Are you a course creator looking to build an e-learning site on WordPress? Maybe a developer or digital marketer working with educators in need of a solid, reliable platform? Either way, with the growing demand for online education, a well-designed and optimized e-learning site is must-have. That’s why in this post, we’re sharing tips and best practices for building a WordPress site for e-learning that will help you reach your audience, and simplify their learning while maximizing your impact. From planning your site and creating engaging course content to designing your site and optimizing it for SEO, we’ll cover everything you need to know to build a successful e-learning site on WordPress.
Why is WordPress great for building e-learning sites?
There are several key reasons. WordPress is extremely flexible and customizable, has thousands of themes and plugins at your disposal, and is a go-to tool for building tailored e-learning site that suits your teaching needs. From lists to quizzes, forums to multimedia elements – you name it, and WordPress has it, making your students that much more interesting and easier to engage with your lessons.
On top of that, WordPress is easy to use and manage, even if you’re not all that tech-savvy. As I often say: if you know how to use Word documents, you’ll surely know how to use WordPress sites!
Last but not least, WordPress is a very SEO-friendly platform due to its abundance of helpful plugins (like Yoast, Rank Math, All in one SEO, to name a few), its fast-loading speeds, and its clean code, all of which help in improving our site’s SEO.
A good e-learning site is focused on the participant, ensuring the content is engaging, valuable, easy to interact with, and overall, offers a pleasant, alluring experience.
Knowing that it’s time to dive in and create an outstanding e-learning site in WordPress. How, you might ask? Let’s see…
Plan your e-learning site
A dear colleague of mine once said: It all starts with an idea. And he was right. The idea in this scenario is to plan your e-learning site down to the last detail. Meaning, from your target audience to your learning niche, to developing a content strategy, defining and executing course content and the way students are engaging with it… All this is necessary to have a fully operating site that is getting your students what they paid for. Starting from step one – planning the site. Start with studying your niche, market, and competition – where’s your place in it, what is it that you have to offer, and how do you differ from the rest… all this information will help you create an authentic and unique positioning that you will implement onto your e-learning site.
As I mentioned above, your site needs to be focused on the visitor, your participant, and your student; only then will it be fruitful and bring the results you expect from it.
Define your audience and goals
This brings us to the next step: your audience. What is it they need, what are their challenges, and how can you address them? How are you improving their life, getting them from point A to point B, why should they choose you?
The more you know your target audience, their pain points, wants and needs, and learning preferences – the easier it gets to tailor your course or courses as well as all the marketing material towards them. Explain in detail how your lessons help them, addressing their ultimate pain points and showcasing what your course does in reliving them.
As for goals, that depends on your specific objectives and the type of your learning business. From quality education and improved learning style to increased engagement and enrollment, to improved revenue, brand recognition, wider reach… Whatever it is, make sure to define it in detail because it provides you direction and focuses. This helps your efforts go toward achieving the desired outcome. Not to mention clear goals help measure progress, allow you to track your performance, and adjust your strategies accordingly. I’ll discuss this a bit later on.
Choose the right WordPress Theme and Plugins
Once you determine your positioning, target audience, and goals, it’s time to decide what you want your e-learning site to look like. Also, it’s time to define all the necessary features and tools to help your students learn. WordPress.org depository offers around 100-ish free LMS and online learning-oriented themes to choose from. LMS (Learning Management System) themes are the ones that are made especially for online courses, training, and teaching, so by choosing any of them, you’ll ensure your e-learning site is engaging and professional-looking. Furthermore, these types of WordPress themes are designed with one goal: providing the ultimate value to the participant, which immediately puts you off to a good start. On top of that, there are plenty of premium WordPress LMS themes as well; just head over to HubSpot’s recommended list to inform yourself some more.
As for plugins, there are more than 300 free ones to choose from in the WordPress depository, too. Essentially, these plugins help you develop tailored made e-learning sites in WordPress, saving you both time and money doing so. They assist in creating, managing, and sharing course content with your participants. All you have to do is create your course content, set up LMS, and let the plugin take care of the rest based on your inputs. Digestible lessons, quizzes, certificates, payments, and monitoring progress are manageable due to these handy e-learning plugins. See for yourselves within the repository, or let us know your needs and preferences in the comments, and we’ll see how we can help!
Develop a content strategy and course content
Now to the
heavy more fun part! 😉 In order to have a successful online course, you need to determine a solid strategy that includes course objectives and format, specific active learning techniques, appropriate support, relevant content, and other deliverables, and always some form of a sense of accomplishment or transformation – a certificate, diploma or other types of acknowledgment. People who choose e-learning do so for numerous reasons. Online courses are more flexible, personalized, cost-effective, and easy to engage with. To justify it, create such a course and its content that fits those requirements.
Course objectives will help you structure the content to best suit your participants. As for course format, decide which types of content you’ll use to help you explain your syllabus better. Don’t stick just to text; use videos, audio files, quizzes, surveys, and all the rest interactive elements you can build with the dedicated plugins mentioned above.
The course content itself needs to be engaging, informative, and yes, interactive. Fill it with relevant and real-time examples (where applicable) to demonstrate concepts and make them more valuable to students. And make sure to break it into easily engageable sections to make it easier for people to navigate and digest the course material. Moreover, make sure that all the sections have some form of feedback option and a comment section. This ensures that human touch and interaction help participants stay on track, not to mention identify areas for improvement.
Finally, make sure that all the course content is easy to navigate. This is something WordPress is well known for: content division with Categories and Tags for easy engagement, management, and navigation. This means a lot when people are doing courses on their own and at their own pace.
By following these best practices for creating and organizing course content, you’ll develop an engaging and effective e-learning course that meets your audiences’ needs and achieves your course objectives.
Bonus tip: distribution and promotion
Having an online course is a good thing. Only, it’s not enough to just build a syllabus, put it on a WordPress e-learning platform, and fill it with (optimized) content; you’ll need to market it, too, for an overall strong online presence and successful sales. That’s where the power of SEO, social media, SEM, and Google ads come in handy. Depending on your budget, time, and knowledge, develop a distribution and promotion plan that will help you position yourself and get to your desired target audience more quickly and more effectively. Social media and email marketing help build a loyal community, Google and social media ads help get your message and offer to your target audience instantly, and, overall, these tactics are necessary for the overall e-learning business strategy. The said plan should consist of things like:
· Presell tactics (freebies, webinars…)
· Early bird offers (discounts, additional value offers…)
· Distribution channels (specific social media, podcasts, guest blogs…)
· Promo content and tactics (special offers, referral content, paid advertising…)
· Value-based content (educational, informational, actionable content…)
· Partnership proposals (affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, niche sites and portals, online media…)
everything and anything (relatable) you can think of that will help in promotion and conversion.
With the right strategies and tools, it’s quite easy and quick to develop a WordPress site for e-learning. Set your mind to it, develop a structural plan, and follow our steps to put your idea in motion and live. Using WordPress to build your online course platform, you can create a seamless learning experience for your participants and drive traffic to your site. And consider implementing these best practices to achieve success in this more and more popular e-learning market.