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The Be-all and End-all Guide to Creating a Supreme LearnDash LMS

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“What’s next?”

In any business (or life – but that’s a discussion for another day) there’s always a time when you stop and wonder about your next steps.

All’s going well, you’ve got your e-learning website setup on LearnDash, you’ve created your courses and uploaded them, you’re waiting for students to sign up – what’s next?

Marketing? Ah yes, marketing!

You read guides, start blogging, start posting on social media, you’re getting some traffic. But, are you doing all you can do? Is your LearnDash website all it can be?

How can you take your LearnDash website to the next level? No! Scratch that! Not the “next” level, but the absolute-most-supreme level?

You’ve got to work towards it one step at a time, and this guide will tell you how.

Whether it’s:

  • Increasing course sign-ups – getting more traffic on the site, increasing conversions
  • Increasing student engagement – increasing interaction, making courses fun, driving conversations
  • Improving your courses – by analyzing data and student feedback
  • Simplifying site management – reducing administrative tasks
  • Optimizing your website – by improving the performance

… or, all of the above, this guide has all the answers.

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We’ve got the research done so that you don’t have to!

We’ve been working with LearnDash for a while now – a little more than a while to be honest. In fact, building e-learning solutions is an area of our expertise with a focus on LearnDash.

We have a suite of LearnDash extensions and a comprehensive repository of LearnDash plugins to our name and have been credited as LearnDash experts. This guide stems from the extensive research we’ve done over the years, along with feedback from the LearnDash community that we’re proud to be a part of. We’re trying to solve problems LearnDash-ers as you have with one go-to reference guide.

We’re sure you’re going to learn something new here that’ll add to your business success.

Before we move on, here’s a list of blog posts that might come in handy if you’re trying to perfect your basic LearnDash Setup:

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Ready to begin?

Let’s get started!

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1. How to Increase Course Sign-ups on LearnDash

Course Sign-ups on LearnDash

Getting traffic on your site is essential to the success of any online business. You want potential customers to find and reach you. But it doesn’t stop there, does it?

You want them to buy into whatever you are selling or offering. In this case, it’s your courses. You want potential students to come on the site and enroll in your courses.

You need to start by being discoverable. If you’ve heard of the conversion funnel, you’ll know that enrollments are a percentage of the traffic that comes to your site, which means, more the traffic, the more the chances of enrollment.

a. Making it Easy for Potential Students to Find Your LearnDash Website

As silly as this may sound, not many business owners are aware of how tough it is for a potential audience to reach you.

Having a website, a social media page, or even an app, are not enough. You’ll want students to be able to easily discover this website through search engines (namely Google), or through e-learning directories, or through web-ads, social media participation, and the like.

b. Ranking for search terms using Search Engine Optimization

Given that Google accounts for over 79% of all global desktop search traffic, it’s important that your website ranks well when someone searches for a related term.

For eg: let’s say you offer “The Ultimate Guide to Movie Creation” course. You need to make sure that when a potential student searches for “online movie creation course” or “study movie creation” or related terms, your course is the #1 search result or at least on the first page of search results.

seo ld course optimization

It’s not easy, but there are a few basics you need to take care of. Let’s see:

  • Use an SEO Plugin

Start by using an SEO (search engine optimization) plugin, namely Yoast SEO. What this does – helps you figure out how to improve your content to better target search rankings.

Once you install and activate the plugin on your LearnDash site, make sure you fill in SEO titles and meta descriptions for all your courses, along with a focus keyword (a short term summarizing the course).

The SEO plugin will do its job by telling you areas to improve upon – like adding proper headings and subheadings (better structure for your course) if the sentences are too complicated or if the content matches the focus keyword, and so on.

To rank high in search results, you’ll also have to make sure you create the best darn course ever!

Because Google uses an algorithm to match a person looking for a particular term, with content that’ll benefit him/her the most. If your course is, in fact, the “ultimate guide to movie creation”, Google will find you and list you when someone’s looking for the course.

Yoast’s plugin helps you check all the boxes during the optimization process.

  • Maintain a Blog

Invest in creating and maintaining a blog. You’re on WordPress, which is great, you’ve got the platform advantage.

You do not need an extra plugin. Your articles will help you drive in the audience. Talk about things related to your course, the benefits of your course, or related courses students can take up. The more related content you add to the site, the better it will be to help reach your audience.

Google also favors websites that are fast and mobile-ready. So, take a look at the website optimization section of this guide, if you want to truly go all out.

SEO is not something you can learn overnight, but every small change matters. Yoast has got some great SEO tips on their blog, be sure to check them out.

[su_note]Pro Tip: Always make your content as specific as possible. E.g: if your course is specific to “stop-motion animation”, it helps to use this keyword in the course’s title and meta description[/su_note]

c. Gain followers by creating a brand for yourself

In today’s day and age, you’re lost if you do not have a distinct brand.

Just like that distinct 3D plane “U”, the blue color, has Udacity written all over it; similarly, you need a style – not only colors but voice and images – that can help you build your own brand. Your marketing channels, social profiles should use the same branding.

  • Creating a Seamless Experience

Now, as you know LearnDash layouts stick out on certain themes and break the branding experience.

You need a theme like eLumine or Social Learner that allows you sufficient customization control (options to upload your own logo, change the site colors), and offer a seamless interaction experience by blending in LearnDash layouts.

  • Custom layouts with Page Builders

If you want complete customization control, you might want to check out page builders like Divi or Elementor or Thrive architect. What page builders do is give you the flexibility to create your own layout for your courses or lessons without the need for a developer.

  • Page Builder Features:
Divi
  • Packaged along with an elementary theme
  • Supports both frontend and backend editing of pages
  • Drag and drop interface
  • Includes pre-built layouts
  • Supports custom CSS
Elementor
  • Library of ready-to-go page templates
  • Offers mobile, tablet preview when editing pages
  • Supports custom CSS
  • Compatible with multilingual plugins WPML and Polylang
  • Front-end visual editor
Thrive Architect
  • Works with all WordPress themes
  • Better selection of elements
  • Full page templates and sections
  • Improved user interface for easier content editing

Make sure the page builder works well with your LearnDash theme of choice.  eLumine offers its own page builder.

Social media marketing like running and maintaining a Facebook page, participating in relevant Facebook groups, putting up videos on YouTube, participating on Quora, commenting on forums, can increase brand awareness.


d. Drive traffic onto your LearnDash LMS through Partners and Affiliates

Getting listed on e-learning directories or partnering with other websites can help you drive traffic to your website.

For eg: Guest posting (posting a relevant article on some other popular website with an author link to your site) can make people aware of you and your courses. Start by finding websites in your domain. You could also feature a course on a fellow e-educator’s website or upload a course on a learning marketplace.

  • Paid Advertising

Advertisements on a Website

If you’ve got the budget go for paid advertising. Google ads are popular but you need in-depth keyword research to get desired results. Consider running ads on Facebook.

Facebook campaigns can help you target the relevant audience while being easy on the pocket.

  • Affiliate Marketing

You can sign up industry bloggers as affiliates too. An affiliate helps promote your brand on your behalf and earns a commission on every sale.

Striking a partnership with influencers in your domain (I’m talking about the domain of the course), can be beneficial even if you have to pay a partnership fee.

e. Increasing Course Enrollment Rate on LearnDash

This one’s kind of tricky.

You’ve got traffic but how do you convert it to enrollments?

If your course is the best course out there or is the only one-of-its-kind, has great feedback from past students, good rating, you’ve nothing to worry about. But chances are, you have competition. So, to stand out, here are some tactics you can use.

  • Getting rid of enrollment-barriers

It might be surprising to note that course authors take course details and description way too lightly. Having solid course content is not enough. The presentation is important too. Anything that makes the course look shoddy, or incomplete is an enrollment-barrier.

For eg: courses are virtual, and most course authors skip adding an image. But having an image (preferably of a student, or a relevant illustration) can help make the course seem professional, can help connect with the student and influence conversion.

“If I’d have to pick one single thing that would sell a product online, it’s images.” – Peep Laja, ConversionXL

You need to also add a detailed course description – what is the course about, what will the student achieve upon completing the course, how can the course benefits students, next paths, and so on.

A sample lesson or sneak-preview of course content can give students a glimpse of the course and get them hooked.

Consider adding more courses related to popular or best-selling courses or courses by guest authors or instructors. This increases the number of courses on offer and can increase sign-ups.

You could also add a course inquiry form or a live chat option to answer pre-enrollment questions.

The fewer the barriers the better the enrollment rate.

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Further Reading on ‘Improving Course Enrollment Rates’ on LearnDash:

8 Course Enrollment Hacks to Empower Your Students on LearnDash

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  • Playing with the Price Point

Pricing and Discounts on LearnDash

The price of a course plays an important role and can be the deciding factor in the purchase process.

There is no rule to pricing except that you have to keep on testing different price points to decide which can get you the most conversions. Offering a free course helps too. A free but good course can help students understand the course quality and can encourage them to sign up for a paid course.

For high-priced courses, you can offer added services like personal tutoring, webinars, to increase the course’s perceived value.

Remember, a low price is not always the best price, you might be undervaluing the benefit of your course. It’s what the course is all about, how it will impact students, what else are you offering with the course (downloadable course material, one-on-one training) that should be the deciding factors when pricing your course.

  • Simplifying the enrollment process on LearnDash

A complicated enrollment process, one that has too many pages before checkout, or too many fields to be filled, can lead to drop-offs and purchase abandonment. You need to remove any possible hurdles like hidden charges or taxes that can reduce the chances of enrollment.

To make things simpler, cater to the type of buyers you may have.

For e.g: Say you have parents, teachers, or managers who want to sign up multiple students at once. Here’s where a group enrollment functionality can come in handy.

With group enrollment, buyers do not have to purchase the course for each student individually. Instead, they can purchase the course for all students at once – they have to fill in their billing details only once – and can register all the students at their will.

  • Different Payment Options

Payments on LearnDash

Purchase options matter too. Although LearnDash offers payment gateways (with Stripe and 2CO being popular options), you might want to use a payment platform like WooCommerce or EDD to sell your courses. The reasons being that these platforms help you offer several payment options to customers based on region and currency.

A payment platform makes it easy to integrate additional payment gateways and also offers other e-commerce features like coupons, bundles, sales, and more.

If you’re looking to sell memberships instead of courses, you might want to look at Paid Membership Pro or Memberpress.

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A side note:- Taking the paid courses or paid memberships route

There’s often debate on which is better and which students see more value in. The short answer is: it depends. The long answer is: it depends on the kind of courses you offer. If your courses are independent of each other, you want to consider selling per course, if your courses can be grouped together you can consider selling membership levels.

For eg: if you offer courses by multiple instructors, courses that are not related to each other – one on movie making, one on dancing – pricing each course is the logical approach. But say you sell multiple courses specific to a particular semester, you’d want to consider selling memberships. Each membership level can be linked to courses belonging to a particular semester.

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  • Playing on Buyer Psychology

There are certain trust factors buyers watch out for when purchasing a course. For eg: a positive feature image for the course, like that of a smiling student,  has emotional appeal.

A popular tactic is student reviews.  Adding course ratings and reviews can convince students to opt for your course.

I’m not saying the reviews will be positive always but, giving students the options to post their feedback can be a double-edged sword. However, the pros outweigh the cons. The good reviews boost sign-ups and the not-go-good reviews can give you some needed feedback about a student’s experience. This will help you improve your course content.

Although LearnDash doesn’t allow reviews, the plugin for the job is WISDM Ratings, Reviews, and Feedback.  The plugin includes a reply option too, making it a two-way communication system.

[su_note]Recommended read: Clarity in eLearning – Ratings, Reviews, & Feedback.[/su_note]

LDRRF2 1 2018 09 12

Adding student testimonials or success stories is a great option too. Testimonials are reviews you ask for and add them to your site. You could ask students specific questions about the feedback from the instructor, course support, and so on. You could also cover student stories in detail on your blog.

  • Running Limited Time Sales or Discounts on Your LearnDash LMS

There’s no greater factor to convince buyers to make a purchase like “urgency”. Time-bound sales or having limited seats for a particular course can play on a student’s mind and increase the chance of sign up.

The WooCommerce Scheduler can be used in this case. If selling with Easy Digital Downloads or LearnDash itself, you’d have to control this manually.

Selling courses as bundles or discounting prices on membership can help too. For eg: if you’re selling courses using WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads, you can link a product to multiple courses and set a discounted price (less than the total price of the courses individually).

2. How to Increase Student Engagement on LearnDash

This is a problem most edupreneurs are bugged with.  You can see sign-ups but most students don’t follow through with the course or don’t end up enrolling for the next course level. The reason?

Students continue to be distracted and disengaged.

How do you tackle this?

Well, student engagement is a problem educational institutions are battling. It’s not specific to online learning but conventional schools are reporting a problem too.

In online learning, given that self-motivation is an important factor that drives the learning process, you need to implement every possible tactic to keep students focused and engaged.

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More on Increasing Student Engagement on LearnDash using Notifications

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a. Make learning Fun with Gamification

A tried and tested strategy – gamification – appeals to all the brain’s pleasure centers and can optimize the learning process.

With gamification you could have:

  • A points system:- each student earns x points on course completion or on completion of certain steps (such as the first lesson, or a quiz, or on scoring more than 50% in a quiz… and so on)
  • A leaderboard:- the total points each student earns are listed on a board arranged in the descending order of score (the more the points, the higher the rank)
  • Badges:- You could award students badges on certain activities – such as 5 courses completed, top-ranked student, 10 quizzes completed, etc.

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Further Reading on ‘LearnDash Quiz Customization’

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Gamification for LearnDash

Gamification induces the spirit of competition in the learning process and uses the group’s performance as a whole to motivate individual students.

LearnDash does include gamification capabilities such as a points system, badges, and certifications, but plugins like BadgeOS can also be used for extended functionality. Games can be a part of gamification too, you’ve got the Wisdm Games plugin to support you here.

In all of this, do make sure your theme backs you up and seamlessly blends well with the plugins you use. For eg: eLumine blends in LearnDash and its gamification features, if you were building pages yourself, make sure you take care that your changes do not break the layouts.


b. Create a Social Learning Environment

Social Learning on LearnDash

Online training can be an isolated learning experience for a student. While students can learn at their own pace, group discussions and collaboration can enhance the learning process.

Groups offer a support system for students, they help improve a student’s communication and participation skills. Shared workspaces, forums, or a social network can be used to add group dynamics to the mix,

While LearnDash does offer the option to create groups, using a plugin like BuddyPress that can create a sort-of Facebook-like network can give groups an extra layer of collaboration.

Moreover, discussion forums or student-teacher forums can also be added using bbPress. Forums can be a great source of student feedback too and can help you improve the course content.

And, if you want to give students a full-blown social learning experience, consider a theme like Social Learner. While a theme like eLumine works well, Social Learner has a group, collaboration-focused layout.


c. Create a Classroom like an Experience

LearnDash LMS Blog

This is an extension to the social learning experience, but specifically when it comes to the student-teacher bond. You see, the advantage classroom learning has is the immediate accessibility to the teacher. Yes, online training can offer the same, but you would have to depend on the student to take the first step.

You need to make it easy for students to communicate with teachers or fellow students or vice-versa. One-on-one sessions or live webinars can play a role here.

Other classrooms like experiences include adding a note-taking functionality using LearnDash Notes, introducing an attendance system, adding course/lesson completion timers, etc.


d. Make learning a Two-way process

Online learning is one-dimensional. Course content is fed to students and students consume it – boring! But who’s ever said it has to be that way. Let’s flip that wheel and add a new dimension to the mix.

I’m talking about interactive content.

With traditional content provisioning methods, you have students spending hours reading text or watching videos.

Now, imagine if students could interact with the content, could engage with it. It’s a motivational boost that could benefit students. Popular e-learning websites offer interactive content and with a plugin like H5P, you can easily add this functionality to your LearnDash content mix.


e. Making Learning Accessible

In today’s day and age, nearly every student owns a smartphone. Having said that, a mobile app can making learning accessible, can engage students, and can be the difference between you and your competition.

A mobile app means students can learn anytime and from anywhere at their convenience. It also means that students can complete the course sooner and be less resistant to the enrollment process.

While mobile apps are an investment, a LearnDash student-centric app, WisdmApp makes the app affordable to an average LearnDash admin. What’s even better is that the app is specifically designed to increase student engagement with an appealing user interface.

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3. How to Simplify Website Management for a LearnDash LMS

Administrative tasks such as creating courses, managing students, taking care of accounts, take up the most of your time. And while they are important, the effort involved is a LOT. Being able to shed off some of these duties or by automating certain processes, you can focus on fewer tasks at a time.

a. Getting Instructors on Board to Create Content

Courses are central to your e-learning website. The content is what drives students to sign up and boosts your revenue.

But let’s face it – creating and maintaining course content is not as easy. With e-learning websites popping up in every niche, it’s difficult to make sure your courses are better than similar ones out there. Supporting student queries for a related course or checking their assignments can also take up a lot of time.

And, what’s also important is to consistently create new content, so that students can keep on coming back to your site. One option that can help is getting trusted and competent fellow instructors on board.

With multiple instructors or guest course authors, you can offload course creation and management responsibilities. Instructors can help you add a diverse offering to students and can add to your revenue stream.

Although LearnDash is built to be a single-instructor LMS, the WISDM Instructor Role plugin can be used to transform your LMS into a multi-instructor website.

IR

In addition, WISDM Instructor Role includes a professional and customizable Instructor Profile page that can be used to share all the necessary information about instructors on your site. Instructors can use this space to add details such as their photo, bio, expertise, qualification, courses created, ratings, and so on.

Profile pages give instructors credibility and help them showcase their personality. The profile page can also be used to share contact information.


b. Maintaining the content Yourself

If you’re keen on maintaining the course content yourself, a tip we recommend is to use a “content refresher reminder” functionality to help you revisit each course and modify the content to keep it up to date.

Also, with multiple instructors, you have the option to post content only on review, and we recommend, you use that.

A plugin like LearnDash Gradebook can be used to simplify student progress tracking. The plugin offers a centralised dashboard on which you can check student reports and grades.


c. Setting up Automatic Backups and Updates for Your LearnDash Website

Apart from course content maintenance, website maintenance is a mammoth task. Your website contains all your data, and protecting that data is of prime importance. Backups are a must. A backup plugin, such as  BackWPup, has the option to set up automatic backups.

I would recommend automatic updates too for popular WordPress plugins like Contact Form 7, or Yoast, or plugins by Automattic. However, it’s best practice to have automatic updates running when you have a site backup in place.


d. Opting for a Website Maintenance Service

If you want to operate stress-free and can afford to spend that extra $, I’d recommend hiring a professional to maintain your LearnDash website. You’d be surprised to know that website maintenance services are pretty affordable and are certainly worth the investment.

Maintenance services take care of plugin, theme, and WordPress updates, backups, website optimization, security and downtime monitoring, and more. It saves you maintenance headaches along with your time!


e. Using Tools and Strategies to Market Your Courses

Ideally, you need a dedicated resource to market your courses. Whether it’s on social media, or through email, you have to constantly engage with current and potential students to get results.

If you’re the only one taking care of marketing too, tools can help you quite a bit. For eg: using an email marketing plugin like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign can make it easy for you to categorize students into different lists based on their courses and to personalize your marketing strategies.

A CRM plugin like Infusionsoft can be used to fine-tune a user’s experience when it comes to accepting payments or building email campaigns.

Buffer is a great 3rd-party tool to help you schedule Facebook, Twitter posts.

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7 Simple Marketing Strategies for every Edupreneur

  • automatically posting updates on your social profiles when a blog is published,
  • sharing each course or positive student feedback on your social profiles,
  • asking students to share the course on their social profiles for a purchase-discount,
  • reposting blog content on Medium,
  • scheduling sales through plugins like WooCommerce,
  • bundling and selling courses for a reduced price,
  • drip-feeding emails on course purchase (informing a student about other related courses or premium one-on-one sessions)

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4. How to Optimize Your LearnDash Website

optimization

If you’re serious about driving traffic to your e-learning website and improving user experience, you’ll have to work on optimizing your LearnDash website.

That’s because Google penalizes websites that are either too slow or not mobile-optimized, which means, the chances of your website ranking high in search results is reduced; which in turn means, it’ll be difficult for students to reach you. Not good!

A slow website can affect your course purchases too. Stats say that cart abandonment rate increases by 75% and loyalty reduces by 50% on a slow website. You need your LearnDash website lean and fast.

Your website’s page speed can be tested using tools such as Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom.

You want to work on the feedback these tools give you or talk to a developer to help you out. The causes of slow speed can be many – poor hosting, heavy pages due to heavy media content (large images, videos), poorly coded plugins, a not-so-optimized database, etc.

Let’s take a look at a few:


a. Pick the Right Hosting

More often than not, hosting is the cause of poor performance. When you’re starting out you’re strapped for cash, and a low-cost hosting plan seems tempting. It works because you don’t have a heavy flow of students from Day 1.

But what happens as your website grows, when you have a lot of content and multiple students performing several actions at the same time? Your website turns slow and sluggish. God forbid it crashes.

A good hosting solution is a must.

When picking the right hosting, you should be aware of certain specs or at least ask about them:

  • Server Specs, Memory, And Storage: You might have to do a bit of reading (or question-asking) to get to the bottom of this one. What kind of machines does the hosting company use? Are they top-of-the-line, out-of-the-box new machines, or are they cobbled together from what might be spare parts and rusty wires?If the hosting company doesn’t say what kind of servers they use, you’ll want to ask, since hardware can affect the performance of both their servers and your site. Now, WordPress or LearnDash does not have a high demand on specs, so if the hosting provider offers WordPress hosting, you should be in the good.
  • Hardware Ownership: You may have heard about hosting companies offering ‘dedicated’ servers. What they mean is the hosting providers will offer dedicated servers which will be owned by the host. This is a highly secure form of hosting.

But, there is also Co-location based hosting. In Co-location services, the server hardware is owned by the companies who have their websites and other data placed onto the servers. The companies have the flexibility to manage, secure, and take care of the maintenance of their own servers.

With dedicated server hosting, you get complete access to the server except that you are not the owner of the hardware. Whereas in Co-location Hosting, the hardware is owned by you, therefore you need to bear the initial set-up cost. In addition to that, there is an additional charge for housing the hardware in the data center of the web hosting provider.

If you are starting out, we recommend dedicated hosting. But if you are a WordPress veteran, you can go for co-location hosting.

  • Disaster Readiness And Recovery: Web hosts will state they are available 24/7, but this isn’t always the case. The worst thing is to have a website that is down on a Friday night and not get a response until Monday morning. That can mean two full days of lost traffic to your site. Find out if the support is actually there for you round the clock by asking exact questions.
  • Infrastructure Design: As your website grows, you may need to increase the size of your hosting package to meet bandwidth demands or to add more space. Your infrastructure design will vary greatly based on your website’s requirements.You will have to consider traffic, response time, and additional services and applications which can help to scale your site. All of these considerations need to be taken into account when designing, building, and maintaining a multi-server hosting environment.Your infrastructure plan doesn’t need to be set in stone, but it should be clear and forward-thinking enough to be used as your infrastructure grows and changes during the lifetime of your site.
  • System Security: You only need to understand basic security terms, such as SSL and Firewalls to make sure they have some protections in place. However, you should also inquire about the backend of your site. Will other people hosted on your server have access to your files at any point? How will the web host ensure they do not?
  • Backups: Look for a web host that backs up the site at least once a day. Also, inquire about where backups are stored and whether you can access them through your cPanel. Make sure you have an easy recovery option in case of an unfortunate incident.

Once you get answers to all these questions, you could choose any of the 3 trusted hosting providers from the list below:

  • SiteGround: The most popular and widely used hosting provider, SiteGround is really fast, considering its cost-effective plans. If you are just starting out, then you cannot go wrong with SiteGround. They have three main plans for their shared hosting and the top-tier plan will only set you back $12 a month.
  • LiquidWeb: As a top-tier option you can expect top-tier service with LiquidWeb. One great feature they have is that their platform will update your plugins automatically. If it detects an issue on your site then that plugin be automatically rolled back to the previous stable version. Say goodbye to plugins breaking on updates!
  • WPEngine: Arguably one of the more popular names in regards to WordPress-specific hosting, WPEngine is a fantastic option for your LearnDash powered program. Where they excel is in their support which is critical when it comes to hosting platforms. If something is wrong with your site then you just need to hop onto chat.

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b. Pick the Right Theme and Extensions for LearnDash

Now, apart from hosting the extensions that you use have an effect on the speed of the website. A badly coded plugin that isn’t optimized can slow down operations.

When choosing a LearnDash extension make sure you check out the reviews for any indication on poor performance. If there’s a demo site available try it out. But usually, plugin/theme owners optimize the demo site and it’s rarely an indication of the plugin/theme’s performance.

Your LearnDash theme which is central to the user experience has to be picked wisely too. Out of the best LearnDash themes available, a few that we recommend are:-

  • eLumine– A LearnDash specific theme that is popular due to its focus on ease of creating courses. It offers a one-of-a-kind learning experience with Neo layouts that provides a clean, distraction-free, and enhanced user experience. This helps in maximizing learner engagement and makes your students fall in love with your course content. Moreover, it is also compatible with LearnDash 3.0. The theme is also compatible with WooCommerce, BuddyPress, and bbPress for even more advanced features.
  • Social Learner– If you are looking for an eLearning site that is rich in its social capabilities, then Social Learner is the theme for you.  It has a great interface. It integrates flawlessly with LearnDash and all its add-ons.
    It also has an extensive Admin Panel to control all activities of your e-learning ecosystem. True to its name, Social Learner adds a social touch to your website, making it interactive and easily shareable for your learners. This has the added advantage of automatically increasing your social network, thereby improving your market reach to the target audience.
  • Academy Pro– A theme that puts the buyer in focus is Academy Pro. Academy Pro is a WooCommerce theme that’s compatible with LearnDash. It provides an engaging shopping experience and has various features to build your online training business. Academy Pro offers a simple and clean design, has a custom pricing page (in case of membership prices), and has fast-loading capabilities for quick navigation. It’s the quintessential store-centric theme.


c. Optimizing Course Content and Media Files

Media files (images, videos, presentations) are heavy in size. If media files are central to your course content, you need to make sure they are optimized for faster loading.

For example, running a test on Pingdom will tell you the size of your webpage. Ideally, your page should be less than 1MB. This means, your images/media files should be in KBs. Not always possible when you’re talking about video content. The solution, in this case, is to use video hosting services (Youtube, Vimeo) or a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN acts as a cache to optimize content loading.

As far as caching plugins are concerned the ones we recommend are:-

  • W3 Total Cache: One of the most popular caching plugins W3 Total Cache offers a range of features and is recommended by several hosting providers. It supports caching for pages, posts, feeds, search results; it’s compatible with shared hosting, virtual private/dedicated servers, and clusters; it offers support for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
  • WP Super Cache: From the creators of WordPress itself, WP Super Cache is a formidable caching plugin. It offers 3-methods to serve cached files based on the settings you choose. It integrates with your CDN and supports cache rebuild on-demand.

To optimize images you can use an image optimization plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer or a service like Kraken.io.


d. Mobile Optimization

Given that Google wants you to optimize your website for the mobile viewer (and it’s good for you too since nearly 60% of search happens from a mobile device), it’s important to make sure your LearnDash website is ready for this mobile viewer.

This not only means having a responsive theme- every possible theme is responsive in today’s day and age – but also considering building Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Accelerate Mobile Pages strip-down styling to deliver pure content to the viewer and reduced page-download time.

Your caching plugin or an AMP specific plugin can help you here.

Does mobile optimization mean owning an app? Not exactly. But if you do own a LearnDash app, make sure it’s lightweight and easy to interact with.


e. Optimizing the Content on Your LearnDash LMS

Well, a final PRO tip here – optimizing the website also means optimizing the content.

Your courses might be good but, they can always be better – It’s analysis, research and student feedback that can make them better. Setting up a reviews and ratings option, or a feedback forum can help you collect reviews from your students.

You working continuously to update the content can make a difference. Make sure stats are up-to-date, any changes in regulation are added, your high-traffic blog posts are updated, non-performing content is either fixed or removed, and so on.

Be sure to be always testing traffic and the effect of any changes on Google Analytics. A positive change should be an increase in sales, page sessions, and a decrease in bounce rate (not as easy, we know, but something you to invest time into).

An ideal waiting time to see any results is – 3 months. Google Analytics lets you run AB tests too. You could consider getting in an SEO and analytics specialist to help you out in these aspects.

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Further Reading on ‘Growth Hacking With Your LearnDash LMS’

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Wrapping Up

A Supreme LearnDash site is void of shortcomings, but getting there is a continuous process.

You’ve got to take things one step at a time – if you’re starting out, focus on getting in the traffic – if you have more than a handful of courses, take measures to simplify the management process.

You have to keep researching, keep analyzing, and keep making improvements to move ahead. It’s all there for the taking, it’s your turn to take center stage, and we’re always there to help you out.

Happy “LearnDashing” your way to success 🙂

FAQs

  • How do I ensure the success of my LearnDash LMS?
    Focus on the following tasks to ensure the success of your LearnDash LMS:
    Increasing course sign-ups, Increasing student engagement, Improving your courses, Simplifying site management and Optimizing your website
  • How do I get multiple Instructors to create content on my LMS?
    LearnDash is built to be a single-instructor LMS, however, the WISDM Instructor Role plugin can be used to transform your LMS into a multi-instructor website.
  • Is it important to optimize my LearnDash website for mobile?
    Yes. It is absolutely necessary to optimize your LearnDash website for mobile viewers since 60% of the search happens on mobile devices. A responsive theme like eLumine is a good fit as it is designed keeping in mind the functionalities of LearnDash.
Harsh Shah

Harsh Shah

One Response

  1. Wow. As someone who is just starting out on the journey of creating and selling online courses, an epic post like this is a godsend. Thanks for your work!

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