55 Features you want from a hosted solution to sell your videos and courses online

I've started selling some of my courses online about to years ago. In the process I've gotten to use and try several video hosting solutions including udemy, shopify+fetchapp, skilljar and usefedora, as well as some others a bit less deeply. here is the ultimate feature list I would be looking for and comparing such services based on. You'd be surprised how many of these are not supported in many frameworks. usefedora is currently supporting the biggest feature set,  but I also have high praise for skilljar, which are going to start supporting bitcoin very soon.

The various services keep adding more and more features. This kind of competition is good for us course providers, that's for sure :)

Paying Student Experience

  1. Streamable
  2. Downloadable content
  3. Download the video you’re watching
  4. Download all videos at once, or have a page with all the downloads in once place
  5. No DRM
  6. Video speed controls
  7. Video continuous play
  8. Video HD and SD
  9. Mobile viewing
  10. Mobile app 
  11. Certificate of completion(also for multiple viewers)
  12. Ability to SCORE the course and each lesson (very good, OK, not great) so that it shows publicly and I can also see it in the anlytics

Instructor Payment and rights

  1. payment: monthly weekly, or bi weekly. no quarterly nonsense. 
  2. payout to paypal or bitcoin or bank transfer
  3. I keep the full rights to my videos and can resell them anywhere else at my choosing, in parallel.

Potential Customer Experience

  1. Mobile front end
  2. Custom domain
  3. show time per video
  4. show total time of course videos, per video, per section, per course
  5. show video thumbnails
  6. customized css and branding
  7. introduction video 
  8. make some videos free
  9. How they can purchase
  10. Payment in bitcoin, paypal, credit card
  11. Purchase course for 1,10, 100 viewers
  12. Subscription service to watch all videos, monthly, yearly

Instructor Admin Features

  1. Bulk upload tool
  2. Also auto create lessons and attach video as downloadable content
  3. Import from dropbox, amazon s3 or URL
  4. Easily manage lessons order
  5. Reports
  6. Amount to be paid next, and when
  7. Amount taken by course host
  8. Auto generation intro video from current videos
  9. Specific lessons can be LIVE or NOT LIVE, so that when I add a lesson to an existing live course, it’s not seen until it is ready.
  10. Refund 
  11. partial refund
  12. analytics on traffic and combined viewing in all the courses..

Marketing Aids and Lead Generation

  1. coupons 
    1. by date, 
    2. and also by max amount of usages
    3. To specific price ($29)
    4. to specific PERCENTAGE of price (59%)
    5. Apply to all products 
    6. apply to specific product
    7. Apply to future products as well
  2. Contact form
  3. announcements (to each course and all courses together)
  4. Mailing List integration
  5. embed your own javascript to support clicky, Robin (support)
  6. Extract all emails
  7. Contact all customers
  8. Abandoned Cart Handling
  9. Embed Yotpo Reviews and auto yotpo email after purchase
  10. Upsell offer support on adding to cart, or during checkout
  11. Support for snippet “other courses by Roy” in the page.

Three Things to Remember when Doing Lightning Talks

If you are going to do a lightning talk (ten minutes or less, usually), remember three things: 

  1. Write down a list of three things you want people to remember form your talk. THen choose the most important one.
  2. Focus on teaching only that one thing. Everything else will be left on the cutting room floor. 
  3. Have a good story to start with. You have to have a reason why you are doing this talk. A good story should start with a problem that needs to be solved. and then the solution of that problem, and how it relates to this talk.

Added bonus points: 

  1. Unlike in real life, It is better to finish early than too late. The audience will appreciate you saving their time. But they will hate you for wasting it above the allotted slot. Sometimes. 
  2. Be unique. Have something that makes you unique. The subject usually isn't. So only the way of delivery can be. 

You Will Be Cast Aside

If you're a speaker you need to get used to the idea that you are a form of commodity. You can be of high value one day, and low value on another day. The same conference that you spoke at for the past three years may decide not to accept your talks the year after, for a myriad of reasons. Almost always there is nothing personal involved, unless you screwed up something socially, that is.

Why not?

So why would a conference choose not to accept you this year? Here is a just a short set of reasons of the millions possible:

  • They want a fresh face, to rebrand the conference for new audiences
  • The topic you are speaking on is passe this year, or is not the main topic of the conference this year
  • If a training company is organising the conference, they may have an inclination to get speakers who are also training for them. this is just good marketing. sucks, but that's life.
  • A much more well known speaker got the last slot.
  • It costs too much to fly you in.
  • You got low scores in the previous conference.
  • There are new organisers and they have no idea who you are.
  • You submitted too late, and all the great talk topics have been claimed. so your topic is already done by someone else, even if they are not as well known.
  • You ask for payment, when others don't. (pretentious if they don't know you)
  • Others ask for payment, and you don't (perception of low quality)

What can you do?

  • If you realize your subject of talk is becoming less relevant, it's time to reinvent yourself, learn some new things that people will find useful and start talking about them. If I have enough, I will write a whole post just about reinventing yourself.
  • If this is your first time at that conference, and you usually ask for money, maybe don't ask for it. let them see all the good things you bring, then ask for money next time.
  • Find new conferences and venues.