Episode 20: Kim Shivler and Creating Online Courses

Episode 20: Kim Shivler and Creating Online Courses

Photo credit: Frank Mckenna on Unsplash

Learning Management Systems

In this episode, I am chatting with Kim Shivler about Learning Management Systems, what are they and how easy it is to create a membership site of online courses. If you are thinking about selling courses or have clients that want to, this episode is for you.

Kim Shivler

Kim ShivlerSpeaker, Teacher, Strategist – Kim Shivler, M.Ed. has worked as a writer, instructor, developer and serial entrepreneur for over 20 years. Her business experience includes computer network and database administration, technical training and writing, project management, web development, and work as an aesthetician and spa owner. She also worked for large corporations including Tivoli, an IBM company, where she was part of the worldwide technical sales and marketing team.

Kim learned HTML in 1995 building help files as a UNIX system administrator and opened her first web development company in 1996. Since then, Kim has worked as a business owner and employee in a variety of fields including a few years as part of an IBM worldwide team. Between 2008 and 2012, she worked with a variety of Content Management Systems and ran an online membership site for skin care professionals using Drupal. In 2012, Kim found WordPress and never looked back at any other CMS. She has been creating online courses in WordPress since 2013 and currently combines her background in education, years of business experience, and WordPress experience to teach others how to build online courses, their first WordPress site, and learning platforms.

As a writer, Kim has worked in a variety of fields including software documentation and instruction, manuals for aesthetic and medical devices, and general health articles.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Education degree in secondary English education from the University of Florida.

Listen to Episode 20

Sponsor – LearnDash

This episode is sponsored by LearnDash – WordPress LMS… Made EASY!

LearnDash - WordPress LMS Check out LearnDash. Easily transform your WordPress site into a powerful learning management system using LearnDash.

Sell e-learning courses, track user progress, deliver certificates, and much more!

The #1 choice of Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses.

Discover more at LearnDash.com

Special Offer from Kim for Rethink.fm listeners

Message from Kim: Ready to Learn More about Membership Sites and Online Courses? Thanks for listening to me on the Rethink.fm Podcast. Checkout these special offers for Rethink.fm listeners.

Where to find Kim:

Website: White Glove Web Training
Website: How to Build An Online Course
Twitter: @KimShivler

Tools and Resources discussed:


Sensei – https://woocommerce.com/products/sensei/
WP-Courseware – https://flyplugins.com/wp-courseware/
LifterLMS – https://lifterlms.com/
MemberPress – https://www.memberpress.com/
Paid Memberships Pro – https://www.paidmembershipspro.com/

Full Transcript of this Podcast Episode


Jackie Hey everybody. It's Jackie D'Elia with episode 20 of Rethink.fm and today I have very special guest, Kim Shivler. She is an educator, teacher, and strategist. Hey, Kim.

Kim Hi, Jackie.

Jackie Thanks for joining me.

Kim Thank you for having me on. I'm very excited to be here today.

Jackie Awesome. I've got some really interesting questions that I wanted to ask you. You and I have been on the WP-Tonic podcast quite a bit, on the round table, and we've had a chance to have a few conversations. I wanted this episode to really kind of focus on: What do you need to know if you want to start developing online courses? What information do you need to create them, to market them, to produce them? How do you manage your website that handles all of that? I know you have extensive experience in that, have worked with several learning management systems and that you teach online classes. You've taught in person classes, and you're an instructor in the WordPress community, so I thought you'd be the perfect person to have this conversation with.

Kim Thank you. Yes. Let's talk about those, because there's a lot of fun stuff to cover with that whole arena right now.

Jackie Okay. Before we jump into that, why don't you just give us an idea of what your background is and how you got to do what it is you do today?

Kim Sure. I have been a technology speaker and instructor for over 20 years, starting back in the DOS days, teaching DOS and Novell Networks, Harvard Graphics, Word Perfect, Lotus 123. I was a system administrator and an instructor, and I just have been, kind of kept coming along through those years and moved into the web development arena in 1995, and it's just ... I took a hiatus from all of this a few years ago. I burned out and was doing some other things, and that's when I learned that teaching and consulting and strategizing is not what I do. It's who I am. Someone asked me, "Could you teach me how to use WordPress?" And at the time, I was actually more of a Drupal shop. I was running a magazine in Drupal. And I looked at WordPress, got all excited, because yes. I could teach it to her. And I've been back in this arena ever since.

Jackie Very good. All right. Let's start off with, my first question for you is: What's the big differences between teaching a class in person and developing courseware online?

Kim The biggest difference is, you have to really plan ahead an online course. When you're teaching live in front of a class, you pick up all the secret signals, the unspoken signals of what's going on in your audience. And you can tell, if you're a good teacher, that no matter how, there's always that one guy in the room, and no matter how much he is shaking his head in agreement, you can tell by the look on his face that he has no idea what you just said. He's lost.

You have to do that magically online. You have to build content that's so broken down and simple that you make sure you capture each one of those people and you get it to them, and that you then give them an interactive way, that if they're not getting it, that you can, one, see that they're not getting it, through quizzes and assignments, or give them a really great way to contact you.

You also have to break things down much shorter. We can sit through an hour class, although I'm not sure I always want to, but we can sit through a longer period of time in classes. Online, people's attention span is much smaller. I would say my longest videos when I teach are 15 minutes. Most of my videos are two to five minutes at the most, and then they make sure that they have some interactivity. Not necessarily every lesson, but the course as a whole has interaction, because people don't just want to watch a YouTube channel most of the time. And then, to also have other follow up with them so that you're touching them in multiple ways. The more ways you can touch someone, the better that you can make sure that you're getting through to people who are more visual learners, are more tactical learners, are more audio. That's more important when you're separated from them even than when you're in the classroom with them.

Jackie I think that's a really good point. I've noticed in courses I've taken on Lynda and LinkedIn Leaning and Tree House, they typically keep their videos fairly short. They're very specific on the topic that they're talking about. Of course, they have a great outline on the side that tells you what each video is going to be talking about, and it keeps it focused. I think one of the nice advantages on the online side is that you can go back and re-watch easily, where in an online class, you typically have to interrupt and get everybody to replay that part with you. Right? To go back.

I think one of the reasons I really like online courses is that ability to be able to go back and listen to something. I find ... That is a really good point that you made, too, about how to know if somebody's lost or not with you, because I think there's a skill in being able to put together a course that answers questions that people have as they're watching it. Right? Some people will not understand something that they've just seen and it'll stick with them and it'll be like ... It's thorn in your side as you're watching the rest of the video and you actually stop paying attention, because you're still trying to sort out the answer to something that you had just seen.

You're saying, "Okay. Why was it like that? Why was it?" And you keep asking that over and over again, so I think the times where I've seen really good instructors is when they come back and answer that question for me, like right after I'm starting to think about it and going, "If you're wondering about this, it's because of this." Going back and taking into account with those things. I think that's really helpful when you're doing an online class, is to cover those things that people would be considering.

I guess some of that, maybe, is just where you're testing it with students and you're learning. What's that process like when you're developing a course and how do you edit it and kind of work through that content to get it where you need it to be?

Kim My process, sometimes I do a complete online course without anything else. But usually, I will start with a live session, even if it's a virtual live session on Zoom, with a small group of people, because that's where a lot of times you can see where the questions are coming up. And again, if you're watching them and their face, they don't even always have to raise their hand. You can see it. I just missed her, and you can come back around. And again, you see it in their eyes when you hit that point, and then you know those are the questions I really have to make sure I come back to.

If you're going to build it completely online without that, you're probably going to need to be prepared for more changes when you go live, because you're going to need to record those, have people beta it, find the problems, go back and rerecord. If I go live with a small group first, I can see some of that. I'm ahead of the game when I actually create my small videos, pop them into the LMS and have those first beta customers go through and see what needs to be tweaked.

Jackie Okay. You just mentioned LMS, so let's kind of cover what that is in the online course world. What is that?

Kim LMS, and it can be online of offline, actually. It's a Learning Management System. In an online world, what that is, is a piece of software that is going to manage. Here's a lesson. Here's the quiz. Here's the assignment. Now, we're going to click and we're going to go to the next one. It automates that process of delivering each lesson's content and all that goes around that content. It tends to be a linear process. Some people are searching for, or working on things, where it can be more open, or maybe you pick one thing and you head off this direction. And based on what you answer, you go somewhere else. But, most of them are not quite that sophisticated yet, as far as understanding how you're learning. They're just automated ways to deliver those lessons, quizzes, and assignments.

Jackie In the WordPress space, there's several learning management systems. Say for me, let's just take an example. I want to write a course for working with SVGs or something. Something that I'm interested in and I want to build a course for that, and I want to go ahead and host it on my WordPress site. What are some of the things I need to be thinking about. What Learning Management System should I look at and do specific ones are better suited for specific purposes?

Kim Absolutely. They're definitely specific ones are suited for specific purposes. One you need to look at ... First, you need to look at exactly. What do you want to deliver? What are you looking to deliver? Is it a single course? Is it a series of courses? What functionality do you want that course to have? What type of quizzes do you want, for example? Because the different Learning Management Systems, some of them, you're just limited to true, false and multiple choice. Some of them allow you to receive written answers from people and grade those.

For example, if I'm writing programming, I may want more than just true and false. I may want to see people's code and have them submit that to me, so I would go for something a little more sophisticated. That's where it really depends. It also depends. Are you going to just offer a single automated course, or are you going to offer, what I call a learning platform, a whole learning experience?  Which, is where we actually combine learning management, that step by step, with a membership area, membership site, that people can have access to things that aren't linear, things that are more like resources pages, and maybe extra videos.

I liken it, when I speak at word camps, when I teach, I liken it to, when we go to university. We go to class, and that would be that online LMS. Step by step. Every week, we go. We hand in our homework. And those membership resource pages, that's the library, where we go to do our research that's just as important, but not necessarily falling into that step by step, I've accomplished it, check it off, scenario.

Jackie What would make somebody decide? I guess you pretty much answered it, but let's just ... A membership site versus just selling courses on your website. How do you know? I'm assuming if you're just starting off, you're probably going to want to do a one off course or a couple of courses, but you're probably not going to have enough content yet to create a membership site, where people are going to be willing to pay just to gain access to your site. That sounds like something you would take some time to build. Does that sound like a good approach?

Kim The time to build is actually going to be the same, because for many of these, the best way ... For many of the Learning Management Systems in Word Press, the actual best way to manage them is with a membership site. The membership site can manage the content to all those different courses, even ... For example ... Back up. I use pretty much all of them, just because I am kind of the crash test dummy, I call myself for these. And I teach different ones, depending on what the person's needs are. But, one of the most robust configurations I use for my biggest platform is a combination of Member Press and LearnDash, because those are probably the two Cadillacs of the most functionality.

I can take Member Press without having a separate shopping cart because I'm not selling physical goods, and that can sell each course individually. Each one of those courses then has the LMS piece and the library piece, the membership pages piece. When we talk about it technically, we're talking about the difference between membership and LMS. But, from a logical standpoint, when I'm building it to sell to the client and I'm building it out as a platform, then it takes just as long to put the two together, than the one.

Jackie It sounds like you still need a membership component to be able to watch the courses that you just purchased. Right? To have access to them.

Kim You don't have to. For example, you could put in just LearnDash with a payment gateway, buy the course, and just go through it. You just wouldn't have any ability to give extra resources, or it's not as easy to give those extra resources. Now, some of them, you do have to have extra. LearnDash, as I said, it can do all of that within its one piece. Sensei, for example, which is the one by Woo, Woo Themes, Woo Commerce, that one relies on Woo Commerce to sell courses. If you're already a Woo Commerce shopper, you're going to build a physical store. That's a great option, but a complete configuration of Woo Commerce just to sell one or two online courses, that's overwhelming for people sometimes.

Jackie Okay.

Kim That's one of those, I'm big on planning. I always have these planning guides with people knowing exactly what they're going to need so we can find out the best one for them.

Jackie How many hours goes into creating a typical course? Let's just say, just a basic WordPress course that might cover how a specific plug in works or something along those lines. How much planning time should you allow for building a course that, say maybe, is a course that runs for 30 minutes or 45 minutes? How much prep time goes into doing something like that?

Kim Weeks. Let me break that down. Let's pretend we've already built the learning platform. This is a second course. Building out the learning platform, actually, if you're a good web developer and you've planned it well, you can do that in a three day period. You actually can build that platform. The course, though, now we have to start with our brain dump for our curriculum. That's where I start with every one. Just get everything out there one the page you want to talk about.

Here's what normally happens. We then go look at that brain dump and you have two, three, four courses there. You do not have one course, because people, when they're doing their brain dump, they want to tell you everything they've garnered over 20 years experience. And it's better to break those down, even if you're ... Say, if you're even doing my ... I have a class called How to Build a Website in Eight Hours or Less. I'm very upfront with all of them. Yes. That's a bit of a marketing title, because in eight hours, we are not going to have your be all, end all website done. But, we're going to have a basic installation installed, couple basic plug ins like security and back ups and five pages in a blog. And you can start going from there.

If I tried to give them everything, everything, everything, and that's probably 12 modules just there, broken down. It's better off to take them through those 12 modules then let them go to an intermediate class when we're ready, than try to give them 120 modules. The only time that's different is when universities do full semesters to grad students. That's a whole nother world.

But, if you're teaching business people, you're better off to break those down. Let's think of those couple modules. Say we're going to do a half hour class and I'm going to break it into five minute modules. I now have to figure out. What am I going to say in each one? I'm going to have to record it. Going to have to edit it. I highly recommend that you at least pull out, if it's a step by step process, you at least pull out the written steps for people so they can quick reference back and not have to be forwarding, forward, backwards, trying to figure out what you just said when they can't remember it.

Do all of that. Determine what your interaction is going to be. Going to be quizzes, assignments. What level of access to you they're going to have. Because, if you want to charge ... The reality is in today's market, if you want to charge good money for classes, people are buying access to you. They're not usually just buying a couple of automated. If all they want is some automated videos, they can get Lynda.com for $29 a month. They want more access if they're going to pay you $400, $500, $600 for a class.

What is that going to look like? And planning that out. You could have a week's worth of work or more in a half hour class to get all of that done and created. Then, marketing is a whole nother monster. Who do you have? Do you already have an audience? Et cetera.

Jackie Before we even jump to the marketing part, how do you determine if a course is going to sell? Before you invest all of this time, what metrics do you have? What information gathering intelligence do you get to say, "This might make a good course and it's worth investing my time to build it."

Kim Pre-sell. Pre-selling is the best option to actually put it out there. A lot of this depends, too. Do you have an audience at all? If you have zero audience who even follows you, then you probably need to do something to build at least a little bit of the audience who might buy from you. But then, once you have that audience that follows you, pre-sell it. Pre-sell it and give them a great deal. Maybe even pre-sell the little bit of a live version, kind of the webinar version of it at, at a very low cost. That gives you that small beta group, where you can, as I said, find out what's working, what's not.

Maybe you get it in there and where you thought we needed to go, we really need to go over there. But, pre-selling is actually, for me, the best way to do any product, because you actually know if people are going to buy it. Never ask your friends if they will buy it. They'll all say yes.

Jackie That's really a good approach because you can gauge whether there's interest in the topic that you want to teach about. Right? You put it out there. You offer a great deal for people who  early bird register for it. And then, you have an idea. You already have an idea of what the content is you want to produce. You just need that little pre-marketing bit tell you whether or not there's enough interest to do the course.

Kim Yes. Exactly. And it helps you find your price point, sometimes. Will people pay this for the course? Maybe, maybe not.

Jackie Once you've got your course produced, then what are you doing to market it to continue to get ... You did the pre-marketing, so you've got the [inaudible 00:21:27] but then how do you continue generating revenue on your course after you produced it?

Kim That pre-marketing and that first group should get you some testimonials, so you need to have ... It gives you some social proof. I tell people they need to keep building their audience the whole time. Don't just stop and put it here or there. Keep building that audience. Whatever you're doing to build them and nurture them. This is me preaching to the choir. I lost like 3/4 of my mailing list about a year and a half ago because I hadn't nurtured them. I hadn't done anything for them since I ran two or three courses with them. And then, I came out with something and the unsubscribes just were crazy, so keep building that audience and keep nurturing them, giving them little freebies, bringing them further in so that when you have that next thing for sale, they're going to buy it.

When I teach, I always reference the Thousand True Fans blog post. I don't know if you have the link for that. We can put it in the show notes. It was written forever ago. 2008, which on the internet is forever ago. It was about how, if you have a thousand true fans that buy what you put out, that drink the Kool-Aid, that share your stuff, you can make a great living. In 2017, that's even more important because it's harder to get found than it was in 2008.

Jackie That makes a lot of sense. You've mentioned two Learning Management Systems. Do you have any others you want to talk about in this sphere for WordPress?

Kim Actually, did I talk ... I talked Member Press and LearnDash, which is a membership and LMS. Oh, and Sensei, yes. The other two that are kind of the high ones on the market are LifterLMS, wonderful plug in. Use it for some things. It's freemium, so you can pop in a test site for yourself, pop it up there, and play with it. It is more limited on questions and some of those things, so for me, it's one of the ones that's more limited to multiple choice and true, false, and not as much interaction in that way that I personally like to use. But, for a lot of people, it's perfect. And as I said, you can at least jump in there and play with it. It's easy to configure and the guys who run the company are great.

Another one that I like, I've used, I've taught many times is WP Courseware. It is another premium one. It is not freemium. It's premium. It does require a membership component to sell. It doesn't handle the sales the way LearnDash could be completely by itself. For example, say you were going to do the same learning management platform, and build out something with Member Press, or Paid Memberships Pro, or almost anything else. They support pretty much any membership plug in. The Courseware is so easy to use. I mean, it is completely drag and drop. Like I have these modules here. Darn. I did a beta test. That module should've been there. There it goes. It's that simple. A lot of people do like it. As I said, I've taught it many a times. I like it also. If you stick with those four, figuring out, what are your requirements, and which one of those four is the best for you, you're going to be okay.

Jackie If what I'm understanding is, if you want to have a site that sells courses and also has resources available, then you're going to want to look at something that has a membership component, so LearnDash with something like Membership Pro. Does it work with other membership plug ins, as well?

Kim LearnDash works with Member Press and Paid Memberships Pro. WP Courseware works with, as I said, pretty much everybody. LifterLMS has its own kind of watered down membership area, so again, it's a great starter one for someone if they're not sure this is what they want to do. Put up a test site and play with that and see. Is even creating this what you really want to do? Because, you may get in there and go, "This is not what I'm interested in. It's just too much work," so it's great for that.

And then, of course, as I mentioned, if you're already going to be a Woo shop, you're going to have a big Woo commerce site, then adding that into the mix just makes sense, because they go together very nicely.

Jackie Do they all work with pretty much typical payment processors like Stripe and others like PayPal?

Kim They all work with PayPal, Stripe, pretty much authorize.net. Depending on, for example, LifterLMS is freemium. I believe with the free, you only get PayPal. Then, if you want Stripe or maybe it's mixed, a lot of them are like this, so you'll get one option. But then, if you want more, that's where you pay for the add ons.

Jackie Okay. Rolling back to developing a course, what kind of tools do you use to build your course? How are you recording it and how are you putting all your visual elements into it?

Kim I use, I'm on iMac. I use for my screen grabs, since I'm teaching technology, I do a lot of point and click screen grabbing, I use ScreenFlow for all of my video when I want to do that. If I just want a quick screen grab of a still screen, I use Snagit. If I'm using, where it's just going to be all me talking to you, I use iMovie. Although, I am testing Wondershare right now. I got a deal on it on AppSumo, which is crack for me. I buy everything every time they have a deal. I'm testing it and I like it. It's looking interesting, so we'll see. That could change here in the future. That's really my main one.

If I want to do audio, I will do the Adobe. I have the full Adobe Suite and I will do that. I send all of my videos off to rev.com for transcription and that have admin pull the steps out from there to format the lessons themselves. And I also usually create a full manual if I'm going to do a large class. I usually have a full downloadable manual also.

Jackie Do you typically record your audio for your ScreenFlow? Say you're doing a course and you're going through and showing all the visuals. Do you typically go back and record your audio after or do you try to do it while you're working through? Say you're doing a live recording, building something in WordPress, for example, or showing somebody how to set, install a plug in and set it up. Do you typically record the visual parts of that and then maybe have to go back and redo the audio? I have tried doing it and I find sometimes it is difficult to do both and concentrate on both at the same time. Do I need a script? Would I be better off writing a whole script? But then, I also think, okay. I don't want to sound like I'm reading a script, so you want it to have some interactivity to it and be more personal. How do you accomplish that?

Kim I've been doing it for a long time, so I do record both together, video and the audio. I think part of that is, I was a classroom teacher long before we had any of this. I'm comfortable. I'm comfortable with that. I have before, tried to do them separate, and it's easier for me to do them together. But, it is an option. As for a script, there are times I will use a script and times I don't. Again, I'm pretty used to doing this. If you want to use a script, there's nothing wrong with it. It's just a matter of working with scripts long enough that it doesn't sound like you're just reading from a script.

Jackie Perhaps, it could be just an outline, then. Something that you can visually follow that's reminding you, I need to focus on this area. Right? And you can freely talk about it once you're reminded. Okay. Here's where we are. I need to cover this and cover that. I have found that's a little more helpful for me than trying to read a script. I can't read a script and work the screen at the same time. That's totally for sure. But, I can ... If I have to go back and tweak the audio a little bit, if there's too many uhs and ums and things like that in there, then I can definitely go back and clean those up. Do you find that's kind of what you have to do as well, then?

Kim It is. I pretty much have an outline. I have my whole curriculum written out in kind of a project plan by the time I get to this point where I'm recording, so that kind of becomes an outline. We're going to do, this is intro to plug ins. We're going to delete plug ins, install plug ins. These are the ones we're going to install. This is going to be the configuration. And when I do that section, what I will normally do ... In fact, I'm just finishing the update. One really bad thing about teaching WordPress is, every time they come out with a new thing, I have to rerecord the course, so I'm just finishing the new 4.8 one. The other day I did the plug ins. And I teach, initially, four plug ins during the one lesson, series of lessons, but that one module. And I recorded them all at once, and then I go back and break them into the two to three minute segments. It allows me to flow. I get into the flow of the teaching and then I can get into the flow of the editing.

Jackie So you're not so worried about, oh, I need to stop here. I need to stop here. You're mentally trying to break it all up. This way, you just record it as one smooth flow and then you go back and break it up in your editing.

Kim Yes. Pretty much.

Jackie That makes a lot of sense.

Kim Although, I do know because, again, this course in particular, I've taught it so many times. I think I did the first automated one in three. It was before three nine. It may have been one of the twos, actually. Anyway. Now, it pretty much flows, so I tend to know where I'm going to break between them, so I actually will go ahead and do the, "And I'll see you in the next lesson. Okay. That's it for this one. I'll see you in the next lesson." And then, go ahead and pick up so it's really easy for me to break it up that way.

Jackie Very good. Got one more question that I wanted to ask you in regards to this. How portable is courses between Learning Management Systems? And then, how does that play into your decision about which one to use in regards to kind of where you see you ending up in a year or so? If you pick, say, LifterLMS and I decide LearnDash might be a better option for me later, am I going to be able to move my courses from one to the other?

Kim Not easily. It's really not easy. They are all very different. I really would say, plan it and put the effort in to do it right the first time if you can, because it's not. Everything is custom and you're not going to just be able to export and import and have it make sense. Your files might work still, but you're probably going to have to manually place them, configure it, et cetera, at that point.

Jackie Are these courses easy to edit if you have to over time go back and refresh them and make changes to them? Is that a difficult process to do?

Kim The course itself, no. The video and all just kind of depends on ... You know. Is it something where you can do a quick edit on the video, and it updated it? Or is it something where they changed a whole user interface? The only way to do this now is to do a whole new recording. Popping that recording into the LMS is really easy because you're just embedding it. It's as easy as popping a new recording into a blog post. But, it's more of the recording pieces and the content, the more evergreen you can make your content, the better you're going to be.

Jackie Where do you typically host your videos that are going to be running in your LMS?

Kim I use Vimeo, personally. I have used Vimeo, Wistia. If it's a freebie, then I put them on YouTube because I want people to find my YouTube channel. But, if it's anything that is locked down behind key, I personally use Vimeo. And I have the professional. You have to have the professional.

Jackie All right. My final question is: What are you rethinking with LMSs and online courses? What's on your radar now?

Kim I am working on more evergreen content because I've done a new workshop. As far as the software itself, these guys have been pretty established for a couple of years now. They're solid, so I can give someone a planning guide and feel really good that I know I can help them find the right one for them. The one place that I do find, and this is more outside the WordPress community, our developers like to develop things themselves. A lot of people who come to me, they don't want to be developers. They don't want to build out a platform, and they just want to offer one to two courses. I really think at that point, using a third party, fully hosted for you, like Thinkific, is just a better option for them. I probably wouldn't have said that two years ago, but I've just seem some people who ended up with a headache they didn't need by trying to take on too much in their own environment.

Jackie That's unrelated, but it is very similar story for hosting e-commerce stores. I had a store for 10 years, and up until 2012, so I was pretty much for '02 to 2012, and I used a hosted store on a Yahoo platform. I find, even just working with Woo Commerce, it is a lot of work and there are a lot of moving parts to it, and in some cases, I could see where a client would be better off with a Shopify or something else that's a hosted store solution, that basically hits the ground running and is much easier to use and run. I think you need to ask yourself that question before you get started, so that's a really good point. It's not that, if you want to sell courses or memberships that you have to use a WordPress platform to do that. There are other options for you, and depending on how much time you want to invest and what resources you have to build that out.

Kim Exactly.

Jackie One nice advantage of your own platform is, you do own your content. You have access to it. It's portable. I'm sure there's a lot of other reasons why you could want to use that, and you may not have recurring fees with it, as well, to host it.

Kim Absolutely. I always build my own. I just had to, just like you with the shopping cart. Sometimes, it may not be the best solution for people. It also, one thing, with the WordPress, particularly if you're going to build out several, is you're probably going to want to put this on a sub domain, which is one more site to manage, so there's a little bit of other thought processes that have to go into your planning. Do you want all these people logging into your course site?

Jackie That makes a lot of sense, actually, to keep that as a separate thing. Even with e-commerce stores, I typically tell clients, "Don't put the store with your main site where all your other content is, because if you have to do a restore on your main site, it's going to be so much easier if you're not having to restore your e-commerce store as well," because it gets really messy with the database when you have to do that.

Kim Yes. I does. Agreed.

Jackie All right, Kim. Well, that'll do it for this episode. If folks want to get ahold of you and learn more about what you do or have some questions, how can they reach you?

Kim They can reach me at howtobuildanonlinecourse.com, whiteglovewebtraining.com, or Tweet to me @KimShivler.

Jackie All right. Well, thank you very much for joining me, Kim. That'll do it for this episode and I hope everybody has a great week and I'll see you in the next one.

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