Can anyone recommend a membership site platform for courseware?
I am developing a variety of "courses" for small businesses / entrepreneurs across a variety of verticals and I think I want to host these behind a paywall on a membership site platform. I am not sure yet if I want a single domain with multiple subdomains or multiple top-level domains since they will cross a variety of industries. I am looking for recommendations / input on a membership platform (i.e. membergate, wishlist, memberium, etc.) along with the rationale for the recommendation. I am thinking the main site(s) will be built on WordPress. I am also looking for any feedback on using Patreon or Kajabi Next as an alternative to implementing my own membership platform.
Thanks in advance for your feedback...
We've evaluated several and for the time being consider Schoox.com to be the best - not too complicated but full featured and neither is it too agressive |(like uDemy ).
The problem with Udemy is they can suddenly decide to discount your course to $1 on their promotional days. I would suggest you check out https://www.coursecats.com/ which makes the whole thing easy and runs within WordPress. Most of the security problems with WordPress happen because admins or even some website designers do not set up the system properly. Also like all software it is vital to log in and update all plugins themes etc. regularly. This takes moments so I recommend daily if possible.
You might also want to try Simplero. You can create multiple member sites that have nothing to do with each other. It has lots of cool features too. Only problem is that the client-facing pages aren't that pretty. Calvin Correli, the Founder is pretty awesome and open to suggestions.
Hi Scott! I have a comprehensive report that compares and contrasts a number of platforms - it was the research compiled by Tara Bulum for our webinar called 'Demystifying the Delivery Debacle' - it really depends on so many variables - and the report goes through all of those for you so you can decide what is best for your purposes! Would you like the link to the webinar?
I use (and am happy with) usefedora.com. This gives you the features of Udemy but with one big difference: Udemy is a marketing platform - they will sell your courses for you (or not) but your stuff is alongside those of your competitors. You also need to know that they host a lot of 'low value' content from affiliate marketers and get-rich-quick merchants.
Fedora offers you your own dedicated platform with different levels of service from free to paid versions with more or less features. I use the free version at https://mikeclayton.usefedora.com/ and am very happy.
If I were starting now, I would certainly also evaluate Zenler.com. As far as I can tell this offers the same service as Fedora (but doubtless with a few minor differences). As I am settled into Fedora, I have not researched Zenler, so cannot say which of the two is better or even how they compare. So I make no recommendation.
For a higher spec, paid only model, a 'big brother' to Zenler and Fedora is Kajabi. I know little about it, but have heard it is highly professional.
The alternative to these is to use one of several WordPress plugins to create your own platform on your website.
Good luck with your research.
If you are thinking WordPress, it's a great choice. There are more resources available on WordPress than any other CMS. Check WP Courseware, a plugin that is used by some US universities as well. Don't take my word for it, check the video on https://flyplugins.com/wp-courseware/
The good thing is that is it specifically designed to be used for courses, has e-commerce/payment integration (WooCommerce), membership, etc.
Of course, Moodle is hugely popular but it's not so user friendly at first glance. WP Courseware is simpler to use.
There is a social enterprise company in Cambodia called Codingate that provides IT jobs and training for Cambodians. They developed a training and registration system in WordPress. Contact Mr Sopheakmonkol Sok and he can assist you with this. http://www.codingate.com/contact/
Scott, Depends on what you're trying to accomplish, but I've used 3rd party sites like coggno.com as they have a marketplace that will help promote your materials.
If you are trying to build your own site I have used PaidMemberPRO as a wordpress plugin for the membersite/security. Then I used the WP-Courseware plugin to create all my courses. Still conducting a beta test, but you are more than welcome to take a look at to following link for our introductory course. http://yoursmallbusinessgrowth.com/small-business-growth-simplified/
Finally, if you want more information from the expert I would recommend taking a look at CHris Lema's site. Here is the comparison that convinced me to go this direction: http://chrislema.com/e-learning-on-wordpress-made-easy/
I hope this helps. - Dino
I like Fedora but given your "membership" description it may not be exactly what you're looking for- it is a site to build and host "courses."
Hope this helps.
Go with WordPress if you are low budget. Go with more elaborate LMS, if you have some money. Some real open source LMS which comes to mind are Moodle, Sakai. I can help with implementing either WordPress, Moodle or Sakai.
Scott, if you build your marketing site in WordPress, when it comes time to connect or integrate to the delivery platform for your courses, you may find it difficult and have to rebuild it all. I speak from the experience of getting a number of new clients every year who have tried similar combinations for other purposes in their startups, then when they scaled, they ended up with a new set fo expenses and disruption in got-to-market again. I also come from over a decade of developing e-learning systems and courses for many business segments. A good strategy would be to launch your website in a platform/CMS that in the beginning would be about the same cost to implement as WP, with connectivity for e-commerce and course delivery systems, then would support migration into one integrated platform you own and control as you gain traction. I input this especially from the course delivery side; there are many excellent SaaS services as to capability, branding, assessment building, etc. but they all charge either by metering the number of your courses, or learners, or both. That might be ok when you've got under 10 courses and a few dozen learners in each, but if you scale, suddenly 25-30% of your overhead could be use fees and your own, volume free system would make sense. Were it me, I would consider a hub n spoke marketing method: set up one central course delivery site, but micro sites or listings with many member type services, but as light a footprint as you can make there to drive your buyers to where they actually purchase and use the courses. One place for sure you might look at is the SBA's SCORE system, they have extensive small business courses they market and broker and have huge exposure; you might have to put up a free, or light version, and convert. Email me off MH if you want any additional thoughts.
Be careful of Moodle, Sakai, Angel and any LMS that has a core development from Higher Ed. You have a ton of functions that relate to a campus, a term, a curriuclum, class management and participation assessments, that are cumbersome for a business training environment, which is usually more of a freeform learning, get the resources, seek help as needed type of a style, and a much more streamlined LMS.
An added thought: your course content criteria includes your core lesson (in video?) but a lot of collateral pieces that are not video. Some of the platforms, like Udemy, are video / tutorial specific, with little regards for non-video resource support. You need a mixed media course authoring and delivery environment, if I understand your opening post correctly. Also, it sounds like another element you might want to integrate is a live, synchronous tool, or an asynched helpdesk type tool, to allow guest experts from the unique state/county/city government and help deal with the details unique to each of them. Most entities have both digital resources and helpdesk people for that purpose, the resource would be free to you to integrate and a huge value add in the full context of what you want to accomplish.
You have received many ideas on which and what vehicles will work...Go with your gut here as to what seems to work best for you...Only thought I have is to go from the General to the Specific
Since you're thinking about going with WordPress, I've found PaidMembershipPro a nice plugin for registering users with various monthly membership options. It supports several payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe and others. It also allows you to limit access to certain pages based on the user membership.
I agree with Steve that Udemy.Com would be a great choice
I have done much of the same as a serial entrepreneur and CEO since 1989. What you are talking about is a "Learning Management System" (LMS) that can deliver the courses, monitor, report, charge etc. There are a large number of these. Some are "out-of-the-box" services that take 50%+ as they bring customers, sell and deliver customers. i.e. distribution, not jsut technology like www.udemy.com. Others are technology platforms that you pay a fee for to use like www.Vimeo.com which just does video delivery and is password protected and easy to deliver through any shopping cart (I use both). You can see Vimeo in action here with 7 short (free) videos on developing company dashboards: http://www.airtightmgt.com/what-is-airtight-management/dashboards-and-metrics
Membership is not the key focus here and I would not recommend a "Membership" site as a core functionality. That is almost trivial. You need an LMS which is designed around course delivery plus a CMS which can do everything else (blog, membership, articles/content, admin, etc.)
Then there are open source platforms that might be best if you plan to scale. I have done a complete research project on these and will install one in the near future. I would be happy to talk by phone and compare notes. I expect some of our content would be complimentary and very little would overlap, if any. We might even be able to work together some.
Wordpress and Joomla are CMSs that have add-ins to do all of this and I have about 20 web sites and am moving to Joomla over time because of the large add-in library and support. It is more advaced than Wordpress, though there are always trade-offs between ease of use and power with platforms (PaaS).
Bob Norton office: (619) SCALE06
It depends of if you're looking to get paid or use the courses as marketing.
Patreon isn't for teaching - think of it as an ongoing Kickstarter for friends/family who want to support you.
Kajabi - I've tested it a little bit. Similar options are Fedora or Udemy.
Kajabi would definitely be a good one for both the content hosting and payment platform included or you could look at a Learning Management Systems like Absorb LMS which make great platforms for delivering courses to private groups/memberships. Just depends on budgets, but both Kajabi or a decent LMS would give good scalability.
Scott - One of the more popular sites for people who want to develop on-line course ware and to take on-line classes is UDEMY.COM. They provide the author with all the tools for building the course, provide hosting and account management as well as general promotion. You set the price you feel is appropriate. If UDEMY's activities result in drawing people to your course they will keep 50% of the revenue. If you attract student to your courses through your own website UDEMY pays the total amount to the author. UDEMY also has a variety of "affiliate" site owners who also help to attract students. UDEMY splits their 50% revenue with their affiliates so it does not cost the author any extra. This provides the author with 3 different ways to find students and generate income.
I have an affiliate website called The Microbusiness Academy.com which I run in conjunction with my main site - Mature-Entrepreneurs.com I am currently working on my own course-ware on home-based business startup which I will use UDEMY for. Hope this has helped.. have a great week-end Steve Chapman
Hello Scott, you might want to explore udemy.com. You can host your courses there to begin with and then gradually migrate to a set up of your own.