If you want to create an online course, membership, or subscription, one of your first decisions will be choosing your online learning platform. For the highest amount of customization and the lowest investment, WordPress plugins make powerful eLearning website builders. 

This article provides insight into leveraging WordPress for eLearning to ensure your website meets the needs of your online students effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • The top WordPress eLearning plugins are Tutor LMS, LearnDash, and LifterLMS. 
  • Your online course needs a comprehensive outline, multimedia-rich lessons, and accessibility features to keep students engaged. 
  • If you keep an open mind to feedback, analytics tools and student surveys can help you continue to make your course better and better.  

Choosing the Right WordPress eLearning Website Builder

WordPress is one of the most popular website builders in existence. If you have a website, especially a blog, there’s a decent chance it was built with WordPress. But you might not know that you can also use WordPress to create an online learning environment. 

Unlike all-in-one course platforms like Thinkific and Kajabi, WordPress offers complete flexibility and customizations when you use an LMS (learning management system) plugin. 

Factors to Consider

As you search for the right LMS WordPress plugin, you’ll want to consider:

  • Cost
  • Features
  • Ease of use

WordPress eLearning website builders are generally more affordable than other course platforms. You’ll probably pay a yearly fee of a few hundred dollars instead of monthly payments which can add up to well over $1,000 per year. 

Another plus is that you own the platform completely. You will have complete control over your website’s appearance and access to all data. 

However, administering your own LMS is decidedly more complicated than using other course creation software. You may want to factor in hiring assistance if you don’t have the time or inclination to figure things out. 

Popular eLearning Website Builder WordPress Plugins

Three high-quality LMS plugins are: 

  • Tutor LMS
  • LearnDash
  • LifterLMS. 

Each plugin has a slightly different feel to it and a variety of features. 

WordPress LMS Plugin Features

Both Tutor LMS and LifterLMS provide access to the core plugin for free, but you’ll need to pay to get access to extra support, features, and updates. Both software also highlight their mobile responsiveness—important for your students to be able to access your course through their phones. 

Tutor LMS lets you create quizzes, drip content, and easily design courses with a drag-and-drop course builder. You can organize and personalize dashboards for teachers and students, where they can access their data. 

LearnDash has a Focus Mode to eliminate distractions for your students. They also have badges, certificates, and course points to keep your students motivated. 

We’ve got an in-depth compassion of LearnDash and Lifter LMS if you’re debating between those two plugins. 

Cost

While none of these plugins have a free trial, they all have a demo or live preview so you can click around and get a feel for what it’s like to use the plugin before you buy—something we highly recommend. 

 

Let’s look at the cost of activating these plugins on one site.

 

LifterLMS comes in at the least expensive. For $149.50 per year, you get unlimited support and e-commerce integrations. 

 

Tutor LMS and LearnDash both cost the same amount. For $199 per year, you get one site license, access to updates, and plugin support. 

One big difference between all these plugins is that LifterLMS and LearnDash charge extra on top of the paid plan for “Add-Ons” — access to powerful course features. With Tutor LMS, as long as you have a paid plan, you get the add-ons included. 

These plugins don’t have a monthly payment option. It might feel like a lot to pay all at once, but compared to the yearly cost of other all-in-one course platforms, these plugins are a bargain. 

 

However, given that this eLearning method is less user-friendly than other course software, you may want to budget for hiring expert help.  

Creating and Organizing Course Content

Once you’ve chosen your eLearning website builder, the next step is to focus on creating educational content. For eLearning content to be compelling, it must capture and maintain your students’ attention. 

If you think of how many online courses you’ve started but never finished, you’ll realize how hard this is! 

Structuring Courses

Before you start creating videos, quizzes, and worksheets, you need a well-defined course outline. The order you teach each lesson in is important. Without an outline, you may teach your students an advanced concept before they understand the basics. Or you might accidentally leave out a crucial lesson altogether.

Start by deciding on your modules—the big concepts you need to teach. Then break each module down into lessons—the step-by-step way to understand each module.  

Before you fully settle on your outline, share it with someone. Walk an ideal student through the outline and see if they have any questions about the order or content. 

Types of Learning Materials

The types of learning materials you include in your online course can significantly impact its success. 

Utilizing the following can increase student engagement and retention:

  • Multimedia lessons, including video, audio, text, and image
  • Interactive features, such as quizzes, flashcards, and assignments
  • Gamification elements, like badges and course points

 

A diversity of eLearning materials caters to different learning styles and helps to keep the content relevant for students. You can use real-life scenarios, statistical data, and personal stories to make lessons more relatable and immersive.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Accessibility and inclusivity should be considered for every eLearning course.

Here is a short list of features recommended as you create your course:

  • Provide closed captioning for all videos
  • Make sure your video quality is clear 
  • Provide a written transcript for all audio files
  • Make sure the audio quality is clear
  • Use ALT tags for all images
  • Use easily readable fonts
  • Avoid using bright colors as a background for text

Analyzing and Improving Your eLearning Platform

It’s important to regularly analyze and improve your online course to ensure its success. You can use various analytic tools as well as student feedback to make your course more engaging and helpful.

Analytics Tools

To effectively analyze your eLearning website builder, you’ll need the right analytics tools. WordPress LMS platforms include various analytics for you. 

Pay attention to the grades your students are getting on quizzes. Low grades can be a sign that you need to do more in-depth teaching on a certain topic. Or you can host a live Q&A time to find out what your students are struggling with. 

If your students are making it a third of the way through the course and then stopping, try to figure out why. It could be that there are unnecessary lessons to cut out or you need to use more interactive elements, like in-video quizzes and hotspots

User Feedback

Another way to improve your course is to provide multiple ways for your students to give their feedback. Feedback can be collected directly through surveys and questionnaires or indirectly through monitoring discussion forums and social media.

Be sure to ask students who finish the course to rate and review it. This will help you make improvements and you can use glowing reviews on your sales page. 

Mid-course surveys and post-course reviews can all be automated with either your WordPress plugin or email service provider. 

It can be difficult to stay open-minded in the face of feedback. But if you’re willing to listen to your students and make changes based on their critiques, your course will be able to help even more people. 

Monetizing Your eLearning Platform

Once your eLearning platform is up and running, the next step is monetization. Here are some options for offering multiple purchasing options:

  • One-time fee
  • Subscription 
  • Membership
  • Tiered pricing
  • Group pricing
  • Scholarships

These options can increase course sales by providing customers with payment flexibility.

Pricing Strategies

When it comes to pricing your course, the key is to consider the costs of creating the course, the current market demand, competition, and the perceived value to set an appropriate price.

You may be tempted to price your course extra low, but that’s a mistake. Buyers usually assume a correlation between price and quality, so if your course is priced too low, people will think that it’s not very good. Crazy, right?

Some marketing gurus recommend that you look at your competition and find the average price of all of their courses. Then charge a little above average. 

Payment Gateways

Once you decide what to charge, your new students need a way to checkout.

Popular payment gateways for eLearning platforms include:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe 
  • WooCommerce

Tutor LMS only integrates WooCommerce. LifterLMS integrates with WooCommerce, Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net. LearnDash integrates with Stripe, Paypal, RazorPay, and 2Checkout. 

If you are picky about which payment processor you want to use, this is important to consider. 

Marketing and Promoting Your eLearning Platform

Once your eLearning platform is live and monetized, the next step is marketing and promotion. 

An effective marketing strategy should include:

  • Identifying your target audience
  • Developing high-quality content
  • Optimizing your website for SEO
  • Engaging with potential students on social media
  • Running email marketing campaigns

Social Media Marketing

Social media can allow you to share bite-sized pieces of content, interact with potential students, and promote your course. 

You can even use social media to learn about your ideal students’ needs by posting polls, “ask me anything” prompts, and quiz questions. 

Be sure to share an email opt-in on social media regularly so that you can get your social media audiences onto your email list for further nurturing and selling.  

Lastly, Facebook ads are a great way to expand your platform’s visibility, grow your email list,  and sell courses. If you’re not comfortable with setting up and running ads, you can hire experts from Upwork to help you. 

Email Campaigns

Not everyone you interact with on social media will be ready to buy your course right away. Buyers need an average of eight touchpoints (interactions) with a company before they are ready to purchase. That number of touchpoints can go way up depending on what you’re selling and the price point. 

This is why you need to give away something for free to get people onto your email list. Once they are there, you can:

  • Send weekly newsletters to provide value
  • Offer exclusive deals and discounts
  • Segment your list to give more personalized recommendations

By implementing these strategies, you can boost engagement and drive more traffic to your eLearning platform.

SEO and Content Marketing

SEO and content marketing are also vital for increasing your eLearning platform’s visibility in search engine results. By optimizing the content you create for relevant keywords, adding informative meta descriptions, and improving site loading speed, you can enhance the user experience and attract organic traffic.

Creating high-quality content, often in the form of blog posts or videos, not only improves search engine rankings but also provides value to learners, reinforcing your expertise in your course topic.

Aim for regular content creation, either weekly or monthly. Consistency is key. 

Affiliate Programs and Partnerships

If you do not have a large email list or online following, partnering with an affiliate can be a game-changer. In exchange for a commission on any course sales they send your way, an affiliate will tell their audience all about your course, allowing you to reach students you never would have otherwise. 

The best affiliates are the ones who have a similar audience to yours—or at least an audience that includes a lot of your ideal students.

Summary

In conclusion, building a successful online course with a WordPress eLearning website builder involves a strategic combination of understanding your audience, creating compelling content, implementing a suitable monetization strategy, promoting your platform effectively, and continually analyzing and improving based on feedback and analytics. 

While the journey may seem daunting, if you take things one step at a time and remain open to continuous learning, you can make it happen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose WordPress for my eLearning platform?

WordPress is flexible and customizable. It allows you to tailor content to your audience’s needs, providing complete design and functionality flexibility. 

What types of learning materials should I include in my eLearning platform?

You should include a variety of materials such as videos, audio recordings, worksheets, and quizzes to support different learning styles and keep the content engaging. This will enhance the overall learning experience for your users.

How can I promote my eLearning platform?

To promote your eLearning platform, focus on social media marketing, email campaigns, and SEO and content marketing to increase visibility and attract more learners. These strategies can help you reach a wider audience and grow your platform effectively.