Restricting access to Learndash courses

There are often questions in the Learndash Facebook Group about how to give students access to Learndash courses, so here is a short overview of some ofthe options. Since there are a few, this should help you choose, plus plan for the future, because what will be best when you start out might not be the best long term. If you haven’t started making a course yet, take a look at the Learndash website.

Easiest and quickest way to sell courses with Learndash

Learndash comes with a built-in facility to allow students to pay for and enrol on courses, via PayPal without anything extra, or via Stripe with a free add-on. This is the simplest method and requires users to create an account and will restrict access on a course by course basis. Use this if you want to get up and running quickly and only sell courses. It assumes you won’t be bundling courses or selling non-Learndash products. If you want to sell bundles of courses, or expiring subscriptions, or products unrelated to Learndash too, you’ll need extra tools.

Sell Learndash Course Bundles

For selling bundles, (or if you want more control over the checkout and account creation process), you can use Woocommerce, with the free Learndash Woocommerce integration, creating Woocommerce products with more than one course. You can also customise the checkout experience for better user experience with a bit of fettling, e.g. to streamline it for digital products which need no address (but they could add one later if they want to print an invoice for example). This is the setup I’m currently using to sell my Running For Beginners online course << IF YOU CLICK THIS LINK to nose around, PLEASE dwell a while and maybe click other pages in the menu so google doesn’t penalise me for high bounce rates – THANKS!!

Note that Woocommerce and Learndash need to be on the same domain; on my setup, I use a marketing site on the top domain, with Woocommerce checkout links on the sales page buttons which take the user straight to the checkout on the subdomain where Learndash (and Woocommerce) reside. My main reason for choosing this setup is keeping the price down during startup.

Woocommerce is quite intensive unless you know what you are doing, so you may want to look into methods to dequeue Woocommerce scripts on Learndash post types etc. to speed up your site, but it’s a bit outside the scope of this article – I used a plugin that deactivates other plugins depending on page or post or post type. Comment below if you need more info on this.

Sell Learndash Subscriptions

If you want to sell subscriptions, you can use a number of different plugins, e.g. Woocommerce subscriptions, Memberpress, Paid Memberships Pro etc. with official Learndash integrations. Some of these plugins are premium priced plugins (not free).

Sell Learndash Courses with 3rd party cart systems

If you want to offload the marketing and cart process, to reduce load on your site, or for pretty templates ready-made, you could pay for something like Samcart (also Thrivecart in the works as of time of writing), and use the official Learndash integrations. Check the situation with selling course bundles though.

Sell Learndash via CRM / tagging integration.

For when you want to get all fancy and have money to spend, you can use a paid-for 3rd party CRM / user tagging system like Drip or Infusionsoft, or a number of other providers (which is your favourite? Comment below). The latter will do the whole landing page / checkout too I believe. To achieve this, you’ll need WPFusion or similar which will apply a tag to the student’s email address in your chosen 3rd party system and apply the courses to their user. The advantages of this setup are numerous, but it is more expensive. You can easily keep the marketing and cart site server separate from the Learndash server, reducing load – important if you have a very busy learning site. You can also start automating student messaging based on progress through courses in a very powerful, multi-rule way, e.g. “has reached lesson 3 AND has not logged in for a week”. The scope of this setup is incredible, helping with student completion rates / retention and cross-sell marketing of other courses. However, learning it all will take a long time though, so be ready to spend money on experts or have lots of spare time.

What did I miss?

Comment below and I’ll update the article accordingly.

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