how much does it cost to create an online course

How Much Does It Cost to Create an Online Course?

The rise of eLearning has changed the way students of all ages and backgrounds learn about anything, anywhere, anytime. The global eLearning market is expected to grow to $325 billion by 2025, which indicates that creating and selling an online course can be a lucrative business opportunity. However, before you embark on this journey, it is essential to know how much it would cost you to create an online course. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the cost of creating an online course and provide you with a detailed breakdown of expenses you are likely to incur.


As the second decade of the 21st century progressed, advances in technology allowed education to be brought into the digital age. Today, students can learn from anywhere at any time simply by accessing eLearning platforms available on the internet. This has resulted in many individuals and businesses shifting their focus towards content creation-related career choices like creating online courses. Specifically, this form of learning has attracted creators because of its flexibility and growth prospects.

In this guide, we examine the different factors that will determine your costs during an online course development process. Our goal is to help you understand what goes into creating a high-quality course. So let’s dive right in!

Factors That Affect the Cost of Creating an Online Course

The cost of creating an online course depends on various factors such as content creation and development, platform and delivery methods selected, as well as marketing and promotion decisions. Let’s take a look at each in detail:

Content Creation and Development

The quality of your course content is one of the most significant factors that will affect your budget when developing an online course.

Writing or Scripting the Content

Creating written content is a crucial part of building an online learning program. Sometimes, creators might decide to write and develop their own scripts, while other times, professional writers may assist with creating this material. Either way, it is important to budget for writing costs as other factors like time and effort will affect the quality of your content.

Recording and Editing Videos and Audio

If you plan to teach by video tutorials or audio files, capturing high-quality video and sound is essential for course quality. The type of equipment you need will depend on your budget, but it is essential that video and sound quality do not compromise the value of your content. Having excellent audio and sound recording systems will increase expenses in this category.

Designing Graphics and Visuals

To offer a visually enticing course experience that drives engagement, your course needs an appropriate interface layout. Due to this, you can establish an overall aesthetic which will promote better attention from students. You may want to use engaging graphics instead of plain text to keep your students interested and provide vital feedback on their progress through quizzes and assessments. Additionally, hiring a professional designer who has experience in developing eLearning platforms could be useful if working with a limited budget.

Developing Assessments and Quizzes

Evaluating student performance throughout the courses requires a reliable testing system that provides helpful feedback from completion of exercises. This also includes assessments tailored towards the learning objectives outlined at the start of the course development process.

Platform and Delivery Methods

The platform chosen for hosting the course along with offering live or self-paced delivery methods may affect costs up or down during an eLearning program’s development process.

Choosing the Right Platform for Hosting Your Course

Above all, having a user-friendly platform is key to the ease of access, as well as how much data it will store. You can either use free platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, or you can purchase a Learning Management System (LMS) that is designed for online course delivery. The latter ensures grade tracking and student registration details are secure while facilitating an all-in-one course platform.

Selecting Delivery Methods (Live, Self-Paced, Blended)

The delivery method you select will affect your course design and consideration should be given to how this will reflect on students’ ability to absorb content in a live environment or a self-paced setting. Similarly, your choice might impact the cost of hosting this kind of training.

Marketing and Promotion

Lastly, marketing the online course once it is finished may prove to be the biggest expense you face during your eLearning journey. This means ensuring potential students knows about your course through proper channels such as social media advertising campaigns, press releases and influencer engagement initiatives.

Creating Marketing Materials

Crafting marketable ads that offer a bite-sized introduction to your brand is very crucial since it’ll ultimately answer inquiries like who they’ll be learning from, what subjects will be covered and why your program is better than those provided on other platforms. While marketing strategies vary in expenses, creating well-developed ads is likely to raise brand awareness for potential learners.

Running Ads or Social Media Campaigns

To ensure more visibility for your brand online, you may need to supplement marketing efforts with advertising campaigns on social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram. This takes careful planning because every campaign will come with additional costs ranging from production fees to ad spenders’ fees.

Partnering with Influencers

In today’s world, partnering with social media influencers who have substantial followings on platforms where your business desires to advertise can be a powerful tool for any promotional campaign. By engaging in influencer marketing, you’ll not only receive a considerable return on investment but also forge new relationships with influential people.

Detailed Breakdown of Costs and Expenses During Course Creation

The cost of creating an online course encompasses more than just development but extends to marketing the course and content creation. Therefore, one might argue that the money you expend while making online courses is more like an investment in yourself. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how much it could cost to create an online course:

Content Creation Costs

Writing Your Script
  • Jotting down ideas and creating scripts usually takes up significant amounts of time and resources – anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000.
  • Some platforms offer templated scripts that allow you to customize a script with tailored content for your course, reducing costs substantially.
Recording Equipment
  • You might consider purchasing professional recording equipment such as reliable cameras, high-quality microphones as well as relatively cheap tripods and other photography equipment. Such items may cost up to $1,500 or more.
  • You can also film quality videos using high picture quality smartphones instead of buying cameras as doing so will lower costs.
Video Editing Software
  • To achieve impeccable recordings, editing software is important since it offers students valuable content where they’re able to swipe between their own pace as well as mastering lesson areas they’re struggling with through replay assistance and analysis. Premier Pro CC typically costs at least $20 per month – amounting to around $200-$240 annually.
  • You may also look into purchasing one-time payment video editing software for a slightly higher initial investment. Options include Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects.
Graphic Designer Fees
  • You may enlist a graphic designer to build interactive eLearning content and materials which enhances the course specifically if it’s a technical subject that requires visual elements. Such a decision will typically set you back up to $3,000.
  • If operating on a budget, try to use simple images, graphics and other resources using creative commons to cut costs anywhere from 50% percent of the actual cost.

Platform & Delivery Costs

Website Hosting Platform
  • If you are embarking on course creation independently, without running your own website or LMS, some popular paid e-learning platforms include Teachable and Thinkific. Platforms offer monthly plans and pricing structures that cater to creators of all budgets, ranging from as little as $30 to $300 per month.
  • Alternatively, you can use free hosting sites like YouTube that offer accessibility for all kinds of courses at no charge to creators.
Branded Domain Name
  • A branded domain name ensures your course’s brand identity stands out against others. Typically, this costs between $10-$15 per year for domain registration along with additional web hosting expenses that add onto it.
  • As an alternative option for many businesses starting out on a shoe string budget, using social media sites may even be quite effective in promoting their branding identity.

Marketing Costs

Video Production Team Fees
  • Videographers might charge up $2,000-$5,000 for producing high-quality video ads that promote your course and grab the viewer’s attention.
  • As an alternative option, creating a few educational videos on yourself with a phone camera could effectively transmit your course to different audiences without having to spend large amounts of cash.
Professional Voice Over Costs
  • If you’re unable or prefer not to do the instructor voice over yourself, professional voice-overs by established artists or studios typically cost around $200-$400 per hour or $1,200 – $3,000 per customized lecture session. Charges could vary based on length of video or project size but could be an essential component in retaining student attention during lectures.
  • An additional approach would be using text narratives instead of having to enlist a narrator which will cut costs down appreciably while still preserving students’ certainty on crucial course materials.
Social Media Ad Spend
  • Depending on the advertising methods you use on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, promotional expenses can vary from as low as $50 to $5000 per month based on your budget constraints and expected outcomes.
  • To curtail such charges to a minimal amount, you should assess how specific ad campaigns help convert potential students into actual new customers before allotting more money towards promotions or campaigns whose return on investment may not be substantial.

Additional Factors That May Impact Your Course Development Cost

Beyond content creation, website platform decisions, and branding proposal execution among other elements that come with building online courses, several other factors impact the overall cost as well. They include:

  • Required equipment for your self-setup studio: You might require specific equipment like cameras, microphones and screen recorders among others, which end up increasing the total cost.
  • Investment of time on course materials: Creating eLearning courses implies that you spend some time putting together quality content and learning materials. The amount of time dedicated to this, in turn, affects your overall costs.
  • Outsourcing some labor and services: You might opt to pay a professional service to help with tasks like research or scripting. Doing so will undoubtedly lower your costs in this regard by taking advantage of their existing resources and experience base.

Commonly Asked Questions About Online Course Development Costs

As you embark on the journey of creating an online course, budgeting may become a top consideration. Below are some commonly asked questions pertaining to some of the worries that people have about methods for online course development:

1. How much does it cost to create a quality course?

The cost of creating an online course depends on the factors highlighted throughout this article. Hence, the overall expenses could range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars depending on many variables.

2. How can I budget-create my online course?

You may begin cost-creation calculations by factoring in all areas necessary for developing your class – content creation costs, platform-related expenses during delivery, marketing tasks needed etc. You may also benefit from setting aside money specifically for unexpected expenditures that aren’t visible until one gets to work.

3. What courses tend to be most expensive to develop?

Courses based on technical subjects that require specialized equipment or other instructional materials typically require higher resource-related spending too.

4.What is included in a standard course development budget?

Content creation tasks, platform-related expenses during delivery, promotional initiatives cost, outsourcing fees as well as equipment/ hardware tools expenses are some of the central factors that fall under the development budget.

5. Are there any ways to lower expenses without compromising the quality of the course?

  • First, leverage free resources available online. For example, making use of those open-source projects or existing courses will significantly reduce your costs.
  • Simplifying video recording activities and utilizing available sources like smartphones instead of high-end cameras is another way you can reduce unnecessary expenses.
  • If hiring an in-house team isn’t financially practical for you due to limited budgets during course development, outsourcing part of this work to contractors for specialized services like graphic designing and edited video creation might be beneficial in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Tips for Keeping Your Course Development Budget Low but Quality High.

Developing an eLearning program that meets all requirements while sticking to a budget can be hard. Fortunately, here are some tips that will help you create a high-quality course without breaking your bank.

  • Making use of free resources or tools available online: Leveraging open source projects or pre-existing courses provide a great starting point when looking for useful materials with near zero cost.
  • Keeping production costs low by simplifying your video recordings: Choosing free software tools like FilmoraGo ensures high-quality videos while also lowering video editing costs – A win-win situation!
  • Outsourcing work where needed: Account for raw materials that require more technical expertise and outsource those services rather than hiring additional staff whose salaries could increase overall development costs significantly.


In conclusion, developing an eLearning course is a task that encompasses multiple aspects such as content creation, platform-related decisions, marketing initiatives as well as outsourcing requirements. It can be beneficial to invest adequately in those areas of the course that you want to excel, thus ensuring quality content that will stand out against competitors.

Ultimately, for anyone seeking to embark on this adventure or learning pathway in the future, it’s important to understand the entire cost-creation process. With this knowledge in hand, building profitable online courses continues to become more feasible and realistically achievable! Good luck!

How much does it cost to create an online course?

Creating an online course can be a lucrative venture, but it also requires investment. Here are some frequently asked questions about costs associated with creating an online course:

1. What are the basic costs involved in creating an online course?

  • Content creation
  • eLearning platform subscription or software licensing
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Videography services
  • Web design and hosting
  • Educational resources for learners (optional)

2. How much does content creation for an online course typically cost?

This depends on the topic, the length of the materials, and your level of expertise on the subject matter. Some instructors write their own material, while others hire a ghostwriter to do this for them. Expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000 in content creation fees.

3. What is the average cost of a professional videography service for an online course?

The cost of videos depends on their length, location where they will be shot, and number of finished videos you need. Videographers typically charge between $1,500 – $7,000 for a finished half-day shoot with editing included.

4. How much should I expect to budget for marketing my online course?

The sky’s the limit here – you could spend as much as you want or as little as possible depending on your goals and advertising targeting strategy. You can work with influencers on social media platforms, create engaging social media Ads or run Affiliate marketing campaign. If your budget is modest, consider running targeted Facebook ads to people interested in the course topic or partnering with related online publications or channels. You’ll expect to spend between $1000-$5000 monthly for mixing and matching the marketing channels strategies.

5. How much does web design and hosting cost?

The cost of web design depends on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the website and whether it needs to be mobile responsive or scalable. Web Designers will charge approximately $2,500 – $10,000 depending on work time and their expertise. You will also need to pay for monthly hosting which typically ranges from $4 – $50 per month.- again depending on functionalities.

6. Do I need to invest in educational resources for my students?

It is not necessary. The most important component of any online course is content delivery which involves videos teachings, audios and quizzes or assignments delivered through an engaging platform interface which encourages collaboration or discussion among students. Nonetheless, some classes may benefit from additional resources such as textbooks, teaching aides like simulation tools or graphics software assistance if needed.

7. How much should I budget for a eLearning platform subscription or software licensing?

The right eLearning platform can lead to a successful course when teamed up with high quality instructors, assistive technology and support team who are passionate about learning experiences.If you are going with paid option, expect to pay anywhere from $50 per month up to $2000 per month for premium options with customisable functionalities. Some free options include Udemy & Coursera offer free courses but may have fewer functions than paid options.

keys takeaways

4 Keys Takeaways for How Much It Costs to Create an Online Course

  1. Creating an online course can cost between $0 and $20,000+. It depends on the budget, time commitment, and resources available.
  2. The biggest expenses are equipment, software, and instructional design. High-quality recording equipment, software for editing and creating presentations, and professional instructional design can add up quickly.
  3. Bargain shopping help keep costs low without sacrificing quality. Look for discounts or free trials on video and audio editing software, use free resources like Canva for graphic design, or invest in a high-quality microphone instead of a full recording studio.
  4. Time is valuable. Creating a comprehensive online course can take anywhere from weeks to months. Budgeting time strategically and seeking professional consultation when needed can ultimately save money in the long run.

If you are considering creating an online course but aren’t sure where to start or how much it will cost, these takeaways can help guide your planning process.

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