Online Course vs Membership Site: Which Is The Best Option For You?

You’ve most likely heard of membership sites and courses. These are two of the most common ways to make money online by sharing your knowledge. In this article, we’ll compare the two models and help you answer the online course vs membership site question.

Despite the fact that they are both digital products, their business methods are vastly different. They necessitate a variety of income generation, content production, marketing, and community-building strategies.

So, which model is more suitable for your internet business?

By the end, you should be able to tell the difference between the two models and which one is best for you.

Let’s get this started.

Online Course vs Membership Site

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Online Course vs Membership Site: What Is The Difference?

When selling online courses, you only need to create the content once, and customers can purchase the course in one payment or in installments.

A predetermined curriculum is broken down into modules and lessons in an online course. The goal is to get your students from where they are now to where they want to be, and the modules/lessons are the milestones in that process.

As a result, an online course must always have a clear end goal that students may expect to attain.

When it comes to content creation, your online course can include videos, audio, pdf worksheets, quizzes, and assignments, among other things.

The main thing to remember is that, while you may need to update your course content from time to time, you are not required to create new content for your course on a regular basis.

Advantages of Online Courses vs Membership Sites

Let’s talk about the benefits of online courses over memberships now that you know the distinctions between the two approaches.

1. It necessitates less dedication

Creating an online course necessitates far less effort than setting up a membership site. You don’t have to commit to developing content on a regular basis with online courses.

You can develop your course, then launch it before moving on to other projects.

Membership sites, on the other hand, demand you to commit to providing fresh material and engaging your members on a regular basis. This can take a long time and a lot of effort to keep up with.

2. It’s a Lot Easier to Make

An online course is often easier to develop than a membership program. Because online courses have a predetermined structure, planning and creating content is quite simple.

A membership site, on the other hand, does not have that structure. You must produce new content ideas on a regular basis and provide them in a variety of ways.

Furthermore, you must create an active community in order to engage your members, which is more difficult.

3. More Money Up Front

You can charge a higher price for online courses. Furthermore, because you are paid upfront, courses can produce far more cash for your business right away.

Because users will be paying on a recurrent basis, membership sites have a lower pricing point. A membership site business takes longer to become successful since user payments are spread out over a longer period of time.

And, if you don’t work hard enough to keep existing members, you won’t make any money.

4. You are not required to be an expert

Even if you aren’t an expert, you can develop an online course. You can always build an online course on a certain topic in your area that you’re knowledgeable about. As a result, anyone can make an online course.

A membership site, on the other hand, demands you to cover several topics in a niche, which you won’t be able to do unless you’re a ‘real’ expert.

5. More focused on the end result

Because they provide your students with a clear path to reach a specified objective, online courses are more result-oriented.

On the other hand, a membership site is more open-ended. It is up to the members to decide how they will use the resources to achieve their objectives.

This means that online courses are more likely to be completed, resulting in greater results for your students.

online courses

Advantages of Membership Sites vs  Online Courses

Now let’s look at the benefits of creating a membership site over an online course.

1. Creates a recurring revenue stream

A membership site can help you create a consistent, predictable cash stream for your online business, whereas online course revenue is more erratic.

You’ll need to create more courses or recruit new users to make continuous revenue from online courses.

2. Construct a Loyal Community

A membership is far more effective at generating loyal followers for your business, and believe me when I say that loyal fans are the most valuable asset you can have.

With a membership site, you can engage with your members on a regular basis and develop stronger relationships.

On the other side, because most people only buy online courses once, it’s more difficult to convert them into lifelong customers.

3. Content creation that is adaptable

In terms of content generation, membership sites are far more flexible. Unlike online classes, you may start a membership site with very little content and gradually add more as time goes on.

This is ideal for folks who want to get started right away without having to spend a lot of time developing material.

You can also choose from a variety of media, including online courses, standalone videos, blog entries, podcasts, and live calls.

4. Affordability

Memberships are often less expensive because your pupils do not have to pay a significant fee upfront. As a result, membership sites have a reduced entry barrier, making them more accessible to a broader audience.

Students who take online courses, on the other hand, must pay in advance. This may put some individuals off, restricting the number of people who can take your course.

5. Make a bigger impact

If done correctly, memberships can have a significant impact on your members’ life.

This is because membership sites provide continuing support and frequent material, allowing your members to regularly achieve their goals over time.

Who Should Create an Online Course vs a Membership Site?

Despite the fact that both types are extremely popular, they may not be ideal for everyone. Your business’s best option is determined by your experience, target audience, amount of commitment, and ultimate goal.

If you’re looking for a more convenient way to learn, consider taking an online course.

  • You’re just getting started and have little knowledge of content development and web marketing.
  • You’re teaching a topic about which it’ll be difficult to come up with new material on a regular basis.
  • Because you’re more of a beginner/intermediate in your field than an expert, it’s tough for you to cover a large range of topics.
  • You’d rather establish a side hustle than devote yourself to it full-time.
  • You don’t want to put up the effort necessary to establish an online community.

On the other hand, a membership site is a better option for you if:

  • You want to make your internet business more profitable by adding a regular revenue stream.
  • You’re willing to make a long-term commitment to giving value to your members.
  • Your niche is broad enough to allow you to write as much material as you like.
  • You’re willing to put in the time and effort necessary to create a solid membership base.
  • You’ve previously worked as a digital product salesperson or as the owner of an online business.

Online courses and membership sites are both excellent ways to earn money online. All you have to do now is choose the proper model and commit to making it work for you and your pupils.

However, this does not rule out the possibility of offering both sorts of digital products. Many developers, for example, provide a premium course as a front-end offer and then a membership site to their course students as a backend offer.

And it’s understandable given how effectively the two business models complement each other. However, you should only take this approach if you have past expertise selling digital things.


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Harshit Baluja

Harshit is a seasoned writer specializing in online courses and eLearning. With 7 years of experience, he has the ability to craft engaging content that seamlessly integrates technology with learning. His expertise lies in simplifying complex topics, ensuring a seamless learning experience for learners of all levels. Connect with Harshit on Linkedin to get in touch with latest eLearning trends.

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