Offering a course or membership within your pet business can be a great way to create some recurring income whilst also helping and serving more of your clients and customers at one time. If you are a dog trainer with a long waitlist it’s a great way of helping your clients before you can get to them for their 1:1.
Generally speaking there are three ways of doing things:
1. If you are using a website builder e.g. WIX or Squarespace these might have facilities built in
2.. If you have a WordPress website then you can use an LMS – Learning Management System to integrate it into your website e.g. Lifter, Learndash, Wishlist Member
3. You can use an external platform to provide your service e.g. Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi
External platform vs integrated LMS : pros and cons
Pros of LMS
- It’s integrated into your website which is good for SEO and nice for users
- You only have an upfront cost to build
Cons of LMS
- Upfront build cost can be large
- You may need more plugins than the LMS so there can be a lot of moving parts
- It needs a lot of looking after e.g. things can break when you update
- You will end up dealing with a lot of ‘my password doesn’t work’ and ‘my payment hasn’t gone through’ type issues
- You may need to pay someone to up keep
- The back end is generally more clunky and confusing
- You have to be responsible for taking payments, holding information and GDPR
Pros of external platform
- Much less maintenance
- Easy to get up and running quickly
- You’ll be able to manage it yourself
- Solid, safe and secure for peace of mind
Cons of external platform
- Not full integrated into your website so user has to come ‘off site’ to use
- Monthly payment, another subscription, can get expensive when you get successful!
- Can be difficult to get beautiful design
Why your course platform ideally shouldn’t be your website
These course platforms, whilst brilliant at what they do, I feel don’t offer everything you need to build yourself a website as well. Mainly the SEO features and functions aren’t going to be as advanced as they are on WordPress which means it’s more difficult to get your courses found in Google.
If you don’t need organic traffic and intend to drive all your traffic from your social platforms then this isn’t such a big deal, but it is something to be aware of.
The external platforms also often don’t have more general functionality built in such as a blog. Again, if they do have a blog facility then the SEO options on it are really lacking, as is the ability to design it nicely.
So what do you need?
My advice for my clients is to have your website and then host your course or membership on an external platform. We then ‘integrate’ the two by having either
a. An information page on the website all about the courses/membership with call to action buttons that lead over to it.
b. A link on the main navigation bar that leads directly over to the platform
Other things we do to increase visibility on the website about the course or membership are
1. An announcement bar at the top of the page with a link through to the info page
2. A section on the home page with mini details and link through to info page
The key to choosing a platform
Write down a list of what you want to do. All the platforms tend to offer similar functionality and then have a focus on one thing or different advanced functions.
You need to be clear on exactly what you are trying to achieve. Then when you go and do your research you can make sure that the software you like offers that. This helps you stop being seduced by shiny things you don’t need!
WUF clients with their website and their course or memberships
LMS to integrate into WordPress
Other platforms and LMS are available – have a Google, there are lots out there!