How Much Does it Cost to Develop an Online Course?


Kevin Urrutia




May 05, 2024

Don’t develop an online course without understanding the costs involved.

There are thousands of creative people and business leaders creating online courses. Many of them earn a steady income and use this as their primary source of revenue.

However, two common questions that people have before tapping into an e-learning market are not how much money can I make selling a course but how much does it cost to develop an online system?

In this article, let’s discuss the costs of developing an online course. This includes the tools and software available, hiring talent to create content, and other “hidden” fees that may surprise you.

Time vs. Money

Perhaps the highest cost of developing an online course is your time.

We focus on direct response and customer acquisition in e-commerce, lead gen, and mobile. When it comes to results and leads, we speak your language.

Before you invest your time, take a look at some of the critical parts of course creation you should consider:

  • You are researching your students. You’ll want to create a market plan which includes your target students, their expectations, what they want/need from a course, and how to reach them.
  • You are planning your course curriculum. Before you can technically develop the actual course content, you’ll need a plan and outline. Since you’re condensing knowledge, expertise, and value into a multi-week learning experience, you’ll want a clear idea of what you’ll teach. To learn more about how to create online courses.
  • You are developing your course content. This is a process that can take a significant amount of time. Filming, recording, writing, and designing the course content can take a few days to several weeks (check out the next section for ideas to save time by hiring talent).
  • You are packaging your course. When your system is ready to be published, you’ll have to package and upload the course online. Keep reading to see which platforms and costs for publishing an online course below.
  • You are marketing your course. Finally, you have to sell the system. Finding the right marketing messages to attract students and create revenue for your practice can take considerable time.

Next, let’s look at the costs of paying someone to create your course so you can save time and focus on other aspects of your online course.

Costs for Talent to Develop an Online Course

Let’s say you’re an expert and want to teach your knowledge to as many people as possible. You know that you’re good at public speaking and social media marketing, but you’re completely lost when developing an online course.

If you want to reduce the time spent learning and developing your online course, you can easily outsource it to professional talent. On freelancers like Upwork, you can find a range of skill, such as:

  • Video/audio editors
  • Powerpoint/presentation/slide creators
  • Professional copywriters
  • Audio editors
  • Graphic designers
  • Voiceover artists
  • And much more…

The type of content you produce for your course will determine which kind of talent you may need for its development.

Best of all, you can filter through the right talent to find the best freelancer to create any part of the course you cannot or do not want to do yourself.

The talent cost will vary by professionalism level, time constraints, and work requirements. You can generally find decent talent at USD 65 per hour (sometimes less, sometimes more).

So, if it takes between 90 to 240 hours to develop your online course, this could cost USD 5850 to USD 15600 at a rate of USD 65 per hour.

It’s challenging to give it’s an accurate estimate of the cost of hiring talent to assist with developing your online course. However, let’s look at some expenseslet’s are more obvious to calculate.

Costs for Developing an Online Course

Let’s start with the basLet’sIf you’re going to develop you’reine course yourself; you should already have a laptop or PC.

Beyond that, here are a few of the additional costs to consider:

Content Creation Software Costs

  • Adobe Suite (e.g., Photoshop, Premiere, etc.) – $20.99 / app / mo. or $52.99 / all apps/mo.
  • Microsoft Suite (e.g., to create slideshows and docs) –  $9.99 / mo.
  • Canva (e.g., cost-effective design tool) – FREE

Course Hosting Costs

  • Self-hosted website (e.g., WordPress) – $5 to $10 / mo.
  • Memberpress – WordPress plugin (e.g., to host course content on a WordPress website) – $349 / year
  • Kajabi (e.g., all-in-one marketing and course hosting) – $149 / mo.

Equipment Costs

  • Webcams + HD/720p Resolution (e.g. Logitech C920 HD Pro) – $49 to $99
  • Microphone (e.g., a standard clip-on mic) – $15 to $35
  • Lighting (e.g., to improve video quality) – $20 to $100

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Screenflow (screen recording software for Mac to record online lessons) – $129.99
  • Email marketing platform (for setting up automated email marketing campaigns) – $50 to $300
  • Design (if hiring talent for course logo, branding, social media images, etc.) – $500+
  • Paypal/Stripe fees – $200+

Marketing Costs for an Online Course

Depending on your target market, marketing costs can significantly impact your online course’s profitability.

course’sexpect to pay between $1 (or less) to $10+ per lead. Of course, these costs vary by topic, search terms, and competition in your market space.

To keep costs low, try using Facebook Ads. A few reasons why include:

  1. Easy access to potential students
  2. Prices per leads are low
  3. Automatic optimization of ads and ad budget

On average, you can expect to pay around USD 0.27 per click on a Facebook ad. You can determine your budget and test with as little or as much money as possible.

Also, if you use the Facebook Pixel, you can set up the following:

  1. Remarketing
  2. Targeting

Remarketing is when someone comes to your sales page but doesn’t buy; you don’t pay for an advertisement on Facebook from your marketing company that will target them until they believe.

Targeting is simply a way of picking a detailed audience that looks like people who would buy from you.

Combined, you can create a powerful marketing strategy for your online course that is cost-effective and gives you a higher return on investment.

Do you have any questions about starting a profitable Facebook campaign? Feel free to contact us to discuss strategies for advertising your online course or business on Facebook.

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