Do You Need a Separate Website for Your Course Sales Page?
In this episode, we’re addressing why it is the best practice to create a separate website for your course. It will save you so much time in the long run, and we’re going to explain why!
Be sure to grab our free Squarespace video training too so you can get an insider’s peek into the backend before you buy.
Here is our honest insight on whether you need a separate website for your course sales page:
Today we are answering Ashley MacDonald's question, "Is it better to create a separate website around your course, rather than using your current website that you are using for your current business?" I feel like we get this question a lot, and we're excited to finally address it on the blog.
Before we dive into the post, we really want to emphasize that our recommendations come from an intention and perspective of having your course be a long term asset to your business model. That's why we believe this is how you should plan.
Isn't having a separate website more complicated?
We get this question all the time in the Launch Your Signature Course® group. Also, it costs more money.
We use Squarespace, so it's just an extra $12/month, but there's so many reasons why this makes sense in the long run.
When we first started out, we didn't put our sales pages on our own course websites.
They were just on the navigation of the blog.
We ended up having to migrate them over to their own websites later, which can be kind of a pain.
Also, it doesn't look as professional when it's just a little tab on the blog.
What exactly is a course website?
A course website is basically when you have all of the pages related to you online course on its own website an domain (www.yourawesomecourse.com).
This course website is completely separate from your regular blog and regular business website.
Some of the things you might include are:
You should also include a doors closed page if you're in between launches, or your main lead magnet.
You can also include a freebie which will help you determine who your hot leads are.
All of those landing pages should go on this course website as well.
We include a wait list on our course website, when the doors are closed. an example of how we do this is on the Webinar Rockstar® website. You can download a free checklist, which is a freebie that promotes growing our e-mail list.
This is specifically on the Webinar Rockstar® domain because it leads right into that course, instead of a general freebie on the Mariah Coz website.
Thinking long term
You may be thinking that because this is your first launch, you should just have a sales page and not worry about having a course website.
Our separate course websites ended up growing and growing into multi page websites with multi page sales pages.
We also included a FAQ section because we've received so many questions over the years that it got out of control. Now we have a top 5 FAQ on our sales page and the other 30 FAQ's are on a separate page.
This year, we included something called a "program tour", so before we open the doors to a program like Launch Your Signature Course® (our flagship program), we can show them what to expect.
This is important for programs that are a bigger investment that people usually want to plan months ahead of time before they join.
We actually have a miniature sales page available with all the important information, even when the doors are closed.
Another page that we expanded is the testimonials and case studies. We had them on our sales page, but we wanted to showcase more.
We created a whole separate page for case studies, reviews, and testimonials.
There is a section where people can go and see examples of sales pages and courses that our students have created.
That way, people who come across our sales page when the doors are closed can get an idea of what's possible with the program.
If we kept everything on our website, it would have been really convoluted.
Remember, this is long term
You might be thinking that this is your first launch and you don't have 100 testimonials to put on a separate page.
But think of a time when you will have 100 testimonials.
These are all the behind the scenes pages so even if you went to Webinar Rockstar® or Launch Your Signature Course®, you wouldn't see them on the navigation.
Some of these pages are:
Thank you pages
Webinars (launch or course related)
Policies (refund, legal disclaimers)
Different Facebook Ad landing pages (for A/B testing)
Keeping them on their own course page separates it from your main website so there is no confusion on the back end when you have multiple courses and programs.
We're not wondering, "Hey is this FAQ for Webinar Rockstar® or Launch Your Signature Course®?"
There's a lot happening behind the scenes. There's maybe 50 to 100 pages all happening.
It doesn't happen overnight but we want you to understand what it looks like on the back end and how easy it is to just add a new page or replicate pages.
"I need a new thank you page." Replicate.
We definitely want you to see the inside of Squarespace so you understand how this works and also how to organize them inside of your website so definitely check out our free Squarespace training below.
Giving your course authority
Imagine if you heard about Website in a Box and you saw it on Facebook and Twitter but when you went to type it in, all you saw was mariahcoz.com/courses/websiteinabox---
That would be an impossible domain to say if you want someone to check out your course.
Imagine how easy it would be to say, "Check out my course," and it's super snappy and memorable.
All of our courses have their own separate domains.
Your First 1K®
Launch Your Signature Course®
You can totally just type them in and go right to our course website.
It also makes it easy to share if you are interviewed on a podcast.
Having your course on its own website shows that you've invested into it.
If your course looks like a half-baked effort on your end, it will be harder to sell.
The permanence of your course having its own website gives you this instant relief as a customer that you are the real deal. You have your own website for your course.
You've clearly put time and money into the course.
This feeling builds trust.
Removing the clutter and distractions
Your course website should have no distractions.
Can you imagine if Launch Your Signature Course® was just a navigation link on top of this blog?
You'd get distracted by the footer.
You'd be distracted by the announcement bar at the top.
Then there's distractions from all the navigation links.
Once you get someone to your sales page, you want them to be able to find the enroll now button.
You don't want them to check out any other buttons or links.
It's a huge deal to not give people this environment where it's easy to click away and read a blog post instead of focusing on the sales page.
Design and branding of your online course
You also want your course to be distinguishable.
When you're working on a platform like Squarespace, it is so easy to change the colors in your settings.
The ability for your course to have its own design and branding is so valuable.
If you decide to rebrand your website or your course, it's going to affect everything.
Logistically, having the ability for separate design, separate color scheme, and separate fonts, is so nice.
On Squarespace, you can do this without needing to rely so much on CSS.
Keeping your website neat and organized
If you use a template like Bedford or Pacific, you get something called an Index Page.
This means that each section that you see on our sales page is actually its own individual page.
Our sales page could have up to 50 sections, which is 50 pages. This is cool because we get to drag and drop sections around where we want them.
A strong foundation for your online course
Giving your course its own website gives it potential for it to expand, evolve, and take on a whole life beyond what you imagined when you created it.
Your course could potentially become its own business.
This kind of happened for us with Website in a Box, for example.
What starts out as just a course to you might become a book, a live event, and all these other things you're not planning for right now.
We want you to think about building for that kind of flexibility.
Everything might change.