When it comes to selling your online courses you have many options, but in the end it often comes down to using WordPress or a hosted platform.
One of the most important parts to starting a business creating and selling courses is determining how you will sell them. If you’re building your courses with LearnDash & WordPress, then you will find you have a lot of options.
Rather than get into all the various plugins that you can use to sell your courses (which is probably an article for another day), let’s discuss the ultimate decision you will have to make at some point: WordPress or a non-WordPress method for selling content.
Pros & Cons to WordPress Options
For the sake of this article we’ll consider just WordPress shopping carts (think WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads). These options combine are being used by millions of people for selling on WordPress.
The benefit to using one a WordPress shopping cart to sell your LearnDash courses is that you gain a tremendous amount of flexibility in the pricing configurations. These two shopping carts boast tons of built-in functionality in addition to a world of add-ons to really get it doing exactly what you need.
But are there downsides?
It sort of depends on your priorities.
First, you can fully expect more configuration if you go with a WordPress based shopping cart. There will be more settings to go through as you map your products to courses, implement add-ons, add other settings, and then test.
And although the shopping carts themselves are free, chances are you will use some of their add-ons and this is an additional investment. Again, this might not be a bad thing for some of you but others may have a strict budget.
But probably the biggest perceived downside to running a native hosted shopping cart is that you are on the hook for protecting all the data. Literally everything has to be locked-down. If your site is compromised then so too is the data of all your customers, and if that happens then it is 100% your fault.
Now that’s not to say protecting your site is impossible, far from it. There are many security options out there to employ so that everything is safe and secure. I only mention this because for some people it may not be something that they want to worry about. If that is you, then a hosted shopping cart is probably a better solution.
For example, LearnDash integrates with SamCart which is a hosted shopping cart. If you were to use their shopping cart then all the compliance and security rests on their shoulders, and you may sleep easier at night.
Another option in the case of LearnDash would be to use the built-in PayPal or 2Checkout integrations.
In this case all of the critical custom data stays on PayPal (or 2Checkout) and is never posted in your WordPress dashboard, something that does occur even if you use PayPal with one of the shopping carts mentioned. However, you do lose some of the purchase options explained earlier which is a major advantage to a WordPress shopping cart in the first place.
The greatest amount of flexibility will be with a WordPress option, but that also comes with more responsibility for you as the site owner. Ultimately you have to decide what matters most to you when you choose a method for selling your courses. Both a hosted solution and WordPress based options are going to achieve pretty much the same end-goal.