How to Build A Successful Online Course That People Want to Buy in 2024

Discover the Secrets to Creating a Profitable Online Course in 2024. Increase Your Income with Our Proven Strategies and Techniques.

Are you ready to launch a wildly successful online course in 2024? Discover proven tactics for crafting an irresistible learning experience that attracts eager students. From content creation to marketing, this video provides expert insights into building a highly sought-after online course. Dive into the must-know tips and techniques – click play and start turning your course dreams into reality!

This Week Show’s Sponsors

LifterLMS: LifterLMS

Sensei LMS: Sensei LMS

BlogVault: BlogVault

First Half – General Principles

#1 -Qualifying Possible Membership

#2 – Validation

#3 – Transformation

#4 – Proof

#5 – Scalability

#6 – Do Not Inflate Your Course Outcome Claims

Second Half of the show – The Best Membership Website Platform

#1 – Kajabi –

Prices Basic $149 | Growth $199 | Pro $399

#2 – WordPress

– a – Hosting

-b – LifterLMS

-c – Kadence WP

– d- FluentCRM

WP-Tonic Price: $55 per month or $35 per month paid yearly with zero transaction fees.

#3 – Podia –

Prices Starter $9 per month 8% fees | Mover $39 5% fees | Shaker $89 per month zero transaction fees

#4 – Teachable –

Prices Basic $59 and 5% transaction fees | Pro $159 Zero transaction fees | Pro + $249 Zero transaction fees

#5 – Might Networks –

Prices Community $39 | Business $119 | Pro price on request

#6 – Simplero –

Prices Starter $70.80 | Scale $178.80 | Skyrocket $298.80

The Show’s Main Transcript

[00:00:17.090] – Jonathan Denwood

Welcome back, folks, to the membership Machine show. It’s our first show for the new year, 2024. May I wish you a happy new year? I’ve got a special guest; he’s a semi-regular, but it’s always great having Kirk on the show. In this particular show, we’re going to be talking about how to build a successful online course that people want to buy in 2024. It’s a slightly important subject. I think we got some tremendous broad insights. What we’re going to be doing in the first half of the show is that we’re going to be discussing the key elements that you have to understand based on our experience. Then, in the second part of the show, we’re going to discuss some of the platforms that you can utilize to build a membership business based on the principles that we outlined in the first part of the show. I think that’s reasonably logical, and you should get some great value. So Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

[00:01:28.390] – Kurt von Ahne

Sure thing, Jonathan. My name is Kurt von Anan. I own a company called Manyana Nomas. I also have a podcast by the same name. Our agency focuses on learning and membership websites, and I work directly with great companies like Lifter, LMS, and WP-Tonic here.

[00:01:44.560] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s great. And before we go into the meat and potatoes of this great show, we’ve got a couple of messages from our major sponsors. We will be back in a few moments, folks.

[00:01:55.350] – Kurt von Ahne

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[00:02:29.550] – Speaker 3

Are you looking for ways to make your content more engaging? Sensei LMS by Automatic is the original WordPress solution for creating and selling online courses. Sensei’s new interactive blocks can be added to any WordPress page or post. For example, interactive videos let you pause videos and display quizzes, lead generation forms, surveys, etc. For a 20% discount for the tribe. Just use the code WP tonic, all one word, when checking out, and give Sensei a try today.

[00:02:59.690] – Jonathan Denwood

We’re coming back, folks. I also want to point out we’ve got a special sponsor for January: Cloudways. Cloudways provides hosting, cloud-based hosting. They’re a reputable provider. Go and have a look at what they’ve got to offer. They also, in the show notes, which you will find on the WP-Tonic website, they’re offering a special deal, and the information will be in the show notes. So let’s go straight into think. I think one of the things that people struggle with is that they want to offer a course for the biggest audience possible. And there’s going to be a qualifier to what I say about this because it’s linked to 0.2. But apart from your initial starter course, which, like I say, we’re going to discuss in, .2 I think your main course, I think people, I think you want actually to interview people, or you want to have an assessment process because having everybody enter your course can cause problems in that they’re not suitable to really benefit from what you’re offering. What are your own thoughts about all this?

[00:04:42.650] – Kurt von Ahne

Well, I’m trying to think of digital marketing terms, right? People say you need to identify your avatar, you need to market specifically to who your target audience is. And you’re right, you don’t want to sell something on false pretenses to an audience that won’t find value in the content. So you want to make sure that it is derived for a specific group of people. But then I think there are so many other layers that become part of this conversation, and that is, is my project selling a course? Like, did I develop this website to sell a course, or am I more focused on a series of courses and a possible membership kind of idea? And I think that opens up like different layers of your approach.

[00:05:30.890] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I see where you’re coming from. I want to quantify what I’ve just said. I think it really is dependent on the price point and the outcome. I think a lot of people see value when they’re building a course around volume. We provide so many lessons and so much information where it should be focused on outcome. Outcome and what benefit financially, time wise, what outcomes do the students get from going through the course now, if the course is going to help them generate tens of thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars, what I’m really trying to focus here is the value proposition, which should be linked to the price of the course. If it’s a course that is being offered below $50, you can have value. It’s a quick introduction, it’s a quick 101, or it’s the focus on a very specific outcome but if we are talking about the higher levels, the courses, I think when you’re talking about the higher level where there’s going to be a lot more touch personalization and touch points either through group counseling, coaching, or one to one coaching, it could be even an element of physical meetup element to it which you get all these options in the higher end when you’re talking about that level.


[00:07:30.710] – Jonathan Denwood

I think having qualification check through questionnaire, through one to one interviewing to make sure the individual, because soon as it’s a bit like any kind of project, if you’re building a website out, as soon as you take somebody’s money, you’re expected that they’re going to get the outcome. And allowing the wrong people into these higher levels can be very corrosive to the progress of your business. Have I explained that a bit better, Kurt?


[00:08:17.480] – Kurt von Ahne

Yeah, and I agree with you on that topic. If you don’t have the right blend of users in your environment, it’s that bad apple in the basket thing, that negativity can spread and can damage your branding, your name, your future sales, all of that. So yeah, having a way to pre qualify people, whether through form or through a sample quiz or something like that, is a really good angle to go.


[00:08:47.530] – Jonathan Denwood

On to the second point. So that was qualifying possible membership. And I think that is dependent on the price point of your course. Right. And the outcome that, the outcome that you’re offering of the know. So there are variables there, folks. So let’s go to. .2.


[00:09:13.470] – Kurt von Ahne

I want to jump in on something. I want to make sure that we describe this well enough for listeners because I think this is something that gets missed a lot, Jonathan, and you’ve nailed it. But I want to make sure it’s really clear when you say the outcome. For instance, let’s take the power sport academy thing for two years. I was like, we’ll raise your parts and labor data, we’ll raise your income. We’ll do this, we’ll do that. And all that time it was basically selling on the vitamin prospect that we spoke on lots of times. And then over time, I realized that wasn’t what was going to get people to want to take the course, that wasn’t what was going to get my avatar to make the purchase. It really came down to, hey, if you own a motorcycle dealership and customers are calling your cell phone to complain about your service department, I can make those phone calls stop. That was the result. The result of the training was that pain point. Not necessarily. Not like this lesson does this and this lesson does that and all those benefits and features. A lot of people that are making the purchase decision don’t care about the benefits and features.


[00:10:25.740] – Kurt von Ahne

They want to know what painful item are you going to take out of my life if I put people in this course? And that’s really selling to that point, I think is what’s going to help people drive more success.


[00:10:37.440] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I totally agree on to validation. That is down to my concept, which I totally admit I borrowed totally from the startup community. And Rob Rowling, he does a great podcast, which I think if you’re looking to build a membership business, folks, his podcast startups for the rest of us is aimed at startups. But I think you would get some benefit by listening because a lot of the concepts of a startup business you can apply to building a membership website in my opinion. And they’ve got this concept in the startup world and rob pushes it quite a bit and I think he’s correct, of a minimum viable products. Well, I think you should be looking at building a minimum viable course, especially if it’s your initial dive into this world. And obviously it can’t be too minimal. What I mean by that, it has to get a clear benefit. I think dealing with the painkiller is easier to get a focus on than the vitamin myself. So look at building a minimum viable course, not what I call a war and peace course. I think you can do that for the next course. And the benefit you get from this is you’re more focused, you’ll get it out and get feedback.


[00:12:24.010] – Jonathan Denwood

And you need those students, those first batch of students to come through the course so you can tweak and adjust. So they do get outcome, they do get some benefit. Because I am going to tell you that the bits that you think they’re going to rave about, they’re not. And the bits you think they’re not going to rave about, they are going to hopefully rave about. I also put this to you. I think this minimum viable course you can either utilize, do some additional videos and put them on YouTube and then feed them, or I’m a great believer of putting your first course on Unami and a low ticket price just to get feedback. But you can do either the unime you’re utilizing their marketplace just to generate, but probably you want to do that maybe at a later stage because you might be better. I’ll be interested in your feedback because if it’s your first one, put it on unimy. You’re really depending on the subject and you need to find your niche, especially if you’re going to put something on Unam, but it’s going to be pushed to a large audience. So maybe you need that initial feedback and tweak it and then you can decide to utilize it on unimy as a feeder into a larger course offering you can offer on the subject.


[00:14:16.510] – Jonathan Denwood

Is this making sense or what’s your own thoughts about this?


[00:14:19.970] – Kurt von Ahne

No, it makes sense. And I think of this in terms of like lead magnets. So at first you were talking know validation, but it’s got to be substantial enough to provide a value, right? So if you have like a white paper, a white paper is not a sample course. A white paper is a lead magnet, right? That leads someone to a sample course, but then having something substantial as in a five to six lesson short course, that’s a great sample. And to your point, you could put that on udemy and then use their marketplace to drive traffic to it. And when someone gets to that last lesson, you’re like, if you enjoyed this sample course, we have a full course or an expanded course or a more detailed course at this resource. And that’s how you get that traffic over to your property because they won’t.


[00:15:10.360] – Jonathan Denwood

Share their email list with you. That’s the main problem. But you just got to treat it as a way of getting your name out because they got a big audience and if you got a particular, you got to look at the offerings out there. If you can find a micronich or a niche and it’s inexpensive, start course and at the end of it you can offer a freebie. Go to my website and as a sign of us rejoicing together that you’re end of my course, I’m offering you a freebie. Just go here and sign up and get this freebie and then they’re on your email list. And then you can then introduce them to a larger course or ask them.


[00:16:02.150] – Kurt von Ahne



[00:16:04.950] – Jonathan Denwood

Get them to prepay to help you finance the course that you’re building out about the subject. There’s loads of ways of doing this. I just think it’s excellent if you use udemy or you can use YouTube in a similar way. Both work and I think, but utilize that initial course to clarify that you are solving a problem and you will have to tweak the course a bit. The businesses I’ve started, they’ve always been a windy river journey. The things that I thought people were going to rave about, they haven’t. I’ve dropped them and I’ve just learned from people and listen a bit. You should be listening very a lot to your initial students and try and get them to give you feedback because it’s really important, folks. Answer point free transformation. Well, your minimum viable course, if you’re at the starter or let’s say your next step, which is your bigger course, this is where I’m not a great believer in volume, just for the sake of volume. It’s about, let’s say you’re on your second course, you’ve done this minimum viable course, then you’ve put it on to unimy or you’re broken it up in.


[00:17:46.500] – Jonathan Denwood

You’re offering it as a lower price lead. Magnum. And you’re utilizing some of it on YouTube to generate leads. Those first batch of students. And that feedback should be utilized that your next course, you’re actually getting the outcomes from the people that you can’t guarantee anything to anybody. They got to watch the videos, they got to do the quizzes, they got to concentrate on what you’re doing. They got to put effort in. It doesn’t just happen out of magic, but if you got a normal student and they’re doing the things that are expected of them, they should get outcomes. Outcomes aren’t about volume of the course. They’re about somebody thinking about it and laying out their course structure. So if they follow it, they’re going to get some of the hopeful outcomes. What’s your own views about this?


[00:18:58.980] – Kurt von Ahne

Kurt? I have a lot of. Jonathan, you know, I considered myself a voracious reader, and I compare this idea to books and writing books. I am more of a bullet point kind of communicator. I’m very direct in my communication, especially when I write. And so I’m a big fan of John Maxwell. I read a lot of John Maxwell books, but in reality, it’s like, there’s this much that’s actionable for me, and there’s this much of fluff in those books because he talks about his previous experiences and his stories and his this and his that and someone, John Wooden and all these things. And then when I write and publish a book, it ends up being like this pamphlet, and I’m like, is that enough? And I have to remind myself that it is enough because the content is there. The content, the ideas, because the strategies are contained. Those books that I’ve written aren’t books for entertainment’s sake. They’re there for educational sake. And as a learner, I would rather get the information up front than mixed in with a bunch of fluff. And so as you make those transformations in your site and in your offerings, you have to consider your communication style and the desired outcome and the communication style of your membership or your audience.


[00:20:20.630] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I see where you’re coming from. It’s a mixture. But do remember, Kurt, that there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of fluff there, but there’s also. Parable is powerful. Some of the master teachers use parables to show as introduction to more detailed information. But I do understand where you’re coming from because there is a lot of fluff out there.


[00:20:52.750] – Kurt von Ahne

Yeah, and don’t add it just for the sake of volume. Like Jonathan said, make sure that there’s a link, the value to the content or that the ideas translate or transmit well with the content. And you’ll know that when you get the feedback from the students. That’s why that feedback loop is so important. Yes.


[00:21:12.950] – Jonathan Denwood

Proof? Well, it’s linked to qualifying possible membership. If you’re on that second course or on that third course, I know you’re thinking, I want success on the first course, folks. Sometimes it happens, but it’s normally a gradual build up over. That’s why you don’t want to spend too much time on the first course. Do not spend a year building out some more. And please call spokes. Three months to get this first course out. And then maybe the second course, six months. And maybe your big high purchase price course, bit more than six, six to eight. But you should be working on it at the same tiny bit as you’re working on the middle course. And then I think you would have a good spread of offerings to people at different stages of their journey, depending on your experience level. I think that’s a good mixture. Beginner, intermediate, advance. But unless you’re doing these things, you’re not going to get proof. And what proof is, is getting those testimonials, getting those video testimonials, you should have an onboarding process and you should have an offboarding process. And that offboarding process is if somebody’s completed the course, they’re not normally in the frame of mind.


[00:22:57.760] – Jonathan Denwood

If they’ve got some value, they are very happy to have an offboarding chat with you on Zoom and you should record that. And at the end of it, you should ask them, is it okay that you can give us some feedback about how you found the course? And that can be your video testimonials. They are very important that they are placed on your website and they’re utilized for social media because it’s great talking about how great WP tonic hosting is. It’s great Kurt talks about his power course, which is fantastic. It’s great that we talk. It’s much more powerful when other people say, well, WP Tonic’s a great service and it’s great hosting and they go the extra mile for us or people that’s gone through Kirk’s power call say, well, it was a change in the whole way that I saw about running our maintenance department and it really changed the outlook. It’s much more powerful that other people say those things that we say it. What do you reckon, Kurt?


[00:24:18.110] – Kurt von Ahne

Yeah, that third party edification thing is gold. It is absolute gold. And whenever you can get that, it’s worth, you know, ironically, it’s one of the things I hate asking for.


[00:24:33.300] – Jonathan Denwood



[00:24:35.430] – Kurt von Ahne

Hey, well, I got you. Could you have a couple of nice words you could say about blah, blah, blah, but you got to do it and you got to capture it and then you have to use it, you have to reuse it.


[00:24:49.000] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, but that’s why I think it’s really good to have off balding process. You don’t see it. A lot of people don’t do this. Folks, I’m not suggesting you should do it with your initial course. Or maybe you should. Well, yeah, you should. Actually, I’m totally wrong. What was I thinking, Jonathan? Because that off balding, you’re going to give you opportunity to get a lot of feedback about the next course. Here’s a little bit early for me, folks.


[00:25:17.830] – Kurt von Ahne

Let’s be fair with folks, it doesn’t have to be a Zoom call with every user when they finish. What’s a really good tactic for this is, for instance, if you’re using lifter lms, you would just add a quiz to the last lesson and that quiz would really be a survey. What did you think of the course? ABC 1231 through five, one through ten, whatever. Ask a couple of scaled questions and then if they score really high, if they give you a nine or a ten out of ten, that’s when you send them the personal email that says, hey, thank you so much for your positive survey results. Would you be up for a quick Zoom call and a possible testimonial? And then boom, you’ve got it.


[00:26:01.810] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, great. Scalability. Well, that’s why I’m saying everybody thinks on my first, like I say, back to the same thing, should be a minimum viable course. Oh, it’s going to be a huge success and blah, blah. If you got injured, you probably wouldn’t cope with it anyway. You’re probably doing this and you got a full time job, which is the great thing of doing this, folks. It’s totally plausible to gradually build up a business that can be a real great second income. Or if you’re in that mind, you might be getting close to retirement. And this could be a lot of people, they do not deal with retirement that well because they got too much time on their hands and this can be a great contribution. Or if you’re really not liking what you’re doing at the present moment, it’s a legitimate way you can build up something to escape and have a different pathway. But the idea, you got to have a process that’s scalable, especially if you’re dealing with the lower ticket price courses, it’s not quite such a problem if they’re getting the outcome, if they’re not, or if it’s not well structured course, you’re going to get a load of support tickets, right?


[00:27:29.730] – Jonathan Denwood

But when you enter the medium to higher price levels, which are more profitable, just be frank about it, folks. Well, they should be. If you don’t have processes onboarding and work out the flow, it won’t be scalable. And you also work out what you’re offering, because if you get 100 people in your course and they’re active, you can’t offer them all one to one coaching. It’s not sustainable. What do you reckon about this, Kurt?


[00:28:11.790] – Kurt von Ahne

You’re all right on the money with all of that, Jonathan, you’ve got to have a process and you’ll grow that as you dive into it, right? So you’ll start to recognize things that you do on a repetitive basis. And when you find yourself doing the same thing three times, four times, it’s really worth the effort. Know, write a note or write a process or a procedure for what you’re know down the road. People say, well, Kurt, how did you grow your membership and know agency? Well, I was full time employed before Jonathan, but I don’t know anything about baseball or football. Right. So my time went into doing this and now I do it full time and I love it. But it’s over those years I put everything to a process and I actually created tutorials so that when I delegate or hire contractors to do stuff for me, I can instantly train them on what they need to do rather than that hard part of training new employees all the time. But because it’s to a process and it’s scalable, it works really well.


[00:29:17.730] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. And the last thing, do not inflate your course outcome claims. This is a difficult one. Unfortunately, there is a group of people and there’s some people that kind of join this and they inflate the outcomes enormously. And it’s a balance, folks, because obviously you got to market why outcomes. Your communication has got to be clear and it will get better as you relook at it and you get the feedback from the students. But on the LA, they take it too far. So it’s ridiculous claims either. What do you reckon, Kurt?


[00:30:15.350] – Kurt von Ahne

I make fun of these all the know and you can look at people that appear to be very high in the online training or event training space. But when you really analyze their business model, their business model is land and expand. It’s always preparing the audience for the next purchase. I hate to say it, but it’s like the medical industry, right? The medical industry doesn’t get rich by making people well. It gets rich because they always find something else to sell them to keep them sick. It’s like that with that level. So you don’t want to, like Jonathan says, over promise the outcomes. You want to be super keep. You want to build a sense of integrity, know really good core messaging in your products and in your deliverables. And that’s what will lead to that expansion. Well, constantly let people down, but then try to sell them the next thing for what you missed the first time. That picks up people sense that.


[00:31:23.710] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think when it comes to the medical industry, I think the reality is the biggest problem in american society is obesity and overweight and a non active lifestyle. And the consequences to that, which is a multiple facet. It’s diet, it’s exercise. I’m noticing Americans and unfortunately, british society has gone the same way, is there’s a vast group of people that don’t monitor the diet and don’t do a reasonable amount of exercise. And then you have these, I call them the California lot, that kind of run 20 miles a day and stick insects and they do marathons and they’re super bit. And the consequences of this, folks, is you got a population that gets diabetes. And when you go down the road of type two diabetes, it’s a very dark road and it leads to a lot of medical. I’m going off for a bit, but it’s a balance. Drugs do work. If they do work, they’re going to have side effects, so you don’t want to be on them. But what’s happening, folks, is a lot of drugs become, and sometimes you do have to take drugs because you have a condition, but it’s preferable that a lot of drugs now are utilized to mask a lifestyle problem.


[00:33:12.510] – Jonathan Denwood

The consequences of poor diet and no exercise. So that’s my preaching. Finished. Sorry about that. Listeners abuse. We’re going to go for a break and in the second half we’re going to be talking about some of the platforms that can enable you to do the things that we’ve outlined in the first part of the show, which I’ve enjoyed and hopefully you got some benefit from. We will be back in a few moments, folks.


[00:33:48.490] – Speaker 4

This podcast episode is brought to you by lifter LMS, the leading learning management system solution for WordPress. If you or your client are creating any kind of online course, training based membership website, or any type of elearning project, lifter LMS is the most secure, stable, well supported solution on the market. Go to and save 20% at checkout with coupon code. Podcast 20. That’s podcast 20. Enjoy the rest of your show.


[00:34:25.910] – Jonathan Denwood

We’re coming back, folks. We’ve had a feast about the things you got to know and the vice we’re given. I think Kurt did a great job. I think I just waffled myself. I think it was a John Maxwell book, a verbal one. He’s not saying I’ll give you every opportunity.


[00:34:48.910] – Kurt von Ahne

I am enjoying this quite a bit.


[00:34:50.830] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. I just want to point out we’ve got a Facebook group, the WP Tonic and the membership machine show Facebook group. Do have a look. It’d be in the show notes on the website as well. Why don’t you join it? It’s a mixture of WordPress people and people trying to build a membership website. We’d love you to join us on there. On to the second part of the show. So platform SAS or WordPress, we start off with Kajabi. Like I say, Kajabi is one of the main players in the SaaS offering SAS. It’s all integrated in one swiss army knife. I think if you’re committed to the SaaS solution, I think you could do a lot worse than Gujari. I wouldn’t say the interface is that as simple as their marketing says, but it depends on how much experience you have connected to online marketing, cloud based platforms you are. And it has its limitations about how you can build out your website, limitations about the email marketing you can do. But it’s a Swiss army knife solutions and all those type of solutions. You’re doing a deal with the devil because to make it reasonably usable for the beginner, for the person on the journey, needs to have some restrictions that will make it usable.


[00:36:48.060] – Jonathan Denwood

Is this making sense and do you think I’ve been fair about what I’ve just said.


[00:36:51.920] – Kurt von Ahne

Kurt, I think you’re being more than fair where Kajabi is concerned. It is the elephant in the room. From a SaaS perspective, it’s one of the most popular. I’ve got a lot of peers use Kajabi and so I’ve had some firsthand experience with working at the back end of it. And I’ll probably be a little more critical than you, Jonathan. It’s not what you see is what you get interface. It’s not horribly intuitive and there’s a learning curve to know. It’s like those squarespace ads that talk about got a business, Kapow, you’ve got a business online and it’s like, no, it’s not that easy. Everything has a learning curve. I will say that the tools they include are fairly comprehensive, so you don’t have to go and plug this, plug that, plug the other. Everything’s kind of right there, but it’s not a what you see is what you get kind of thing on the back end. However, just to clarify, I think the front end product is pretty attractive. I think the website that you create through them and what you offer your students is enjoyable, but I think the back end is a little clumsy and hard to navigate and figure out sometimes.


[00:38:04.490] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think that’s right. But I think it’s off the SaaS platforms. It’s definitely the gorilla. Yeah. These are the monthly prices, folks. Starts at 149, then 199 and free 99. And it does provide like email and it does provide video hosting. There are limits, but there are limits on all the plans that we’re going to be discussing. All solutions, be a better term. And you do have to look at the solutions. They’re limits onto. The thing that we champion at WP Tonic is WordPress. There’s the WordPress hosting that we provide at WP Tonic. And we set the hosting and we white glove on board you and we’re there in the background and we’re helpful, but we provide the hosting and we provide what the leading plugins, which we see as Lego, the key Lego bricks that enable you to build this and plus the email. And basically we set everything up so you get the equivalent of Kajabi to some extent at a much cheaper price. But the main Lego brick is lifter LMS, which is a great learning management system. And it offers an enormous amount of functionality in a really quite attractive interface.


[00:39:53.790] – Jonathan Denwood

And we provide their top package. So you get everything at lifter. And if you’re starting on this journey, I think lifter offers the least friction free ability to get that initial minimum viable course up and then to actually build your website and have the home page the about us and also help you build all the additional pages. We use Cadence WP, which is based on Gutenberg technology, which enables you to really build a website really quickly. We provide a custom library of starter themes based on cadence and it’s super quick and I think to get the site looking the way you want, utilizing one of our starter cadence themes is super easy. I’ve been doing a few websites just to get me up to speed with everything and loved it. And then one of our main Lego blocks is fluent CRM that enables you to do the email marketing, the marketing optimization, and it’s in my opinion, more powerful than something like Activecampaign, which Activecampaign is seen as the gold standard in email marketing and marketing optimization. And we all offer that in one very attractive price. What do you reckon, Kurt?


[00:41:33.310] – Kurt von Ahne

Well, I reckon you covered most of it except for the idea that makes it so much better than Kajabi from the perspective that it’s completely customizable. We give people a great platform to get started on with the starter templates and you want something up in a couple of days and you want to change out your text and images and have a minimal viable product to put out. You can do that, but with WordPress you get that incredible flexibility where, let’s say a year down the road, you’ve done the proof, you’ve done the scaling, you’ve done the stuff we discussed in the first half of the show, and now you want to hold live events. Well, you can put an event tool into your site if you want to schedule live meetings. We’ve got tools we can put in there so you can schedule live meetings, you can integrate with streaming video tools. The idea that it’s not limited in its capability is what I find so attractive. And of course the cost. Entry point.


[00:42:36.610] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think you put it because there’s nothing worse, folks, that being on a cloud hosting platform and you’re into your second course or you’re starting your third course and you got all this feedback student and there’s some functionality, something you need that you know your students are really looking for and you can’t do it on the SAS hosted platform, they’re not going to provide it and you’re stuck. And then you got to move all your courses somewhere else, probably to WordPress. That’s painful.


[00:43:15.870] – Kurt von Ahne

The worst ones that I see are the people that get in a hurry Jonathan. And they don’t migrate to WordPress. So what they do is they link to some other third party platform, whether that be a circle, mighty networks or whatever. Right? They’ll link to something else. And now they’ve got this weird, fragmented, Frankenstein thing where they’re sending users to two or three different properties and they lose the experience, they lose the relationship with their users and the whole thing begins to crash in on itself like a house of cards.


[00:43:47.440] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. And also you get digital ownership, digital sovereignty as I like to put it. I think being able to do the design and whatever you need and have it future proof are the main benefits, but also digital sovereignty. And having the much ownership of something you spent a lot of time and effort building is another benefit on to another thas competitor, which I think is one of the main competitors to Kajabi. But they have recently changed their pricing structure, which makes them a lot less attractive, in my opinion, in some ways. And that’s. I always pronounce it incorrectly. Poda. Poda. How do you pronounce Podia? Great people do a lot of online marketing. Really good at it as well. And their offering was very similar to kajabi. It was a little bit more. Less feature rich, but it was a bit simpler to get up and running, but it was a bit more limited. Or if you were looking at certain functionality, like video, like marketing optimization, you had to add a third party solution to it. It wasn’t such a broad swiss army knife solution, but it was simpler to set up than kajabi.


[00:45:35.440] – Jonathan Denwood

And they’re great people and it was good value in some ways. They’ve lowered the pricing. So I’m going to say to you, their starter starts at $9 and you think, oh, $9. But the problem is they’ve added, and I hate this, is they’ve added every transaction, which if you’re doing it through stripe, stripe was going to want their 2.9 cut. Well, podio, now if you start the starter plan, they want 8% as well. I don’t like that. And then the next one, which was 39, their mover, so it’s 39.5. Don’t what the .5 is about. They want 5%. You got to go up to their shaker, which is 89, before they don’t want to cut. I’m not a great supporter of this type of pricing. What’s your own thoughts about this? Gert?


[00:46:42.770] – Kurt von Ahne

I understand why they do it and I understand why some people are attracted to it, but I don’t like the model. I really don’t I don’t like restrictions. I really don’t enjoy when you read the details and it says up to this many products, up to that many products, and it’s like, well, what do products have to do with the hosting or bandwidth on my site? Because I don’t know what the traffic is to it yet. Just some of the things that they point out in their details are, I think they’re unnecessary restrictions that are a yellow flag to me that tell me I don’t want to be there.


[00:47:19.950] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. So on to another one. Teachable. Teachable is kind of big player. It’s a more cut down if you’re going to go that route. I would either look at kajabi, but teachable, they put the prices up quite a bit. So it starts at $59 and they’ve got a 5% transaction fee, and then you got to go up to pro, which is 159 for zero transactions, and then they’ve got a pro plus at two four nine. Got to be honest if you’re going to go down this route. I look at Kajabi myself rather than teachable at these prices and that. What’s your own views about that?


[00:48:10.590] – Kurt von Ahne

I’ve recently had some teachable people come over to WordPress.


[00:48:16.430] – Jonathan Denwood

They’ve seen the light and it’s been.


[00:48:18.770] – Kurt von Ahne

Directly related to the price increases and the changes in what’s offered originally. I think because if we look at the short history of e learning as it’s expanded from corporate use to more freelancer, more general usage, it was one of the originals. I mean, teachable, the name’s been around, it’s been popular for a long time, and I think they finally said, oh, well, if Kajabi is going to charge this much, we can tweak our offer. But I think when they did that, they didn’t have.


[00:48:50.080] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, I think it was. They were burning through. It was VC backed and they were burning through their.


[00:48:56.010] – Kurt von Ahne

Burning through the money.


[00:48:57.420] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, their Runway, as it’s called in the startup world.


[00:49:01.760] – Kurt von Ahne

Well, I know that people haven’t been happy with some of the recent changes, and I’ve thankfully seen some work from it.


[00:49:08.740] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s great. On to the next one. Mighty networks. I actually think mighty networks has become the main platform to, if you’re looking at a SaaS platform, mighty networks or Kajabi, really mighty networks, a lot of people look at the app. I think the app side of it is a total red herring from a lot of people until they get a mature course. I think a lot of people get fixated about the app side of it. I think a fully responsive, modern website with some tweaks can meet most of your students requirements if they’re on a phone on your course. But as the pricing, I don’t think it’s as a broad solution, as a swiss army knife, as mighty as kajabi, but it’s a mature platform. They’ve been around longer than actually Kajabi, but both have been around a while and their pricing is 39 119. And then the pro price on request. So that means they’re going to empty your bank account. That’s where they pop the champagne bottle as you make the sales calls for the request for the pro version. So that’s enterprise level basically. But for $39, I think the page builder and some of the marketing tools, in my opinion, aren’t as good as Kajabi, but it starts off at a cheaper price and none of these transactional fees, they haven’t gone down that route yet.


[00:51:04.040] – Jonathan Denwood

What’s your own view on mighty network?


[00:51:07.590] – Kurt von Ahne

Similar to you. I do like the fact that they don’t have the transaction fees and those kinds of things. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or if it’s slapped you in the face the way it slapped me. Mighty networks, their product, their forward facing product. To me, it looks and it feels and it operates like a buddy boss site. Yeah, I mean, there’s so many similarities to its structure, its appearance, its icons, its menu layout.


[00:51:43.210] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, I’m sorry to interrupt, but you just pointed out something that I really needed. I’ve been laxed. I apologize to the audience. I’m not doing too well this morning. I slept quite well last night. Don’t know what he’s about. I haven’t had my 15 cups of coffee this morning. This is the problem. Yes, Kirk’s just pointed out something. I did point out the definite reason. Unless you understand this folks, why you shouldn’t utilize ye networks well, it’s set up to build a community that has all these features and it’s not worth delving into it if you’re not going to do community, and you definitely don’t want to go down the community route until you’ve done your minimum viable course and you’re well into your second course, and probably you shouldn’t look at it until you’re doing your third course or you’ve got a big following out there anyway. But I’m not even sure you should do it then, because running a community is great, but as a single entrepreneur, and this podcast is aimed at the entrepreneur or couple or small team. Running a big community on your own is a full time job, folks, plus developing your courses, dealing with the business administration, and also being the main administrator of a reasonably large community.


[00:53:22.130] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s a full time job in my opinion. It’s a full time job plus half of somebody else. What do you reckon, Kurt?


[00:53:31.230] – Kurt von Ahne

I agree. And I know that we offer Buddy boss as part of the WP tonic platform.


[00:53:37.720] – Jonathan Denwood

We love it.


[00:53:38.610] – Kurt von Ahne

Buddy boss. I use Buddy Boss on some of my projects, but when I consult with clients or when I’m talking to new folks, I’m very clear that you want to have your minimal viable product, your proof of concept done, and you want to be growing an active audience before you integrate social. Social is one of those tools that could be a great announcement down the road of hey, we’ve added a new feature, blah blah blah. It’s a great newsletter, it’s a great pr cast after you’ve grown an audience. But if you launch the social too early, it can just become this dead weight that sits on your website and just doesn’t have a life.


[00:54:18.690] – Jonathan Denwood

Don’t get me wrong folks, building community at the right stage is a great way of adding value and community and having evangelists that really talk about it has enormous benefits. Don’t get me wrong folks, but at the right stage folks. But the great beauty of lifter LMS is they’ve got a great add on which we provide because we provide the infinity bundle on all. So what’s it called again? Always forget the learning. It’s a great middle road, I think.


[00:54:56.770] – Kurt von Ahne

Oh it’s fantastic. I use it all the time.


[00:54:59.570] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, it’s a great middle road because people tend to underestimate the it’s the time factor folks. If you get a few people, Buddy Boss is fantastic folks, and so is mighty networks. But it’s a time suck. You got to be at the right stage so that time commitment is worth the investment basically, in my opinion. But you might have different so simplyro, this came on my radar. I’ve done a review on it recently on the blog section of the WP Tonic website. And you want to go there just for the blog section to say we publish a ton of content on the WP and you want to join the WP Tonic YouTube channel because we have a load of educational material on there. That’s all free folks. Plus the blog is totally free as well. But Simplyro came on. I haven’t used it in anger. They don’t have a free account. I think they provide a 14 day I should give you a spin maybe, but starts at 70. The starter starts at 70 80. I don’t know what the 80 is about. And then the skill is 178 80 and skyrocket is 2980. So their first plan is a bit cheaper than Kajabi and a little bit cheaper.


[00:56:46.120] – Jonathan Denwood

The second plan, not much, but it’s more the starter plan at 70 seem to offer a lot of what kajabi some people said the web build and just the backend is simpler to use in Kajabi. I haven’t tried it yet. I’m just going by Alapiegel’s reviews and the study that I did. You got any knowledge about it? Because it came on my radar a couple of months ago.

[00:57:19.770] – Kurt von Ahne

Basically, two things about Simplo jumped off the page for me. One was that they seemed to push their AI tool, their AI capability, through their pricing structure. So I’m not sure how much AI or what that tool is doing. The other thing and I’m just going to point, got to remember I have a corporate training background and this used to drive me nuts at the corporate level. The idea is that the pricing would change based on active users. I wouldn’t say I like that pricing structure because you’re punishing somebody for their success. If we look at a WordPress example, you get the hosting, you get the tool. So whether it’s a CRM tool or a learning tool, or a membership tool, you bought the tool, and you can put as many people in there as you want. The only change that’s going to happen is maybe you need to extend your hosting because you increase your bandwidth. Or if you’re sending many emails, you might have to have the following package in Sendgrid or Elastic email or whatever it is that’s sending your emails out to your email server. But it’s not like a licensed user per user paying every month for the privilege of hosting those user numbers.

[00:58:36.230] – Kurt von Ahne

So when I see that at the bottom of their pricing page, it’s an instant turn-off for me.

[00:58:40.890] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I agree with you there. Well, we come to the end of the road here, folks. Hopefully, you got some value from this. I think it’s been quite a well-structured episode. I’ve waffled on in the first half, but not too much. But if you’ve been listening to these shows and we’re doing quite well with our listener levels, and I get when people, you can go to the WP tonic website and book a consultation free with me. When I do these discussions with people, people mention the podcast and say they’ve been enjoying the guests and the regular people like Kurt, who have been helping me on the show. I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback, and you can book those consultations free with me, and we can discuss what the best solution for you in the world of WordPress is. And I think it’s been a great show. So, Kurt, what’s the best way for people to learn more about you? And I also think you’ve got to talk a little about your LinkedIn course. Kirk is a power user of LinkedIn, and he’s very active on LinkedIn, and he’s done a course, and he’s given me some personal consultation, has been helping me with my own LinkedIn outreach, which I’ve upped a lot more recently.

[01:00:20.010] – Jonathan Denwood

So you got this course as well. So what’s the best way generally to get hold of you, Kurt, and how can people find out more about your LinkedIn course?

[01:00:30.810] – Kurt von Ahne

I put the LinkedIn course on my website, So that’s in The reason, Jonathan, that LinkedIn has attracted me the way that it has is I was an early adopter of lots of social media platforms. I was big on MySpace back in the day. LinkedIn seems to have the biggest. I hate to say RoI or return, but it has the most solid relationships in a B2B marketplace that I’ve been able to create on any platform. So, while I might only have 10,000 connections on LinkedIn, I’ve had 4001 one-on-one conversations with people on my list. And that’s something that doesn’t happen on Facebook or Instagram, or Twitter. Right? So I’m able to connect with more people in my network physically, and that lends to more networking, more communication, and more opportunity. So LinkedIn, to me, has been a perfect key that way, and that’s why I created that course. I wanted other people to experience it the way that I have to reach them; the best way to contact me is through LinkedIn; I’m the only Kurt Vonan on LinkedIn. So when you find Kurt Vonan there, you know, you got me. Hit the connection link, and then we’ll talk on the messenger side of LinkedIn for business.

[01:01:50.900] – Kurt von Ahne

I’m on Domas, so Manana Nomas, the website, and MananaNoMas, the podcast.

[01:01:57.910] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s fantastic. And next week, I’ve got another great guest who’s a regular, got Harun coming back and we’re going to discuss everything around marketplaces and how you can build a marketplace with a membership element on WordPress. And we’ll be talking about all the options that should be another fab show. We will be back next week, folks. We’ll see you soon. Bye.

[01:02:28.970] – Kurt von Ahne

Thanks for listening to the membership machine show. Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes, and leave a rating to support the show until next time.


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