Online Courses and Membership Sites: The Pros and Cons You Should Know

Online Courses And Membership Sites Hero 1
Inside This Post
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Do your friends come to you for advice about a certain topic? Consider creating online courses and membership sites to share that knowledge with even more people.

    If you want to teach subjects online but don't want to work with individuals, courses and memberships are great. However, they're pretty different and require unique processes to run.

    Read on to learn if online courses or memberships are better for you.

    Online Courses And Membership Sites 2

    Online Courses: Pros

    Selling online courses and membership sites are two fantastic ways to make money. Consider the benefits of creating online courses, no matter your niche.

    Passive Sales

    When you create online courses, you have to do a lot of work upfront. From validating the course idea to creating the content, it can take a lot of time.

    However, you can focus on marketing and sales after you launch the course. The workload goes down after you develop the course, and you may only need to update it once a year or less.

    Online courses are rarely entirely passive income. But they require a lot less work after creation, so you can focus on launching more courses to increase your earnings.


    Between online courses and membership sites, online courses offer students more flexibility. They can go through the course on their own time, so you don't need to come up with a course schedule.

    This can make the course easier to sell since students have more control over their online education. With membership sites, students may easily fall behind if you add a ton of content every month.

    Less Support

    When you sell online courses, you don't have to offer a ton of individual support. You may need to issue a refund if someone doesn't like the course, but that won't take as much time as with consulting or even some membership sites.

    By providing less support, you can save time to work on other tasks, like creating your next course. If you outsource support, you won't have to pay as much for those services.

    Online Courses And Membership Sites 1

    Online Courses: Cons

    Unfortunately, online courses aren't perfect. Even if they're the right choice for your business, you should understand the drawbacks before you create your first course.

    Hard to Price

    Pricing any product or service can be difficult, and online courses are no exception. A lot of the time, you price a course based on the value you provide.

    However, that can make it hard to sell to students who don't have much disposable income. You need to find the balance between profit and being able to get sales in your business.

    Less Engaging

    Online courses can also be less engaging for you and your students. You may find it hard to track who is taking your course and how they're doing, especially if you use a closed platform, like Kajabi, rather than using your own WordPress site.

    That takes students away from your website, making it harder to cross-sell other online courses. And it's less engaging for students because they don't get to interact with others in the program.

    Membership Sites: Pros

    When comparing online courses and membership sites, you may find online courses aren't right for you. Fortunately, you can enjoy the benefits of creating a membership site instead.

    More Affordable

    A membership site can be more affordable for your students because you spread out the cost each month. While you can offer payment plans for online courses, the monthly price can still be significant.

    However, membership sites allow you to provide value to your members without charging them all at once. People can come and go when they need to, so you can get more members.

    Consistent Income

    Membership sites can also give their creators a more consistent income stream. Once you get people to join, you can continue to earn the same amount from the site each month.

    Of course, people may cancel their memberships. But as long as you can provide value, you shouldn't have to worry about that. And as you gain more members, that income will only increase.

    Flexible Schedule

    Another advantage of creating a membership site is that you can have a flexible work schedule. You do need to show up and create new content each month, but you can do so when you want.

    Then, you can either have short workdays or short weeks. If you want to take a whole month off, you can work extra in the previous month to create and schedule content for when you're away.

    You also get to change up your schedule if you want. That way, you can go to appointments or spend more time with your family and friends.

    Online Courses And Membership Sites 5

    Membership Sites: Cons

    Like courses, membership sites also come with a few downsides. As you compare online courses and membership sites, consider if the cons outweigh the pros with either option.

    Regular Content Creation

    One of the benefits of online courses is that you create content once. However, membership sites require you to create content each week or month. That can be hard when your membership site topic isn't that broad.

    If you go too long without adding new content, you may lose members, and it can be hard to get them back. Think about your schedule and if you want to create new content consistently so that you can have a thriving membership site.

    More Effort

    Aside from content creation, membership sites can take more effort to run and maintain. You have to keep providing support and answering questions from members.

    If something goes wrong with the technical part of the site, you have to fix it or find someone who can. When offering live events to members, you have to make sure you're free to give those presentations at the time you state.

    Online Courses And Membership Sites 4

    Are Online Courses and Membership Sites for You?

    Online courses and membership sites are two of the best ways to make money by sharing your knowledge. However, they offer different pros and cons, so one is probably better for you than the other.

    Whether you're just getting started or have been in business for years, compare the two options. Then, you can set yourself up for success.

    Do you need help developing a course or membership site? Check out our website services to learn how we can help.

    Owen is a business consultant with extensive experience in corporate affairs, external relations, strategy, marketing and engagement. He consults with clients to understand the challenges they face and create solutions to overcome. Owen holds an MBA, Master of Business, Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Investor Relations, and certifications in corporate innovation, digital marketing, and product management.

    Scroll to Top