In the last post, 3 Best WordPress Plugins for Building Online Courses, we explored several options for creating and managing online courses using WordPress plugins. For many, adding, configuring and managing another WordPress plugin is time prohibitive. And, in some cases, for example in certain managed hosting accounts, you may not be able to install additional plugins. In these cases, you may want to consider using a third-party, fully hosted training solution. There are several platforms available that are popular for building and delivering online courses. Teachable, Teachery, Udemy, and Gumroad are four that are frequently cited.
Of these, Teachable and Teachery are very similar platforms for creating and delivering courses. Udemy is an online courseware marketplace where anyone can sign up to create and deliver courses through that marketplace, and Gumroad is actually a platform to sell downloadable products with some support for selling physical goods.
Teachable, formerly Fedora, is a courseware creation, delivery and management platform. It includes a free plan where you only pay when you make money and several premium, paid plans that provide additional features and lower processing fees.
Transaction fees are $1.00 + 10% + credit card fees for the free plan. Note that in all cases, the credit card fees are set by the payment processors not the training platform. Teachable manages the payment processing and then pays instructors through PayPal after a 30-day wait where the students could request a refund.
Teachable is very easy to setup and use. By default, you receive a basic subdomain with the free plan. For example yourname.teachable.com. Paid for plans can actually be a subdomain from your company domain name. For example: courses.yourdomain.com.
The free plan includes many options like the ability to create quizzes and send emails to students. Paid plans include extras including graded quizzes, integration with Zapier to further extend the platform’s functionality, and more analytics and reporting of student progress. Some plans also provide support for multiple authors, so you could build your own marketplace.
Discus is used to manage student comments and engagement.
Student reporting is a highlight of Teachable. There are many details you can view including student completion, video engagement, and quiz scores.
Teachery is one of the newest options to the market. Like Teachable, it provides an easy to use courseware creation, delivery, and management platform. Teachable does not have a free plan. They have three payment plans $49 per month, $470 per year, or $900 for a lifetime membership.
Teachery doesn’t charge transaction fees. Your online transaction fees would occur from the Stripe credit card processor, if you sell courses through Teachery. Instead of managing the payments with a credit card processor and then paying you via PayPal the way Teachable does, Teachery links to your own Stripe account.
The courses are configured to send a Welcome Email and Course Completed Email, and allow you to create both lessons and sub-lessons, but not quizzes. They don’t host videos, images, or slideshows on the Teachery platform. You host these elsewhere and embed them.
Teachery does provide support for you to use your own subdomain.
Discus is used to manage student comments and engagement.
Both Teachery and Teachable make it very easy to configure the colors and styling of your course pages. In Teachery, a powerful builder for Landing Pages and Payment Pages makes it easy to build pages that convert. You can add analytics to your pages and integrate your sales with MailChimp or ConvertKit email management accounts.
Udemy provides a course creation and management platform along with a marketplace of courses. It is free to create a course on Udemy, and you are paid a percentage when the course sells. The amount you make per course depends on which of their marketing programs you have selected. You make approximately 50% of what they collect for the course.
If you sell the course directly to the students using your coupon code, you receive 100% of the course cost minus a 3% handling and transaction fee.
Udemy has specific requirements for courses submitted to the marketplace. For example each course must be comprised of at least 60% video. Pricing must be between $9 and $300. Standards for video and audio are high. All video must be in HD and except for certain circumstances like yoga classes, the videos must be between 2 and 20 minutes in length. Each course is manually reviewed by the Udemy team before it is published to the marketplace.
With over 9 million students and 35,000 courses, Udemy is a well established marketplace that provides an outlet for many online course builders to create and market their courses.
As a marketplace, Udemy is interested in keeping students on their site, so rules are very specific as to how you can market to the students. As part of this marketplace, they have invested heavily in community building tools and provide support for instructors to build a community on the platform.
Gumroad is a platform to sell downloadable products (ebooks, music, software) and also some support for the sale of physical products.
While the Gumroad website has a sales page “Gumroad for Courses,” there isn’t actually the ability to create and deliver a live course with any type of interaction because the site is a repository to provide downloads. You could create a course with videos and PDFs that you provided in a download and sell that as a course.
Gumroad charges 5% + .25 transaction fee.
The platform does capture email addresses and provides the option to manage email marketing from within the software or allows you to download the email addresses to use, as desired. For downloadable products like ebooks and music, even stand alone videos, this is hands down a powerful service. For creating and delivering online courses, selecting one of the first three would be your best option.
As with any business solution, the key is to define your requirements and then select the option that works best for you. For building and delivering online courses, solutions like Teachable, Teachery, Udemy, and for downloadable products, Gumroad, may provide a powerful solution without requiring additions to your current website.
Written by (Kim Shivler) of White Glove Web Training