Cheap & best tools to create an online course
When it comes to creating a specialized online course, one of the most underrated questions is “what are the best tools to create an online course?”
And if you are just beginning to create an online course, then this question is especially for you.
While starting a course may seem easy but without proper guidance, it will take ten times longer to create plus it will suck the life out of you.
So, how to create an online ecourse the right way?
See being an entrepreneur, I have to travel from one place to another.
I remember a few years back I had a flight from Delhi to Goa, and in order to reach the airport, I booked a cab.
The flight was in the morning at 8 am & I left for the airport early.
I slept in the cab when suddenly a sound came & cab stopped.
It came from the engine, it was broke.
The driver tried hard to repair it for more than an hour but nothing worked.
I also tried to help him.
It was almost morning but cab didn’t start.
After trying everything we called a local garage & guess what?
The mechanic came & took only 15 minutes to repair it.
Why was it so easy for him?
It’s because the mechanic has the right tools for that particular problem.
Well, your online course is pretty much like that cab, you will definitely come across some problems.
It can be related to anything, it can be video problem or email or maybe finding the right format for your online course.
You must have right tools for dealing with these situations.
According to Adestra’s pulse of the automation platform, 74% marketers respond that the biggest benefit of tools is time management.
A point to remember,
Right tools can save you a lot of time & earn you a lot of money.
Without proper tools, it’ll take you ages to complete your course.
So, let’s see what are the much-needed tools to create an online course.
Step by step – Tools to create an online course.
I have seen a lot of success but things weren’t always like this.
In my early days, when I started to work on my courses, I find a lot of difficulties.
As soon as I solve one problem, I found another one standing in front of me.
You know what was the worst part?
It’s that those problems were not connected to one another, so I have to do a fresh research about every new problem.
For example, while creating videos I need a separate tool for screen recording, a different tool for sound editing & another one for video tuning.
So always remember,
Only fools rely on a single tool.
Let’s have a look at different tools to create an online course based on different stages involved in the process.
I have a habit of reading marketing blogs, I have seen a lot of them.
However, some of them get lots of likes & shares while others don’t get much response.
You know why?
Its because they are super thorough & have a lot of research behind them.
Nowadays all the big marketers are doing 100% research-based planning for their courses & content.
No matter how you start, the very first part of your online course is research.
Research is super-important for a number of reasons:
- To find out who is your target audience?
- What is your audience looking for?
- What are their main problems?
- How are they dealing with problems right now?
- What are their existing sources?
- How is your competition doing?
- What’s working in the market?
All these questions can only be answered by proper research only.
Research tools to create an online course.
There are a lot of tools you can use to begin your course research, let’s have a brief look at them.
1. Tools to find an idea for your online course.
I have already thoroughly discussed this topic, you can find it here ‘how to do advanced research for creating your online course’.
2. Tools to track your competition
When I created my first website, I was super excited to make my mark.
I created various posts on daily basis, sometimes two posts a day.
And I waited for the traffic.
Months passed, I was creating regular posts but hardly anyone was coming to my site.
That’s when I realized that there are some other fishes in the sea eating my traffic.
Then I started to work on my competitive strategy.
So don’t forget to
Work hard, Spy harder.
Let’s see some market research tools to create an online course.
Semrush is a website explorer with various helpful tools, it allows to do some in-depth research about your competitors.
You just have to put the domain name of the website & it will provide a huge list of different stats about that site.
For example, if I want to see different stats about ‘Facebook.com’, it will give me following data:
- The total number of backlinks(Organic & paid).
- Top organic keywords.
- Organic ranking/position.
- Competitors rank.
- Competitors positioning.
- Brand search.
- Brand Vs Non-brand.
- Top paid keywords.
- Main paid competitors.
- Paid competition research.
- Sample ads.
- Follow Vs No follow links.
- Indexed pages.
- Top anchors.
- Referring domains.
Plus it also gives you various additional search options, which you can find in the left sidebar.
Here, how it looks like:
Semrush is among the top most research tools to create an online course.
2. Moz open site explorer
Moz open site explorer is a free & one of the most effective research tools.
However, it provides a lot of other data also but its user-friendly interface is specially designed to research backlinks.
It also gives you drop down options where you can check various backlink related stats without changing the domain name.
- You can search link results for the same page, same domain or sub-domain.
- Locate links from internal pages, external pages or both.
- Find specific types of links to that website like:
- Equity links(i.e. Juice passing links).
- Non-equity links.
- 301 links.
- 302 links.
- No-follow links.
- follow links.
Its full features are available in paid version.
With all these features, you can find out what your competition is doing & whether its working or not.
Various sites have listed Moz site explorer amongst most helpful research tools to create an online course & for marketing purposes as well.
Social media plays a crucial role in creating a buzz in the online world.
Every now & then something goes viral on social media.
With Buzzsumo you can find which of your competition’s content is going viral.
You can also find who is sharing that content & their details as well.
Basically, buzzsumo will give you a clear idea of what’s working in the market & you can plan your course accordingly.
It gives you a lot of details like
- Most shared content by your competitor.
- Search content on different topics.
- Find what’s trending now.
- Which content went viral on which platform.
- It gives various details about backlinks to any site.
- Dig into FB details of any account with ‘Facebook analyzer’
But here is the twist
It allows you to search trending news based on different topics.
For example, it shows marketing news, which tells you exactly what’s trending in the marketing niche.
This makes your work a lot easier while creating your ecourse.
Once you complete your research properly, your content creation part will be a piece of cake.
2. Content creation
As soon as you end up with your research, then its time for the action.
After research, the very next thing which comes in line is content creation.
But first of all, you have to decide the right format for your online course.
However finding the right format for your course isn’t as easy as it looks, that’s why I have created a special guide on ‘How to find the right format for your online course’.
Now, once you select your format its time to start creating your course.
So, let’s see different tools to create content for your elearning course.
Content-based tools to create an online course
While creating content in pdf format seem easier but it totally depends on your knowledge.
However, the real struggle begins after the completion of the content, when you start to fine-tune your course.
When I was doing it for the first time, I wasn’t aware of all these tools & I had to suffer a lot, even a small piece of work was taking long long time.
But over the years of experience, I have found various helpful tools.
So, let’s have a look at different types of tools needed to create a pdf course.
A. Software-based tools:
The easiest method to create a pdf course is to create a word or text file & then convert it to pdf.
Here are some tools for word to pdf conversion.
1. Adobe Acrobat: Adobe is one of the most professional tools to create an online course. it allows you to create high-quality pdf files from different formats of files like
- Excel & lot more.
Its one of the oldest & most trusted tools for pdf creation.
2. PDF creator: Pdf creator is among the most powerful tools to create an online course, it offers batch conversion along with a pdf reader as well.
One of the important features of pdf creator is that it allows signing your document, which is a great advantage for making introduction page of your pdf course.
3. PDF24creator: Pdf 24 creator is really unique in its behavior & one of the recommended tools to create an online course.
It offers some key features like
- You can insert a watermark into your file.
- For security purposes, it offers password protection.
- You can set printing permissions for files.
And the best part is that it’s totally free for both private & business use.
B. Online tools: Don’t worry, if you don’t have any of the above tools.
Nowadays, you can easily convert any file to pdf within minutes.
Just go to google, search for ‘word to pdf conversion’ or whatever format you want to change & it will show a list of websites which provide this service free of cost.
These tools are really helpful to create a pdf course but if you are not a good copywriter.
Then I guess, you might want to create a video course.
Video courses are getting popular really fast & they play a crucial role in structuring a high end expensive online course.
According to Wordstream’s 37 staggering video marketing stats, more than 87% online marketers are already using video in one way or another.
You can also use videos for creating your course.
But here is a Twist.
There are 3 types of videos:
- L2I(Learner to Instructor): Here you show yourself on the video & explain everything like a classroom.
- L2C(Learner to content): In such videos, you don’t show yourself & videos are created in the form of a presentation.
- Live videos: These kinds of videos are presented live where everyone can see each other including students & mentor.
Let’s see them one by one:
Tools to create an online course in L2I video format:
1. DSLR cameras & Mic: If you want to create a high-end professional video, then DSLR cameras are for you.
On a bright sunny day, its video quality is unbeatable. You can adjust lens & other variations according to your needs.
However, they aren’t budget friendly, I wouldn’t recommend it.
2. iPhone or smartphone: While creating your course, you should be focused to convey your message as clear as possible.
And if you are providing great value, nobody cares about the video quality.
Furthermore, nowadays iPhone & smartphones are equipped with powerful cameras which provide high-quality images.
All you have to do is to pick up your phone & start recording.
But in many cases, you have to give a professional presentation where content is more important.
Tools to create an online course in L2C video format.
Back in my early days, I use to create a lot of videos, after all, videos are the secret sauce to sell your online course.
But at times there were cases when my competitors were able to steal my clients.
Why is it so?
Its because they were creating content based presentations while mine was more of a verbal video.
Sometimes its hard to understand everything verbally, this can happen to your students also.
Neo Mammalian studio says that 85% of consumers are likely to buy a product after watching a video presentation.
That’s why you need a presentation based video.
Don’t use a sword where you need a needle.
It may sound hilarious, but back in my early days, I always use to wonder how people create videos directly from their pc screen.
But when I started working on it, I found out that there are lots of tools which allow you to record your PC screen.
Let’s have a look at some of the most effective screen recording tools:
Camtasia allows you to create high-quality screen videos with a wide range of features like
- You can import HD videos into it.
- Create videos with clickable links.
- Gives you a green screen effect.
- Supports animation text.
- Allows integration with Google drive.
2. Ispring free Cam:
Ispring free cam is another screen recording tool with some really cool features like:
- The free version doesn’t have ads or watermark.
- It allows editing of video frames.
- You can reduce background noise.
- Supports HD format.
- You can directly upload videos to Youtube.
3. Icecream Screen Recorder:
Icecream screen recorder is one of the most user-friendly tools to record screen. It offers features like
- You can draw lines & arrows in your video.
- Create screen recordings of your webcam videos.
- Powerful zoom feature.
- Allows multiple screen capture on a timer.
Prezi is another quick tool to create a professional presentation.
These tools will definitely help you out in recording your videos for your course.
Let’s see a quick recap:
But it can’t be used for big events or a new course launch, that’s where you will need live streaming.
Live streaming tools to create an online course
Nowadays, Television has become a part of our lives where various shows are broadcasted on daily basis.
These shows have drama, comedy, action.
But still, we leave all these channels to watch Lebron playing in NBA or Dhoni in IPL.
Why is it so?
Its because these games are streamed live, everything is happening in real time.
When we watch something live, we feel like a part of it.
Now, some of your students might also want to attend live online classes.
So, let’s see some trusted tools to broadcast live events & online classes:
Livestream holds the title of the no1 platform for broadcasting live events. It supports almost 10 million live events every year & offers a highly user-friendly interface.
2. Open Broadcaster Software:
Its a free open source software for live streaming & recording. OBS supports windows as well as Linux. This platform is especially dominated by game casters & webcam broadcasters.
Twitch is another popular platform to broadcast live events. You will find a lot of motivational speakers & marketers on Twitch.
Now, you must be saying that “Mohammad is giving me so many tools, they’re really helpful but complex at the same time.”
Yeah, I agree with you.
That’s why I am providing some social media tools which allow broadcasting live events without using any extra tools.
Social Media Tools
1. Facebook live: Facebook is the number 1 social media platform to broadcast live videos. According to DSIM, facebook live’s popularity has been raised by 330% since it was launched.
2. Youtube live: Youtube is the most watched video platform in today’s date, You can easily go live on Youtube & share your live video link with your students.
3. Periscope: Back in 2015, Twitter bought a live streaming platform called Periscope, so whenever you stream live on Periscope it gets on Twitter & your videos get views.
You can easily share your video with your students in the form of a tweet.
Plus when they share your video tweet, you will get more views, more followers, more sales & eventually more students.
4. Instagram: Instagram has more engagement rate than any other social media platform, here you can easily go live with your students & share great value.
No matter what topic I teach in my course, always there is one student who is never satisfied & wants more.
So if you’re that student, then you might like this:
Out of the box tools to create highly engaging videos.
1.Animoto: Have you seen those beautifully animated ads on FB with superb music in the background. Well, with Animoto you can create similar videos with your own photos, videos & music.
2. GoAnimate: GoAnimate allows you to create animated movies using amazing animated characters.
It gives you a unique way to teach your students.
3. Sellamations. Sellamations is a creative way to share your thoughts with your students, here an animated hand draws your story at a high speed.
It makes things really easy to understand.
4. Common Craft: Common craft is at a different level of creativity, it creates videos with paper cut-outs, it’s an easy way to share complex information.
Videos are really helpful but if you are teaching something related to budget or ads, then you’ll need spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets are easy to create & mostly need basic elementary stuff.
You can easily create spreadsheets from tools like:
- Microsoft Excel
- Google drive
- Online Excel
- Apache etc
4. Pics or Infographics
Ever heard the phrase,
A picture is worth thousand words
According to Vengagge stats, 60.8% marketers consider visual content as the most important part of their marketing strategy.
And you might also want to add some beautiful pics to your course.
Visual tools to create an online course
1. Canva: Canva provides some really cool features to create amazing pictures.
You can create pics for your infographics, social media banner, website or something else.
It has something for everyone.
2. Infogram: Infogram offers some really unusual features.
Other than infographics, It allows you to create bar graphs & charts.
3. Piktochart: Piktochart is considered an alternate tool for Canva.
With its user-friendly interface, you can create solid pics in no time.
So, Once you’re done with creating your stuff, its time to fine-tune your course & give it a professional touch.
And this is the part that kills most of your time.
Pdf & spreadsheets are easy to work on but you’ll need some extra tools to beautify your videos.
Tools to fix your audio & video:
When I created a video for the first time, it was a total mess.
Even though I had all the tools, still there were a lot of problems in my video.
Sometimes there was an audio blur, while at times background noise created problems.
At some stage of your online course, you will also come across such problems.
That’s why I would suggest having these tools on your pc.
1.Audacity: Audacity is a free audio tool with PRO features with unlimited sound mixing & editing features. Highly recommended.
2. Adobe premiere pro: Adobe premiere pro offers studio-quality sound editing & mixing features. It’s one of the premium tools to create an online course video.
Both these tools offer amazing features like
- Sound editing
- Audio cutting, cleaning, mixing.
- Export in different formats.
- Reverb, reverse reverb.
- Background noise etc.
- The list is literally endless.
With these tools, you can easily import audio from your video & fix them.
And once you are done with your content creation, you can easily upload it to your desired platform.
If you haven’t selected any platform yet, check out these best online course platforms.
Mandatory tools to make your life easy
There are some things which you just can’t avoid in an online business.
And email is one of them, you will need an email campaign to reach out to a new audience.
Here I would suggest going with MailChimp.
MailChimp: MailChimp is a well-renowned name in the email marketing world.
It offers high-quality services at affordable prices, highly recommended, especially for beginners.
A few months back when I was looking to buy a new laptop, I was confused in different options.
They were all good but each of them was lacking some features.
And it took me a really exhausting long research to finally find the right one.
This very same thing can happen to your course as well. You get one great feature on one platform & another awesome feature on another platform.
And you wish that you can get them at one place.
That’s why Zapier is a life saver.
Zapier: Zapier is an online platform integration tool which allows you to connect different online platforms.
For example, with Zapier you can connect FB with Instagram, or Twitter.
You can connect PayPal to your email system etc.
It’s a pocket-friendly tool which literally supports thousands of apps & various online course platforms.
Using these tools will enhance the quality of your course & can help you to price your online course even higher.
Many of my entrepreneur friends have created 6 figure, 7 figure funnels with their online courses.
They all talk about one habit that took them to where they are today.
What is that habit?
Being an entrepreneur, multitasking is not an option, it’s mandatory.
No matter what you do, whether its content creation, teaching or sales.
You have to do multitasking.
I also strictly followed this rule while writing my book “Twisted marketing”
Believe me, it works like gold but it’s really hectic.
Even if you outsource your work, you got to be involved in everything.
You have to be everywhere at the same time.
But if you can’t be everywhere at the same time, then check out these amazing course platforms where you can do all that stuff in one place.