Infographic explaining 5 factors to consider while creating online course

Creating and selling an online course can be a great way to share your knowledge and expertise with a wider audience. It allows you to reach people from all over the world and deliver your content in a flexible, self-paced format. However, it is vital to consider factors that impact your course and has the potential to determine your success.

In this article, inspired by Udesh Udayakumar, a knowledge entrepreneur teaching more than 1000 students through online courses, we talk about 5 absolutely crucial points to consider before launching an online course.

5 factors to consider before you build an online course

1. Choose the right course topic

Many beginners create an online course hoping to build a passive income stream. But choosing topics for online courses only on the basis of the revenue potential can be short-sighted. The prospect of making money is undoubtedly essential, but that ambition will only get you so far, especially if you do not experience success quickly.

Choose a topic that you would love to learn by yourself and have some experience in. Your interest in the topic would ensure that the course is also relevant to your intended audience. You will have sustained motivation and keep your course up-to-date.

  • You will invest in your online course because you are invested in the learning.
  • You’ll be able to teach the way you want to learn, and that’ll bring more authenticity.
  • You’ll find others who are equally invested in the topic and will form your core audience.

2. Analyze the demand

Accurately estimating the demand is almost impossible, but you can still gain an indication of the level of competition by using the following ways:

  • Key Word Research: Leverage Keyword research tools to determine the monthly search volume of keywords related to your topic. Do not limit your searches using the topic as the only keyword. Try several variations and check for considerable search volume.
  • Competitor Research: A reliable signal of a good course topic is the presence of strong competition. This validates the demand. Assess the various marketplace websites such as Udemy to gauge the number of students who have enrolled in the same or similar courses. Additionally, resources such as books and podcasts on platforms like Amazon and Spotify also highlight existing demand.
 A page on Python courses from Udemy.
  • Social Listening: “Pay attention to indirect signals like Youtube Comments and engagement on Social Media to validate the demand for your topic,” says Udesh Udayakumar, a knowledge entrepreneur and Google Cloud Champion Innovator.
    He mentions you can further investigate by taking note of college mentions in the comments, as this is where a significant portion of the student population will be looking for similar topics.

3. Make it relevant to your audience

Create it and forget it is not a strategy you can bank on if you truly want to become a knowledge entrepreneur. While you may put a lot of effort into making your course valuable, it won't reach its full potential unless you understand your target audience and the needs of your customers.

To become a successful knowledge entrepreneur, you must collect audience feedback and revise your content continuously to keep it up-to-date.

Effective ways to collect feedback include:

  • A survey at the end of the course
  • An open comment section for each lesson
  • Use a rating scale (on a scale of 0-10) at the end of each chapter
  • Check for directional cues like the course completion rate and average assessment scores

4. Create an effective marketing strategy

It’s easy to get lost in the ocean of sellers. What sets you apart is how well you market yourself. To ensure success, you must create reliable and effective distribution channels and actively engage in marketing yourself and your courses.

However, it is essential to identify a channel that interests you and commit to it fully instead of spreading yourself too thin by trying to do everything at once.

Identify what works for you.

  • Host a podcast to drive traffic and get new subscribers if you love the audio medium.
  • Utilize paid advertising platforms such as Google or Facebook to promote your course if budget is not a concern.
  • Leverage social media to connect with potential students if that is your strength.
  • Create search-engine-optimized blog content as a means of marketing if writing is your preference.
An infographic showing various marketing strategies, including podcasting, Google Ads, social media, and SEO blogs.

Once you have steady traffic, build a marketing funnel to nurture your customers at every step of the journey. Identify at which stages your potential students are dropping off. Send emails or updates or even offer discounts to convert them into buyers.

Related: 5 Best ways to Market your online course in 2023

5. Design your engagement plan

Most creators think of engaging their audience when they are alarmed by the high drop-offs and weak completion rates. But engagement is a factor one should consider right from the time they design and create the course.

As Udesh states, “Keeping the audience hooked to the topic while you're the only one doing the active speaking is quite a challenge.”

The way you present your content can have a significant impact on engagement. Go beyond videos and text to deliver the content. Quizzes and worksheets are fun and less intimidating ways to assess a student’s progress while webinars and live chats make you more approachable, encouraging your students to ask questions and voice concerns directly. Regular interactions build trust, and your students are likely to recommend your course to their peers.


It is exciting to create and sell online courses, and the journey can be immensely rewarding. However, it is important to think about the topic to teach, the audience to target, and the methods you will use to make your course relevant to your audience. Additionally, it is important to consider how you will engage your audience and maintain their interest throughout the course.

Udesh stresses the point - “Focus on providing value that impacts the students, and other things will follow”.

Udesh Udayakumar, a knowledge entrepreneur and Google Cloud Champion Innovator, spoke with Hanuj Tilwani, CEO & Co-founder, of Miho, and discussed several key points and dropped golden nuggets of advice on how to choose a course topic and the challenges one must anticipate and prepare for before creating an online course.

Check out the podcast here.