LearnDash Expert Advice for First Time Course Builders – Part 2
LearnDash Platform Complexity - Medium
In this part of our LearnDash expert advice series, we discuss the needs of course builders that need more than what our small complexity configurations offers. One area that quickly comes up is the need for a more comprehensive ways to sell their courses. LearnDash's e-commerce features are pretty basic. To overcome these limitation, we recommend replacing LearnDash's e-commerce with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a high functioning e-commerce plugin for Wordpress. The free plugin has about everything you need for a highly functioning e-commerce platform. It doesn't include subscriptions or recurring payment option which is something a lot of course builders want. There is the paid WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin that addresses that requirement very nicely.
Out of the box WooCommerce comes with plenty bells and whistles. It cover about everything a course builder typically needs. With the addition of the free LearnDash LMS - WooCommerce Integration plugin, you can sell a course and give member immediate access to start taking your course(s). This can be a single course or a group of courses using LearnDash's group features which I explain later. WooCommerce has some nicely designed features for upselling and cross selling members on each product page and during the checkout process.
WooCommerce give you many options for accepting payments. WooCommerce offers their own WooCommerce Payments which is powered under the covers by Stripe. This enables you to accept credit and debit card payments. It's fairly simple to set up and doesn't require a ton of paperwork like you might need when applying for your own merchant account. WooCommerce enables you to connect your own Stripe account, PayPal and offers many other options for accepting customer payment. There is definitely a payment processing option that will work for you.
If you want to offer discounting, WooCommerce offers coupon or promo codes. I've used it with a number of customers and on my own site. It provides the features most course builders needs.
For someone familiar with Wordpress, installing and configuring WooCommerce is straight-foward. The documentation is well done with plenty of video tutorials. If anything, WooCommerce it can be overwhelming. It provide many options which is it's strength. There are a number add-ons that give you even more options. The hard part is selecting the one that gets you the features you need. Configuring them once selected is typically easy.
When you install the LearnDash LMS - WooCommerce Integration plugin, WooCommerce products allow you to give access to a course and, as I mentioned earlier, can also give access to a group of courses. This involves making use of LearnDash groups which is a free LearnDash add-on. Instead of configuring a product to give access to a course, you give them access to the group and the group is set up to open up a set of courses instead of just one. This gives you a lot of options.
A lot of times, we find that LearnDash course builders want to offer a course and that include with that a set of resources they want to include with LearnDash courses. This exceed what what LearnDash by itself gets you. This now requires to get a membership plugin which enables you to offer resources outside of LearnDash to your members.
I'm going to cover more complex options in the large complexity section of this article series, but I want to mention two Wordpress based option here in the medium section. If you like, check out this LearnDash blog article on the best Wordpress membership plugins for a more indepth discussion on the topic.
Since we've already been discussing WooCommerce as the e-commerce option, making use of the paid WooCommerce Membership is a good next step. It's well integrated with WooCommerce (I guess that would be obvious) and extends what you can include in your membership to clients. This can definitely include LearnDash courses, but it can open up all sorts of Wordpress assets to your members.
Another option we like is MemberPress. If you aren't tied to WooCommerce, This is a paid plugin you can use to expand your memberships to more than just LearnDash resources and provides you with a platform that will support you as you grow. It provides e-commerce features which overlap with WooCommerce offers. LearnDash offers a free add-on Memberpress for LearnDash which enables the MemberPress and LearnDash to work very nicely together.
Check out part 3 where we go into large complexity sites.