How to sell courses on your website

You have a website and want to make extra cash by selling courses, in this guide, we will walk you through selling courses and the best practices for doing so.

Why Create and Sell Online Courses?

Before I show you how to find a profitable idea, let me share with you the top 5 reasons why selling online courses is the best way to make money online in 2018:

  • The eLearning industry is expected to reach $325 billion by 2025 as per the Global eLearning Market Analysis & Trends report. eLearning industry has major growth potential and we’re going to see more and more students turn to online courses to further their education.
  • Everyone can teach online no matter what their niche is. You can make money online teaching yoga, photography, web design, cooking or for that matter anything that’s worth sharing and in the process, you will help make the world a better place.
  • The amount of money that course creators make on an average is significantly higher than those who make money by selling ads on their blogs, via videos on their Youtube channels or even by selling e-books.
  • Online courses are digital products which you create once but can sell for years. More importantly, your income isn’t determined based on the number of hours you work. So, online courses are ideal from a scalability point of view and as well as from a passive income point of view.
  • The barrier to teaching online has come down significantly. The technology has made it really easy for you to host & sell online courses from your own website even with a small budget.

Find a Profitable Online Course Idea

The first step in selling online courses from your own website is to figure out what you will teach your students.

Basically, you need to find a profitable idea for your online course. A profitable course topic should be:

  1. something that you’re interested in and can teach,
  2. something that potential students are willing to pay for.

So, let me show how you can come up with ideas for your online course and then validate them.

Brainstorm potential topics for your online course

If you are a professional in a field of business and are fairly comfortable with it this will be your go-to topic to teach. For example here at Xenon Cloud, we know about cloud computing and web hosting so we feel comfortable teaching courses about that. If you have experience with a hobby consider teaching that as many people would like to learn about new hobbies. When you are brainstorming you should have at least 5-10 topics you can teach before deciding on which one to teach.

What if you don’t have such a skill or professional experience?

Even if you are not a professional you can start making money from selling courses. The best way to do this is by teaching a hobby of yours like me mentioned in the above paragraph. If you have a hobby for sports then try teaching people how to get involved with sports or how to play the games. You might have overcome a personal challenge that you want to share with other people, you can do this by creating a course with instructions of how you overcame it.

However, the key is to be as specific as possible. Let’s say you’re passionate about baking, so here is how you can get more specific about it:

  1. How to Bake (very broad)
  2. How to Bake Bread (still broad)
  3. How to Bake Sourdough Bread (specific)
  4. How to Bake San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread (more specific)

Specific courses are easier to sell than broader courses so consider making your course as precise as possible to your learners. 

Validate your course idea

Many people neglect this part of selling courses online so don’t be one of them.

Most new course creators completely skip this part. They will come up with some ideas for their online course but then they pick one randomly without validating whether their potential students would want to learn a course on that topic or not.

This ultimately turns out to be a big mistake and they end up spending a lot of time and money creating a course which just doesn’t sell. 

So, you need to validate your course idea and make sure that there is a demand for it before you start work on content creation or marketing.

#1: Get Google search volume

The easiest way to validate interest in your course topic is by checking the search volumes for related keywords on Google.  

The tool that I recommend you use for this purpose is Ubersuggest. It is free to use and doesn’t require you to create an account.

=> Go to Ubersuggest website and do a search with your keyword. Now analyze the results.

You should then check the search volume for your main keyword as well as the related keywords. A high search volume for your keywords would mean that people are interested in your niche.

This keyword research also gives you insight into what related topics people are interested in and so, you can use this information to fine-tune your ideas.

#2: Search on Youtube

Youtube is the largest video platform as well as the second largest search engine in the world. On Youtube, you can find videos on almost any topic and in any possible niche. 

Plus, Youtube has a huge audience for tutorial-type and how-to videos that give you a strong indication of interest in your course topic.

=> Go to and search for your course topic. Analyze the search results and the video views.

You can also read comments on these videos as that will give you a sense of your students’ pain points and what they want to learn.

#3: Search on Udemy

Udemy is the largest online course marketplace and it has millions of students who take courses in virtually any niche.

While I don’t recommend you use Udemy as the main platform for teaching online, it can provide you a lot of information that will help you validate the demand for your course. 

=> Go to and do a search for your course topic and related keywords. Now check the courses that come up in search results.

=> Select a particular course and check the number of students enrolled in the course.

=> Go back to the search results and repeat the previous step by selecting a different course.

If you find a few courses related to your topic and a few thousand students enrolled in these courses, that’s great news because this shows that there is a significant number of students who are willing to pay for your course topic.

#4: Search in Facebook groups and niche forums

This is one of my favorite ways to validate an idea because with this method, you don’t just look at numbers but you actually listen to your potential customers.

So, you first need to identify Facebook groups, niche forums or any other online communities (e.g. Quora) where your potential students hang out. 

Once you’re part of the community, search for your course topics and follow the conversations. See what people are asking about and if you want, you can always start a new conversation around your course topic to see what sort of interest it generates.

#5: Survey your audience

One of the most effective ways of testing your product idea is by collecting direct feedback from students and a survey is a great tool for doing that. 

When I was planning to create my signature course Network Guru, I sent out a brief survey to my students asking them what they think about the course idea and whether they would be interested in enrolling in the course when it launches.

Validate Course Idea through Online Survey

If you have an audience of your own, this method is really straightforward to execute. You can create a short survey in Google Forms or any other forms solution and send this survey to your audience.

If you don’t have an audience of your own, you can still send the survey to your friends and colleagues as well as share the survey in various online communities and groups.

#6: Pre-sell your course

If you need an even stronger validation for your topic, you can sell your online course even before you create it.

To pre-sell your course, you can set up a blank course on Teachable and create a sales page that explains what the course will be about.

If you can successfully pre-sell your course, there is no better way to validate your course idea and you can be 100% confident about investing time and money into turning this idea into reality.

However, pre-selling only works if you already have an engaged audience whom you can pitch your idea to. Selling your course idea to a cold audience will not work in most cases.


With all of these tips on how to sell courses on your website, you will be sure to make money creating courses. If you want to create courses on our Xenon Academy website.

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