CREATED: 22.03.2024UPDATED: 17.05.2024

How to Create and Sell Online Courses: Make a Profit From E-learning

How to Create and Sell Online Courses: Make a Profit From E-learning

We break down how to create and sell online course. Check out some of the best platforms to launch your e-course, and get tips for how to sell courses online.

The e-learning industry is exploding. It was valued at USD 198.2 billion globally in 2022, according to Vantage Market Research. Turning your passion and expertise into online courses is easier than ever. But how do you sell courses online?

This guide breaks down how to create an online course to sell, including popular e-learning platforms and how much you could earn.

4 ways to create and sell online courses

There are different ways to make money from online courses. The best option depends on your goals and your target audience’s needs. Consider the pros and cons below:


With a subscription model, learners can access your course components by paying a monthly or annual fee. Typically, participants pay a recurring fee to access all the content offered on a platform, not just your courses.

Charging a fee as a “gateway” to unlimited e-learning is an attractive option for learners. Coursera and LinkedIn Learning both offer gateway subscriptions for online courses, and millions of people choose to sign up.

Want to avoid subscription fees? Up-and-coming e-learning platform BlurBay won’t charge you a dime for hosting courses. You only pay a commission on your sales, so you decide how you want to make money. There are no limits, and you can cancel at any time.

Pro: Offers a constant revenue stream and encourages commitment from students.

Con: Requires constant work to maintain your subscriber base.

One-time purchases

The one-time purchase model is pretty self-explanatory. Students pay once and can access course materials forever. Udemy, which has around 60 million students, offers lifetime course access for a one-time fee.

The obvious draw for students is that this monetization scheme doesn’t require an ongoing financial commitment. But you won’t get recurring revenue unless you attract your students to new courses and products. 

Pro: Simple monetization model with higher upfront revenue.

Con: Stronger marketing is required to get new students, and there’s no ongoing revenue per student.

Tiered pricing

Tiered pricing is more complicated, but it can appeal to many people. Under this model, students pay different fees for varying levels of course access, support, and other features.

Thinkific, which offers e-learning solutions for businesses, provides access to unlimited courses with all of its paid tiers. But users can pay higher rates to accommodate more students in their organization or unlock premium features like assignments, advanced course-building options, and bulk enrolment.

Pro: Appeals to a wide range of learners and encourages upselling to access more features.

Con: Complex pricing model that might be hard for people to understand.

Freemium model

A combination of the words “free” and “premium,” freemium course content is offered at no charge. But make no mistake. This isn’t a zero-revenue model. Students can pay to access important features like evidence of course completion, which can be added to their resumes and online profiles.

Many e-learning platforms offer a range of free courses to attract students to sign up for a paid course or subscription. For example, EdX offers free courses on business, computer science, and AI technology. But students have to pay to get a verified certificate.

Pro: Easy to attract students and can lead to upselling.

Con: Finding the right balance between free and paid content can be challenging, and many students may not turn into paying customers.

Compare 5 of the best e-learning platforms to sell courses online

If you’re looking for the best platforms to create an online course to sell, there are loads of options to choose from. We’ve highlighted some of our top picks below:


Relatively new to the market, BlurBay is an online platform that lets you host and monetize a wide range of content. From social media shorts to products to full-length e-learning courses, monetize just about anything you create with a customizable website that reflects your style and vision.

Create and sell online courses with BlurBay

BlurBay doesn’t charge you any subscription fees, and it’s super easy to get started. You only pay 5% of whatever you earn plus a small credit card processing fee, which reduces some of the pressure to start earning right away to cover your operating costs. You can create from anywhere in the world. But payments are processed in USD, EUR, GBP, and AUD (there’s a 2% fee for converting your earnings into USD, GBP, or AUD). Another great benefit is that customers can pay without creating an account first. 

Pros: No upfront costs, simple commission pricing, convenient features, and easy customer payments.

Cons: Still growing. Not as well known as larger platforms.


A major player in the e-learning space, Skillshare offers quality, video-based learning on many topics. Not everyone can become a teacher, however. You must submit an application with information on the class you want to teach. Being selective allows the platform to host courses taught by trained professionals.

Create and sell online course with Skillshare

Learners pay an annual subscription to access Skillshare’s entire library. Teachers are paid monthly from the Skillshare Teacher Fund based on factors like minutes watched and student engagement. In August 2023, the fund was worth USD 950,000.

Pros: Popular e-learning platform with lots of users. Free trials are available for students.

Cons: Must apply and be accepted to post courses. Revenue is split with Skillshare and other course instructors.


One of Skillshare’s biggest rivals, Udemy, offers even more courses covering a broader range of subjects. Around since 2010, Udemy avoids monthly or annual subscription fees by charging per course. Prices often run around USD 10+ for lifetime access.

sell courses online with Udemy

Udemy caters to new and established instructors. There’s a basic approval process for getting courses live to ensure quality. This allows you to post free content.

You’ll need to apply to become a Premium Instructor to make money. If approved, you can monetize your online courses and have the option of running promotions to attract new students. 

Pros: Attracts many users with varying interests, and there’s a low barrier to entry for new instructors. Premium Instructors can run promotions.

Cons: Must apply and be approved to monetize courses. Harder to grow customer loyalty without a subscription model.


Don’t want to share a platform with thousands of other instructors and split your profits? Consider designing your own website. Like BlurBay, Squarespace is a platform on which you can build a website to host online courses. If your business evolves beyond e-learning, you can customize your site accordingly.

Create and sell online courses with Squarespace

Squarespace is user-friendly, so you don’t need to be a coder to get up and running. Free from the limits of a multi-vendor e-learning marketplace, there are tons of ways to earn money. Squarespace offers built-in e-commerce tools. You can also offer subscriptions, participate in affiliate marketing, accept donations on your site, and earn ad revenue. 

Pros: Keep more of your revenue, combined host/website builder, no coding experience needed, can be used for e-learning and other purposes, 0% transaction fee for Basic and Advanced Commerce plans.

Cons: Not ideal if you don’t want to design your website, harder to attract an audience, 3% transaction fee for Business plans.


More than one-third of all websites on the internet are built using WordPress. That’s impressive. If you’re looking for total control and ultimate customizability, this might be the solution for you.

Create and sell online course with WordPress

WordPress.com offers free blogs and paid plans with added features (think e-commerce solutions, ad support, tools to make your site more efficient, and more customer service options).

Its sister product, WordPress.org, is a developer-friendly web builder that lets you start from scratch and customize your site any way you want.

Pros: Full customizability, loads of free and paid plugins to build your site even if you’re not a coder, use for any purpose, abundance of online tutorials and guides.

Cons: You must find and pay for a hosting service that offers WordPress. Attracting an audience is harder, and there’s a sharp learning curve if you’ve never built a website.

How much can I make from selling online courses?

It’s possible to make several hundred dollars a month up to six figures annually selling online courses. The exact amount depends on how successfully you attract and retain a community of learners, the quality of your courses, how much you charge, and other factors.

Bear in mind the difference between revenue and profit. Revenue is the amount you make before taking into account deductions (like taxes) and the cost of production. Profit is the amount you get after deducting the cost of labor, production, taxes, and any other expenses associated with your course.

The amount you charge for a course should be based on the value students get from it. You can charge more if your course offers certification or skills assessments that students can use to verify their knowledge and boost their resumes. On the other hand, intense competition in your subject area may drive down the price.

Tips and winning strategies for creating and selling online courses

When developing your e-learning business, try to identify in-demand topics or skills where you have something unique to offer. Once you’ve nailed down an idea, follow these tips to maximize your chance of success:

  • Keep it short & sweet. Create brief content that’s easy to follow and gets straight to the point.
  • Visuals are key. Convey quality and authority by using high-quality video and images.
  • Engage learners. Don’t do all the talking. Add interactive elements to let students practice what they’ve learned and enhance the memorability of your content.
  • Build community. Encourage interaction using forums and discussion boards, and let students network.
  • Update regularly. People will trust your content if you regularly update your course content. Stay on top of the latest trends, technologies, and skills your students need to succeed.
  • Give and receive feedback. Be available to answer questions and solicit students’ feedback throughout your course, especially at the end. Look for ways to improve and grow your audience.
  • Tap into social media. The bigger your online presence, the more people will find your courses. Even if you offer courses on 1 platform, you can still produce related content on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to help spread the word and build your brand.
  • Consider offering freebies. Offering 1 or 2 free lessons can be a great way to entice learners to pay for more. Don’t be afraid to give a little to get more in return.
  • Upsell and cross-sell. Every sign-up is an opportunity to develop a long-term commercial relationship with someone who might value your content enough to try another course or pay for a premium add-on.

FAQs on creating an online course to sell

How do you monetize online education?

Online education can be monetized by selling ongoing subscriptions or charging one-time course access fees. You can also upsell students by offering limited free content. If you’re targeting students with different needs and budgets, consider offering tiered pricing with varying perks and levels of course access.

Are online courses profitable?

Online courses can be very profitable if you focus on in-demand subjects/skills and have enough authority to grow an audience. With the right marketing strategies, it’s possible to earn anywhere from hundreds of dollars a month up to six figures a year.

Should I create and sell online courses on an e-learning marketplace or my own website?

It depends. Do you value customizability and potentially higher profit share? Or is your priority convenience and access to an existing audience? Platforms like Skillshare and Udemy make it easy to upload your courses, but you’ll pay for the convenience. Other platforms like Squarespace and WordPress are more customizable, but you’ll have to work harder to market your material.

Some platforms like BlurBay tailor to online course instructors, offering the benefits of running an independent website without the hassle of designing one from scratch.

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