Creating an Online Course

Online Course Ideation & Niche Selection - Guide, Steps, Examples

Table of Contents

Spending time strategizing what your online course will be about is something that isn’t stressed enough.

Setting clear goals and objectives for your course will help you make it the best it can be and even help you sell it better.

In this post, we’ll go over:


So, let’s get straight into it:

How to Choose Your Online Course’s Topic

While there are a number of ways to determine the topic of your online course, there are very few tried-and-tested methods that actually work.

Today, we’ll be going over those.

You can also check out our step-by-step guide to choosing an online course topic if you want a more detailed approach.

Brainstorming Topic Ideas

An important thing to note is:

You should not try to zoom in on a single topic when you’re initially going through the process of choosing one. 

Instead, aim to build a rough list of topic ideas that you feel could be worthy of your online course. 

How do you come up with these topic ideas? (Quick exercise)

Well, there are a few things you can think about: 

  • What are you interested in? Write 3 – 4 examples. 
  • What do you have expertise in? Write 3 – 4 examples.
  • What is your profession? Is there some niche or technique related to it that you can teach to others? Write 3 – 4 examples.

Of course, all three of these points can overlap with each other but, by the time you’re done with this exercise, you’ll have a sizable list of topic ideas to go through.

From there, you can start zooming in on specific sub-topic areas and really start thinking about what your course will be about.

It’s a good idea to create an online course that is focused on addressing a single problem or issue that your audience might be facing. 

Hence, once you’ve identified a niche or sub-topic that you want to make a course about…

Step into the shoes of someone who’s interested in that niche: 

  • Is there a recurring issue that your audience might be facing? 
  • Do you have a technique or skill that can help address this issue? 
  • Is this skill already taught on an extensive level or is the information related to it fairly sparse? 

Thinking about the needs of your audience will not only help you choose a profitable course topic, but it will also help you make a course that genuinely benefits your students.

Exploring Specific Niches


Another great way to choose online courses is to look at what popular niches are currently. 

Of course, you can’t just choose any niche and start making an online course about it. 

It’s important that whatever niche you choose, you have at least some knowledge related to it that you can impart to others. 

Moreover, it is very important that if you’re going to choose a popular niche, choose to make an online course about something that isn’t highly addressed within that niche. 

If you make a course in a popular niche about a problem that is already addressed in other courses by already established creators, no one is going to buy your course.

Some Great Examples

Speaking of exploring different niches, let’s have a look at some of the most popular ones: 

Technology and Coding

According to MarketWatch, about 50% of the highest-paying jobs in the US require proficiency in coding and familiarity with technology.

Hence, a ton of people are looking for courses and information on how they can improve their programming and other skills. 

Alongside coding, other niches such as machine learning, data analytics, robotics and web development are also extremely popular.

Entrepreneurship and Marketing

In this age of freelancing and entrepreneurship, everyone is looking to turn their hobbies and interests into profitable ventures. 

Thus, there’s a lot of demand for resources on how one can do so effectively and efficiently. 

Since marketing yourself and entrepreneurship in the digital age is ever-evolving, there is always potential for you to identify certain course ideas. 

This is because techniques and methods within these fields are always changing. 

Arts and Crafts

Art has always played a major role in the human condition and with the rising popularity of websites such as Patreon and Etsy, a lot of people are looking to learn and then sell their art online. 

This is something you can capitalize on. 

However, you must keep in mind that there are tons of courses online related to art and how to make it. 

Thus, you’re going to have to spend some time and identify what’s something that hasn’t been addressed out there very well. 

Once you do that, you can move onto information gathering for your online art course.

Content Writing

Every organization needs content writers and even if you don’t want to work in an organization, one can do quite well just content writing on their own. 

Hence, there’s a high demand for courses that teach specific content writing techniques that are needed to thrive in the digital age. 

Some examples of these are: 

  • Copywriting
  • SEO writing
  • Creative writing
  • Journalistic writing

Entertainment and Media

In the past, in order to be an entertainer, you’d have to spend years getting pushed around in the media industry. 

However, in today’s age of Youtube, Twitch and Spotify, anyone can put up their content and become successful if it gains traction. 

Thus, there’s a lot of demand for courses that teach people how to be successful on platforms such as Youtube. 

You could opt to create technical courses such as…

How to Edit Videos for Youtube” or you could go towards the more promotional side like…

How to Network and Market Yourself on Youtube

The options are endless and your decision should take into account factors such as profitability and your own expertise.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For a more extensive list, check out our 27 online course topic ideas.

Some Tools That Can Help You Out

If you’re running into a wall when trying to determine what your online course will be about, you can choose to take the help of some online tools. 

These tools have many functions but since we’re talking about choosing your course topic for now, let’s talk about how they can help you with that. 

Firstly, if you’re having trouble choosing an online course topic but have chosen a niche, they can help you by suggesting sub-topics that you might not have thought of. 

Secondly, if you have already chosen a course topic, they can still help you out in a number of ways: 

  • They can tell you how difficult it will be for you to stand out with that course topic. 
  • They can offer keyword suggestions that can help you rank on search engines. 

You’ll stand a much better chance of being successful with your online course if you have some data-driven guidance from these tools behind you.



Ahrefs is one of the most popular keyword research and SEO “packages” out there. 

We say “packages” because Ahrefs has a bunch of tools that you can utilize. Thus, it’s a tool that can not only help you choose your online course topic, but it can also help you gather content for it as well as market it. 

Ahrefs’ keyword explorer is the tool you’ll primarily be using to gather information for course ideas in your chosen niche. 

It works by you inputting a keyword and then, Ahrefs comes up with an extensive list of related keyword suggestions/ideas for you. 

You can check out our comprehensive Ahrefs review to learn more about how it can help you as an online course creator.



Like Ahrefs, SEMRush is also a complete package that has a number of different tools under its belt. 

Also just like Ahrefs, SEMRush also has a keyword explorer tool that works in virtually the exact same way. 

However, one edge that SEMRush has over Ahrefs is that the list it provides is, in most cases, much more refined than that of Ahrefs. 

Ahrefs tends to provide bigger lists for a given keyword but then, a lot of the suggestions within those lists are irrelevant or junk keywords. 

So, you’ll have to spend a lot less time sifting through the lists provided by SEMRush as compared to Ahrefs.


Just like SEMRush, the list provided by Moz’s keyword explorer is also quite refined which can save you time and energy. 

However, it’s important to note that since these lists are refined by a certain algorithm, there’s definitely a chance that you might miss out on certain relevant keyword suggestions. 

Moz is also a package with many tools. It’s much more detail-oriented than the other two tools mentioned above and provides industry-level metrics. 

It might be a little too overwhelming if you’re not familiar with SEO and keyword research. 

Check out our detailed comparison between SEMRush and Moz


Not a lot of online course creators put a lot of thought into choosing their online course topic. 

As a result, many of them spend time and resources creating a course that no one wants to buy. 

If you take away anything from this post, take away the fact that if you don’t spend enough time researching if your course topic is profitable, there’s a high chance it won’t be. 

How much time do you spend determining your online course topic? What methods do you use to determine what’s popular and what isn’t? 

Let us know in the comments.