How to create online courses with WordPress themes

Article in Education & LMS

You want to start your online teaching career and don’t know where to start? You wish to sell your own courses to spread knowledge to the world? Have you ever wondered how to create a website for online learning like Coursera, Udemy, etc.? It is not a nonsense if you wish you could have a look-alike site of your own, right in the popular platform – WordPress. Building up an e-learning website is not impossible these days. Today, we are gonna show you how to create online courses, or in other words, a learning management system (LMS) in WordPress.

Set up

First thing first, no matter what fields you are working on, you need to build a solid ground for your site. Choose to work with WordPress hosting or other hosting services, it’s up to you. But we recommend you should choose the latter because you can access WordPress’ full features and supports. To know more about hosting, you can read more here. Listed below are some suggestions on the best hosting services:

  • WPengine: monthly price is from $29 with promotion up to 50%.
  • Cloudfare: they provide free plan besides $20+ packages.
  • Bluehost: from $19.99/month with various plans and offer
  • SiteGround: Start from $3.95 per month.
  • Dreamhost: Price range – from $7.95 to $16.95create-online-courses-hostings

Prepare content

Content is the King. If you only focus on decorating your website’s appearance without paying attention to the quality in every lesson, your business would be wasted! Content is what attracts students to come with you and what keeps them stay. Before thinking of technical issue, let’s plan your courses. Answer the questions:

  • What kind of courses do you want to invest? You might concentrate on only one or multiple fields.
  • How are the courses outline? This is very important. You need to know the number of lessons in each course, the duration, and topic of each lesson, how long the course lasts, etc. The more detailed your plan, the easier you get in the next steps.
  • Which type of content do you need? It can be videos, image slideshows, quizzes or other multimedia courses. It is necessary to answer this question because every type of content will be treated differently.
  • Is there any restriction for any course? You may want to limit user’s access to some particular courses or lessons to ask them to upgrade to premium account. Please note these courses clearly for setting up later.
  • What is the cost of each course? Which payment method do you want? Paypal? Stripe? Or some other services?

That’s just some examples of matters you need to deal with when you prepare your content. Once you know what you really want to create, let’s move on.

Choose a WordPress plugin

To make your work less stressful and smoother, plugins are your assistant. The LMS (Learning Management System) helps you to manage the courses as well as your users, together with several functions. Google gives you 537,000 results for the keyword “WordPress LMS plugin”. Basically, you just install the plugin, then add content to what they ask on the screen. Done!

If you are not ready for spending an amount of money for it, you can take a look at a list of high-quality free LMS plugins we already listed out. Here are some other recommendations:

LearnPress (free):

Currently LearnPress is evaluated as one of the best LMS plugins in the market even though it’s free. Comes with a package of premium add-ons for free, LearnPress is able to create courses with simple content to multiple forms of quizzes, besides events as well. The video below is the detailed steps to create a course with LearnPress.

Sensei ($129+):

The most popular LMS plugin list never misses out the name of Sensei. From WooThemes, the father of well-known WooCommerce, Sensei is a perfect combination of a learning management system with an e-commercial page. No timer for lessons or quizzes is a disadvantage of Sensei. Its price starts from $129 and onwards. Step-by-step guideline to set up a course with Sensei by watching this video:

LifterLMS (free):

LifterLMS is a multipurpose course builder, from soft skills to art courses. Your students will have more control in their own learning on your site with various function such as Analytics, Management, Progress, etc. A drawback of this plugin is that you cannot randomize the question lists in a course. But it’s worth trying. Here is how you can learn how to build a course with this plugin:

This is really an outstanding LMS plugin when it can operate alone without other plugins. Its interface is clear and easy to work with. More interestingly, this plugin supports to run more than one course per site parallelly. Yet, Zippy Courses hasn’t supplied quiz bank, certificates and coupon yet. You can watch a demonstration of Zippy Courses:

LearnDash is a powerful system that support A LOT OF features: quizzes, certifications, sell courses and many more. Although this plugin’s integrated themes are not highly evaluated, LearnDash is still a great choice for educational websites. This video will help you to create a course with LearnDash support.

Choose a theme

A faster way to build your online learning website is to choose an LMS theme, which is already integrated with an LMS plugin to reduce your time and effort. Check out the list of best education themes in 2017. Some highlights are:

This is a brand new product for education from ThimPress team. The theme includes amazing features: online courses with Video or text lesson content, Quizzes, multiple question types, certificate, comment system, email notification, sell course and subscription plans, online webinar, etc. Hurry up and grab the promotion: just $39 for the top quality!

You can visit Course Builder demo: 


Building an educational website is now easy as a piece of cake. The theme will help you to shorten the time or writing codes or designing the website. Education WP is updated very often to make sure your site is always in the best status. 5,000 sales is a not-bad proof, isn’t it?

eLearning WP ($64)

Another product of ThimPress. This theme is made for a very smart LMS system with many different styles. It supports Paypal, Stripe, 2Checkout and Authorize.Net, together with WooCommerce integration to make course selling simpler. SEO optimization is a key point when developing this theme. eLearning WP promises to be your best companion you have in building up your business.

Academy has not only a stunning design but also multiple special features for online teachers or tutors. Furthermore, this theme seemingly focuses on learner when it supplies them many functions, such as subscribe a course/tutor, manage user account, track learning progress, etc. It is very good at UI and UX as well.

How to publish courses with Academy:

This theme provides you a high-speed page load with amazing gallery layout. Each function is made with care and beauty, so it won’t let you disappointed. The theme connects with social networks as well, like Twitter to keep your customers always on track with you.

Step by step installation tutorial:

Last words…

We hope with these guides, you can have an idea about how to create online courses with WordPress. This work is not very challenging, especially with the help of plugins and themes which are pre-made for your convenience. Your business and passion can start now right after you read this article. Wish you all the best!

Read more WordPress Plugins: LearnPress add-ons for eLearning Websites