Adam, thank you so much for all your generosity making all this content for us. I want to ask you, what do think about Cloudways hosting for make an oline courses website? For insert video lessons, which service you recomend a CDN or Vimeo embeded links? I’am a litte confuse about this, I aprreciate your response. Thank you, again!

    1. Cloudways is a really good hosting option. Keep in mind that sometimes their support is quite technical and it’s a different type of hosting, but it’s also faster than other types of hosting.

      For your videos, it will be more seamless to use Vimeo.

  3. Hi, thanks for the great videos. But I just cannot find the resources. Where is the Download resource files button ?

  4. Please I have downloaded your video tutorial on YouTube on how to create an online course in 30 minutes or less and it is the best, simplified and short have come across.
    Firstly I want to thank you for making that available to people like myself who have crash development idea.

    The latest version of lifterlms does not really support generatepress so they recommend launchpad but my problem are as follows
    1. I don’t know how to integrate the login and sign up page
    2. Price added to my course are not showing as well as the enroll or buy button
    3. Stripe for visa card payment is not supported in my country (Nigeria)

    Website: learntostand.com

  5. I have a question and no one answered including lifter LMS team ,hope you could. Suppose I enroll a student after payment . He will be given password and a user name . Now with same password, 10 different student can watch my course for free. How to ensure content security for unauthorize login? Since you have 1000 of courses can you give any hint how you have ensured that? Can I see concurrent logins on dashboard and block it or other options.I am stuck on it. Furthermore, which inmotion plan should I chose for selling online course? Waiting for your kind reply

    1. That’s more of a WordPress issue. There are several plugins that add functionality for that. There is also a custom function that you can add which will only allow 1 person to be logged in.

  6. hello adam
    tks for doing a great job. your vids are helping me a lot to create a learning web site. in the vid you included a css for the template. my issue is how do you save the template page with several courses because it seems all the links will point to the same template file, which will be a problem. how do you go about to ‘save as’ so that each course will point to its own file. i know you mentioned to create a table in the template but that doesnot work for what i want to do.
    once again keep up the good work. tks vry mch

  7. Hello

    Adam I would like to ask you a really quick question, but before i do i want to say thank you for all your really great youtube content, Awesome!

    here is my question
    – You made a really great videos on adding membership plugins to your website. I am using ultimate member to make my membership website as I like the way it looks and the way it is presented really encapsulates my vision for my website. Also its free. However I Keep getting this error message when i use the ultimate member plugin.

    “The page isn’t redirecting properly. Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.”

    I think the reason why im getting this message is because of the combination of theme im using(astra Starter site Outdoor adventure) and the page builder(elementor) is not best for using ultimate member, and i would like to know your honest opinion is ultimate member trash, and i should scrap it, or i should i use a different combination of theme and builder please advise as it would help a lot.

    Thank You
    Kristopher Censhaw.

    1. I doubt that would be the cause. Have you reached out to Ultimate Member for help?

  8. I’m from Brazil and I do not understand English well.

    I really like your content. Congratulations!!!

    Paypal is with high price.
    At least the option of payment via Paypal should be present for free.

    Can you adapt an automatic payment option using manual mode?

    I find the value of 99 $ very high.

    1. Like I explained in the video, you can sell your courses with WooComemrce for zero cost, and manually grant access to your course buyers.

  9. This is an amazing course. I’m at the very end of the course where you change the sales page. You mentioned that you have a template in the description box for the sales page, but I don’t see one. I have downloaded the LifterLMS custom plugin already…am I missing something?

    Thank you for all of the hard work that you put into creating these videos for us.

    1. Sorry, that link was in the video description on YouTube. I just added the link here as well.

  10. please i will like to build my online course website and i dont have much to pay for the plugin, what alternative i can use

    1. You can use the free LifterLMS. You can’t sell courses without an addon, but there is nothing stopping you from selling a course via WooCommerce and manually giving access until you can afford one of the payment gateways.

  11. Hey Adam,

    Love your video’s, I find them very helpful. I have a question though that you may not have covered in your videos…

    You mention in one of your videos that you only needed to purchase the LifterLMS PayPal addon, so I was curious, how do you add students to a mailing list when they sign up to your website courses? Do you actually do this manually?

    Which autoresponder service do you use to handle the signups?

    1. There are several ways to do that depending on the email service you use. For example, my email marketing service has a WordPress plugin that will automatically do it. Optionally you can use WPFusion, which I use on this site, and it will automatically do all that for you along with a ton of other things.

      1. This is just what I need, thanks for doing good work, so I can just use the information you gathered.

  12. Hi, the video is very good. I followed the steps of the video and a question arises. I have imported the template of the Astra Site. Everything is going very well but I can not make the blog page look like Wpcrafter.com. For example, you have all thumbnails with the title of the blog post. I want to remove the links to the date and comments. How can I only see the thumbnail image and the title of the entry? I don’t want to show meta (author, date, comments). I tell you that I have the free version of the Astra and the Elementor. Best regards.

  13. Hi Adam (from Rome, Italy?)… I’m an happy owner of Memberpress plugin. Is it possible to bypass these expensive payment gateway extensions locking all lesson pages with Memberpress? It could be a solution and should extend the business model of a learning site (adding the possibility to create memeberships).
    Thanks again for your useful job and tutorials?
    Bye
    Alessio

    P.S. I tell you a secret?: I already successfully use in one of my course sites, the original PayPal gateway add-on that you put, long time ago, on your repository for your subscribers and it works like a charm even if I didn’t make any update?

  14. Adam, do you plan to shortly release a “How To Make An Online Course Website” for 2019? I’ve just watched the 2018 video and really benefitted from it. However, I’ll hang on and wait if you have a new video due shortly. Thanks so much for all yout work & support!

  15. Hi Adam. As Lifter LMS charges for its payment gateway plugins, would an alternative & cheaper option be to connect with Paypal, Stripe etc through Woo Commerce instead? Would this bypass the need for paying for the Lifter payment gateway extension? Many thanks

  16. I have seen a lot of people selling their courses for lifetime access how does that work? I am going to be selling some courses but I don’t understand that concept. Please can you guide me? Thank you so much!

  17. Do you have a coupon for those who may need to purchase after testing the free version?

      1. Thanks for clarifying. I also got the impression that one must pay at least $99 for LifterLMS, which is their startup bundle, or $299 or $999 depending on the type of learning systems business you are creating/managing. I would be interested in the free option because I am very new to this business, but have lots of ideas that I want to test out. I am looking for the right platform, and I appreciate your videos. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for letting me know, I must’ve been testing something on this post only.

    1. Not at the moment, but I may reenable them. Trying to see how few plugins I can run on my site.

  18. Very helpful…But what do you use for a payment gateway/ take payments? This wasn’t clear from the list…Thanks again.

  19. Creative idea thanks, i want to develope online learning website or blog can you do this.

  20. Hi Adam,
    Thanks for so nice video. I am building my website on wordpress. I have a strange problem with astra theme, when i try to import it to my website, it give show import failed with error [object Object].

  21. Hi Adam, Do you have any instructions (or a video) for how to use Lifter LMS with a genesis child theme? I am also looking to be able to customize the look and make the pages nice like you did with the Astra theme.

    1. It would be a ton of manual CSS styling work. That is why sometimes it’s much easier to go with a theme that does all that for you.

  22. Hey Adam, this looks great! Can you something similar with LearnDash and Thrive Apprentice? Now that Thrive is integrating with SendOwl, I am
    Considering them for my course, especially since I already own Thrive and won’t be paying extra. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

  23. Hey Adam, this looks like a great set up. I wish it had been around when I set up all our courses on CourseCraft. Maybe someday soon I’ll move it all to this combo. BTW did you know that the descriptions repeat two times?

    1. Ahh I have never heard of CourseCraft. If it ain’t broken, then don’t fix it. And yea I do know about the repeating. I am testing some future changes. In the process of releasing a new website.

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