The internet has transformed how we learn. Gone are the days of rigid classrooms and inflexible schedules. Today, online courses empower individuals to develop new skills and gain in-demand knowledge from the comfort of their own homes. 

This flexibility has fueled a surge in the e-learning industry, with the global revenue in the Online Education market projected to reach US$185.20bn in 2024.

However, with this growth comes a new challenge: standing out in a crowded marketplace. The key to success? Selecting the right online course topics. 

This article dives deep into the importance of topic selection and equips you with actionable tips and examples.  By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to developing a captivating online course that attracts students and thrives in the dynamic world of e-learning.

First, Why Should You Create An Online Course in 2024?

Ever wondered why would someone even create an online course? Well, there are many reasons, but here are 5 that might hit close to home:

1. Financial Freedom: Dream of a Pay Raise Without the Hustle?

Let’s face it, businesses need to make money. But online courses offer something unique: they can be sold 24/7, even while you catch some  Zzz’s!  Even with moderate success, you could see a significant boost in your income.

Imagine selling your course for just $50 a month. With only 50 students, that’s a cool $2,500 per month in completely passive income! Double that and you’re looking at $5,000 a month.

2. Time Freedom: Escape the Grind and Take Back Your Life!

Imagine trading your precious hours for income.  Online courses can change that. They can deliver your expertise on autopilot, freeing you from the endless hustle. No more late nights or weekends filled with client work – your courses can handle that for you!

3. Become a Recognized Authority: Share Your Expertise and Build Your Brand

Creating an online course allows you to showcase your knowledge and skills to a wide audience.  This can establish you as a thought leader in your field and position you as a trusted resource for potential clients or employers.  The more people recognize your expertise, the more opportunities you’ll open up for yourself.

4. Location Independence: Work from Anywhere with an Internet Connection

Online courses are the ultimate passport to location independence. Once created, you can sell them to students anywhere in the world. This gives you the freedom to travel, live abroad, or simply work from the comfort of your couch.  Imagine designing a lifestyle that revolves around your passions, not your commute!

5. Make a Difference: The Reward of Changing Lives

While financial and time freedom are great, there’s a special feeling that comes from impacting others’ lives. Imagine someone asking what you do, and being able to reply with, “I help people get success.” How amazing is that?

These are just a few reasons to get your online course idea out there. You likely already have the desire – the itch to create something impactful and design a life filled with freedom and income.

Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re already interested in creating your own online course. But the not-so-easy part (which we’ll make easy for you) is finding the right online course topics that actually sell! But don’t worry, we’re here to help you with that in the next few sections.

Why Should You Spend Time Choosing the Right Online Course Topics

Choosing the right online course topics is an essential step for the success of an online course for a number of reasons. Here are some reasons why you should choose the right online course topics.

To Attract the Right Students

Think of your topic as a magnet, drawing in learners who are genuinely passionate about what you’re teaching. By focusing on a specific area where you have expertise, you increase the course’s relevance and value to this niche audience. This targeted approach translates to students who are more engaged, more likely to finish the course, and more likely to recommend it to others. 

Imagine the difference between a generic “photography” course and one focused on “mastering macro photography.” The latter caters to a specific interest, allowing you to delve deeper and create a more impactful learning experience.

To Create a Good Learning Experience for the Students

The right topic sets the stage for an optimal learning environment. When your course revolves around a well-defined subject, you can tailor the entire curriculum to that specific theme. This creates a cohesive experience for your students. They’ll retain information more easily and be able to apply it in real-world scenarios. 

Think about the difference between a course on “general marketing” and one focused on “social media marketing strategies.”  The latter allows you to create a focused curriculum with a clear learning path, leading to better outcomes for your students.

To Improve the Discoverability of Your Course

A strategic topic choice can be a game-changer for online searchability. People searching online are more likely to find your course if the topic directly addresses their specific needs and interests. 

Let’s face it, someone looking to “learn coding” will get lost in a sea of generic courses. But a course titled “Python Programming for Beginners: Build Your First Web App” immediately grabs the attention of a highly targeted audience. This strategic keyword use makes it easier for potential students to find you, leading to more course sign-ups.

To Increase Your Revenue

Popularity translates to profit. Selecting a topic that’s in high demand allows you to command a premium price for your course. People are more willing to invest in learning a valuable skill or gaining in-depth knowledge on a sought-after subject. By choosing a topic with proven market demand, you can maximize your earning potential. 

Imagine a course on a trendy new social media platform – students are more likely to pay a premium to learn the latest skills and get ahead of the curve.

To Increase Your Revenue

Popularity translates to profit. Selecting a topic that’s in high demand allows you to charge a premium price for your course. People are more willing to invest in learning a valuable skill or gaining in-depth knowledge on a sought-after subject. By choosing a topic with proven market demand, you can maximize your earning potential.

How to Generate Ideas for Profitable Online Course Topics

Generating Ideas for Online Course Topics

There are several things you can do to come up with profitable online course ideas. Here are a couple of tips to get you going:

List Down Things You Love Doing

Making a list of your marketable skills is the first step in coming up with ideas for online courses. Think about what you are skilled at, the things you would enjoy teaching, and the things you are passionate about. This will help you in identifying possible course topics that fit your interests and skill set.

For instance, if you like to cook, list down baking or meal planning as one of the potential course topics. You also like taking pictures, and have published a couple of photos at exhibitions? Great! Add that to your list of course topics too.

Research What’s Popular on Online Course Marketplaces

Another way to generate ideas for profitable course topics is by analyzing the popular online course marketplaces like Udemy, Coursera, and EdX. Take a look at the courses available in your area of interest and note the subjects that are in high demand. Pay close attention to the courses that have the most reviews and the most students enrolled. This can help you get a sense of the profitable subjects and requirements for online courses.

For instance, if you’re thinking about teaching digital marketing, you might look up popular courses on platforms to see what subjects are in demand, like SEO or social media marketing, and if there are enough courses on those topics.

Narrow Down the Online Course Topics from Broad Ideas

Narrow Down Online Course Topics

So, you’ve brainstormed a list of potential online course topics. Now comes the crucial step of selecting the perfect one. But how do you winnow down that list and choose a topic that will resonate with students and lead to a successful course? Here are some key strategies to guide you:

Analyze Your Audience

The key to picking the perfect online course topic is to analyze your audience. Think about your target audience, their needs, interests, and any issues that need to be resolved. They are more likely to enroll in your course if you design it to meet their unique needs. Analyzing your prospective audience should be the first step to narrowing your topic.

For example, if your target audience is entrepreneurs, it would not be right to create a course on “start a business”, as they already have a business. Instead, you can start a course on marketing strategies that will help them grow their business.

Understand the Pain vs Pleasure Principle

The Pain vs Pleasure principle is a concept that suggests that people are more likely to take immediate action when they have to solve an obvious problem or pain. Same can not be said about people who are looking for pleasure.

Let me give you an example, if you were a fitness coach, instead of creating a course on “how to build the perfect beach body” which leads to pleasure, you could focus on a topic like “eliminate that stubborn body fat”, which is a real problem that exists.

So, once you have analyzed your audience, the next step is to find out what their pain point is. If you want to sell, it’s important to focus on solving a problem for your students. Now check your topic list again, see which topics are solving a real problem, and only keep those topics on your list.

Research Your Competitors

Don’t exist in a vacuum! Take some time to research what other courses are already available in your chosen niche.  Identify any gaps or areas where existing courses fall short.  Now, compare your proposed topic to the competition. Does your course offer something unique or of a higher quality?  If so, that’s a great sign!  However, if your topic seems repetitive or lacks a clear differentiator, consider going back to the drawing board.

Remember, at this stage, you want to ensure your course topic stands out from the crowd and offers something fresh and valuable to potential students.

Calculate the Profit Potential

Finally, take the revenue potential into account when selecting a topic for your course. Consider the price that students would be willing to pay for a course on that subject, the number of potential students, and your potential revenue. This can help you select a topic that complements your interests and skills while also being financially successful.

Decide Based on All the Criteria Above

By now, you’ve considered various aspects – your audience’s needs, competitor analysis, and potential profitability.  With all this information in hand, you should have a clearer picture of the ideal topic for your online course. This isn’t just about picking something random; it’s about making a strategic decision based on a comprehensive understanding of your market and your offering.


The success of your online course depends a lot on the topics you choose. It helps in increasing enrolment, creating a positive learning environment, showcasing your knowledge, affecting your course’s discoverability, and bringing in more money. Make a list of your best skills and browse websites offering online courses to come up with profitable course ideas.

When choosing a topic for your course, think about how you can help your students, assess your audience, look into your competitors, determine the potential for profit, and make your choice based on all of these factors.

Once you have chosen the course topic that you’re excited about, it’s time to use BuddyBoss to create an online course website and launch your course. So when are you going to launch your dream online course to start your passive income journey?

Author Faisal Sarker Faisal is a tech writer and marketer. Apart from writing useful content that help people around the world, he also likes to travel and read books of all genres in his leisure time.
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