Every course creator faces some or another issue with the course hosting platforms that are available.
The issues range from lack of features, lack of support or lack of customisation.
So, many times they feel like developing their own course hosting platform.
Before I tell you the reasons why you should not think of building a course platform by yourself I want to give you a one-liner answer
Should you build your own custom course hosting platform?
The answer is no you should not.
While building a custom course hosting platform may seem easy and fairly straightforward, but I must warn you it is not.
There are so many moving parts involved in the back of a course hosting platform that apparently we don’t see it from the front.
So let’s go ahead and look at the different reasons why you should not build your own custom course hosting platform.
The development team and costs associated with it
The companies building course hosting platforms spend immense time and money on the development of the tool.
Right from ideation of the software, finding different actions associated with different users like what a student can do, what a teacher can do and what an admin can do?
In the development of a course hosting platform, people from multiple disciplines are involved.,
You need an analyst, who will find out the exact requirements and help developers understand these requirements.
These people are primarily involved in the documentation part of software development.
They study the software in-depth and create a document mentioning each and every minute detail.
Then of course you need programmers Who will do the actual development work and then there are user experience designers who will determine how your software will look like and how it will behave.
Finally, to test what the developers have done, you have testers.
Testers will do you in-depth testing, finding out every little small bug present in the system.
And again the development team will fix these bugs.
As you can see there are many people involved in the process and these people will cost you a huge amount of money if you are aiming to build a team that is technically proficient.
Maintaining over a long period of time
Many non-technical course creators feel that creating a course hosting platform is a one-time thing however it’s not.
Even the biggest of the companies face the issue of maintaining their tool over a period of a long time.
For example, in the previous section, we talked about testers finding the bugs.
And it may seem like finding these bugs is a one-time thing, but the thing is when you actually start using the software that you have built you will find many more bugs.
You need a dedicated team of programmers who will keep on weeding out the bugs.
Moreover, technology changes every now and then so you need to be on your toes as far as technology goes.
Using old Technology will increase vulnerability to security issues and threats.
Sometimes even with the good technology and all the security in place hackers will get one step ahead of you so you need your team in place who will be looking after these things on a continuous basis.
What if everything goes wrong, your server crashes and you have lost your data.
The data which contained information of the students, their billing information and their progress in different courses?
You should have some recourse for this kind of disaster.
You should be taking frequent backups, testing those backups time and time again.
Many times it happens that the libraries you have used for developing your tool have some security loophole in them.
Therefore your development team should always be looking out for such kind of information.
As it will help them avoid the disaster because they can plug the loophole before the disaster happens.
Time to market
When you are running a business, time to market is very important.
You should be able to launch your product or service in a timely manner.
And this is true for your courses as well.
So, when you decide to build your own course hosting platform instead of using ready-made platforms like Systeme, New Zenler, Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi, Podia or any other such tool, you are increasing the time to market.
Developing your own course platform will involve a lot of time.
Depending upon the scope of your course hosting platform it can take from 2 months to even a year.
So, the question you should be asking yourself is do you want to wait for such a long time?
Can your business afford the investment in building the course hosting platform and at the same time waiting for your course to launch because your platform is not ready.
This is the call that you have to take.
Currently, tools available in the market to host your course like New Zenler, are available at a very competitive price of $67 per month.
Even the costliest of them, Kajabi costs $149 per month.
Now, you need to find out the cost of developing your own tool and then the cost of maintaining it over a long period of time.
Find out how much is your return on investment and at what time you can recover your money.
This is the very important analysis you should do before deciding and investing in building your own course hosting platform.
So, what should you do?
In my honest opinion, you shouldn’t build your own course hosting platform.
Using already available tools should be the right way to go. Unless you’re very sure of the above points.
Systeme is a free course hosting platform, and not just that, it’s also a sales funnel builder and email marketing solution.
You get all the things you need to start and run your online course business.
I’m hosting more than 2000 students on New Zenler and I’m very happy with the quality of their platform. The issues are far and few; and the support is helpful as always.