There are many course publishing platforms in the market offering hundreds of features for your online courses. With so many options, it can get really overwhelming trying to choose a platform that fits your need. And in all the noise, its very easy to lose the sight of what is important to you.
In this article, we take a step back and talk about the five basic features that you absolutely need for a successful online course. More often than not, these will be the only features that you’d require to start with.
Easy Course Builder
One of the first things you need in a platform is a dead simple interface for your course creation. And it should be intuitive. You should be able to create your course with minimum technical know how and zero hand holding. Thinking this through and trying out different platforms will help save you a lot of frustration later on!
Siminars has a very easy-to-use course builder tool. It’s completely point-and-click and resembles how your audience will view the course – saving you a ‘Preview’ click after every action.
Hassle Free Payments
Your course publishing platform should have payment collection ability. That is a given. What you do need to check for, also, is the payout timelines – when do you get your collections credited to your bank. Limits on the value of transaction, multiple currency support and whether recurring payments are possible are some of the other things you need to check before zeroing in on the platform.
We recently implemented Stripe which allowed us to do away with the $300 cap on transactions. Stripe also allowed us to integrate recurring payments for subscription based courses. Multi-currency support is in process and will be available to very soon.
Now that you have a few courses online – you need your audience to be able to view all your offerings in one place. Something like a website or a landing page that gives your audience a quick overview what you’re all about. Most of the platforms currently only allow you to create courses which are then hosted on their website, buried amongst tons of other courses. Having your very own page with a custom URL empowers you to do wonderful things!
With Siminars, you can create your own webpage for your audience. Customize the nav bar, put on your own logo and completely customize the look and feel using the custom css file. This gets a tad bit technical, but we have hired a team of designers to help you with it until we find a better solution.
Email Marketing Solution
Communicating with your audience is extremely important. You can send out personal emails using your own email id but this becomes difficult as your list grows. You also need to have automated emails sent out to your students when they take specific actions on your course.
Siminars sends out an automated email to every new signup, the text for which can be edited by the course creator. We’ve integrated MailChimp, AWeber and ConstantContact so that you can export your email list and seamlessly.
Analytics and Reports
There are two kinds of analytics and reporting you’ll need from your publishing tool – student reports: what your students are doing on your course, and marketing reports: how your potential students are interacting with your landing page. Student reports help you understand how your students interact with your course. Marketing reports are somewhat external to the platform and help you analyze the traffic on your landing pages.
Your Siminars dashboard provides you with all the student reports you’ll need. These reports include the students info, current step, quizzes taken etc. For all your marketing reports – we’ve made it super easy to integrate google analytics with your landing page. Enter your Analytics id and you can start seeing the numbers on your analytics dashboard.
These five features when used together give you limitless possibilities. Create, grow and consolidate your online teaching business! We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Note: Features available to you depend on the plan you choose to go with. Complete details here.