While this might look like a simple yes or no answer, the facts may surprise you.
I had a content creator send me a direct message on Instagram recently and she popped the same question, Do I need a website before selling online courses?
The conversation went on for a few minutes and we both exchanged ideas on what we thought the right answer to the question was.
It is not what you'd expect.
It is not a simple yes or no answer either.
If you've been pondering on this subject for a while, this article will help you examine the pros and cons of having a website and hopefully, help you decide on a clear strategy moving forward.
The Blue Pill vs Red Pill Analogy
We all know the story of Neo Anderson (played by Keanu Reeves) in the matrix trilogy when asked by Morpheus to choose between the Blue and Red pill.
The conversation goes like this;
"You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."―Morpheus to Neo
Why is this analogy important and relevant to the subject of having a website before selling online courses?
It simply comes to the choice you make.
The goals you want to achieve and how far you're willing to push your career as an online teacher.
So let us start with the obvious answer.
No, you don't need a website before selling online courses
Consider this choice the blue pill.
It's never been prerequisite before selling online courses. Your social media pages are more than enough to communicate your personality to your audience.
For example, if you're active on Instagram, you can set up your bio, add a profile picture and a link to your LinkedIn profile (if you have one).
For the most part, that is all people need to know about you.
So absolutely YES, you can do just fine without a website before selling online courses.
Now let us take a quick look at some of the pros;
- You don't have to deal with the cost of having a website built and maintained for you.
- You don't have to worry about updating your blog or matching up content across your website and social media pages.
- No extra technicalities involved.
- Fewer worries and more focus on selling your online courses.
As you can tell, there are definitely fewer complexities that come with pursuing your career without a website.
But if you're serious about building a profitable career selling online courses, then take the red pill and let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
There are several benefits that come with having a personal website before selling online courses.
While it is not important to have it "before", it is advised to create a website for yourself at some point in your career as a content creator.
Why is having a website important?
Let's explore the rabbit hole properly by focusing on why people should buy your online course in the first instance.
Studies have shown that people buy things because they trust it will deliver on its promises or solve their problems.
The keyword here is "TRUST"
I won't buy an online course if I don't have an in-depth knowledge of the author and trust him/her enough to deliver.
So what does owning a website have to do with TRUST you might ask?
A website gives you some sense of credibility and shows your level of commitment to your niche.
The more committed you are to a cause, the easier it is for people to trust you.
And what happens when people trust you? They buy from you.
It's that simple.
If you want to build a career selling online courses, then be prepared to harness all the psychological triggers that will help people make the buying decision a whole lot easier.
Owning a website is one of such psychological triggers.
Let take a look at some of the benefit of owning a website before or while selling online courses.
A Website Helps You Build Trust and Credibility with your Audience
Having a website will build a positive impact on your status as a committed online coach. Your audience will feel a lot closer and connected to you which will help build and develop their trust in you.
A website will help you develop a high impact personal biography
Imagine all the distractions that might hinder your potential customer from critically reading your bio on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Distractions like notification popups, messages, new posts etc.
This is easily eliminated when you have a proper bio on your own website. You can guide the interested customer through a journey of your life and how your skills have transformed the lives of others.
A website will help you develop and implement a lead generation strategy
If you're serious about selling online courses, a proper lead generation strategy is a must-have. Although you can set up landing pages to collect leads on platforms other than your website, it is cheaper and much more efficient to use your website.
I know some of you might be wondering what a lead is so let me quickly clear the air on that.
A lead is a piece of direct contact information you have on a prospect. An email address is the most common type of lead you can request from your audience.
Why is a lead generation strategy important you might ask?
Consider the buying habits people exhibit on the internet.
- Lack of will power
Having a lead will help you to address these issues people may experience. This is done by repeatedly sending emails to emphasise the importance of your online course.
A website will enable you to create landing pages for your online courses
Having a landing page for your online course will help you elaborate more on the importance of your online course.
You can provide more details on the course and this will help the prospect in decision making.
Just as I stressed the importance of a lead generation strategy, combining that with your landing page will greatly improve your chances of making consistent sales.
A website will help your track and optimize your Facebook advertising
If you plan on Facebook advertising to promote your online courses to increase sales (which at some point in your career you'll have to consider), You'll have to install Facebook pixels on your website in other to capture user actions.
These events can then be used to optimize your Facebook ads and improve your ROI.
The subject of Facebook advertising is quite broad and beyond the scope of this article but I'll be diving deeper in a future post.
We just scratched the surface on why having a website is important before selling online courses. Although you can run your online coaching business without owning a personal website, having one will set you apart from the rest coaches in your niche.
Let me know in the comment section below if you have a website and how it has helped you as an online coach.