You have several options when it comes to launching an online course, and after having built and supported sites using these different options I was excited to hear the news about WP Engine and LifterLMS.
Initially, I had planned on writing a completely different article.
My original working title was, The Easiest Way to Launch Your Online Course.
Unfortunately, after launching a new WP Engine environment with the LifterLMS template I was a bit disappointed.
It is pretty quick and easy
It took me 42 seconds to get the setup started in my WP Engine portal. This video will show you how easy it is.
Why the Partnership is a good idea
WP Engine has always had an automatic WordPress installation and setup process. So as soon as your account was done setting up, you could log in to the WP Admin and start working!
Now, that same automative process installs the LifterLMS plugin so that it is ready for you to use instantly.
Below is a list of the core parts and pieces your need to be able to launch your online course and they are all available through this partnership.
1. Reliable Hosting Provider
If your course includes video or audio, you need a hosting provider that can handle the streaming capabilities.
Most hosting companies do not allow you to upload videos to their shared servers and provide your with the resources needed to stream those videos or audios.
Now that WP Engine and LifterLMS have teamed up, you won’t have to worry about getting your message across.
PRO TIP: You may want to also look into VideoPress, if you plan to do a lot of video and/or audio courses.
2. Secure Members / Subscriber Account
You will need a way for your members and subscribers to access your secure course content.
Building membership sites in WordPress use to be a pain, but not anymore thanks to the LifterLMS plugin.
3. Payment Processing
If you’re going to charge for your course, you need a way to collect money from your customers. Another core feature built into the LifterLMS plugin that you no longer have to stress about.
This is a premium feature that does require an additional fee.
4. Course Content Delivery & Restrictions
With one or more courses, you want to be able to restrict access to your content. Ensuring those that have access should and those that shouldn’t don’t.
Gone are the days where you need two different plugins and services to protect your courses content.
5. Communication / Discussion
Most course creators we’ve worked with, like to have the ability to communicate with their students and/or allow their students to discuss the content with each other.
And with LifterLMS you are able to easily manage communication functionality and set it up how you want.
6. Detailed Reporting
You can see who has completed what courses/assignments. Track what videos get the most views. See who never logged in after signing up, and so much more.
The reports help you better manage your students expectations and deliver on your goods. They will also help you improve what you’re doing.
Where the execution falls apart
When I first saw the news about this new WP Engine template, I was excited because of other product/hosting partnerships I’ve seen develop over the years.
Now, I wouldn’t generally use GoDaddy as a good example, but in this case I can.
They recently rolled out their new WooCommerce Hosted solution (which I do NOT recommend, product review coming soon).
But what they have done, that LifterLMS has not, is include 32 premium WooCommerce add-ons as part of that partnership. That’s easily over $1,000 per year in free add-ons that the user instantly has access to.
LifterLMS didn’t even include a payment gateway add-on like Stripe or PayPal.
Their Stripe add-on cost $99 per year by itself.
When I reached out to them to inquire about the lack of premium add-ons available, I was told that they would lose a lot of money if they did that since those are their most popular add-ons.
If it were me, I’d at least make it possible for people to generate revenue with my product so that they can afford to invest into more of the add-ons.
Bottom line, when you use this LifterLMS template in WP Engine, as pictured below, you’re getting the free version of the plugin.
Who is Lifterlms for?
LifterLMS is quite robust, and as a result can be used for pretty advanced online education solutions.
PRO TIP: You do not have to use all the advanced features if you just want to launch a simple course. So don’t feel like you’ll be overwhelmed.
If you fit into one of these categories, you’ll love this solution:
- A single online course (free or paid)
- Education providers (schools – online classes)
- Speakers (online seminars)
- Authors (book companion courses)
- Personal / Business Coaches
- How-to Consultants (demo content, software demos)
- Employee Training
- Customer Onboarding
If you don’t see your specific niche or category, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out this solution!
How much does it cost?
When you purchase LifterLMS, you’ll easily pay up-to $1000/year for an all inclusive license.
If you just need the basics for a single website, you’ll pay a couple hundred dollars per year.
WP Engine can cost up to $360/year for a single site (before our partner discount linked below).
I was hoping I could tell you that with this new partnership you’d be able to save yourself at least a couple hundred dollars, but that’s not the case.
You purchase your hosting and then the free version of the LifterLMS plugin is installed automatically. That is it.
PRO TIP: When you use this link, http://shrsl.com/2dox7, you’ll get 2 months free (w/ annual plan) and save an additional 20% on your initial purchase.
The Wrap Up
While using WP Engine as your hosting provider is always a good idea, especially if you’re going to be doing courses with videos and audios.
I’m not sure it’s worth using LifterLMS with WP Engine just because the plugin gets installed automatically.
However, I recommend you do your own research and make your own determination. Is LifterLMS right for you?
For a good overview of the the LifterLMS plugin read this article.