Want to know how to create an online course on WordPress? Looking to build a learning management system (LMS) with WordPress?
Creating an online course website lets you share your expertise with others and at the same time earn money from it. And, online learning is quite popular nowadays as it provides a wide variety of content with the convenience of learning from anywhere and at any time.
While creating an online course might seem like an uphill task, WordPress makes it quite easy.
In this article, we’ll be providing a step-by-step guide on how to create an online course using WordPress. So, make sure you read the article till the end.
Why Create an Online Course with WordPress?
These days you’ll easily find several online course platforms and website builders. Then why choose WordPress?
First of all, WordPress is the most popular and powerful website builder powering 40% of websites alone. It’s the most flexible Content Management System (CMS) that allows customizing your site as per your desire and requirement.
Secondly, the availability of plugins and themes further helps you make your dream website come true. Hence, you can also find the best Learning Management System (LMS) themes and plugins for your online course website.
Third, with WordPress, you retain full control over your WordPress LMS website. It means you’ll be able to create, manage, and monetize your course content without any problem.
The open-source nature of the WordPress software and self-hosting provides such flexibility. Whereas already hosted online course platforms like Udemy, Thinkific, Teachable, etc. don’t allow as much control.
Besides, no subscription or platform charge is required for WordPress, unlike Udemy, Thinkific, Teachable, and so on.
How to Create an Online Course on WordPress? (Step-by-Step)
Having talked about why use WordPress for creating LMS website, let’s move on to the step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Setting Up Your WordPress Website
You should set up your WordPress site before you can begin your journey of online course creation. For this, you’ll need a domain name and web hosting and set up WordPress.
Buy a Domain Name for Your Online Course Site
To put it simply, a domain name is your identity on the web through which people will recognize and find you. For instance, the domain name of our site is ‘themegrill.com’.
So, you must be wondering where to buy a domain name? Once you come up with the domain name for your site, you can get it registered via domain name providers.
Choose a suitable domain name for your LMS website, and then register it with your favorite domain registrars.
Purchase Web Hosting
Likewise, web hosting means the space on the webserver where your site and all the files are located. You can buy hosting plans from top WordPress hosting providers such as Bluehost, SiteGround, Dreamhost, to name a few.
However, to make your task easier, we suggest using Bluehost. It’s officially recommended by WordPress and offers a reasonable price for hosting and a free domain.
Not only that, but it also comes with the WordPress Auto-Install option while purchasing it. If it’s missing, you can still use the One-Click WordPress Install option.
Install and Set up WordPress
After the purchase of hosting, you should install WordPress. But if you checked ‘Auto-install’ when buying hosting, then WordPress is already installed on your site. You’ll get your login credentials in your email. Using them, log in to your WordPress dashboard.
If you forgot to choose ‘auto-install’, then you can use ‘one-click’ WordPress install on your hosting panel.
Thereafter, you can start making necessary settings and customizing your site as per your need.
Check our detailed guide on how to create a WordPress website here.
Step 2: Choose the Best Online Course Theme and Plugin
Next step of creating a WordPress LMS site is choosing a LMS plugin and theme.
By default, WordPress comes with some default themes pre-installed. However, you can install several other free or premium themes as per your need.
Choose a Powerful WordPress Theme for Your Online Course Site
Zakra is the leading multipurpose WordPress theme that’s being used by over 60,000 websites online. With this flexible theme, you can create any kind of website imaginable, including online course sites.
Since it’s built with popular page builders, creating stunning landing pages is a piece of cake. Further, the features like responsive design, tons of customization options, speed optimization, SEO optimization, etc. make it the best choice.
Besides, it takes away the pain of creating a website from the ground as it offers 60+ starter templates, including a demo for an online course demo site.
Find a LMS WordPress Plugin Compatible with your Theme
Apart from the theme, you need to choose the right LMS plugin that seamlessly integrates with your theme. A WordPress LMS plugin provides you the features and functionalities you need to create a full-fledged educational website.
LearnPress is a powerful free WordPress LMS plugin that lets you create an online course website with ease. With its intuitive user interface, creating courses, and managing them is a plain sail. Additionally, it offers several free and premium add-ons to further take your website to the next level.
Step 3: Install the Zakra Theme
Once you’ve decided which theme to use for your site, you need to install the theme. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to install both the free and pro version of Zakra. So, here we go.
a) Installing Free Zakra WordPress Theme
First of all, log in to your WordPress dashboard. Then, navigate to Appearance >>Themes >> Add New.
Then you’ll be directed to the “Add Themes” page, where you can easily download the free themes from the WordPress repository. Just type in Zakra in the search box and it’ll be displayed right onto your screen.
Finally, hit the “Install” button and then activate it by clicking on the “Activate” button.
Bravo! You’ve successfully installed the Zakra theme onto your site.
b) Installing Zakra Pro
The steps to install Zakra premium are different from that of the free version. Here, you need to purchase the Zakra Pro by visiting its official site first.
To get access to premium Zakra starter sites (including Online Course site), you can purchase any of the following 3 plans:
- Personal Plus- $67/Year
- Professional- $202/Year
- Developer- $209/Year
Once you buy the suitable plan for your site, you’ll be able to download the two zip files i.e. “Zakra Pro” and “Companion Addons for Elementor”.
The free Zakra theme + Zakra Pro plugin makes a premium Zakra theme. So you need to install the “Zakra Pro” as a plugin, not a theme. From your dashboard, navigate to Plugins >> Add New >> Upload Plugin.
Now choose a “Zakra Pro” zip file that you downloaded before and click on the “Install Now” button.
Then click on the “Activate” button. Soon after that, you’ll be asked for the “License Key”.
You can get the license key on your account page on the Zakra theme website. It’s a unique code given to you after you purchase the theme.
Simply enter that key and click on the “Agree & Activate License” button to continue.
Congrats! You’ve succeeded in installing Zakra Pro on your site.
c) Installing Companion Addons for Elementor
Firstly, Navigate to Plugins >> Add New. Then click on the “Upload Plugin” button. Choose the “Companion Addons for Elementor” zip file and press the “Install Now” button.
Finally, activate it by clicking on the “Activate Plugin” button. Once again, add the “License Key” and press on the “Agree & Activate License” button. And it’s done.
Step 4: Import an Online Course Demo Website
As you’ve successfully installed Zakra Pro, you can now get access to all the premium starter templates. Hence, you can import the required demo using the one-click demo importer. Here, we’ll show you how it’s done.
Once you activate the “Companion Addons for Elementor” plugin, check for the dialogue box at the top that says “Get started with Zakra”. Clicking on it automatically installs and activates the “ThemeGrill Demo Importer” plugin.
Soon after that, you’ll land on the “Demo Importer” page with free and premium demos.
In case you don’t see the dialogue box, from the dashboard, go to Appearance >> Zakra Option. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a Starter Demos box. There click on the “Install ThemeGrill Demo Importer Plugin” and the plugin will be installed and activated automatically.
Then you’ll reach the “Demo Importer” page.
Now search for the online course demo and hover your mouse over it. You’ll see the “Import” and “Preview” options.
If you preview the demo website, you’ll notice the “Plugins Information” box where the plugins required for your starter site will be displayed. Here, the plugins required for the online course are:
But don’t you worry because all of these plugins will be automatically installed when you hit the “Import” button.
Also, you need to click on the “CONFIRM!” button in the dialogue box that opens up once you press import.
In no time, you’ll see that your LMS website demo site is successfully imported. Now, you can start customizing your online course website as required.
Step 5: Customize Your Online Course Website Pages
The next step of our guide on how to create a LMS website on WordPress is customizing the pages of your website using the WordPress Customizer.
For this, go to Appearance >> Customize. And you’ll be to play around with several customization options to make your site presentable to your users. The best part is you’ll be able to live preview all the changes you make before publishing it.
That being said, let’s explore some basic customization options briefly.
- Global: Customize every option affecting your site, such as color, background, typography, etc.
- Header: Edit the header of your site. Change site logos, site title, and tagline, typography, etc.
- Content: Set the appearance of your content. Edit background color, image, typography, change order of blog post or single post page, and more.
- Footer: Customize the footer section of your site. Enable/disable footer widgets, style, widget title color, and so on.
- Colors: Customize the colors all over your site.
- Menus: Easily add, delete, or customize menus of your site.
- Widgets: Add widgets to the sidebar and footer areas of your site.
- Homepage Settings: Choose what to display on the homepage of your site.
- Additional CSS: Manually add CSS codes for further customization of your site.
Once you complete making all the necessary settings, hit on the “Publish” button at the top, and it’s done.
Step 6: Configure Your LMS Plugin (LearnPress)
Now, it’s time to configure the WordPress LMS plugin i.e. LearnPress. Since the ThemeGrill Demo Importer has already done the task of installing the LearnPress, you can now directly get started with the plugin.
Before that, you need to run the setup wizard. You can skip that for later, but we highly recommend you to go through it so that you don’t miss the necessary settings.
The wizard quickly runs you through the following.
- Currency: Choose the currency type to accept payment and set the format of how it’s displayed on your site like currency position, thousands separator, etc.
- Static Pages: Help you create and display necessary landing pages for your online course such as courses, profile, checkout, and become a teacher.
- Payment: Add PayPal email address and enable receiving payments via PayPal.
- Emails: Enable or disable the email system to be sent to your users or teachers.
After setting all of the above, you’ll see a finish screen that provides the following 4 options:
- Install sample course
- Create new course
- Visit your site
- Back to dashboard
You can choose any of the options as your wish. But it’s a good idea to install the sample course to see how your courses look from the frontend. However, it’s important to note that the format of your course will depend upon your current theme.
For now, we’ll move back to the dashboard to show you the steps on how to create an LMS website on WordPress using LearnPress.
a) Create Your First Course
From your dashboard, go to LearnPress >> Courses. You’ll see the “Add New” button on the “Courses” page. Simply click on that.
The interface looks quite similar to the standard WordPress pages and posts. Now type in the title of your course and add a suitable description to it.
Then scroll down to the “Curriculum”. Here, you can add sections and the lesson.
You can think of the “Course” as a book. Likewise, think of the “Sections” as the units that a book contains and “Lessons” as chapters under each unit.
b) Configure Your Course Settings
Again, scroll down to the “Course Settings” options and you’ll be able to configure 5 sections namely:
- Review Logs
Under this section, you can set the duration of your course in weeks, days, hours, and minutes. Similarly, you can adjust the maximum number of students that can enroll in your course; the number of students enrolled, and so on.
Here you can determine the method of how you’re going to evaluate your students enrolled in your course. Additionally, you can also set the percentage that your students must gain to pass a certain lesson or quiz.
In this section, you can set a price for your course. To attract your users, you may also add the sale price or leave it blank.
Besides, from the “Review” section, you can manage your course review. “Author” simply denotes the online course tutor. Lastly, don’t forget to click on the “Save Draft” button at the top right to save all of your course settings.
With these settings done, you’re closer to complete creating your WordPress LMS site.
c) Add Lessons
Having completed the basic settings, it’s time to add some course content. Navigate to LearnPress >> Lessons. Then click on the “Edit” icon just below the title of the required lesson to start adding content to it.
Adding lesson content is no different from creating any of the blog posts or pages in WordPress. Further, with WordPress’s visual editor, you can add any kind of media like video, audio, images, and more.
When you further scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll notice the “Lesson Settings”. Here, you can adjust the lesson duration time as your need or leave it at 0 to disable it. Also, you can enable/disable the “Preview Lesson” option.
You can enable this option only if it’s a preview lesson that students can view without taking your courses. Otherwise, it’s better to leave it disabled. Finally, click on the “Update” button when you’re done.
d) Add Quizzes
Besides lessons, you can even add quizzes to engage and evaluate your students. To create a quiz, navigate to LearnPress >> Quizzes >> New Quiz. Add the title to your quiz in the title box. Also, in the text box, you can provide the instructions that students need to follow while taking the quiz.
Thereafter, you can start creating the questions under the “Questions” section. There isn’t any limit to the number of questions. It means you can add as many questions as you want. Additionally, you can choose the question formats as True or False, MultiChoice, and Single Choice by clicking on the “Add as New” button.
Moreover, for each question, you may also adjust settings like Question content, marks for choosing the correct answers, question explanation, and so on.
Once you complete adding quiz questions, scroll down to further customize your questions using the “General Settings” option as shown below. Finally, don’t forget to hit the “Save Draft” button.
e) Link Lessons and Quizzes to the Course
Now that you’ve completed creating the lessons and quizzes on your WordPress LMS website, it’s time to link them to your courses. For this, go to LearnPress >> Courses. Under your course title, hit the “Edit” button.
Then scroll down to the “Curriculum”. Click on the “Select items” button to choose the lesson and quizzes you created before to link to your course.
For instance, to add the quiz to your course, click the” Quiz” and select the required quiz. Then press the “Add” button. Follow a similar procedure to add other lessons and/or quizzes to your specific courses.
Once you link the lessons and quizzes, you can reposition or arrange them as per your need. Just click on the dots like an icon at the left-hand side of the lesson/quiz then drag and drop to the required position.
Finally, hit the “Save Draft” button to save all the changes you made. Now your course is ready to be published. However, before publishing, you can also preview it to see if everything is in place. If you’re satisfied, then go ahead and hit the “Publish” button.
And this is exactly how we create an online course on WordPress.
This is pretty much it for our article on how to build an online course using WordPress.
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