Anyone who’s considered building an online course has certainly gone down the rabbit hole of searching for the perfect platform to deliver it on. I’m a research junkie when I start a new project, whether it’s for me personally (like buying a car or finding a place to live), or for my business (like creating a new product or trying out a new tool). So when I decided to build my first online course, teaching other creatives how to use the program Adobe InDesign, I did my research. I pretty quickly formed a list of the available platforms for course creation, along with some pros and cons for each. And I just kept coming back to one: Teachery.
A motto I stick to in my business is this: Look at what everyone else is doing, and do it differently. This seeped into my research for online course building, and it was a big factor in my initial attraction to Teachery. Not a lot of people were using it yet because it was still fairly new. I like getting in on the ground floor of things like that, so it appealed to me right off the bat. A lot of my peers were using a couple other platforms that I just wasn’t totally sold on, and frankly, I didn’t want to do things exactly like everyone else. The other huge factor that attracted me? The design. I’m a designer, and the look of the platform on which I would build my course was as important to me as the function of it. The Teachery interface and user experience is gorgeous. The clean, simple design fits in perfectly with my brand’s aesthetic, making it a no-brainer for me.
As I began creating content for my course, The InDesign Field Guide, I simultaneously started a free trial of Teachery and began testing things out. In one evening, I created a blank course in my account, adjusted the colors and settings to fit my brand aesthetic, added placeholder content, and clicked every single button to see how it all worked together. I was blown away by how quickly I could pull all the pieces together, and it gave me momentum to finish up my course content so I could get my hands dirty in Teachery! Just during the creation of my course (before I even started putting real content on my course site), Teachery was adding new features and tools that would make my launch even more seamless. Their support team was able to fix bugs that I noticed and provide support and ideas for how to better structure my selling process.
Conveniently, a couple weeks before my launch date, the co-founder of Teachery, Jason Zook (bf to the lovely Caroline of Made Vibrant), was in the middle of his notorious Buy My Future campaign, which included a lifetime membership to Teachery. Needless to say, I bought Jason’s future for the sole purpose of having access to this intuitive software for-eh-VER. And the best part of that deal? I made back what I spent on Jason’s future within about 15 minutes of my course launch going live. Now, Teachery offers a lifetime membership option to anyone, which I think is genius. Yet again, Teachery is doing things differently, going against the grain, and providing a top notch software that’s constantly expanding. Teachery has become my secret weapon, and I can’t wait to see what new things are in store for their platform.
To sum up, here’s what I love about Teachery:
- Beautiful interface + professionally designed
- Ridiculously easy to input your content, format it, and customize the design of all your pages (including sales pages, payment pages, landing pages + lessons content pages)
- Seamless sales process once my course launched – customers could start going through the lessons within seconds of purchasing and had zero hiccups
- Super affordable for the quality of service you’re getting with this software
- Genuine people to help you make your course the best it can be, cheer you on every step of the way, and actually want to hear from you about how they can make it even better
And because Teachery is so interested in improving their service, here’s what I wished was better about the experience:
- Improved back-end navigation for editing your page settings. Landing pages, sales pages, and payment pages are mixed in with the content of the course, and I wished these settings were a little more clearly accessible and maybe had a different location on the backend so they’re easier to get to. They kind of get lost in the list of lessons for the course.
- A bit more customization options for the layout of the sales page. I’ll admit, it took a little bit of bootstrapping to get my sales page to look how I wanted it. For example, the testimonial blocks were pretty restricting, so I ended up designing images for my testimonials instead.
- Making the images responsive + higher resolution on the sales page. I loved my sales page, but the only thing I wasn’t happy with by the end of it was that the images I inserted weren’t responsive when viewed on a tablet or mobile device, and they also weren’t displaying very clearly on my retina screen. Even after doubling the dimensions and/or upping the resolution of the files on my end, they seemed to still be automatically compressed within Teachery and were displaying at a lower resolution. (note: I hear a fix for this big is in the works!)
- Allowing domain forwarding with masking. I had a panic moment about 48 hours before my launch when I couldn’t get my custom domain name to forward to my Teachery sales page. Luckily my brother is a software engineer and was able to help me troubleshoot it (it was on a Sunday, so the Teachery support team was understandably unavailable). I ended up having to turn off the masking setting in GoDaddy for it to work, so although the domain finally ended up forwarding, the URL switched to the default Teachery address once the page loaded. I’d love to be able to keep the masking on so it always shows my custom domain (also would be nice for setting up subdomains for other pages like the student dashboard).
- The only complaint I’ve received from my students is that they wished there was a progress bar or tracker of some sort as they go through the lessons. So when they leave and come back to the course, they can remember exactly where they left off. I have to agree with them, this would be a nice feature! (note: this feature is being added soon as well – see, they listen to their customers!)
Despite these minor bugs, I was still able to pull off a super successful course launch, and I hope to do more of those in the future. I’m extremely happy with how my course performed on Teachery, and I’ll most definitely be sticking with it for quite awhile. At least as long as Jason is alive, I suppose?! #buymyfutureforthewin If you want to get in on some Teachery action for your next online course, check out their simple pricing + options... hint, hint: they never take transaction fees on sales, sooo yeahhhh. Check them out.
So what’s next for me on Teachery? I’ve got two exciting things coming up in the next few months, both housed on this lovely platform:
First — the next session of The InDesign Field Guide will be open for registration on March 23, 2016.
This course is an in-depth guide to teaching yourself Adobe InDesign so you can expand your design skills for your own business and/or to better serve your clients. UPDATE! It's open year-round now, and you can grab it right here »
Second — my next course will teach you how to sell digital products on Etsy, and it's launching this summer.
My next online course is in the works as we speak (err… type?), and I can’t wait to get this baby on Teachery soon! It’s all about how I’ve built my business on the foundation of selling digital products on Etsy as passive income. I’ll be sharing how you can do the same, my insider strategies to making it a success, and how in the world you stand out in such a huge community like Etsy. UPDATE! It's open now, and you can grab it right here »
What platforms do you love for online courses? Have you dabbled in Teachery yet? Any fellow research-aholics in the house? ;)
Note: This post contains affiliate links for Teachery, but I only partner with other businesses in this way if I find the tools being shared extremely helpful, myself, AND ones I actually use.