A question I'm often asked is:
“How can I create and sell online courses with WordPress?”
I’ve always wanted to have a good answer for this problem, but could never give one in good conscience.
Because every time I set out to assemble a recommended tools list for building paid online courses, I run into problems. I tried many times, but I never found a solution that addressed my 4 critical concerns.
What Every Online Course Solution Needs
Whatever solution you end up with, there are a few points you can't do without. What you need is:
- A simple way to create online courses that look and feel like online courses (and not just blog posts or regular pages). This is critical for the perceived value of your product.
- A way to receive payments and make sure that only people who paid can access your course.
- A solution for digital sales tax (e.g. the EU VAT MOSS regulations).
- An affiliate marketing system, so that you can get other people to promote your product for you.
There are many tools you can Frankenstein together to handle all of these requirements.
I was never satisfied with that because A) these solutions are usually very expensive and B) the more different stuff you have to patch together, the more complicated and costly the whole thing becomes.
In my own experience, I've always had to pay for custom development and integration, to get it all to work. On this very website, we use a tool stack that costs us around $300/month and we've invested well over $20,000 in development cost over the years, to make it all work, keep it tax compliant etc.
Clearly, I can't recommend something like this as an optimal solution.
The Digital Tax Problem
EU VAT on digital products have been in effect since 2015 and affect all businesses, worldwide. Other countries are following suit and implementing similar digital tax schemes.
Despite this, most membership plugins and online selling solutions don't make any effort to be compliant. The best you can usually hope for is that they integrate with some compliance platform.
I can't recommend a solution that isn't tax compliant. That's just hanging a Sword of Damocles above your head exposing you to potential legal ramifications down the road.
For those reasons, I’ve avoided recommending a paid online course tool stack to help you sell online courses on your WordPress website… until now.
Finally, a Rapid Implementation Solution for Building & Selling Your Online Courses
Since we launched our Thrive Apprentice online course plugin to Thrive Suite back in 2017, users have always had the ability to quickly craft and launch professional looking lead generation Ecourses to help grow their email lists.
We also integrate with several membership plugins, but those solutions are generally incomplete or expensive.
Now, we finally have a solution we can fully stand behind. We created a deep integration between Thrive Apprentice and SendOwl. Now Thrive Suite customers have an easy and affordable way to solve all four of the business-critical issues discussed at the beginning of this post.
In short, SendOwl is the ideal solution to start selling your first online courses with because:
- It handles payment processing.
- With our integration, Thrive Apprentice makes sure that only customers access the courses they bought.
- It has a built in system for collecting digital sales tax and creating tax reports.
- It has a simple but useful, built-in affiliate program.
- It's affordable, with prices starting at just $9/month.
I think signing up for a $2,000 tool stack to sell your first course is an extraordinarily bad idea, which is why that last point is quite important to me, as well. With SendOwl and Thrive Apprentice, you can get started at a low price and the solution can also continue growing with you for some time to come.
Watch the video above to find out and make sure to leave any comments or questions you have about it below!
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of the new Thrive Apprentice + SendOwl integration check out this Thrive University course.