Online courses have become a cornerstone in the digital landscape for sharing and teaching knowledge and skills. If you're a Webflow developer interested in diving into the world of e-learning, this blog post is for you. We'll walk you through the essentials of creating an online course using Webflow and Memberstack, covering everything from template-based setups to complex customizations like payment gateways, invoices, free trials, and analytics.
4 TLDR Reasons to Build an Online Course with Webflow
- Ease of Use
- Highly Customizable
- Seamless Integration with Memberstack
- Comprehensive Analytics and Business Tools
Stay tuned for a deep dive into these topics, equipping you with all you need to build your online course on Webflow.
Before the Build: Choosing Your Niche and Core Features
Picking Your Niche
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of building your online course, it's critical to select a niche. A well-defined niche allows you to target a specific audience, making your marketing efforts more focused and effective. For instance, Udemy has carved out a reputation for offering courses geared towards software engineers, establishing a strong foothold in that particular industry. By niching down, you'll have the opportunity to build a similar reputation and attract an audience that's genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Core Features and Webflow+Memberstack Capabilities
Webflow and Memberstack come packed with features that can support a variety of core functionalities for your online course:
- Student Management: Memberstack allows you to manage all your students in one place, offering features that help you build loyal membership communities.
- Social Auth Features: Memberstack provides a social auth feature, enabling students to log in through various social media accounts, which can simplify the onboarding process.
- Coupons and Offers: Promotional capabilities are built-in, allowing you to create special offers or coupons to incentivize sign-ups.
- Interactive Forums: Create a forum where users can comment, discuss topics, and interact with each other, fostering a sense of community among your students.
- Gated Content: Memberstack allows you to create content that is accessible only to paid members, enhancing the value proposition of your course.
3 Best Subscription Site Examples: Pricing Tiers and Considerations
When it comes to pricing your online course, there are various models you can follow, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For a comprehensive guide on how to price your online course, especially when you're building it with Webflow, check out this blog post.
Skillshare operates on a subscription model that offers unlimited access to all its courses for a monthly or yearly fee. The platform typically charges $19 per month or $99 per year, with occasional discounts and trials available. There are no tiered options; subscribers gain access to everything on the platform.
Teachable allows course creators to set their own prices, so the pricing varies widely. However, for the course creators themselves, Teachable offers a three-tiered pricing plan:
- Basic: $39 per month
- Pro: $119 per month
- Business: $299 per month
Each tier comes with additional features and fewer platform fees.
Udemy takes a different approach, pricing each course individually rather than operating on a subscription model. Courses can range from $20 to $200 with occasional discounts.
Choosing a Platform:
While various platforms offer unique advantages and drawbacks for building your project, we're big fans of Webflow. So, that's what we'll be using for this guide.
- Part 1 will walk you through starting withouth a template
- Part 2 will walk you through starting from a template
Building an Online Course with Webflow - without a Template
We do recommend starting from a template, it's a whole lot faster! However you can also start from scratch, here's how...
Setting Up Webflow Without a Template
Step 1: Add Sections and Containers to the website
Begin by adding the primary sections that will make up your online course—like the homepage, course modules, FAQs, etc. Drag and drop "Sections" and "Containers" from the elements panel to start building these areas.
Step 2: Create CMS Collections for Course Content
You'll likely want to use Webflow’s CMS to manage your course content. Create CMS collections for different types of content, such as course modules, lessons, quizzes, and so on.
Step 3: Populate Your Design with Content
Now that your basic structure is in place, you can start populating it with actual content. Add text, images, videos, and other elements that will make up your course.
Step 4: Add Memberstack for Backend Functionality
To manage memberships, payments, and more, integrate Memberstack into your Webflow project. This will allow you to add features like gated content, membership tiers, and student forums.
Step 5: Test Your Design
Before launching, rigorously test your design across different devices and browsers to ensure that it's both responsive and functional.
Step 6: Iterate Based on Feedback
After launch, gather feedback from initial users to understand what can be improved, and make the necessary adjustments.
Remember, starting without a template offers you the freedom to build your online course exactly the way you envision it, albeit with a steeper learning curve and a longer development timeline. But the end result can be uniquely yours, tailored to fit your specific needs and aesthetic.
Design Options and User Experience Tips
A smooth, intuitive user experience is paramount for any website but takes on added significance for an online course. Your platform will not just reflect your branding but also play a critical role in how effectively your students learn. If users find it challenging to navigate your site or access content, it diminishes the educational experience, which could lead to negative reviews or attrition.
Clarity in Design Elements
Ensuring that icons and text are clear and legible is a fundamental design principle that must not be overlooked. Small details like these contribute significantly to user engagement and satisfaction, impacting how much time users are willing to spend on your platform.
Both teachers and students should find it effortless to move through your online course platform. A complicated or confusing interface could hamper the learning process. Make sure that menus are intuitive, and essential sections are easy to find. Features like breadcrumbs or progress bars can further enhance navigation.
Consistency Through Brand Guidelines and Style Guides
Having a set of brand guidelines and a style guide is vital for maintaining consistency across your platform. These resources can serve as a roadmap when you're expanding your course offerings or adding new pages. As a Webflow developer, having a style guide makes it simpler to build new elements while ensuring that they align with the existing look and feel of your course.
By focusing on these design and user experience elements, you not only enhance the aesthetics of your online course but also contribute to its educational effectiveness. Design is not just about how things look, but how they work. And in an educational setting, this couldn't be truer.
Features for a Successful Online Course Platform
To create a well-rounded and successful online course, you'll need to implement specific features that enhance the end-to-end experience for your students. These features go beyond just course content and can significantly impact how you attract, retain, and educate your audience.
The checkout process should be straightforward and secure, making it easy for students to purchase your course. The fewer the steps and the less friction there is, the better the conversion rates will be.
Automated invoicing can help provide a professional touch to your online course. It adds transparency and can make it easier for businesses and students to keep track of their spending on your platform.
Like invoicing, the billing process should be smooth and automated. Offering multiple payment options can increase the chances of students purchasing your course.
Coupon codes or special promotions can serve as an excellent way to incentivize enrollments. Limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency that can significantly boost your course sign-ups.
Free trials act as an effective lead magnet, giving prospective students a taste of what they can expect. This can help lower the barrier to entry and attract a wider audience who may be willing to invest in the full course after experiencing a trial.
Knowing where your leads are coming from can help you optimize your marketing strategies. Analytics tools can provide invaluable insights into traffic sources, user behavior, and other critical metrics.
Multiple Membership Levels
Memberstack 2.0 allows you to offer different membership tiers, enabling users to have multiple memberships simultaneously. This flexibility can cater to different user needs and provide an opportunity for upselling.
Secure and easy-to-use login forms are crucial for protecting your course content and providing a seamless experience for students. Multi-factor authentication and social media logins are some features to consider.
A CMS (Content Management System)
A robust CMS is essential for organizing your course material, including text, videos, quizzes, and other interactive elements. This will help both you and your students manage the learning process more effectively.
By thoughtfully implementing these features, you can significantly enhance the functionality and user experience of your online course, making it more appealing and effective for your target audience.
Integrating Payments with Memberstack
Integrating payments is a critical part of setting up your online course, and using Memberstack can make this process more straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to seamlessly incorporate payments and memberships using Memberstack.
Step 1: Sign Up for Memberstack
If you haven't already, create an account on Memberstack. Once you're signed up and logged in, you'll be directed to the dashboard.
Step 2: Create a New Membership Plan
Navigate to the "Membership" section and create a new membership plan. You can specify the details, including pricing, access levels, and any additional perks for each tier.
Step 3: Set Up Payment Gateway
Go to the "Payments" section and follow the prompts to connect your payment gateway (like Stripe or PayPal). This will allow you to receive payments from your students.
Step 4: Embed Memberstack into Webflow
Memberstack will provide you with a piece of code to embed into your Webflow site. Usually, this is added within the <head> tags of your website. Follow the instructions to ensure it's integrated correctly.
Step 5: Configure Content Gating
Back in Memberstack, set up content gating based on membership tiers. This ensures that only students who have paid can access certain parts of the course.
Step 6: Create Sign-up and Login Forms
Using Memberstack’s features, create custom sign-up and login forms. These forms will handle both registration and payment details.
Step 7: Test the Payment Process
Before going live, test the payment process thoroughly. Make sure all the steps work as they should and that payments go through successfully.
Step 8: Monitor and Manage Memberships
Once everything is set up, you can monitor your memberships and payments through the Memberstack dashboard. Here, you can also manage refunds, cancellations, and upgrades.
By following these steps, you can effectively integrate payments and memberships into your online course, providing a seamless and secure experience for your students.
As you continue your journey in developing an online course, these additional resources might be valuable:
- 10 Best Webflow Online Course Templates You Can Clone for Free: If you'd like to accelerate your course development, this resource provides a curated list of free Webflow templates specifically designed for online courses. Check it out here.
- Ways to Grow Your Online Course: Building the course is just the start; growing it is another challenge altogether. For tips on how to expand your course, read this blog.
Building an Online Course with Webflow - Starting with a Template
Setting up Webflow with a Template
Using a Webflow template fast-tracks your online course development, offering a professional look and built-in features right off the bat. Webflow and Memberstack both provide a wide range of specialized online course templates, streamlining your path from concept to launch. Starting with a template lets you focus on content creation, speeding up your time-to-market for an MVP.
There are numerous online course templated you can clone for free, including:
Webflow University Clone:https://www.memberstack.com/webflow-templates/21-webflow-university-clone
Kajabi inspired course template: https://www.memberstack.com/webflow-templates/kajabi-inspired-course-template
An Online course dashboard:https://www.memberstack.com/webflow-templates/online-course-dashboard
Customizing a template to align with your brand is crucial for maintaining a cohesive and professional look across your online course platform.
How to Customize the Design:
- Adjust Style Guide: Every Webflow template includes a style guide that you can tailor to match your brand's colors, fonts, and styles. Navigate to the template folder, find the style guide page, modify the elements as needed, and then save your changes.
- Custom Fonts: While Webflow offers a robust font selection, you might want a specific, unique font. To upload a custom font, go to Project Settings, find the Fonts section, and follow the prompts to either connect to Google Fonts or upload your font file. Your custom font will then be accessible across your Webflow project.
Updating CMS (Content Management System) collections is a breeze when you're working with Webflow templates. These templates often come with pre-configured collections that are designed to suit a variety of online course structures.
You can easily edit these collections to match the specific needs and content types of your course. Whether you need to add new fields, delete unnecessary ones, or change their settings, Webflow's user-friendly interface makes it simple to tailor collections to fit your unique requirements.
This means you spend less time wrestling with the backend and more time focusing on delivering quality content to your students.
Integrating Payments with Memberstack
Handling payments is a critical aspect of any online course, and Memberstack makes this process seamless when integrated with a Webflow platform. With Memberstack, you can easily manage multiple facets of your online course's financial transactions, from the checkout process to invoicing, promotions, and more.
Optimizing Your Online Course
Growing your online course isn't just about having great content; it's also about making sure people can find it. One effective way to increase visibility is by optimizing your course for search engines and web traffic.
SEO Strategies for Your Online Course:
- Keyword Research: Identify keywords relevant to your niche and include them in your website content, meta descriptions, and titles. For instance, if your course is on Sewing, you'll want to rank for keywords like "beginner sewing courses," "sewing tutorials," or "how to sew."
- Quality Content: Search engines reward websites that offer value. Make sure your course descriptions are detailed and engaging, and consider creating a blog where you regularly publish articles related to your niche.
- Backlinks: Secure quality backlinks to your website by collaborating with other course providers or by guest blogging on reputable sites within your industry.
- Social Sharing: Encourage satisfied students to share your course on their social media. The more your course is talked about, the more it'll be picked up by search engines.
- Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure your Webflow site is optimized for mobile. Google ranks mobile-friendly websites higher in search results.
- Technical SEO: Make sure your website is fast, secure, and easily crawlable for search engines. Utilizing Webflow and Memberstack can greatly assist with this.
For a deeper dive into growing your online course, consider reading this comprehensive guide on how to grow your online course with Webflow and Memberstack.
Building and optimizing an online course can be a complex task, but with the right tools and strategies, you can create a successful platform that stands out in the digital landscape. Utilizing Webflow for design and Memberstack for membership and payment functionalities gives you a solid foundation to start with. From there, it's about honing in on your niche, creating compelling content, and employing SEO strategies to maximize visibility and drive traffic. Whether you're starting from scratch or using a template, the combined power of Webflow and Memberstack equips you with the resources you need for a holistic online course experience.
Best Online Course Examples Built with Webflow and Memberstack
If you're considering building an online course using Webflow and Memberstack, it can be useful to see real-world examples that showcase the capabilities of these platforms. Here are two standout courses that have successfully leveraged these tools.
Proof offers a free crash course on website personalization. The integration of Memberstack allows Proof to protect their course content, granting access only to those who opt-in by creating an account. Once a user has opted in, they can easily access course materials using their email and password, creating a personalized and user-friendly experience.
2. Kreative Pro
Kreative Pro is an education platform offering various courses. They chose Memberstack for multiple reasons. Firstly, it allows them to offer fragmented monthly payments, making courses more accessible to students. Secondly, it's cost-effective compared to other membership management solutions. Finally, the user experience and design of the Memberstack dashboard appealed to the aesthetic sensibilities of Kreative Pro’s founder, Neftali, who is also a designer.
Both of these examples demonstrate how Memberstack and Webflow can come together to create secure, customizable, and user-friendly online course platforms. Whether you're interested in gated content, flexible payment options, or a visually appealing user interface, these case studies show that you can have it all.