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The Best Tools to Build Your Own Digital Course (Free & Paid)

Jenna Kutcher 

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September 7, 2023

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(Pssst, tiny disclaimer: When you sign up for Amy’s bootcamp through me, I get an affiliate commission. The best news? You’ll also get my Instagram program, Insta Essentials, absolutely FREE… So cool, right?)

Looking at a digital course from the outside, or the perspective of a student, might have you wondering how someone goes from the idea of creating an online course to selling and marketing it; including managing students, helping with design and functionality, and everything in between! But here’s the truth: you don’t need a million softwares and tools to create (and sell!) a digital course. In fact, I honestly believe there are only a handful of tools course creators NEED to get their learning services ready to roll out to the world. And here’s the best part: ANYONE can do it.

But I wasn’t always so sure of that. A handful of years ago, I came across Amy Porterfield, who then was my ‘mentor from afar’ (until I emailed her, asking her to be my mentor for real) and I ended up taking a course from her and learning why and how I should build my own course. In fact, she’s now 14 years into teaching course creation, has an $80m+ course sales track record, and has helped over 50K people learn how to launch their own digital course. (As you’re reading this, you could learn from her, too, in her LIVE Online Course Bootcamp training!)

Amy’s motto is, “Start simple and get fancy later”, so as a recovering perfectionist at the time, I was struck with relief. I needed to hear that I had permission to begin and not have to know every single step first. I could figure it out as I went, so that’s what I did! I started with anything free I could get my hands on, and slowly but surely figured out what kind of software I really wanted to invest in.

Now as an online course creator, I can say I’ve tested and researched dozens upon dozens of softwares, apps, and platforms to run the gamut for creating and marketing a digital course, and some have risen to, and stayed at, the top — even several years into using them. So, I’m rounding up all my favorite, trustworthy, course creation tools to help guide and support you as you think about creating a course of your own. We’ll talk about the price, a snapshot of how the online course tool can help you, and why I love it!

01. Design Your Digital Course with Ease

Price: Ranges from FREE to $14.99 a month!

Design just got easier with Canva! Canva is, honestly, a gift to ALL of us who need to design a variety of things with ease — and I mean basically everything! You don’t need to know anything about graphic design to use Canva to make what you need for inside your course (like slides for your videos or workbooks and downloads for your students!) and outside (like social media posts and beyond!)

Canva has premade templates so that you can easily plug in your own colors, fonts, text, and images for a super-quick design process. Plus, their templates are organized by need, so you can search for slides, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, or any other graphics that have specific specs!

Get started with Canva for FREE right here!

02. Build Your Digital Course with Kajabi

Price: Starts at $149 a month (save with a yearly membership!)

When you think about building a digital course ‘from scratch’ you might think the hardest part would be actual building of the course, right? Not with Kajabi. Kajabi is the best course creation tool and hosting platform out there! It’s so easy to launch right into your idea and learn as you go without complicated tech. Building in Kajabi feels super smart and intuitive, and they’ve got the BEST customer service if you have questions or hiccups. Plus, they have tools if you ever want to create a membership or launch your website through their platform.

Snag a free 14-day trial of Kajabi here!

03. Create Webpages Using a  Template

Price: Starting at $160-$275 (and save 15% with my code!)

If you’re not 100% in love with your website (or you don’t have one yet!), then it’s time for an update! Your digital course needs a home that feels fresh and aligned with your course content so that all of your potential students who land on your site, know what your course is about, and feel confident purchasing your course (and everything else you offer)!

Built to convert, TONIC’s gorgeous website templates are how I’ve been keeping the design on my site, and every sales page I build, feeling completely new as I create and launch new products. Give your online course the webpage it deserves — no coding or website skills needed!

Need to give your website a refresh? Save 15% on your new TONIC template here!

04. Market Your Online Course to an Email List

Price: Free 30 day trial, then $19/month (50% off!) for your first year!

You need an email marketing tool to help you market your digital course. I honestly think that course creators should start and work on growing their email list, even before they set up things like branding, websites, and social media pages! Why? An email list is a DIRECT way to speak to your audience. It’s a WHOLE lot easier to get in touch with your target audience via their email inbox, instead of doing whatever you can to fight the algorithm on social media. Plus, while websites and other branding pieces often take weeks or months to set up, you can start growing your email list TODAY.

Flodesk is my number 1 recommended email platform because they make email marketing as EASY (and beautiful) as possible. Plus, no matter how many subscribers you have or emails you send out, the price remains the same for the lifetime of your subscription. 

Get more details on why I love Flodesk and start your 30 day free trial!

05. Professional Photos to Beautify it All

Price: $119.20/quarter or $399.20/year (with my exclusive 20% off code!)

Creating a course, updating your website, showing up on social media — they all have one thing in common, and it probably doesn’t end with you being your own photographer. You don’t need to be when you can snag the perfect photos and videos to support your offer from Elevae. This is your secret spot for visuals that are *actually* stunning, and you can use them wherever you need to! Your digital course can come to life with photos that you didn’t have to take yourself. Win-win.

Snag beautiful stock photos from Elevae & use code JENNAFRIENDS for 20% off!

06. Make Sure Your Course is Legal

Price: ranges, starting at $67

Gettin’ yourself covered with an online course contract from The Legal Paige is a must-do step in your course creation process (plus, it’s super easy)! Running your own business, or launching that new stream of income you’ve been excited about, means you gotta do it the right way so that you can keep that dream alive for many years to come. And you don’t have to run and grab a lawyer to make it happen! Tick that contract off the to-do list and rest easy that you and your digital course are set up for success!

Check that ‘legal’ stuff off your to-do list with The Legal Paige!

07. Build a Recording Set-Up with My Faves

Price: ranges

Sometimes the easiest way to make sure your course feels like the cream-of-the-crop, highest quality digital course is to make sure you have the right tools to record crisp and clear audio and video. You can have incredible value and content to deliver — but if your audio sounds like it’s underwater? Your course will be, too. I’ve tried a lot of equipment over the years (from the cheapest to some with higher price tags) and curated all my favorites in my Amazon Shop!

Check out my Amazon Shop for everything I use to capture video & audio for my digital courses!

08. Collect Payment for Your Course Easily

Price: 30 Day Free Trial, then ranges (get 20% off for a whole year!)

Ever tried checking out online and feel like the website has somehow turned against you? Having a smooth checkout process for your online course is a must. I love SamCart because I’ve trusted it for so many launches, even big and busy ones, and feeling that kind of reliability in the thick of launching your course is key.

Your digital course students will love having a seamless checkout experience, you’ll love getting to connect with them if they have questions during or before checkout (yep, that’s a function!), and you can easily keep everything about your payment process clean and clear for yourself!

Make your checkout process seamless with your free trial and 20% off SamCart!

09. Edit Your Course Videos with ScreenFlow

Price: starts at $169 with a free trial

Not a video editing pro? Neither am I! That’s why I love ScreenFlow (I use it for Mac!) to pull in all the videos I’ve made — yep, the ones where I’ve had to do like 8 takes to get it right — and get an end result super worthy of the digital marketing courses I’m proud to launch into the world! If you want to take the video edits into your own hands without having to be a pro, ScreenFlow is where it’s at.

Get a free trial of Screenflow and feel like a course video editing pro!

A Bonus (& Limited-Time) Genius Way to Get Your Online Course Into the World!

I stand by all of my top course creation tools, but one thing they can’t do for you is teach you the mindset of ideating, creating, and launching you’re dream digital course into the world! When I first started as a course creator, I needed mentorship and help going from a bunch of ideas and “what-ifs” on paper (and swirling around in my head) to knowing step-by-step-by-step what my course creation path needed to be. That’s where Amy Porterfield came in!

She’s my business bestie AND course creation mentor from day one! She’s leading her live, 5-day course building bootcamp (she only does this once a year) for a limited time — and I’m inviting you to jump into the bootcamp and grab a spot with her! You have all these tools in your back pocket, but now you need the vision. Get that vision and EVERYTHING else you need to know about creating a digital course in Amy’s bootcamp!

By the end of the bootcamp, you will have: 

  • A complete, full-fledged online course idea. No loose threads; no hesitation. You’ll be ready to take action!
  • The best type (i.e. length and flow) of course to suit your topic
  • A well thought-out price for your new course. No second-guessing needed!
  • A digital course-focused free offer to help you bring in an audience that’s excited to enroll in your new course!
  • Exclusive stories, behind-the-scenes screenshots, and insider views on launch details from real course creators!
  • Mindset trainings with Amy Porterfield to become a confident course educator!

And when you join the Course Confident Bootcamp, I’m giving you my bestselling Instagram mini-course, Insta Essentials, for FREE! I packed this toolkit for you with two months of done-for-you Instagram strategy to help you show up on Instagram confidently as you tease, prep, and launch your new digital course to a growing, excited audience!

If you’re starting to see how creating an online course really IS something you’re ready for, and you’re excited about the creative process (without the guesswork) so you can finally have a stream of income that invests into the life you really want, Amy’s LIVE 5-Day bootcamp is your ticket to make it happen.


Ready for my online course mentor to guide you?

Save your seat inside Amy Porterfield’s limited-time LIVE 5-day digital course creation bootcamp while you still can and snag my IG mini-course for FREE!

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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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