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Choosing a Course Provider

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on May 20, 2021, 6:09 am from Post #84 of Hello + Updates (What I'm Doing)

Next Bigger Project: CHANGING COURSE PROVIDER

Partially courtesy of the time zones, I have spent the last couple of days with very little sleep and deeply researching new options for hosting courses.

I am leaning towards a major change: ditching the current course provider and either:

  1. Move to a new "learning management system"
  2. Host the course on a third-party platform (Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, etc.)

The one I've used so far is free, and it's done a great job so far.

But I think that moving to a bigger and paid platform can provide TPM with new ground for growth, while providing students with an even better experience.

Obviously I'd rather keep the course hosted here -option 1- to maintain more control.
But that's a case where "feelings" might actually get in the way of effectiveness, and to focus on the latter there are several advantages on external hosting:

  1. Potentially better course-taking experience
  2. Affiliate system already part of the package -something that several people have asked me for-
  3. Better check out which might increase conversions
  4. More check out options without integrations (including recurring payments which I've been planning for a while)
  5. Less hassle on my side fixing various bugs
  6. Offloading several plugins, making the website slimmer and simpler

If people are interested in this discussion, we can continue in the "entrepreneurship" section.

I am not for or against but rather interested in weighing the pros & cons that Lucio has outlined and from my own thoughts.

Cons

Lack of Control Over How Provider Changes the Platform

I think control may be an important factor because the external provider for hosting courses may change their outlook as they wish or take down your content for some reason. Although maybe as a fully paid external platform, maybe the customisation ability far outweighs this lack of control as they may offer many ways into tweaking the outlook of your course.

Pros

Cybersecurity

From a cybersecurity perspective, it's probably safer to spread your content on multiple platforms.
It may be a matter of time that a hacking incident would happen since hackers are getting aggressive with the rise of digital communication during this COVID-19 period.

Time-Savings & Focus

It may make sense to outsource most tasks facilitating the vision of helping people to understand power dynamics and focus purely on power dynamics research & communicating the vision.

Unsure

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I'm not sure if it will increase or decrease rankings on Google.
Maybe a popular platform for the course with links back to this website would help to increase Google rankings.
On the other hand, reducing the amount of content on this website may reduce Google rankings.

Thank you for sharing ideas, Matthew!

Some quick comments on this decision:

UNSURE / NOT IMPORTANT

  • (Cyber) security

I'm not sure going external would increase security.

It means that you'd have to trust the platform with their security, and if it's better than yours, that's an open question.

They probably have better security, but they're also a bigger target.

I think the safest is to back-up. Then, if it gets hacked, you got the backup.
So if you back up or the platform backs up, it's similar.

  • SEO

I think it's a (rather small) con.
A link from a course platform means little, but people would spend less time on this website, and dwell time is a ranking signal.

It's not a make-or-break issue though.

  • Branding

Being self-hosted has more of a "bigger player" feel, in my opinion.

Not everyone can go self-hosted.
Going self-hosted means that you have attracted enough people to your work -rather than having a platform like Udemy market for you -and garnered enough trust that people trust transacting directly with you -rather than through a platform that guarantees payment security and refunds-.

If you pay for top-tier plans you can remove much or all of the platform branding, so it wouldn't make much of a difference.

PROS

  • More revenue

I estimate that the better checkout + affiliate system + subscription model can make an important difference.

More revenue is good for me personally obviously, but also for the vision, since it allows operations to keep on going long term in spite of possible issues along the way.

I've seen several really good websites basically disappear from Google.
I can't be naive and think that cannot happen to TPM -it can-. As a matter of fact, this is one of the main drivers why I prioritized finding a solution for the subscription model payment on PU (subscription model = premium price tag, and monthly installment option for those who can't afford to pay at once).

Money stashed aside would allow TPM to stay alive and keep on its mission in case something bad were to happen.

The affiliate system would also allow redistributing the income to the users.

Obviously, this is a major plus for external platforms.

CONS

  • Control & personal power

Once your courses are on another platform... They're on another platform.

Who says that one day "power" or "Seduction University" won't become the targets of virtue signaling and get you booted from the platform?

Once you host on them, you depend on them.

That's a major thing to consider.

  • Quizzes

This is a HUGE con for me.

And it's what's has stopped me right now from going external.

Unluckily, external vendors don't have as good quiz capabilities as internal providers. And especially not compared to the one I'm using right now.

In Teachable you can't even add videos or pictures in the quizzes. That's really bad.

In Thinkfic you can add videos and pictures but can't add the explanations.
And explanations are important, in my opinion.

I see quizzes as a major added value in this website's courses.

Unluckily, they don't drive sales. But they help people learn, and they make this website's courses unique compared to most other courses.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on May 20, 2021, 8:22 am

UNSURE / NOT IMPORTANT

  • (Cyber) security

I'm not sure going external would increase security.

It means that you'd have to trust the platform with their security, and if it's better than yours, that's an open question.

They probably have better security, but they're also a bigger target.

I think the safest is to back-up. Then, if it gets hacked, you got the backup.
So if you back up or the platform backs up, it's similar.

I use UpdraftPlus for backup.
Not sure if it's the best.

One advantage for external is that if either the website or the external gets hacked, you can blast an email to direct users to the other intact platform to continue using your content while taking time to recover the hacked platform.
I'm not sure if this is a solid strategy.

Maybe it's best to get 2 website hosting platforms ready and spin up your backup on the other hosting platform whenever your main hosting platform goes down.

Branding

I can imagine that having this forum adds to the credibility over a Facebook/LinkedIn group discussion on power dynamics.
I think it does add quite a substantial amount of credibility in my opinion.

More Revenue

I've seen several really good websites basically disappear from Google.
I can't be naive and think that cannot happen to TPM -it can-.

Google seems to hold all the cards.
Reminds me of the judge power move.
Almost every website's authority is judged by Google's standards.
A lot of people get affected whenever Google decides to change their ranking system/algorithm.

Except for the big brands like Facebook, LinkedIn where people type the website directly into the address bar.
Maybe ThePowerMoves will reach this level in the future!
Then we will not need to worry about SEO.

As a matter of fact, this is one of the main drivers why I prioritized finding a solution for the subscription model payment on PU (subscription model = premium price tag, and monthly installment option for those who can't afford to pay at once).

I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly.
I interpret this as you would like to change the pricing model for PU from one-off payment to subscription.

Control & personal power

Who says that one day "power" or "Seduction University" won't become the targets of virtue signaling and get you booted from the platform?

This reminds me of my recent smear campaign.
There was a virtue signaller who wanted to attack me but it's on social media.
Quite fortunate that we got them to take down the posts within hours.
This could be an interesting discussion for another thread on handling public relation attacks.

On an external hosting platform, it could be more covert though.
Maybe he could garner lots of people to flag your course, and the provider will shut your course down without warning.

Getting Locked Into A Platform

The above also brings another con to mind.
The content is not transferrable to other platforms.
Another smart move of providers to lock you into their platform.

With WordPress, you can spin up your website with another cloud provider.
I use DigitalOcean now but could use Amazon AWS in the future for example.

Quizzes

Unluckily, they don't drive sales. But they help people learn, and they make this website's courses unique compared to most other courses.

Do you think putting a single quiz on the front page of the website will help to drive sales?

For example, below Learn More & Read Reviews,

How good are you at power dynamics?
Watch this 10-second clip and answer this multiple-choice question:

  • Person A is the most powerful person in the room
  • They are quite equal in power
  • Person C is slightly more dominant but not necessarily more powerful

Maybe combine this with the text field of signing up for the mini-email course.

If interested, sign up for a free preview with this mini course.

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on May 20, 2021, 10:58 a

I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly.
I interpret this as you would like to change the pricing model for PU from one-off payment to subscription.

To put the 2 options alongside.

The one-off option, and the installments option, to spread the cost over the course, of, say, a year.

Glad you handled the smear campaign well!

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Quick update:

I've also considered not changing.

However, I think there are great benefits with a potentially better system both for the website, and the users.
So I think it's better to proceed as quick as possible towards it, and get it over with.

I'm leaning towards self-hosted solutions.
I can't sacrifice the curriculum quality, and the quizzes are too important.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I am testing out
Quiz and Survey Master

I'm thinking of looking at other quiz plugins as well.

I guess self-hosted solutions would allow you more control over the quality of the course.
It helps that the quiz plugins are better too.

Update:

Decided for the new course provider, and hired a specialized company to make the transition.

I'm excited at the opportunity to make yet another step up and offer an even better product.

For the checkout, I might then either use the current software for selling ebooks, another plugin, or go for an external checkout system -just found out about this latest option, and seems great-.

 

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

And P.S.:

Experimented and validated a negotiation strategy I had thought of.

Will be adding later on, but probably to Career University -maybe renamed "Business University" for the future- only as it's quite specific.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on June 3, 2021, 1:33 pm

Decided for the new course provider, and hired a specialized company to make the transition.

Sounds exciting that you manage to find a course provider fulfilling the requirements.
Hope the quizzes can work well on the new platform.
It must be a pretty huge migration to hire a specialized company to make the transition.

And P.S.:

Experimented and validated a negotiation strategy I had thought of.

Will be adding later on, but probably to Career University -maybe renamed "Business University" for the future- only as it's quite specific.

Business University sounds great!
I guess having a good career is about being savvy in the business world.
And it can also encompass setting up your own business.

Maybe you can offer MBAs at Business University.

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