Monetizing Your Online Courses

consulting-ratesToday it is rather easy to create an online course, especially if you are using a flexible platform like WordPress. There are many teachers out there that use WordPress to deliver their course content, but what about monetizing the material?

At first glance this may seem pretty straightforward – just give your course a price. However, there are multiple models for pricing that you may want to take a moment to decide which one fits your business (and course topic) the best. Some of the more popular models include:

  • Pay Once – Just as the name implies, you set a price for the course and once it is paid the person has access to the course material forever.
  • Subscription – This involves setting up a recurring payment. It can be daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Renewal – Similar to the subscription fee, a renewal is usually longer in duration, such as every six-months or yearly. Customers aren’t automatically billed but have to opt-in to maintain access.
  • Pay-Per-View – Rather than sell a course, you can sell each lesson on a pay-per-view basis.
  • Pay For Quiz – Some businesses do well to create a free course and then pay for the ability to “sit” for the final exam, which in turn awards the certificate.

These are just a few of the ways you can monetize your courses. You will also want to determine if you use one of these models for a course-by-courses basis, or if payment grants access to all course material on the site (or perhaps even a combination of both to allow for bundle opportunities).

Whatever you decide, make sure you price your course accurately from the beginning. Remember that it’s always easier to decrease a price than to increase it. Don’t pick a lower price simple because you think it will make you more competitive – often it will end up driving you out of business altogether!


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

17 Responses

  1. Does LearnDash support a “Pay For Quiz” or “Pay for Certificate” format? I plan to create an eLearning website based on this model and I’m considering using LearnDash.

    1. Hi Jim-
      There are ways to configure this. One is to create a course that contains the quiz you wish to sell – then make the course with the material a pre-req to this paid quiz component (so people cannot skip the course content and go straight for the quiz).

      1. Hi Justin – is this the only way to configure this? Or do you have any other suggestions for ways to achieve this?

        Thanks in advance,

          1. I don’t understand your answer Justin. You mention “ways” but then only give an example of one way.

            Is there a way to only sell a quiz, with no connection to a course?
            Imagine a full-length GMAT practice test…


          2. Hi GS. No, not currently. You have to rename ‘courses’ to ‘quizzes’ or ‘tests’ (done via our settings), then assign the questions to it.

  2. Hi Justin,
    My website also has two types of products we sell – either a full course, or a single quiz. I understand from your answer to previous comments that we will have to connect the quiz product to a course. However is there a way you can think of that would allow to hook a different styling to this type of ‘quiz courses’.


  3. Hi Justin,

    Thanks for your reply. When you say “rename courses to quizzes”, does that mean it will affect the entire Courses folder in Learndash? So if for example I wish to sell an online course as the main product, and a practice test as a top-up/upsell offer. Will I be able to distinguish between those two types of products in the system?

    Thanks again.

  4. hi there
    each course have it own final quiz
    what about if we have multiple quiz and want sell each one separately in course

      1. Can you make this use-case supported as i’m sure there are many like me that only read your replies to the requirements of the audience without asking. I vote for this feature where we can sell at different tiers, be it course, lesson or topic as this is a good way to upsell the entire course by selling just one lesson or topic within that.

  5. Hey Justin,

    Could you point me to learndash documentation to implement Pay-Per-View and Pay For Quiz pricing strategies listed above?

    Thanks in advance,

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