Recently, I helped a client who was experiencing major tech issues while building her online course. By the time she reached out to me for help, she was in complete overwhelm mode. She was staying up late trying to fix her site, and not sleeping restfully because the issues were always on her mind. And of course, all these issued delayed her launch date.
Tech issues, they happen to the best of us. Heck, I’ve had my share of crazy issues over the years. Some issues happen no matter how well prepared you are, or how well set up your site is, however, some of these issues are completely avoidable. And that is what I want to talk to you about today.
There are quite a few details to consider when building an online course, so many in fact that it is easy to overlook some of the more basic ones. And these “basic” details are often the ones who have the greater impact on your ability to put your online course together without hiccups.
Here are 5 items for you to consider the next time you get ready to build your online course or membership site.
#1 – When you are creating an online course or membership site, no matter the size, please, take it to a subdomain or subfolder!!!!
My client was using a beautiful theme called Mona, by Themeforest…and despite it being pretty, it wasn’t an easy theme to customize without any HTML/CSS knowledge. For one, it didn’t allow for many customizations and another big problem was that it didnt allow for header/banner images. (I only found out this detail later.)
Themeforest does not play well with OP, so right from the start this wasn’t going to be a problem-free project. Taking the online course part of her site to a sub-domain or sub-folder would have saved her a huge amount of stress and, not to mention, time!!!
Which leads me to #2
#2 – When using plugins to enhance your theme,make sure it plays well with big themes and/or plugins like OP, DIVI, etc….
My client was using Revolutionary Slider (so she could have header images – remember her theme wouldn’t allow for header/banner images). And this perticular plugin wassn’t (it still isn’t) compatible with OP.
For what ever reason, I couldn’t deactivate the Revolutionary Slider plugin. Deactivating plugins is normally the first thing I do, but despite my trying in all ways I knew possible, it just remained activate. And this caused issues with OP’s text element. The shortcode generated by the plugin, which then needed to be embedded on all pages, was intefering with the client’s ability to edit any of the text on her website.
Now..here is where I made a mistake…
I had checked all of her pages but didn’t see any slide shows (not realising yet that she was using the plugin to display a header image) so I deleted the plugin..actually, no, I tried to delete it but it wouldn’t let me..so I had to go into it’s code and delete that…
By doing so, I removed all of her header images (crap!!! right??)
Which leads to #3 & #4
#3 Make sure to check the incompatibility list and do not use plugins that are on it
As you recall, my client’s site was using a Themeforest, and she had hired an expert to build her site for her. He had installed Revolutionary Slider to deal with the theme’s inability to display header/banner images. Since this plugin was a necessity for her business site, but a problem to use with OptimizePress, taking her online course to a subdomain or subfolder would, again, have saved her (and then me) a ton of headaches. But she didn’t know to do that…’CAUSE NO ONE BUT ME TELLS YOU TO DO THIS!
#4 Back up your site
In my client’s case, we were lucky that it was just a few header images that disapeared from her site (but were still in her media folder), but in some cases, a whole site can go down and literally “disapear”. The lesson here is to back up your site, at least weekly if not daily, and to save these backups OFF your site. Rebuilding from scratch versus rebuilding via a backup will be the difference between losing your sanity and an hour or so of your life.
#5 Get proper hosting
I know you’ve heard me talk about subpar hosting before, so this shouldn’t be new to you. My client was using one of those subpar hosting company and it took 7 hours to get her subdomain set up. This normally takes seconds….SECONDS!
Eventually she ended up switching hosts because….7 HOURS????
Again, had she started off with a decent host, that subdomain would have taken seconds to set up. No sitting idly waiting for it, no loosing patience and time, no pushing deadlines over and over again.
Eventually we got everything sorted and she was up and running, and launched her online course, but the process left her feeling completely drained. Launching an online course is stressful and exhausting, don’t get me wrong, but it shouldn’t be because of avoidable tech issues.
Thinking ahead and knowing the basics are key.
This means that you need to chose your theme wisely. Ask yourself if provides you with eveything you need, or do you need to supplement it with a bunch of plugins? Does it have incompatibility issues with plugins? Is it easily customizable, or does it require an expert to make it your own?
If you do chose to use plugins to supplement your site, make sure they are compatible with your theme, and make sure they are updated as needed. Chose plugins that are popular and maintained by the designers. Any plugin you decided not to use, delete completely from your site. Letting them sit in “deactivated” mode on your site is a security risk.
And finally, something I spend nearly a whole module on in my course, is setting up your foundation PROPERLY…and that starts with your hosting, using your domain or a subdomain (or subfolder), and installing the right theme and plugins.
None of this is complicated, but all of it can have a huge impact on your ability to build your site efficiently.
If you have questions regarding your current or future web project, make sure to reach out to me if you have questions. And as always, make sure to leave a comment below.
If you want to find out more about how you to can learn how to build your own online course easily with OptimizePress, just click on the link below.
Have a great day!