How To Choose A Niche For Your Online Course

How To Choose A Niche For Your Online Course

Having trouble deciding on the best niche for your online course? This uncertainty is understandable especially since the endeavor requires a tremendous time investment to produce your desired content.

With millions of courses available online on almost any topic, you can think of, choosing a niche can be quite intimidating.

Despite the fears, the eLearning industry is one of the highest growth industries in the world and the recent COVID-19 pandemic has served to speed up the growth of this market.

According to the research report by Facts and Factors, The global E-learning Market in 2019 was approximately USD 144 Billion.

The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.6 % and is anticipated to reach around USD 374.3 Billion by 2026.

This figure was calculated pre-COVID and it’s expected to be higher than anticipated as a result of the pandemic.

Whether your goal is to make additional income or to build a full-time career starting an online business, selling an online course is still one of the most profitable online businesses you can venture into.

Why create an online course?

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Creating an online course should be seen as creating your own business and should be approached with that in mind.

This also means that a successful business will afford you the flexibility to work at any time of your choosing.

Creating your own courses means you have flexible hours, you can work from anywhere since your business is online, put in as much time and effort as you’d like to, knowing you are your own boss.

Take a break or a vacation with your family, visit family and friends, travel abroad, and work at the same time wherever you are.

Share your knowledge

Can you imagine anything better than getting paid to share your knowledge on a particular topic? That’s exactly what creating your course is.

You simply share the knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years and get paid for it.

Additionally, an online market means you have a global audience to share your knowledge and experiences with.

Content reusability

One of the key advantages of creating online courses is content reusability. Once your course has been created, it’ll always be available for your learners to access at any time.

Make changes to your course at any time and learners will have access to it almost instantaneously.

No need to create content again for subsequent learners as the content will always be available.

Passive income

Creating online courses is one of the best means of making passive income. With your payment processes automated, learners can always enroll in your courses.

With modern automated marketing systems, setting up a recurring and automated marketing plan can easily be achieved to consistently bring in more registered learners.

Little investment

Starting a business as an entrepreneur can be challenging especially if you do not have the financial backing to successfully bring your product to market.

Fortunately, in the field of online learning, creating an online course doesn’t require a huge financial investment.

Acquiring a microphone, a camera, or a laptop for your online course may require little to no investment in most cases.

The largest form of investment when creating your online courses is mostly your time investment.

This endeavor is a business you would be building and therefore requires research, quality content, and marketing to make it successful.

Why do online courses fail?

Imagine spending months putting together your notes, quizzes, and then finally, creating your talking head, screencasting, or your hybrid video.

You put together a good course and choose a marketplace like Udemy to sell your course.

Minutes turn to hours, and hours turn to days, days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months of waiting for learners to enroll.

You eventually start wondering why your course isn’t doing as well as others on the same platform on the same topics.

Months of work seem to have been wasted only to achieve nothing. As horrible as this scenario seems, this is the case with most courses online.

They never gain the amount of traction they deserve and their authors end up getting frustrated.

Creating online courses is a business and should be approached as such and just like any business, there’s the likelihood of the business failing due to multiple factors.

Online courses fail because:

Poor user research

If you build, they will come. This is a popular saying in the world of business. This saying stems from the movie “Field of Dreams” and although, Ray Kinsella eventually proved that saying to be true in the movie, in real business environments, this approach leads to disaster.

Simply picking a topic you know about and building a course around it does not guarantee you success.

With tens of thousands of courses available on various topics, entering into a saturated market without a strategy is a recipe for disaster.

If you’re going to invest your time and energy into creating a course, ensuring that people will pay for it is key as you wouldn’t like to build a course only to struggle with customer acquisition.

Entering an already saturated market can be challenging but with research and the right strategy, it is very possible to grab a piece of the market.

Without enough research into understanding the market, competitors, problems learners are having even the existing solutions, succeeding in the space becomes an uphill battle.

Every market has some kind of direct or indirect competition and your responsibility to the success of your online course is to ensure that you identify a niche within the industry that is underserved.

Doing what everyone else is doing is a great way to guarantee your possible failure in the market.

Building a me-too business in a competitive space is challenging especially with competitors who have been in the space for years and have become recognized or even become a brand in the industry.

Your best bet as a beginner is to identify problems their learners are experiencing or are not getting and leveraging this to enter the market from a different angle.

Keep in mind whichever niche you choose should have a real market looking to be served.


Some content creators fail as a result of poor marketing strategies. Building an online business provides you with a passive income but this is only possible after specific strategies have been laid in place.

Launching your online course doesn’t necessarily mean learners flood your product. If you are an influencer with some good following, this is a possibility but otherwise, some level of promotion would be required.

If your course is hosted on one of the online course marketplaces like Udemy, it may get some publicity if higher-ranking courses do not overshadow it.

Like any product, your course needs to be promoted through word of mouth, social media platforms, podcasts, and more.

Some course creators choose to acquire some potential early adopters before the course is ready.

Word of mouth is still one of the most effective means of advertising your product and these early adopters can help get your product out there.

Where to sell your online course

Choosing the right platform for your online course can be one key factor that can affect the success of your online course.

There are two ways to deliver your content to learners. Both of these have their pros and cons.

The first option is to leverage an online marketplace like Udemy to sell your courses. In this case, you get the added advantage of hosting your courses on a recognized platform with millions of learners.

This comes at no additional hosting cost to you the content creator but based on how customers are acquired, Udemy can take up to 50% commission on any sale your course makes.

Although the commission may seem high, the publicity gained from using their platform may help get more learners to your course.

On the other hand, the number of courses on the platform can also be a huge disadvantage as your courses could remain unseen by learners in the search results especially with higher earning courses appearing higher in rank on search results.

The second option is to sell your online courses from your own website. This option involves leveraging one of the open-source or premium learning management systems to sell your courses from your website.

It may require a bit of a learning curve based on the learning management system you select but most of the options on our list require little to no programming knowledge to get started.

The advantage of leveraging this option is that your courses will always rank first and be visible to all visitors.

Additionally, 100% of revenue generated will belong solely to you alone and your website can be customized the way you want it to look for your courses.

On the other hand, you will be responsible for driving traffic to your courses.


Choosing the right price for your product could also make the difference between learners choosing your course or a competitor’s.

With thousands of options online, the price of your online course could serve to deter potential students or attract them.

It is, therefore, necessary to compare your product offering to your competitors to identify the right price for your online course.

What is a niche?

A niche market is a segment of a larger market that can be defined by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different from the market at large.

For example, within the Petcare market, identified niches could be dogs, cats, snakes. Subsequently, the dog niche can be further divided to get bulldogs, german shepherd, poodle, and many more.

Most markets can be further divided by multiple factors including demographics, geographics, level of expertise, price, and many more.

Types of online courses

Before you decide to choose a niche for your course, it is important to understand the types of online courses you can create.

Introductory course

This can be a 2-hour live or recorded training for your audience and is a fast way to get started as a course trainer if done properly.

The introductory course doesn’t need to be pre-recorded and can be in the form of a paid webinar training or a series delivered an hour or two over a couple of days.

This kind of course needs to be specific as learners willing to pay for this training expect to understand or get the result to a problem.

Without the need for pre-recorded videos, this type of course requires little to no investment and can be easily organized.

You can market this type of course on your social media pages, personal invites, and any other means of reaching your audience.

If done properly, it is a great way to build your following and leading your learners to subsequent and further courses in the future.

Transformation/signature course

This type of course is geared towards guiding your learners through a systematic process.

In this case, your job as a course creator would be to lead your learners on a step-by-step journey through the necessary process to accomplish the purpose of the course.

You provide your learners with everything you know about your specific topic and leverage this to bring in more learners.

Let’s say someone wants to learn how to do something in particular and that’s exactly what your course is about.

This type of course walks learners through step-by-step to achieve the intended result. Here your learners can get an understanding of how in-depth your knowledge on the subject matter is.

It also requires a tremendous time investment as well as a small learning curve if you have no know-how on recording and editing videos.

Certification course

As the name suggests, the certification course involves a process that leads to the learner getting certified in a particular field or topic.

It can be a training course for something like a certified accountant or a certified plumber and many more.

This type of course takes longer than a transformation course and in some cases requires some form of test.

Membership course

This type of course is packaged as a subscription plan for your learners who become members.

In this case, learners always have access to a community of support and new materials to enable continuous improvement.

This type of course is profitable but also requires the trainer to create some additional content for learners.

The membership course creates an environment where there’s continuous improvement among members.

Choosing a niche for your online course

Now that you have an understanding of why some online courses fail, it is time to work on selecting a niche for your online course.

Identify your expertise

The first step to choosing a niche for your online course is to identify something you’re passionate about, you have expertise in.

Coming up with this is much easier than it sounds. You don’t need to be the best at that particular topic or skill. Simply list them all.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I know the most about?
  • What do people like to listen to me demonstrate, teach or tell them about?
  • What have people offered to pay me for?
  • What am I able to help people do?
  • If you’ve experienced tremendous success in marketing, leverage that knowledge and skill you have in marketing.

Whether you know how to ride a unicycle or something you are good at, simply write them all down.

Capable of teaching

Once you have these listed, the next step is to ask yourself “Which of these am I capable of teaching others”.

List these and proceed to the next step.


The next step is to decide on which topic on the list of topics you’re capable of teaching, you’re most passionate about.

Being passionate about the topic can be reflected in your course and also helps you push forward despite challenges in your content creation.

Identify a niche

Now it’s time to narrow down and select a niche in the topic you’re passionate about. If it’s graphic design you’re passionate about, it’s time to narrow down and identify your specialty.

It can be logo design, t-shirt design, magazine design, or any other form of design. Identify a specific niche in your topic.

Profitable online course niches

Here’s a list of some of the most profitable online course niches on the market

Computers and Technology

In this age of technological advancements, it’s no surprise that technology is the best-selling course on the market.

A look at Udemy’s best-selling courses will give you an idea of how much of the market IT-related courses currently command.

Some of these courses include:

  • Programming languages
  • Microsoft Applications
  • IT certification
  • Web Development
  • Web development
  • Data Science
  • Game Development
  • Network and Security
  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence

These are only a few of the IT-related courses currently the best sellers on Udemy.

Although there’s huge competition in this industry, identifying a niche and approaching things from a different perspective could earn you a chunk of this market.

Business and entrepreneurship

In this age of innovation, there’s a growing trend in people trying to be self-sufficient by building their own businesses.

With the growth of online businesses, creating a product to sell online and offline has become easy in our modern age.

Marketing and sales processes can also be fully automated with little or no educational background in that industry.

Fortunately, this presents an opportunity to course creators who have some knowledge in this field.

Any good experience you have in this field can be leveraged to create an online course for your learners.

Some of these topics include:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • E-commerce
  • Business Administration

Arts and crafts

With the advancement of technology, came the demand for learning and improving on some specific skills to supplement their income.

Thanks to social media as well as sites like Etsy and Amazon, anyone with the skills can sell something easily.

Some of these courses include:

  • Photography
  • Animation
  • Illustration
  • Painting
  • Game design


Higher education institutions are capitalizing on the growing online learning trend by offering their own e-Learning courses

In some cases, the traditional classroom learning approach has been replaced completely with online courses while some have adopted a blended form of content delivery.

Teachers who want to increase their earnings can now supplement their income with online courses.

Some of these courses include:

  • Music and dance
  • Law
  • Finance
  • Language
  • Psychology
  • Investment

Health and wellness

In recent years, people have become more conscious of their health and their needs as a result of the increasing number of diseases caused by poor health decisions.

  • Specific fitness goals (six-pack, etc)
  • Vegan cooking
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Massage
  • Self-defense


There are many categories and niches to explore when it comes to creating a course.

Ultimately, deciding on your niche depends on your specific interests, skills, expertise, hobbies, and many more.

It is always necessary to research competitors in the space and identify certain gaps in their courses that you can fill, to succeed in this industry.

Always remember creating a good course does not guarantee success but a strategy is necessary to make your course successful.

Some have achieved success in the most unexpected niches. As saturated as a market can be, some new entrants with a good strategy have succeeded.

The time to start work on your online course is now.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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