Having a professional-looking online course is something that we all want, but how do we actually get our online course to look professional after all isn’t it all about the content?
But as well as the content, you want your course to look professional enough that people want to learn from it. And also that they do learn from it.
So in this blog post, I’m going to go over five things that you can do to help make your online course look professional.
For the purpose of this post, I’m not going to be going into the nuances and the ins and outs of creating the course and the actual course content.
What I am going to be talking about is what some people might consider to be the more superficial parts of making your online course. But, regardless of what you think is superficial or not superficial when it comes to making your course look professional, we’re going to go through some of these points. This is because I think that you’re going to find them really useful when it comes to creating or continuing to create the online course that you are going to make or have already got.
So we have got five ways of how we are going to make your online course look professional, or look more professional.
Remember; if you’ve already got an online course. Published, because there’s nothing wrong with going back in and changing some of these things. If you think that they are right for your program and for your online course and for your audience.
So the first thing that you can do to make your online course look professional is to get yourself a professional and personalized domain name.
And what I mean by this is you are not using the generic and generalized domain name which comes free with your online course package.
So for example, you’re not going to be using veritysangan.teachable.com (I’m just using Teachable as an example, because my courses are currently hosted on Teachable).
You could use your own domain name. So for example, mine is veritysangan.com. And what you could do is have veritysangan.com/coursees. And that URL address would take you to your course website
Equally, you could have a subdomain. So courses.veritysangan.com (just as an example).
Often, having your own URL makes people think your online course platform looks more professional and encompassing with your brand.
If for whatever reason you can’t change the URL of the domain name of where your courses are hosted, maybe that feature is in a higher package that you don’t feel that you want to upgrade to for that one feature.
Using a plugin to change your URL
What you can do is use a plugin.
If you’re using WordPress, a fit to host your website is you can use a plugin called Pretty Links. There are lots of Pretty Links alternatives out there, but I just have a preference for Pretty Links.
What Pretty Links does is disguises a URL with another.
So for example, you can have it set so if somebody went onto the internet and typed in veritysangan.com/courses, they will be redirected to my Teachable site.
This is completely free to do. There is a paid version of Pretty Links, but there’s also a free version, which is the version that I use. Personally, I’ve never had any need to upgrade.
The other great thing about having a more personalized domain name is that it’s easier to tell people about. When you’re giving out your generalized online school name, that can be quite difficult, particularly if there are loads of letters and numbers, and it can be difficult to remember and difficult to hand over.
Whereas if you can just say it’s veritysangan.com/courses, for example, that’s much easier for someone to plug into that internet browser and be redirected to.
The next thing I’d really recommend you do is to get yourself an SSL certificate.
Every online course platform that I have come across has got an SSL certificate installed within it, but make sure that it is activated. This is because not every online school automatic provides an activated SSL certificate. So make sure that it is activated.
An SSL certificate provides certain securities for your website. When you’re on any internet browser, a website with an active SSL certificate will display a little padlock next to the URL in the address bar.
This padlock is demonstrating that your website is secure to the person visiting your website.
Additionally, using an SSL certificate changes your website address prefix from http:// to https://.
So make sure that you do get an SSL certificate for your domain name.
If you’re hosting your course on an online platform, the vast majority of the time they do have SSL certificates included. Just make sure that it is activated and you can always talk to your chat support, or the support for your online course school to make sure that it is activated.
Having an SSL certificate gives people that little bit more reassurance when using your site.
Particularly if you’re asking them to pay you and part ways with their hard-earned cash.
People buying online want reassurance that when they’re giving away their money, the transaction is secure.
The next thing that I am going to suggest that you do is to check your layout.
I know that I said that we weren’t going to discuss the content of the course within this post, but do go through your layout, and make sure that it makes sense.
Walk yourself through your course; and what I always like to do before I publish on a course is to leave it for a week or two.
I know that some people are probably thinking; “But you’re losing a week, two weeks of sales!”
And yes, potentially you are.
But you leave your course for a couple of weeks and go back to it, you are looking at your course with fresh eyes.
You will pick up on spelling mistakes.
You’ll pick up on if a picture doesn’t quite work.
You’ll realize if your lesson order makes sense or not.
In addition to this get other people to review your course as well. Because that will really help you with your layouts.
So, double-check your layout, and make sure that it makes sense.
When reviewing your content, make sure you’ve got a beginning, a middle and an end.
Make sure that your course and what you’re delivering actually matches up to those original learning aims and outcomes that you wanted to achieve when you first started writing and creating your course.
Check your grammar and spelling
I do fully appreciate not everyone is going to be a literary expert, and I’m not expecting everybody to be a literary expert as well.
But make sure that the basics are met.
You can use something like Grammarly to help you.
I love Grammarly.
There’s both a free and paid-for version of Grammarly, but I’ve only ever used the free version.
Personally, I find that the free version and never felt the need to upgrade personally.
You can use Grammarly on pretty much any device, and you can use it online and offline.
So you can actually use it when you’re typing straight into your online course platform.
I love it because it will tell you when your sentences don’t make sense when your syntax doesn’t make sense when you’re, and when you’ve got grammatical errors.
Font text and colour
And my final tip of something that you need to be looking at in order to make your online course look more professional is to consider your font text and your font color.
The best fonts that you can use for writing online and which are the most legible to the most amount of people are Sans fonts.
Examples of Sans fonts include Open Sand, Roberto, Lato, and PT Sans.
What you want to be avoiding essentially are fonts which have got little flicks at the end or which detract your reader in anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with having your headings in a slightly different font, for example in a script font.
But you need to be making sure that all of your text is legible to your students.
It’s not necessarily about looking about your text looking pretty. You can have the most beautiful font, but if it’s not legible, then no-one is going to learn anything which in turn is going to impact on the reviews you get.
You also want to be making sure that your font size is big enough to be read on the internet and to be read by as many people as possible.
So you don’t want to be going smaller than a font size 12 or 14 at an absolute minimum.
Your text color needs to be legible.
So something like black, dark Navy blue, deep purple, something that’s dark if you’re writing on a light or white background.
On that note, red is not a good font to write in, particularly if it’s on a white background. This is because it has been well-researched that red font, particularly on a white background is not very legible for people, particularly with dyslexia.
Equally, avoid anything that is luminous, anything that is too bright.
Particularly if it’s on a white background, these colours can be very difficult to read. Also be weary of pastel colors, and pale colors can be very difficult to read. I know that at the moment, things like pale pinks, pale greys, lots of pastel colors, they’re incredibly fashionable. And I agree they are beautiful. I’ve got pastel pink on my own website.
But, you’ve got to think about the legibility of these colours when used in your online course.
I once took a course where all of the buttons were in very, very pale pink, and all of the writing on top of those pale pink buttons was in white. It was nearly impossible to actually read what was on each button. I pretty much guessing a lot of the time.
So, just because it looks pretty, you’ve got to interpret how it’s going to be looked at by your students.
Text of pictures
It’s also quite similar if you are putting text on top of images.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. And quite often it can emphasize a point that you’re saying, or brings in a of eye-catching imagery.
Images can make your course really interesting. But, what you need to be making sure is that your wording is not being lost with the images in the background.
So you might need to use an overlay on the image so that your tech stands out and it’s really legible for your student.
Testing fonts on different devices
If you’re not too sure about a font color, font size, or the font itself, get different people to test it out.
Particularly on different devices.
Because how an image, font, or text might appear on your screen with the colors on someone else’s device might differ from your screen.
Go and look at somebody else’s laptop screen. Because people will have different settings, different brands have different settings in themselves. So it’s worth checking on different and different screens and different devices.
So there’s been a whole load of things that we have gone through in this post to make your online course look more professional:
- Get yourself a professional domain name.
- The second is get yourself an SSL certificate. Make sure it is activated. You don’t need to go out and buy another one if you already have one with the online course package you have purchased. The vast majority of the time, when you buy packages for online course platforms, they do include an SSL certificate for your online school. So just have a double check where that is on the settings and make sure that it is activated. Reach out to their support team for whichever online school you’re using.
- Check your course layout. Make sure that it makes sense and do a walkthrough of your entire course a couple of weeks after you’ve completed it. This way you can make sure that every part of your course makes sense.
- Check your grammar and spelling. Use a program such as Grammarly to help you.
- Check your font and tax color as well as your text size. Make sure it is legible for everyone.