Free PDF: The top 3 course-selling mistakes to avoid at all costs

The 28 Best Course Creation Software and Tools [2022 Guide]

Want to create an online course that impacts lives and takes your business to the next level? 

Then, you’re in the right place. Here are the top course creation software and tools to help you create an outstanding course.

Want to learn more? Read on!

How do you create an online training program? 

So, how do you create a course program? Or maybe more importantly, why should you? 

If you already have a coaching or consulting business, you know that one-to-one coaching/consulting is rewarding, inspiring and lucrative, but course creation amplifies your voice to potentially thousands. And if you’re starting a course business from scratch, an online training business is a business model that can help you build a highly profitable business. 

But how do you know where to start? 

First thing’s first – it’s not by finding the right online course creation software!

Many course creators jump into buying online course creation tools before they are ready. 

The planning stages are just as important as building the product. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

So before we peek at the software, here is a short checklist on how to create an online training program. (Psst: you can read about this topic in detail in my article on how to create a profitable online course business.)

  • Decide on your niche 
  • Build an audience that will buy from you (and no, you don’t need to build an audience for years…what I’m talking about is launching your course and using it to build your audience fast)
  • Create course content (hint: The first course you launch shouldn’t be a massive flagship course, but a smaller, “first steps course”)
  • Decide on the software you’ll use to create your course (when you first launch your course, you can actually skip software and go for a simpler alternative, like a Facebook group) 
  • Launch your course into the world with a foolproof strategy 

If you haven’t honed your idea or started building an audience, start with this video:

In the meantime, let’s take a look at the best course creation software. 

The best course creation software 

What is course development software? Course development software is best defined as online tools you use to create, market, and sell your course. There are software options to help you at every stage of the course creation process. Most are plugins, web services and subscriptions. I’ve also included some hardware options like mics and cameras to give you a complete course development tool list. 

Ready to get your knowledge out there? Let’s start with the fundamentals you’ll need to create your course. Here are the best web-builders, hosts and course creators on the market based on my own experience.

1. WordPress

WordPress powers 39.5% of the entire internet. This powerful, versatile platform is perfect for creating a website for your course. Whether you decide to host your course on a page or a custom-built platform, WordPress gives you the flexibility to present your course content in a professional way.

There are two ways to build a website on WordPress. WordPress.com is a paid subscription but you get less customization and more support – like hosting, customer service and so on. WordPress.org is free but you’ll need a reliable WordPress builder. 

Pros 

  • You can create any type of website you want. Ultimate versatility

Cons

  • There’s a learning curve to get started

Pricing: WordPress.org is free forever. WordPress.com from $4 per month

2. Elementor*

Speaking of reliable WordPress builders, let’s talk about Elementor. Elementor is the leading theme builder for WordPress. It’s so simple to use! You don’t have to worry about learning code or taking forever to create a simple website. With Elementor’s ElegantThemes simple interface, you can have your website live in no time.

Pros 

  • Simple drag-and-drop functionality makes web designing easy
  • They have a wide range of presets to get you started

Cons 

  • You need to update it regularly to keep your website functioning properly

Pricing: $99 per year

3. WP Engine*

To make your website live, you need a web host. WP Engine is a WordPress hosting platform for businesses of all kinds. You can trust you’ll get speed, security, and support with WP Engine. They have advanced security to keep your website safe and super fast web speeds, which you’ll need for video courses. 

Pros 

  • Fast website speeds 
  • They have a robust customer service team to help you 24/7

Cons

  • They don’t sell domains

Pricing: $30 per month or $300 per year with a 20% discount off your first year

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

4. Bluehost*

If you want a one-stop shop for domain and web hosting, Bluehost is one of the best! Bluehost is so comprehensive it can provide email hosting, landing pages, web forms as well as basic web hosting and domain registration. The best part is the low price. Hosting costs as little as $5 per month which is perfect for new course creators.

Pros 

  • The economical pricing is ideal for new course businesses
  • Bluehost won’t limit the traffic to your website

Cons

  • You need to buy the higher packages to access good backup storage options
  • Not ideal for course creators who market internationally as all of their servers are US based

Pricing: From $9.99 per month for hosting. From $1.99 per year for a custom domain. There are deals at sign-up that make the first year cheaper. 

5. Hover.com*

Hover is the place to go for domains. Their dedicated domain management system is simple to use and well-priced. You can set up your custom domain in seconds and feel confident it will be kept private. Hover also offers email hosting if you want a professional email address with your domain name.

Pros 

  • Includes WHOIS privacy at no extra cost
  • Has fixed pricing for whatever domain you want (unless it’s taken!)

Cons

  • They don’t provide an SSL add-on that adds security to your domain. You’ll have to get one from your web host or another third party to keep your site secure.

Pricing: $13.99 per year for .com domains

6. AccessAlly*

AccessAlly is a course creation plugin for WordPress. It’s an all-in-one management system that integrates perfectly with your WordPress website, giving you the functionality to accept payments, create complex course structures and stay connected with your community. 

Pros 

  • It lets you create courses on your WordPress website with a simple plugin
  • Flexible and versatile 

Cons 

  • Requires a learning curve

Pricing: Starting at $82/month

7. Teachable*

The first 6 suggestions for course creation software are perfect if you want complete control of every aspect: domain, website, course structure, and hosting. What if you want an all-in-one solution to get your course created quickly? Enter Teachable. I love Teachable because it’s made for course creators like you to build simple courses in no time. I personally prefer the WordPress and AccessAlly approach but Teachable is a great alternative. (Note: I don’t personally use Teachable but I think it’s the best “done-for-you” course creation platform out there.)

Pros 

  • You can host your course completely on the Teachable platform. No external website needed
  • Ability to create unlimited courses

Cons

  • Transaction fees are high on the cheapest plans

Pricing: Starts from $29 per month (billed annually)

8. Facebook (Groups)

Another all-in-one course creation tool is Facebook. Yes really! Facebook groups are an excellent way to reach your course members and create a buzzing community. You can then upload your course content as Facebook posts, videos or documents. Facebook groups work excellently for Live courses in particular. You can interact with your community in real time and answer any burning questions. 

Pros 

  • Facebook is the simplest option for new course creators
  • Facebook groups are great for community participation throughout the course

Cons

  • Facebook isn’t built for courses so you can’t track progress or uniformly deliver your course.

Pricing: Free!

Video course creation software 

Studies show that video-based courses using simple language and with brief videos are more effective for learning. It’s a great way to connect with your customers by showing your face as you deliver your course. Depending on your course topic, it may be helpful to have video tutorials. Here are the best tools for creating video courses. 

9. Vimeo

When you think of video, you might jump straight to YouTube, but Vimeo is also a great option for courses. Why? Vimeo has great privacy settings which means your unlisted content can’t be shared. Vimeo also maintains better video quality and allows you to edit after you’ve uploaded. 

Pros 

  • It’s easy to embed videos onto your course platform or website
  • Ability to edit videos after they’ve been uploaded

Cons 

  • Customer support can be delayed

Pricing: Starting from $7 per month

10. YouTube

YouTube is still the ultimate video hosting platform in the world. As the second largest search engine, after Google, it’s great for marketing your video course as well as hosting it. 

Pros 

  • Completely free to upload
  • No upload limits

Cons

  • Harder to protect your content from unlisted sharing

Pricing: Free!

11. Google Slides

Google Slides is Google’s answer to PowerPoint. It’s an awesome way to make course slides with cool designs, images and videos. It gives you tons of functionality completely for free! 

Pros 

  • Simple to use
  • Completely free

Cons 

  • Templates are a little boring

Pricing: Free!

12. Diva Ring Light

It doesn’t take too much tech to make professional-looking videos. You can do amazing things with your cellphone and a ring light! This is the ring light I recommend. It’s a battery-powered ring light that is bright and flattering. It’s easy to use and well-priced for the quality. You’ll love the instant upgrade in video quality. 

Pros 

  • Easy to assemble
  • Flattering light diffusion for top video quality

Cons

  • Requires a wall plug-in 

Pricing: From $200 depending on the seller

13. Rode SmartLav+ Microphone

If you only upgrade one thing for your video course creation, it should be audio. Having incredible audio elevates your videos easily and cheaply. The Rode SmartLav+ mic is an inexpensive lavalier microphone that plugs into your phone or tablet headphone jack to record your audio. Simply clip it to your shirt and hit record! I love how something so small can create such a huge difference in my videos.

Pros 

  • An inexpensive way to upgrade your audio
  • Easy to setup and use fresh out of the box

Cons

  • Not great for outdoor recording
  • If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, you’ll need to purchase an adapter

Pricing: $54 on Amazon

14. Logitech Brio Ultra HD Webcam 

If you want to create live video courses and webinars, you need a crystal-clear webcam. I love the Logitech Brio Ultra Webcam because it creates amazing 4k videos with balanced light and smooth sound.

Pros 

  • High-quality autofocus and light balance
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • A little pricey

Pricing: $129.99 on Amazon

 Design tools for online courses

People are attracted to professional branding and modern sleek course content. To upgrade your course’s look, I recommend these tools.

15. Canva

Canva is hands down one of the best inventions of the last couple of years – seriously! It’s a design platform with powerful templates that make it easy for anyone to create beautiful branded content. You can use it for course content slides, social media posts, video transitions and so much more. 

Pros 

  • Amazing array of templates to customize your designs
  • Easy to use

Cons 

  • The free version is very limited

Pricing: Free basic plan. Premium plans start from $119 per year

Online course email marketing software

I love email. It’s one of the best ways to market your online course and create a community with your customers. Here are the best online course email marketing software options I’ve tried.

16. Leadpages*

Leadpages is a platform to help you create landing pages that convert. They have excellent templates that are responsive for mobile and desktop. All you need to do is add your customizations and start collecting emails!

Pros 

  • Wide range of professionally designed templates 
  • You can split test features to optimize conversions

Cons 

  • Sometimes, the tool has issues with integrations 

Pricing: Starting from $37 per month

17. Active Campaign*

Active Campaign is an email management platform for engaging with your audience. You can create automatic email sequences that hook your community members and convert course sales.

Pros 

  • Sliding scale pricing depending on how big your email list is
  • Simple drag-and-drop email designer

Cons 

  • There’s a learning curve for the automation features if you’re new to email marketing 

Pricing: Starting from $9 per month

18. MailChimp

MailChimp is another great email marketing tool I highly recommend. Like ActiveCampaign, MailChimp is a drag-and-drop email designer with powerful analytic tools to help you craft emails that sell. The main difference is the price point. If you’re on a tighter budget, MailChimp is a good place to art as you’re building your first list. If you can stretch to ActiveCampaign, the features are worth the splurge!

Pros 

  • There’s a free plan available
  • It includes all the basic email tools you need so it’s ideal for small mailing lists

Cons 

  • For more complex needs, Mailchimp isn’t the best option 

Pricing: Basic plan is free. Premium plans from $11 per month

Online course social media marketing software

To get your course in front of those who need it, you need to be on social media. Staying consistent without a social media team is tough but these tools will help you succeed. 

19. Later

Later is magic! It’s a social media scheduler that takes the guesswork out of posting. You can automatically upload posts to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest using their simple drag-and-drop system. 

Pros 

  • Store all of your photos on the platform library and schedule them easily
  • You can schedule weeks or even months in advance

Cons 

  • Pinterest capabilities are limited (Tailwind is better for that!)

Pricing: Starting at $18 per month 

20. Tailwind

Though I love Later, Tailwind is the winning app for Pinterest scheduling. It’s the only system that allows you to schedule repins and automate growing your Pinterest boards. 

Pros 

  • There’s a free plan available to get you started
  • The analytics for Pinterest are incredible

Cons 

  • The user interface isn’t always very intuitive to use

Pricing: From $9.99 per month

21. TubeBuddy

If you want to grow a YouTube channel like mine to attract course attendees, TubeBuddy is essential. TubeBuddy is a Chrome extension to help you keyword research your topics and measure the performance of your videos. 

Pros 

  • Helps you to explore keywords you can use for video titles
  • Analyzes and displays analytics of other videos so you can see what’s working in your niche

Cons 

  • The user interface isn’t always very intuitive to use

Pricing: Basic free version available. Premium plans start at $4 per month

Online course webinar marketing software

Any list of the best online course software has to include a section on webinars. Webinars are an excellent draw for your online course. They’re quick and easy to do with this excellent software.

22. Everwebinar*

Everwebinar is a webinar hosting platform that has a ton of great features. You can broadcast your webinar live all over the world. You can also create automated, evergreen webinars that are available, even when you’re not. Webinars can include multiple group chat options, document attachments, audience presenters. This is a one-stop shop for all your webinar needs to sell your course. 

Pros 

  • Simple evergreen or live webinar setup 
  • Automates webinar creation as much as possible 

Cons 

  • Limited templates and designs available for customization

Pricing: Starting from $499 billed yearly

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

23. Zoom

Zoom works great for your webinars. You can host large groups and provide valuable live instruction to people all over the world. You also have a webinar and events plan which allows you to create unlimited webinars every year for up to 30 hours each! 

Pros 

  • Brand name recognition from your customers
  • You can make your screen an interactive whiteboard so Zoom is great for presentations

Cons 

  • For more complex webinars, go for a dedicated webinar tool 

Pricing: Free version available for live meetings. Pro plan starts at $149.90 per year. Video webinar plan costs $690 per year. 

24. StreamYard

Finally, for live webinars across multiple platforms, StreamYard is amazing. You can stream on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube all at the same time, reaching even more people with your message. This is excellent for marketing your course and making those sales! 

Pros 

  • Easy to use live-streaming across multiple platforms
  • You can customize the frame with your logo and brand colors

Cons 

  • You have to have stable internet or the quality of the video may suffer

Pricing: Free  version is available. The basic plan costs $20 per month. 

Online course sales software and tools 

So you’ve created your course from scratch, made the videos, designed it to perfection and created several marketing channels. Now you need to sell sell sell! These online course sales tools will make it easy to optimize your sales funnel. 

Note: To make a scalable, profitable course, you need to have a solid sales strategy to complement the tools you use. Here is a video all about that.

25. SamCart*

SamCart is an eCommerce platform that is perfect for selling digital products like courses. The interface is beginner-friendly and the sales automation options are powerful. You can build beautiful sales pages with one-click upsells. You also have all the payment features you need from payment processing to subscription management. SamCart has it all!

Pros 

  • Zero transaction fees on your payments
  • Integrates with WordPress, MailChimp and ActiveCampaign to craft a seamless sales funnel from beginning to end

Cons 

  • Pricey for beginners

Pricing: Starting from $49 per month

26. Stripe

When it comes to payment processors, two main companies dominate. The first is Stripe. It’s known as the credit card processor for businesses large and small. 

Pros 

  • Integrates with almost every platform on the internet including WordPress and SamCart
  • Sophisticated cyber-security protects your money

Cons 

  • The app is so powerful and can be used in so many ways that it’s quite complicated to know exactly what you need

Pricing: Free to set up. Flat rate of 2.9% + 30c on each card transaction

27. PayPal Business

The second juggernaut in the payment processing space is PayPal. With PayPal, you benefit from a super easy interface and brand recognition. Almost everyone has a PayPal account, and if they don’t, PayPal can still process their credit card without one. It’s minimal fuss and integrates with so many sales platforms. 

Pros 

  • Easy for customers to use
  • Setting up a business account takes less than 10 minutes

Cons 

  • Fees can be higher than Stripe, especially on international transactions

Pricing: Free to set up. % fees vary per card transaction.

28. DeadlineFunnel*

DeadlineFunnel is all about creating evergreen courses with email sequences, automated webinars, and so on. This tool is not for new course creators, but once you’re at a stage where you can start creating evergreen funnels, this is for you.

Pros

  • Versatile tool with a lot of functionalities that help you increase conversions

Cons 

  • Not a tool for beginners

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

Over to you!

Now you know all of the best course creation software and tools I recommend. But remember that tools are only as good as the way you use them. Put in the work to create a course people will love and you’ll succeed. 

Now over to you. Do you have any questions about these tools or online course creation? 

Let’s chat in the comments!

*Zhou Ventures, Inc. is a proud affiliate of these companies. If you use these links, we may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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