With the rapid growth of online learning and an ever-expanding range of course ideas, now is the perfect time to dive in and create your own online course business.  We’ll explore some inspiration course ideas, covering everything from niche selection and course creation to marketing and monetization strategies.

Whether you’re looking for new ideas to add to your current course offering or getting ready for your very first course then you’re in the right place.  Get ready to unlock your potential by discovering dozens of online course ideas with real examples of different niches in a range of popular categories.  Then we’ll review some strategies for marketing your course and monetizing it.

The Rise of Online Learning

The appeal of online courses has skyrocketed in recent years, with numerous factors contributing to this surge in popularity. The COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation that followed catalyzed a transformation in how businesses operate and how customers expect to do business.  In additional to that, technological developments enabled virtual solutions to replace in-person transactions, meetings and events, and did it very effectively.

Online learning is an incredibly attractive option for both learners and course creators, offering flexibility, accessibility, diverse course offerings, and cost-effectiveness in bringing an online course idea to life.

With more and more people learning how to start an online school, the global industry is projected to approach 1 trillion by 2030 with no signs of slowing down.  Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a passionate hobbyist, there’s never been a better time to explore the world of online course creation.

To better understand what makes online courses so appealing, let’s delve deeper into the key factors that have contributed to the rise of online learning: flexibility and accessibility, diverse course offerings, and cost-effective learning.

online course ideas

Flexibility and Accessibility

One of the primary reasons online courses have gained immense popularity is the flexibility and accessibility they offer. Unlike traditional classroom sessions, online learning allows students to study at their own pace and from anywhere in the world. This level of convenience and adaptability makes online courses an attractive option for busy professionals, stay-at-home parents, and anyone seeking to balance their education with other life commitments.

Various delivery methods are available for online courses, including text-based, audio, and video courses. Each method has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, but ultimately, the best choice will depend on the audience’s needs and preferences.  While video is usually king, tt’s usually best to offer a diverse range of learning options so you can cater to the unique needs of your students and provide a truly personalized learning experience.

Diverse Course Offerings

Another exciting aspect of online learning is the diverse range of course offerings available. Catering to various interests, skill levels, and career goals, there are seemingly endless learning opportunities to explore. From travel blogging and travel writing to knitting and painting, online courses allow learners to pursue their passions and expand their skill sets.

The diverse course offerings in the online learning landscape enable individuals to find the perfect course that aligns with their interests and goals, or even create their own online course. Whether they’re looking to learn a new language, improve your photography skills, or master the art of cooking, there’s an online course out there that will match.

Cost-Effective Learning

Online learning is often more cost-effective than traditional education, making it an appealing option for budget-conscious learners.  Everything is typically included in the single fee, eliminating additional costs like admin fees and expensive textbooks.  Any other added costs would be added courses or supplemental courses.  And there are obviously no commuting or accommodation expenses.  As far as paying for the course, if you are interested in an expensive online course it will typically offer flexible payment options like installment plans.

This cost-effective approach to education makes online learning a highly appealing choice for many individuals.  As more and more people recognize the benefits of cost-effective learning, the demand for high-quality online courses is only expected to increase in the coming years.

Discovering Your Niche

Your niche is the unique combination of your passions, expertise, and the needs of your target audience. Identifying the right niche is crucial for creating a thriving course business. By focusing on your expertise and what your audience needs, you can develop a successful and profitable online course.

First and foremost, consider your passion and expertise in a particular subject. If you’re passionate about the topic, your enthusiasm will be reflected in the course content, motivating students and making it easier to create online courses that resonate with learners. Having a strong foundation of expertise in the subject will help you create a high-quality course that provides real value to your students.

First, analyze the needs of your target audience. Then consider ways to meet those needs. What challenges are they facing, and how can your course help them overcome these obstacles? By addressing the specific needs of your potential learners, you can create a course that is both appealing and valuable.

Some examples of profitable and popular online course ideas include cooking tutorials, customer service and satisfaction courses, and home organizing courses. By identifying your niche and aligning it with the needs of your target audience, you can create a successful online course that stands out in the competitive online learning market.

best online course ideas

Top Online Course Categories

Real-life success stories of online course creators serve as a source of inspiration and provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t in the world of online learning. By studying the experiences of others, aspiring course creators can gain a better understanding of the strategies and techniques that lead to success.

There are countless online course categories to explore, but some stand out as particularly popular and in-demand. Each of these categories offers a wealth of opportunity for course creators looking to make a lasting impact on their students’ lives.

Health, Wellness & Personal Development

In the health & wellness category, courses related to stress management, anxiety reduction, fitness, and nutrition are highly sought-after. Personal development courses, on the other hand, focus on topics like career guidance, time management, and self-esteem, empowering individuals to grow and succeed in various aspects of their lives.

Even celebrities have gotten into the mix. Check out Annapurna Living, founded by Carrie-Anne Moss. The platform offers courses on meditation and mindfulness, empowering individuals to unlock their potential and take control of their lives.

And if you check out some of the courses and products that she has available, you can see that you don’t need to build a gigantic course and charge a ton of money to get started. Her courses run as low as $15 or $25.

Health and Wellness Wisdom

People are always seeking ways to maintain their well-being.

You’ll notice that many trending course topics have a very specific focus: Not just yoga, but prenatal yoga. Not just flexibility, but flexibility for office workers who sit all day.

Narrowing down your course topic can help students feel like your course was meant just for them.

1. Prenatal Yoga
2. Yoga for Stress Relief (example)online course ideas
3. Flexibility for Office Workers
4. Nutritionist Certificate
5. Health Coaching
6. Plant-Based Eating
7. Facial Massage
8. Mindfulness for moms
9. Herbalism (example)
10. Holistic Medicine

Self-Improvement and Personal Growth

The last decade has seen a boom in the self-improvement industry. Everyone wants to grow in the skills most of us were not taught in school, but that enhance the experience of our lives.

Profitable course topics range from the classics like cognitive behavioral therapy to the more recent trends, like breathwork.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy3 Self Improvement and Personal Growth 2. Breathwork (example)
3. Meditation
4. Art Therapy
5. Time management
6. Relationship Coaching
7. Growth Mindset
8. Communication Skills
9. Speed Reading
10. Confidence

Language Learning Landscapes

Whether for travel, career progression, or personal development, learning a new language is a popular pursuit. It is a skill that is consistently in demand.

Online language courses can be creatively structured using a variety of formats, catering to learners from beginner to advanced levels, making each one an online course idea worth exploring.

1. English Grammaronline language courses
2. Spanish for Beginners
3. French in 3 Minutes Per Day (example)
4. Conversational Spanish
5. French Phrases for Travel
6. Spanish Verb Tenses (example)
7. English Customer Service Essentials
8. American Sign Language
9. Japanese Speaking Skills
10. Italian for Tourists

Cultivating Creativity: Music and Performing Arts Online

Online platforms have also become a home for the performing arts world. Whether it’s the guitar, piano, or violin, online tutorials offer a step-by-step approach to mastering these instruments.

Performance arts courses offer a comprehensive primer on disciplines like acting, dance, and theater. These foundational courses aim to equip students with the essential skills needed to pursue further studies in these areas.

1. Solo Singing Techniqueslearning music online
2. Beginner Guitar (example)
3. How to Become a Voice Actor
4. Learn to Play the Harmonica
5. Reading Music
6. Piano Basics
7. Music Theory for Electronic Music
8. Acting On Camera
9. Auditioning Tips (example)
10. Belly Dancing for Beginners

Business & Entrepreneurship

Business & entrepreneurship courses offer practical skills and knowledge to help individuals succeed in the world of business, covering topics like marketing, financial planning, and time management.

Kat Norton and her businesses at Miss Excel teaching working professionals how to use the Microsoft Suite, with an emphasis on Excel and Sheets. The goal she sets for her students is to become more proficient with these tools and thus become more proficient at work.

I’m sure you’ve seen courses or websites that help people find jobs or do better with interviews. This training goes into a specific market and teaches how to interview for growth equity and venture capital firm positions. The site is Growth Equity Insider Guide from Mike Hinckley.

This is a great example of “niching down”, which is a term used to explain a “niche within a niche”. While there are plenty of courses out there to teach people how to be better at interviews, this course teaches you how to be better at a very specific type of interview. This one of the best ways to separate from competition.

Some of the best online course ideas come from this category as there are millions of people looking to get into a better paying job. Currently, there are 72 million millennials in the United States that are between the ages of 22 and 37 with jobs in retail and jobs in service who are basically ‘paycheck to paycheck’.

The folks over at Uvaro recognized that and fill a need for those people. They saw a fantastic opportunity to empower those individuals with aspirations to learn skills necessary to move to a better paying, higher skilled career in tech sales.

Building an Online Business

Entrepreneurship appeals to most people. Courses that teach others how to create a successful online business have the potential to be extremely profitable, in part because students can justify paying for the course because they will ideally make that money back with their new business.

If you can take beta-testers through your course and get testimonials about students successfully making money, your course will be easier to sell.

1. Becoming a Virtual Assistant
2. Starting a Web Design Business
3. Entrepreneurship Basics
4. Blogging (example)
5. Freelancing on Upwork or Fiverr
6. Proofreading
7. Instagram Marketing
8. Starting an Email Marketing Business
9. eCommerce
10. Low Content Publishing (example)

Digital Marketing Deep Dive

All online businesses need to be at the forefront of the ever-changing digital marketing world. Courses can range from broad strategies to ultra-specific trending tactics.

Many topics have been around for years but educational materials are always in need of an update because of algorithm changes. Google SEO courses created five years ago are no longer accurate, which can benefit a new course creator. Students need the latest information.

1. Influencer Marketingdigital marketing online course ideas
2. Using AI for Digital Marketing
3. Facebook Ads
4. Search Engine Optimization (example)
5. Storytelling for Businesses
6. YouTube Content Creation
7. Marketing for Life Coaches
8. Affiliate Marketing (example)
9. Faceless Marketing
10. BookTok

Financial Freedom: Personal Finance and Investment Courses

Among the most profitable niches for online courses are finance and investment. From handling money wisely to trading digital currencies and making smart investment choices, these course ideas enable individuals to manage their wealth effectively and even make money online.

Mastering the skill of managing money effectively is essential for everyone. An online course on budgeting can significantly impact a student’s life. There are opportunities for creating courses geared toward kids, adults needing to learn the basics, as well as advanced financial managers.

1. How to Use QuickBooks
2. Stock Trading 101
3. Cryptocurrency
4. Monthly Budgeting Basics (example)
5. Retirement Saving
6. Accounting
7. Financial Planning Coaching
8. Budgeting for Business
9. Financial Skills for Kids
10. Personal Finance for Teens

Career Advancement and Leadership Development

For many with the goal of career advancement, online courses can provide the needed skills and knowledge. Whether it’s job hunting, achieving promotions, mastering salary negotiations, or developing leadership skills, these courses cater to various career needs.

A well-crafted resume and effective interview skills often make all the difference in successful job searching. Networking is also a critical aspect of career development, opening doors to potential job opportunities.

Today’s work environments necessitate the essentiality of effective leadership and management skills. Courses focusing on these skills often cover areas like team-building, motivational communication, and people management.

1. Project Management
2. Business Email Writing
3. Presentation Skills
4. Cross-Cultural Communication
5. Interviewing Skills (example)
6. Resume and CV Writing
7. Negotiating for a Raise
8. Business Etiquette
9. Soft Skills Development
10. Professional Networking

Nurturing Knowledge: Academic and Tutoring Subjects

Catering to those with busy schedules, online academic courses offer a flexible option for learners to access education at their convenience. From STEM to social sciences, there’s a wide range of subjects to choose from, addressing the needs of students seeking to augment their education.

Online courses provide K-12 students with the opportunity to reinforce their fundamental knowledge in core academic areas like:

– Mathematics
– Science
– Literature
– History

Although preparing for college can be daunting, online courses can provide valuable assistance. From university entry exams to advanced placement subjects and standardized test prep, these courses have you covered.

1. Mastering Algebra (example)
2. Art History
3. Coding for Kids (example)
4. How to Write a Research Paper
5. Anatomy and Physiology 101
6. Forensic Science
7. Test Taking Skills
8. SAT Prep
9. Creative Writing
10. Memory Improvement

1 Feature arcticle image 1


As the online learning market continues to grow, certain skills and topics have emerged as particularly in-demand. IT and software-related courses are becoming increasingly popular as technology continues to evolve, with topics like the Metaverse, AR/VR, AI, UI/UX, security, mobile-first, online coding courses, and no-code programming attracting significant interest. Similarly, finance-related courses, such as cryptocurrency and blockchain courses, are also gaining traction in the online learning space.

Learning to code is huge and there is surely no sign of it slowing down. Check out Code Galaxy from CEO Marliis Reinkort. These online training classes target kids specifically from ages 7 to 18. It began as in-person coding for kids and with the onset of Covid they went digital and never looked back. Now they serve kids and families from all over the country.

Trending Tech Topics

As technology rapidly advances, there are always new topics people want to learn—quickly! Courses in the tech category attract many different kinds of students, from the casually interested to corporate clients.

1. AI Prompt Engineering
2. ChatGPT for Business
3. AI Image Creation with Midjourney
4. How to Make Money with AI (example)
5. Ethical Hacking
6. Cybersecurity
7. Amazon AWS Certification (example)
8. Python Programming
9. Javascript Programming
10. Data Science

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is a very popular area of online classes. As mentioned above, one of the ways to separate yourself from the competition is by “niching down” and that’s exactly what Jessica Tappana did with her course. She founded a search engine optimization business for mental health professionals called Simplified SEO Consulting. It’s a DIY course for SEO for those in that market who who want to learn how to boost their SEO themselves.


Hobby-based courses, such as arts and crafts, photography, and cooking, allow learners to explore their passions and develop new skills in a fun and engaging way.

Jewellery Training Solutions (JTS) is an online video training website that helps students & professional jewelers learn or advance their skills & knowledge. Founded by Peter Keep, his course helps not only beginners on how to get into making their own jewelry, but also includes more advanced classes for those already in the hobby. And for those with ambition and and eye for detail, his training can even help individuals gain employment in the industry.

These success stories demonstrate that with determination, passion, and a willingness to learn, it is possible to create a thriving online course business. By learning from the experiences of others, course creators can avoid common pitfalls and pave the way for their own success in the world of online learning.

Creative Pursuits: Arts and Crafts Courses

Online learning is witnessing a delightful resurgence of interest in the arts and crafts niche. These creative pursuits cater to both early childhood education and adults.

Get specific about who your course is for: beginners, advanced artists and crafters, elementary-aged kids, or adults. This clarity will shape the course that you create and help it find its audience more easily.

1. Watercolor painting (example)
2. Figure Drawing
3. Candle Making
4. Soap Making (example)
5. Digital Art with Procreate
6. Crochet
7. Sewing 101
8. Jewelry Making
9. llustration
10. Pottery on the Wheel


That was 110 trending online course ideas. But we promised 111, so here you go:

Think of something that comes easily to you that others often compliment you on. Usually, it’s something so obvious or simple to you, that you ignore it. Maybe you’re naturally organized or read incredibly fast. Or you’re an amazing gardener.

With a little research, you can take this thing you’re already amazing at, and position it so that others want to learn it!

From a skill like gardening, you can do a little market research to find out what people want to know to find a profitable angle, like:
gardening and outdoor online courses
– Urban Gardening
– Gardening with Kids
– Starting a Vegetable Stand to Make Money
– Backyard Gardening
– Starting a Mini Flower Farm

Creating Engaging and Effective Courses

By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and in-demand topics, online course creators can ensure that their courses remain relevant and attractive to potential learners. This, in turn, will help establish a strong foundation for a successful and profitable online course business.

Creating engaging and effective courses involves several key steps, including:

– Thorough research

– Well-structured content

– Interactive elements

– Regular updates to keep learners interested and motivated

By incorporating these components, course creators can develop high-quality courses that resonate with their target audience and drive long-term success.

To begin with, research is essential when developing your course content. This involves not only understanding your subject matter, but also analyzing your target audience and their needs. By conducting thorough research, you can create a course that is both informative and relevant to your learners.

Once you’ve gathered the necessary information, it’s time to structure your course content in a logical and organized manner.

Here’s some things you can try:

– Breaking down complex topics into manageable sections

– Incorporating engaging visuals

– Using a variety of teaching methods to cater to different learning styles

create online courses

Interactive elements can also significantly enhance the learning experience and keep students engaged throughout the course. 

These include quizzes, polls and feedback through comments in the lesson, online groups or one-on-one.  Live webinars are also a great way to create engagement.

Finally, regular updates are crucial for maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of your course. By refreshing your content with new information and resources, you can ensure that your course remains fresh and appealing to learners.

Marketing Your Online Course

Marketing your online course is a crucial aspect of its success. To effectively promote your course and reach your target audience, you can utilize a variety of marketing strategies, such as:

– Social media

Email marketing

Content marketing

– Collaborations with influencers or industry experts

Social media platforms can serve as powerful tools for promoting your online course and connecting with potential students. Find out where those potential students hang out, and then by regularly sharing engaging content and updates you can build a strong online presence and attract the attention of your target audience.

Email marketing is another effective strategy for promoting your online course. By building an email list of interested subscribers, you can send regular updates, announcements, and promotional offers directly to their inboxes.

Content marketing, such as blogging, podcasting, or creating YouTube videos, can also help increase your online visibility and showcase your expertise in your niche.

Finally, collaborating with influencers or industry experts can provide valuable exposure for your online course and lend credibility to your brand. By leveraging these marketing strategies, you can effectively promote your online course and attract a loyal following of engaged students.

Monetizing Your Online Course

Knowing how to sell video courses online is an essential step towards building a profitable online business or adding another revenue stream to an already existing business. This involves:

– Setting the right price for your course

– Offering multiple payment options

– Exploring additional revenue streams, such as affiliate marketing and upselling.

Pricing your course appropriately is crucial, as it not only determines your potential revenue but also influences the perceived value of your course. By researching competitor pricing and considering the value of the content you’re providing, you can determine an appropriate price for your course that will appeal to your target audience.

Offering multiple payment options can also help to increase conversions and accommodate the preferences of your students. This may include one-time payments, subscriptions, or payment plans, depending on the structure and content of your course.

In addition to direct course sales, exploring additional revenue streams, such as affiliate marketing and upselling, can help to further monetize your online course and maximize your income potential when you sell courses online.

online course creation

Utilizing Technology and Tools

In today’s digital age, a plethora of technology and tools are available to streamline the course creation and promotion process. Utilizing these tools can help to save time, increase efficiency, and enhance the overall quality of your online course. Some popular tools include:

Learning management systems (LMS): These platforms offer features such as content management, student tracking, and assessment tools to help you manage and deliver your online course.

Platforms such as Thinkific vs Teachable vs Kajabi are popular.  And if you use WordPress then Learndash is a popular option.  There are various differences between WordPress with Learndash and these other platorms, like Learndash vs Teachable, so it’s important to understand your goals and what you want out of an LMS.

Video editing software: Tools like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro can help you create engaging and polished course content, though they are more advanced pieces of software.

If you are just starting out, tools like Camtasia, Snagit or Screenflow might be good options.  Camtasia is probably the most popular, as it’s a fantastic product and easy to use, though it’s a bit expensive.  There are various Camtasia alternatives you can explore though.

Marketing automation tools: Platforms like Mailchimp or Mailerlite can simplify the process of promoting your course via email.

By leveraging these tools, you can optimize your course creation and promotion efforts.

In addition to these core tools, other tools such as Paperform can assist with tasks like creating surveys, scheduling, onboarding, and designing contact forms.

By leveraging the power of technology and tools, online course creators can streamline their workflow and focus on what truly matters: delivering an exceptional learning experience to their students.

Future Trends in Online Learning

As the world of online learning continues to evolve, several future trends are emerging that will shape the way we learn and teach online. These trends include:

– The rise of microlearning

– Gamification

– Virtual reality

– Artificial intelligence

Microlearning is an exciting trend that focuses on short, targeted bursts of information, making it an effective and efficient learning tool for busy individuals (see our article on microlearning examples to get some ideas for your own course). Gamification, on the other hand, involves using game elements and mechanics in non-game contexts to engage and motivate learners.

Virtual reality (VR) is another transformative trend in online learning, offering immersive and interactive experiences that can enhance the learning process. Finally, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize online learning by enabling the development of innovative applications to solve complex problems and streamline the learning process.

As these trends continue to gain traction, the landscape of online learning will become even more dynamic and engaging, offering new opportunities for course creators and learners alike.


In conclusion, the world of online learning offers incredible potential for those looking to unlock their potential and create profitable online courses. By exploring diverse course ideas, discovering your niche, and utilizing the latest technology and tools, you can develop engaging and effective courses that resonate with your target audience.

As you embark on your journey in the world of online course creation, remember to stay adaptable, learn from the experiences of others, and continuously strive to improve your course content and delivery methods. With determination, passion, and a commitment to excellence, you can transform your online course ideas into a thriving and profitable business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What online courses make the most money?

The most profitable online courses are web development, data analysis, graphic design, IT certifications, programming languages, personal development, artificial intelligence, and arts & crafts. These courses have high demand and potential for substantial earnings.

What are some of the most profitable niches for online courses in 2024?

In 2024, the most profitable niches for online courses include tech topics like AI and data science, health and wellness, arts and crafts, personal finance and investment, language learning, career advancement, music and performing arts, academic and tutoring subjects, relationship building, and personal growth. Consider creating courses in these areas for maximum profitability.

How do I create an online course?

After choosing your course topic, you will want to create a lesson outline and learning objectives. Next, you will need to choose a course platform so that students can enroll and access content. Once your course is created, you will need a sales page and can launch your online course!

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