LearnDash is a versatile LMS. I say this because, well it’s true, and because it’s flexible enough to be set up as a corporate training platform, a course marketplace, an online university, and more. It is a formidable training and evaluation platform.
When it comes to selling LearnDash courses, you have a handful of options. You have payment gateways like PayPal which come packaged with the plugin. Or, you can use an extension, like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads or iThemes Exchange. Out of these, WooCommerce is the most popular.
Integrating WooCommerce and LearnDash
Given the flexibility that WooCommerce offers and the number of extensions available, you can’t go wrong with using WooCommerce to sell your courses.
LearnDash and WooCommerce integration is pretty straightforward using a ready extension. And more often than not, LearnDash and WooCommerce are set up on the same site.
But here’s a different story. Keeping the two separate – setting up WooCommerce on a standalone website. The idea is not out of the ordinary. In fact, I know that we’ve had more than a couple of clients request us for a similar setup.
But, why is there a need to shift to a new website for selling products? What are the advantages of keeping the two sites independent?
The answer lies in personal preferences and the possibility of control.
Having a Two-Website Model – Best of Both Worlds? We think so!
Now, a new website undoubtedly means maintenance overheads. There’s the additional cost for hosting, management and setup. So, why go with having a different store for your training platform? There could be several reasons:
- Improved Content Management – Now, this is by far the most common case. You have a separate department that handles accounts, and a separate teaching department. Works well in case of large training institutes or universities. Having WooCommerce on a different site means, you can have your administrative, sales, and accounting staff working on that website. And your instructors concentrate on the LearnDash website.
- Better Security Management – Having a separate website for WooCommerce gives you that extra control over security. You can design a security spectrum differently from your LearnDash website. This way you can have complete control in a clean, bifurcated manner.
- More Customization and Marketing Control – Two independent websites means you can carefully customize the functionality and add themes specific to the use case. You can design the WooCommerce website for an easy and clean checkout experience. You can go on with implementing seasonal sales and offers by changing web design. On the other hand, your LearnDash website can feature a slideshow banner to inform learners about new courses. The best part is, such elements from the two sites won’t take up each other’s space.
- Enhanced User Experience – Along with designing your WooCommerce website to manipulate buyer psychology, you can design your LearnDash website to best suit your instructors’ and learners’ needs and psychology.
- Integrated Selling Experience (Single Store for Multiple LearnDash websites) – Such a setup can also allow you to connect multiple LearnDash websites with a single WooCommerce site. This means you can sell courses from different e-learning sites on a single store.
Using a separate WooCommerce website gives us the freedom to carry on separate strategies for our course and e-commerce websites. It also gives us more control over the e-commerce aspect, so that we can focus on optimizing the selling processes, along with providing a dedicated user interface for course sales.
Exploring Feasibility and the Technical Fine-print – Integration of the Two Websites
Now, the first thing we need to do is get the two websites up and running. Once the two websites are functional, we need to have synchronization between them.
For example, when students purchase a course on the WooCommerce website, they should be automatically enrolled in the course on the LearnDash website. For this to work, a student user has to be created on LearnDash, and important data like user details should be shared between the two sites. Such mapping will ensure sync between the two sites.
While in theory, this is possible, WooCommerce makes it technically possible with a little-known setting called “Webhooks“.
Webhooks are easy-to-create and have important utility. They act as a communication channel that can be used to exchange notifications between the two sites. In our scenario, a webhook can be used to notify the LearnDash site on order completion, using which a student can be enrolled in the course purchased.
Webhooks work with the site URL. So, when connecting different LearnDash websites to a single store, you will need to create multiple webhooks.
The Final Word
Using two websites to sell LearnDash courses is a new, unique approach. It might unusual, but the idea seems to be catching up with LearnDash website owners because of benefits it offers. It will be fascinating to see this model being extended and talked about more.
Do let us know if you found the article useful. Please drop a comment for any other suggestion/remark.