Chris Badgett of LifterLMS talks about how to make an online course website in 2018 with YouTube WordPress tutorial legend Adam Preiser of WPCrafter. This LMScast is a gold mine of information. Adam shares his journey with creating WPCrafter, and he and Chris get into strategies you can use to build an audience for your online course.
WPCrafter is WordPress tutorials for non-techies, and it is soon to be the largest resource for WordPress tutorial videos online. You can find all of the WPCrafter tutorials on YouTube, and Adam also has a Facebook group and the WPCrafter.com site with an engaged community of WordPress users.
Adam started out the WPCrafter YouTube channel by creating a few tutorial videos on WordPress softwares that were new at the time. He didn’t have an audience or any subscribers, but people would watch his videos just because he was putting out good content on a software that was mainstream.
From there Adam started putting out tutorial videos where he walks non-techies through how they can do various things like build up the technical side of an online course site. When doing tutorial videos, Adam focuses on explaining to his audience why you need to do certain things on your site, which is something most tutorials seem to miss.
If you are a course creator, you could consider creating a YouTube channel where you put out content relating to your course for free. Chris and Adam talk about how putting yourself in a position where you are giving before receiving as a course builder is the key to conversions with information-based products.
Adam shares some excellent marketing tips for online course creators, such as putting out your free content in Facebook groups and getting the best audio quality possible for your videos. Chris and Adam also dive into some YouTube SEO tips and other strategies you can use to get course conversions from YouTube.
Another key to success with information products is engaging with your audience. Adam is constantly reading over all of the comments on his video and he responds to answer any questions his audience may have. You can learn a lot about your product by listening to the people who use it consistently.
Also head to LifterLMS.com to find out more about how you can use LifterLMS to build your own online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!
Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, Adam from WPCrafter. How are you doing, Adam?
Adam: I’m doing really good today. Just got over a cold these past couple of days, but perfect on time, in time to join you on this podcast episode.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. We’re going to get into a lot of stuff for the course creator, the membership site builder out there. Adam is over at wpcrafter.com. He is prolific on YouTube, you can find about youtube.com/wpcrafter. What is WPCrafter, Adam?
Adam: Well, WPCrafter is soon to be on the verge of being the internet’s largest resource of tutorial videos, WordPress-based tutorial videos, and they’re all freely available there on the YouTube channel. I also put them over on the website. The website also has a community forum, and we also have a very large Facebook group, but it’s WordPress people. WordPress for non-techies is the moniker that I use, WordPress for non-techies, meaning … I’m not going to burry you with acronyms and all these kind of text speak. It’s going to be stuff that you can understand and implement, and through that, get control over your website and everything you’re doing on the Internet.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Adam has a great Lifter LMS course, How To Build an Online Course in 2018. Check out that video on YouTube. He builds it with Lifter, Astra, and in Elementor, correct?
Adam: Yes, this year … Well, I’ve been doing it every year. I did it in 2016, 2017, and this is the 2018 version. I’ll make another one next year as new things come out to make the experience smoother. I’ve learned through the process of how to make it easier, and easier, and easier for someone to get the tech out of the way, so that someone can put these tools, match it up, and focus on their courses, and the content of their courses versus the technology of delivering them.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, we’re going to get into that in more detail, but first, how did you get into the WPCrafter project? What is the origin story here?
Adam: Well, let’s see. Back in, and you can actually find this, all my first, very first videos, anyone could go to YouTube, I leave them there. Everybody’s first videos are complete and utter disaster embarrassment to them personally. I threw up a video and it was about a product called OptimizePress when it was released in, I think 2013, or something like that.
Chris Badgett: That was cutting edge membership site theme technology at its time, at its time it was a great solution, especially for WordPress.
Adam: Yeah, and for … It became the first kind of page builder before an Elementor or Beaver Builder, and all of that. I released, it came out for sale, and I thought, “You know what? I’m going to make a couple of videos.” I made like five videos, and I was just standing there and I ordered the product in the video, and then, I installed it for the first time and all of that. People watched the video, and this was me putting a video on YouTube with no audience, no subscribers, no nothing. It was just that it was current. People were looking for info on this. I was putting it out, and then, they found me. Let me connect the dots there. That was actually on my personal YouTube channel, and then I thought, “Huh, maybe there could be something here. I enjoy doing this.” I do see the benefit of working from home, the time that is spent driving to an office, and driving back, and all the time that’s lost talking to co-workers. I saw, for me, a preference of working from home.
All the dots connected and I thought, “Let me just do something specific to WordPress.” I came up with WPCrafter, and that’s just really how it started, not much of a plan other than, “I’m going to make some videos.”
Chris Badgett: I think that’s fantastic. I started getting into WordPress in 2008, and I’m a non-technical user. I’m not a web developer. I actually learned WordPress by watching YouTube at that time, and that’s how I learned it. That’s how I got the skill that allowed me to build websites, and later, people started contacting me and wanted to pay me to build websites, and the story continues. Being able to find training videos on YouTube is the origin of how I got into this whole thing, because I was a non-techy. I find that really fascinating. Whenever I go to search for how to do something with technology, I may go to Google, but I’m more likely to just go to YouTube. Sometimes, especially with tools, like if I forgot how to do something in ScreenFlow, which is an editing software, video editing software for Mac, I’ll Google something and I’m always amazed.
I’ll find this video that some kid made somewhere with 70,000 views, and it’s not even that good, but there’s a pain point there, which it sounds like you found and you were just like, “Huh, there’s something here with my OptimizePress videos.” What is it about building a bridge to the non-technical technology user, which is a lot of what WordPress is all about. How did you develop that skillset to teach people without them getting frustrated, overwhelmed, or glossing over too many details so that they get stuck right away, and get into all of the techno bubble and then acronyms. How did you get good at that?
Adam: Well, I think I have … I am a technical person. I say WordPress for non-techies, obviously, some people have outed me that, yes, I say this, but I’m a technical person myself, and I am a technical person. My background, actually, no one really knows this, I never talked about this anywhere. I’ve done podcast interviews, and I’ve never said this, but prior, I did a lot of IT consulting. It’s a very technical thing, and for some reason, my clients probably didn’t like this about me, I would explain the problem that they had, what caused it, and how I fixed it. I think through doing that with everyone, and it was an unnecessary explanation, they didn’t actually need or want this explanation, but I know I would want to know what the heck went wrong. I think I honed in that skill. I think I honed in that skill, and I’ve always been a … I think I’ve been a … I’m not the most concise communicator, but I am a good communicator, and that I can think before I say the words.
I know people don’t need all the acronyms, they don’t want the acronyms, they don’t want the confusion. They want-
Chris Badgett: A website.
Adam: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. If you’ve seen any of my videos, for the audience, if you’ve seen any of my videos, you’ll know I tend to explain something really good. Sadly, I think where a lot of YouTube videos get it wrong, is they throw the explanation out of the window. They just say, “Click here, click here, click here.” I want to say, “Click here because, click here because, click here because.” I’m actually … It’s that old bible parable, you could feed a man and he’ll have that meal for the day, or you could teach him how to fish and he can be fed for his whole lifetime.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s really good stuff. Just to give the listener a little context. Your YouTube channel has grown quite a lot, and it’s big, and like you said, you’re about to take over the WordPress YouTube number one spot, or whatever. What are some of your stats? Like, as of today. Yeah.
Adam: Here, I got my iPhone here, there’s the Trust The Creator App, I don’t mind talking about this at all.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, we’re recording this, we’re recording this in March 2018.
Adam: Yes, well, my YouTube channel has been growing like wildfire this year, 2018, it has grown, and grown, and grown, so … Now, actually, part of the reason why I don’t mind, I don’t share all of my stats usually, but I don’t mind sharing these stats, you know why? Because it’s actually all public information. There are tools that can tell you how other channels are doing, and so I don’t mind sharing this at all. I think today I have almost 300 videos. The YouTube analytics only show you, the default shows you the last 28 days. I’m going to read off the last 28 days. The watch time in minutes for the last 28 days is 1.8 million, over 1.8 million, 1.812 million minutes of watched time. That’s pretty good. The views in the last 28 days alone are 302,000 views, so I just went over the 300,000 views per 28-day period. One of the stats that I’m most grateful and excited about is the subscriber change.
Today, I have 47,816 subscribers. I’m sure by the end of this, that will go up, but what’s most important is the subscriber growth. For the last 28 days, the channel has added a net of 4,245 new subscribers, which is pretty close to 10% growth. Actually, I’ve been very consistent in getting about 9% to 10% growth, about 9% growth in subscribers per month. It’s just a growing, growing thing. Every video I put up now is, within the first 24 hours, is already getting thousand of views. Of course, I do have some dud, everyone’s going to have some duds, by the way. I’ve had many duds. If you’re the audience, listening in the audience, you’re thinking, “I want to do a YouTube channel.” You put a video up, and it got five views, just know that’s how I started, too.
Chris Badgett: That’s cool. Well, thank you for sharing that. For the listener out there, you, that’s listening, these course creators, these membership site builders have a unique skill of, they’re probably pretty good at creating video content, because they’re doing it for their course and their membership. Then, if they’re hearing your numbers and just all that growth, and those are people finding out about you, and you’re multiplying your effectiveness, you’re talking literally a million lifetimes in a month or whatever it is, that can be good marketing for a course or a membership site. What advice, if somebody wants to get into YouTube, let’s say a course creator, they spend all of their time focusing on their membership site, and on their course content, and they think they want to use YouTube as a marketing channel, and they’re just starting, what would you recommend? What are some tips and strategies for getting into YouTube for the course creator?
Adam: Absolutely. I think everybody should strongly consider having a YouTube channel, first of all. It’s something you definitely want to consider. There’s actually a lot of things that go into it on succeeding at it, and not succeeding at it. Just because I read off those stats, I don’t want anyone to think, or when they look at other people as well, that they can’t jump in and have a piece of this as well, and make connections with people through YouTube. It’s totally something that anyone can jump in and there’s tons of stories of people having explosive growth. I want to set that out there. Everybody starts at zero, right? Zero means you just start your channel. You give it a name. You upload a video. You have no subscribers. No one’s probably going to see that video, but that’s how everybody starts, and that’s how I started.
I didn’t have some big email list when I started. I started by just putting a video up there. Now, you really want to consider having a YouTube channel. It’s the way, especially if you’re a course creator, right? Essentially, if you’re creating and selling courses, you need to let people know about this course. You need to grow an audience or a following. You need to put yourself in a position where you’re giving before you’re getting. YouTube is perfect for that. It’s perfect for building a connection with people. What I would suggest is if you want to start a YouTube channel, number one, figure out how to get the best audio possible. Through having affordable but … Actually, me and Chris used the same mic. It’s an Audio-Technica-
Chris Badgett: It’s $70.
Adam: Yeah, it’s so cheap, right? I think I got it for 56 on sale on Amazon, so there’s … It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You could see Chris has this, if you’re watching, if you’re listening, there’s a mic arm boom, that’s where it attaches to your desk, and so it’s just this arm that the mic’s connected to. Those things are $15, so this isn’t an expensive proposition at all. Even the webcam I use, and I actually use for all of my videos, is $70 and it’s on sale for 60 bucks all the time as well. It doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. What you should focus on is creating content that people are going to be able to search for and find. Now, that sounds obvious, right? Here’s one thing you don’t want to do, and people make this mistake. I don’t know if anyone in the audience has heard of Casey Neistat. Casey Neistat is one of the most prolific vloggers.
If you look at a video title of any of his videos, it’s the weather was cold, or, I had this for lunch. People think, “Oh, I need to be like Casey Neistat, so I’m going to make a video and make a website.” Or, something like that. You have to have a title that is going to be what someone would actually search for. If you don’t have an audience, you can’t make videos like a Casey Neistat. If you look at all the video titles on my videos, I’m not saying, “This is new.” There’s no context. You have to be deep with putting your keywords in there. Then, the next thing you want to do with your videos is find online communities that will be sponges for your content. A perfect example of that is Facebook groups. Facebook groups are fantastic. They’re hungry communities of people about specific topics. If you have a course about something, and you find communities where people that would be interested in your course are gathering, if you’re creating quality, valuable, free content, that’s what you can … is very welcomed in those groups, you put that in there.
Now, they’re getting to know you, and like you, and trust you. That’s really how I started this thing. Obviously, if you’re in any kind of Facebook group related to WordPress, you’re probably going to come across me. That’s where I’ll make videos. I’ll listen to what people are going through, and I’ll make a video for it. I’ll just put it in that group and see what happens.
Chris Badgett: What do you do [inaudible 00:16:29] like a call to action? If you do a video and you don’t tell them to go to your website, or to subscribe to your channel, what’s your approach to that? You said to give before you get, so you’re giving, but you still want to like give them a call to action, right?
Adam: Absolutely. You have to, and this is a big mistake people make, is … I do it, I don’t have a problem asking someone to do something. I don’t have a problem. Some people really have a hard time doing this, but you shouldn’t have a hard time doing this. If you see any of my current videos, the format of how I do things, is I’ll give a little bit of information to spark some intrigue early in the video. Then, I’ll say, my introduction, “Hi, my name is Adam from WPCrafter.” I say what I do and what someone can expect if they were a subscriber. Then, I say, “Why don’t you consider subscribing to the channel?” I don’t ask, I ask them to think about consider doing it. That’s the first call to action that I have. Then, a lot of times I will make reference to links in the video. You know one thing I don’t actually do? I never ask anyone to give my video a thumb up. I always forget to do that.
I’m more interested in getting them to subscribe and click on the notification bell, but you absolutely want to have a call to action. If you are someone that is selling courses, I would encourage you to look at your course material, look at the content that you want to create for YouTube and figure out how you can have course, paid course level quality of content, and wrap that into a free starter course. At the end of your video say, “Hey, if you’re interested in this topic more, I have a free video course … ” No, I don’t like to say I have a free video course, because that makes a … I don’t like to say it like that. I say, “I have a course that I created for you on my website, and I’d like to give this away for free to my subscribers.” Then, you can have a link to it, or you can say the link to it through some kind of a link shortener.
Chris Badgett: That’s cool.
Adam: A quick tip there for YouTube. Have Pretty Links pro, or a link shortener, and verbally say your link, because people might take your video and embed them elsewhere. If you say, “Oh, I’ve got the link in the video description.” Well, if they took your video, there isn’t a video description, and they’re never going to have this, nowhere to go. Anyways, that’s one of the things I really like about Lifter LMS, is it’s very easy to just plug that sucker right into your website, create a quality free course that you can give to someone. Then, they know what to expect. You’re accomplishing two things. Number one, you’ve got their email address. Number two, they’re getting to know you in how you create content in the valuable … the value in it, the quality in it. Then, they’re more likely to either, A, continue watching your videos on YouTube, and at a certain point make that jump into a paid course.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. One more YouTube tip before we talk a little more about courses. You do very well at ranking videos, so optimizing your videos so that people can find it. You mentioned titling is very important, like people aren’t always looking for the solution. They might be searching for a problem, or whatever. You have good optimized titles. It also appears as though you do … you spend some time on the [inaudible 00:20:16] holder image [crosstalk 00:20:18]-
Chris Badgett: Thumbnail, and then, there’s a description and tags that go with the video. Can you speak to how you use those tools to optimize the view count?
Adam: Absolutely. Well, for anyone listening that has a YouTube channel, or wants to have a YouTube channel, at some point, well, there’s really no reason to not start upfront. You’re going to want to leverage some tools that are out there for YouTube. The one that I use, there’s three main ones, that one that I use, and I’ve always used is called TubeBuddy. What TubeBuddy does is it connects into your YouTube channel, and it’s going to help you with certain things. One of the things that I use that to help me with is generating tags. Tags are what you add to your video. It’s just like tags on a WordPress website, actually, where it’s another way of categorizing and organizing your content. Well, YouTube actually uses these tags to figure out what the heck your video is about in the first place. Yes, I was … I follow a simple formula. Nothing that I do is actually secret.
With my titles, I try to write them in a conversational way, “How do I do this? How do I do that?” Then, I try to put some keywords in there. How do I do this with Elementor? If you are familiar with that video that we were talking about in the beginning of the video, it’s titled, How to Create An Online Learning, or Online Course Website. Then, I sneak in the word-
Chris Badgett: In 2018.
Adam: What’s that?
Chris Badgett: In 2018, too, you’re doing [crosstalk 00:22:01].
Adam: In 2018, oh, yeah.
Chris Badgett: Because people, when they look for tutorials, they don’t want an outdated video, because they know technology changes fast.
Adam: Exactly. I will put on certain pieces of content that I will put the year in, because people will search whatever, and then, they’ll enter the year. For Elementor, they’ll say, “Elementor tutorials 2018.” That’s actually one of my tags, when I have a video about Elementor. If you’re wanting to know more about optimizing for YouTube, there’s a wonderful YouTube channel by a guy named Brian Dean, you could just search Brian Dean. He talks about SEO and YouTube SEO. He actually recently put out … It’s so funny, he has so much impact, check this out, he’s recently released a video two weeks ago, maybe three weeks ago. The video was how to grow your YouTube subscribers 2018. He goes through his video and the first thing is, on every YouTube video, there’s an option, or channel, there’s an option to have what’s called a watermark, a branded image on the bottom right of the video.
I’ve had one always. A lot of people have had them always. What he was saying is make a button that says subscribe, and put that in there, and so now, for that watermark, will be this button that says subscribe. After he made that video, every channel I was going to, I was seeing that exact thing on all of their channels, because they’re listening to this guy who has valuable input. He talks about the titles, the tags, all of that. You’re going to hear this over and over again, the most important thing is that thumbnail, one of the most important things is that thumbnail, you have to have beautiful thumbnails. I didn’t start with beautiful thumbnails, but overtime, I hired a graphic designer to make them look a little nicer, but you definitely want to have a … It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You can hire the designer for 10 bucks to make you your core template, and all you’re changing is the text each time.
Chris Badgett: What makes a good thumbnail?
Adam: Well, I have opinion on that, that is probably contrary to some of the people that are doing something similar. For me, one of the things that’s always been the most important to me is to put my face in everything, because that’s the brand, is my face. I don’t do that out of some kind of a vanity. I’m not a vain person in that way. I probably have other vanity traits, but that’s not one of my vanity traits. I put my face in everything. I put it on every thumbnail. We’ll have my face in it, and my videos have my face in it. I find that’s very important for making that connection with me. I think it’s very important to have your face, and if you’re willing to do that. If you’re not willing to do that, you’re going to want to have a thumbnail that doesn’t have the same words as your title, but it would be maybe a few words that would spark some kind of intrigue.
It’s like the phrase is, what’s the value proposition of this video, and how are you going to encapsulate that into a thumbnail image to create some curiosity to get someone to click. It’s going to be different for every niche. You’re going to have people in your niche, probably, so you want to look at what they’re doing, and you want to … If someone’s looking at the last 10 videos, and your video is one out of those 10 videos, and they’re just looking at the thumbnail, which one stands out? You want yours to stand out. You don’t want to necessarily do what everybody else is doing.
Chris Badgett: That’s just like a book cover. If you’re browsing, everybody can think of a bookstore, it’s the same concept. Look at the way book covers jump out and do something like that.
Adam: Great analogy, actually. I never even thought of it that way, but that’s a fantastic analogy.
Chris Badgett: You mentioned potentially using videos to drag to the site, to get them into a free course, so how do you use Lifter LMS on your site?
Adam: Okay, so I think I might be one of the largest Lifter LMS based websites. I’m sure you know what the top might be, or have some kind of an indication. I know Lifter LMS, you can opt in or opt out of anonymous statistics. Today, I have 8,000 students in my Lifter LMS based courses. Tell me, is that one of the bigger ones?
Chris Badgett: The bigger ones are like around 40,000 and stuff, but you’re definitely there, you’re definitely big. Having more than a thousand is a big category.
Adam: Now, I know where I need to get to, because I always want to be the best. I need to make more free courses, or just make them all free. The way that I use Lifter LMS, and if you’re listening and you’re looking for a learning management system to use, I will say, and I have some content coming out on this, that in my opinion, and I will document why I have this opinion, Lifter LMS is the most complete plug and play click system for having an online course based website. I was actually using a different learning management system, initially, and then, I switched over to Lifter LMS. I’m just laying the groundwork for that video, which will be coming soon, so make sure you subscribe. Now, to answer that question, on my website, actually, you know what? What I do, I could only do it with Lifter LMS. On my website, I have individual courses, and I have them structured into different tiers. I have a free course, and that’s what I tell people is a great start.
They can go, and it’s really good information in there. It’s going to make someone’s experience with WordPress a lot smoother. It’s a free course, a very top quality. Then, I have some maintenance, these are my more affordable courses, and they’re $99 each, and there’s three of them. Then, I have a whole section of courses based around page builders. Actually, the first couple modules of each of those courses is exactly the same, because I talk about what goes into building a beautiful website, and then the specifics of their page build. Then, I have higher priced courses that are 299 each. What I do is, I bundle them up, which is one of the really nice things about Lifter LMS, is you can bundle courses up into memberships. Even though it might be to buy them individually at $800, I can bundle them up and sell it for $300. I’m able to pack more value in there for people. That is actually how I use it and if anyone’s familiar with my content, I just try to give everything away.
I give so much, so a lot of times, if you maybe purchased a page … a perfect example, if you purchased a page builder through my referral link, and then, you send me a copy of your receipt, I’ll email you, Lifter LMS is the only one that has this, a voucher code. You could take this voucher code, go back to my website, and Lifter LMS will automatically enroll you in that $200 course. It’s a great value exchange, right? I’m earning a little money in the referral fee, but someone is not having to pay this $200 for the course, they’re getting it for free. It works out really, really well, and a lot of people have really appreciated that. That’s really how I’m using Lifter LMS, and I got to say, I just couldn’t do it. I’ve look at all the systems, they don’t have these voucher codes, these membership bundles, these things just aren’t there.
Chris Badgett: I appreciate that. It’s great to hear you using so much of the features. You’re not just like a one-course site, nothing wrong with that, but you’re flexing the system for … you’re the type of person it’s built for. That’s awesome that you’re using 80% of it. How would you describe, for those of you listening or watching this, who is the perfect fit for wpcrafter.com to take your courses and all of that, and being your audience? Who gets the most value from you?
Adam: Well, there is a misnomer out there that I try to squash, and that misnomer is that WPCrafter is for new people to WordPress or beginners. That’s actually not true at all, because when I look at the audience, these are people running agencies, these are people that, yeah, a lot of them are starting new as well, or they’ve had a website, a WordPress-based website for a while, but it’s not newbies. Now, it’s not ideal for the super involved developer, hardcore developer and all of that. Those people-
Chris Badgett: They’re not non-techies.
Adam: Yeah, they’re not non-techies, or they can’t appreciate something being explained in a way that 99% of the world can understand. They want the techy, they want … It’s not that there’s not details in it, there’s tons of details, but there’s also explanation that go with these details. However, I will say that typically, those people have a certain skillset, but there’s this other skillset they need, and this other skillset they need as well, and they can value. I have a course on WordPress SEO. A lot of it revolves around on page SEO, strategies and things that you could be using and leveraging the tools for it. A lot of times, those hardcore developers have no idea anything about SEO and what they should be doing about to improve the search ratings of their website, or some of the covert strategies that I’ve developed over the years that I reveal in the courses. You definitely want to keep some of your secrets back, I gave everything on YouTube. You definitely want to keep some of your secrets back for the courses.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. You do so much education, I want to ask you what’s a basic question to somebody who’s already in the industry, or building websites a lot. When you’re working with somebody, or explaining for the first time the difference between like the theme, and where do page builders sit, and plug-ins, when you’re introducing the concept how do you describe it to people? Mostly, I’m asking because of page builders, because some people, I don’t know what the percentages are. I like to use page builders, but I know a lot of people still just use regular WordPress themes. How do you explain theme page builder plug-in?
Adam: Absolutely. That’s a fantastic question, because it does cause some confusion and it’s not helped out of the fact that the lines are getting blurred every three to four months with new features coming out, those lines are getting blurred. I’ll tell you the exact way that I do it. On one of my lessons, when I talk about this, I take my homepage, and I took a screenshot of my homepage. Then, I sliced it up into sections. I have my header section, and then, I have the part beneath it, which is your hero kind of area. Then, I took each little section and I broke it up all the way to the bottom. I say, “Okay, this is your header. Your theme basically does everything below this, and above this thing called the footer.” Then, I start slicing it all up, and I got into an explanation of basically every single website that you visit is a series of sections or, Beaver Builder calls them rows, that’s it.
Then, in those sections and rows, you have columns. That’s all there is. You can have one column, you can have four columns, as many columns as you want. If you look at any websites, this is exactly how it’s broken down. Then, you put things in these columns, you put texts, or you put an image, or you put a video, or you put some kind of other thingy, and that is every single website. You can go to any website and literally just break it down this way, and figure out how you can actually build the same exact thing, as long as you know how the page builder actually works. I actually go into that in detail in my courses, and I do break it down a little bit, actually, in those free videos, like the one on how to create an online course website. That’s basically how I do it, to have a visual portion to it like that.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Your How To Make An Online Course in 2018 video, if somebody says, “Adam, that is a long video, it’s several hours.” What would you say to that? How do you pitch that?
Adam: That’s a good question. Actually, here, I’m pulling it up right now to see how many views that video has right now. I will say that there’s two reasons why the video is long, and I’m going to say this not answering that question, okay? Let me scroll down here. All right, 6,270 views in the last 15 days. That’s pretty good. There’s a lot of people watching it despite the length of the video. YouTube tip, most important metric on YouTube is watch time. If I made that video two minutes, and then, I made it five hours, it benefits me to make the five-hour one, because a lot of people will just push play and watch the whole thing straight through. I get more watch time. You want watch time. You want longer videos. That’s what YouTube says. To answer that question, I didn’t want to cut any corners with the information. You could look at that and say, “Oh my gosh, that’s five hours.”
I’m not cutting any corners, and one of the really nice things about YouTube is they have this thing called the video description. When you expand this video description, you could put timestamps. I’ve literally broken it down into 20 different timestamps. You can just click on that timestamp and it’s going to jump you straight to the part of the video that interest you. It’s also a good tool if you’re coming back to the video. For example, there’s a portion of the video where I talk about hosting. Well, if you already have hosting, just skip it. You can go in there and just skip to the next section. I make that very convenient for you. Number two, and I actually, I think I say this in the beginning of the video, the way I speak in my videos, I’m trying to be methodical. I’m trying to use the right words. I could talk a little slower sometimes.
Not that it’s slow like, “What’s wrong with this guy? What’s he on?” Slow in a normal way, but YouTube has a playback speed feature, so you can actually increase it to 1.25, or 1.5, or twice as fast. There’s a lot of people on my YouTube channel that listen to me twice as fast. I think it’s perfect at 1.25 though, but there’s all these ways of actually getting through and a lot faster. I think if you click play, you can appreciate the fact that I don’t just say, “Click here, click here, click here.” Then, you don’t even know why the heck you’re clicking there. I’m giving you all the tools so that-
Chris Badgett: Explain.
Adam: I explain things. I’m an explainer. As you could tell through this podcast, I can be a little chatty, but it’s a fun thing. Anyways.
Chris Badgett: I think that’s brilliant, to use the timestamp table of content strategy. It’s almost like a course within one video, with all these different lessons, basically. That’s really cool.
Adam: Actually, let me talk about that. If you watch … Anyone that saw the 2017 version, someone said, “You know what? I don’t like these long videos. You should actually just make it a series of videos and add it up to a playlist.” I did that last year, what I noticed was there was confusion people were having making it to the next video. That ended up being 23 videos, so people could just jump to the video. Then, if I watch the views would diminish as the playlist-
Chris Badgett: On the playlist?
Adam: Yeah, and so, it just made more sense to make it easier for people to just pack it all into one, but you’re absolutely right in that it’s really an entire course. Because of those timestamps put into this video, I could have separated it out and actually made it a paid course on the website, but I really want to help as much people … I think my goals and the Lifter LMS goals are in alignment, in that I want to help as many people as possible, even people … Especially the people that maybe don’t have the resources, like financial and knowledge base resources. I’m doing that and it’s the same thing as Lifter LMS where they’re giving this away, literally, it’s free, literally. You can sell, you could be a little creative, you could sell your courses until you have enough money to buy a payment giveaway.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I’m just thinking about the teacher out there, the teacher who’s maybe hasn’t gone into WordPress yet, doesn’t know what Lifter is, but they see your video thumbnail, or they’re listening to this podcast episode, or watching the video version, what is the learning objective of your course, your five-hour video? What do they learn how to do? What is the result they get if they commit and then they take action, and follow along with you, and build what you’re building, what do they get?
Adam: Yeah, so what the outcome is going to be, and it’s as painless as possible, is a website that you control, that you know how to change things, that you know how to put your image here, your text here, your course description here, your logo here. You’re going to know how to do all of that. It’s going to be a website that has your preferences and personality put into it. That’s number one, but number two, it will be ready to go with Lifter LMS so that all you have to do is put your video or audio file, link it in there, and structure out your course, and you’re literally … You can focus on … You don’t have to focus on the technical sides of things. You could focus on the course content, and how you’re going to spread your message versus all the little technical things that go into having a website. It’s so painless.
The prior years, 2017, 2016, there was more steps, more complication. For 2018, I wanted to do something very special. I looked at this and I said, “Man, how can I make sure people are successful?” I don’t want anyone to get overwhelmed. I want to make this as point and click easy as possible. What I did is I reached out to friend of mine who just, maybe eight months ago came out with a WordPress theme, and I said, “Hey, I want someone to use your theme and plug in Lifter LMS, and out of the box have it look really, really good. Better than Teachable, better than all of these other options out there. Can you do this? Can you help me do this?” They said, “Yes, we’ll do that.” I do wanted to speak one more thing about the five hours.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Adam: Actually, I could reduce this to a 20-minute video.
Chris Badgett: That’s the problem with a lot of the videos, though. What are you skipping? What are you not explaining?
Adam: Exactly, exactly. The five hours isn’t work. It’s not work. I’ve got to plug this in here. I’ve got to do this, and I’m clicking things for five hours. That’s not what the five hours is. Actually, I could reduce this to a 20-minute video, and you probably have a similar outcome, but you wouldn’t know what the heck to do next. Without the explanation in there, you wouldn’t be ready to go on your own.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s a super solid point. I also, just to contextualize the five hours, not too long ago, you might have had to higher, like a web design development company. You spent $30,000, maybe more, $10,000, whatever, to build a custom course sight for you, and it would take like five months. The fact that you can do this in five hours with a few free unpaid tools is like amazing, really. That’s why 2018 is really special, with the intersection of page builders, the Astra theme you were mentioning, Lifter, it’s like, the page builders, hosting, Lifter LMS, themes, like Astra, and then, with your teaching, all of that just removed a ton of friction from getting your course site up, which is pretty amazing.
Adam: Yeah, if you’re like me, I don’t know what is middle age, I’m 40 something. I guess I’m middle aged. If I don’t have the time, or the interest, but I want the website, well, I’ve got a kid. I could say, “Hey, kid, here’s 20 bucks, so sit there and knock this sucker out for me.” I just turned that kid into a web developer, or a cousin, or a nephew, or something like that. There’s lots of options here. There’s lots of options here, but the end goal is that this is a set of tools and the training that goes with it that can really impact people’s lives. It could really impact people’s lives to give people a platform that they could take all that knowledge and specialty that they have, put it into a course and get that out there. Not only have it change their life, but the people who actually enroll in the courses have changed their lives as well.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, it’s definitely online education is having a moment in time right now. What you’re doing with your course is really empowering a lot of do it yourself first. It’s never been easier, but also just like you mentioned, in terms of paying somebody to have build the site for you, there’s a whole industry. There’s a lot of experts out there, busy authors, teachers, whatever, the speakers that want a course site. If you specialize in building course sites, you could literally launch that career by following Adam’s video and going through the process of building one of those yourself. Now, you’ve got the base skillset to build courses for others, which is really cool.
Adam: Actually, a lot of people have done that. They go through this video, and then, they learn how it’s done, and you can easily specialize in that. There’s a lot of people that would … There’s always going to be some portion that wants to do it this way, or just wants to pay someone to do it. You absolutely could do that. In there, there’s a lot of … the design is already done for you, but I show you how to make it, how you want it, if you don’t want to use the designs that I put together. There’s this misnomer, let’s talk about some of the other options. What’s one of the other options, Teachable, or Coursera, I don’t know. There’s all these other options. People think, “I can go there. It’s going to be easier. I just pay $100 a month or whatever, and they take 2% or 3%, or 5%, it’s just going to be easier.” It ain’t going to be easier. You’re going to have a learning curve no matter what platform you choose, there’s going to be a learning curve. The only thing is, you go with the Teachable, who’s going to hold your hand for five hours, show you how to use this thing and dig?
There’s paid courses, I’m sure, for that, but here, you’re getting it all in the training that’s free, and in-depth. You’re going to have a learning curve no matter which platform you choose, but this is a way of having everything built on the foundation that you own and control. It’s like in the United States we have these mobile home parks, right? What a mobile home park is, there’s a home that you own sitting on a land that you don’t own. You know what happens? You sign a 99-year lease, then, what happens after 99 years, you’re probably not getting it at the beginning of it, you might be getting it in the last 10 years. 99 years comes up, say, they just kicked you off, and they build a row house there, and they turn it into a community. That’s what happens when you’re building all of these on land that someone else owns. You can built it on land that you own, you control, and let me say one more thing, this is a pet peeve of mine with Teachable, specifically.
Not only do you pay all these money, when someone goes to see your course page, it’s the most butt-ugly page on planet earth, inflexible, you can’t even do anything with it. Here’s a solution that you can have the most beautiful page to actually sell your course, and then, your course looks beautiful. You can’t do that with Teachable. I think you can with the $500 a month plan, and then, maybe a couple of thousand to a developer who’s hand coding it, and it will still be okay. Here’s a way of … It’s like the full thing. There’s nothing held back here.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, I’ve always said that the best training videos are almost never made by the company that makes the tools. I’m grateful to you, Adam, and WPCrafter, the brand, for teaching people and showing them how to use our tools, and other people’s tools to build online course sites and just websites in general. It’s a real service to the community. Thank you for doing what you do. I encourage our listener to check out wpcrafter.com. Also, go check out his five-hour video on How To Build An Online Course Website in 2018. We’ll have a link to that below in the description. Adam, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Adam: Thank you for having me. I want to say one more thing to that. This actually, maybe it ties everything together. We were talking about YouTube. One of the most important keys, I think, to my success, I want to share this, is that if you leave a comment in one of my videos, a question, I’m going to actually respond to that. My eyeballs are going to see it. I’m going to give you a reply. That’s how you connect with people. A strategy and how it ties into this video. If you’re struggling with something, or you have a question that I didn’t address, you can actually ask me a question in the comment section, and I will spend my time and respond to you because that’s how much I want you to be successful.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, thank you, Adam. We’re going to have to do this again sometime. Yeah, thank you so much.
Adam: Thank you.