In this quick post, we will explain you how to configure your website to sell online courses using nothing but Restrict and WooCommerce. Setting all up for this is very fast and easy and does not require you to have any special knowledge apart from general familiarity with WordPress while the rest is simply following this instruction and making changes according to your specific scenario.
So, buckle up, here we go…
As mentioned at the beginning, we will be using WooCommerce and Restrict plugin for this. So, before we start, make sure that you have installed and activated the latest versions of WooCommerce (you can download it from here) and Restrict plugin which you can download from your Restrict account.
Once you have installed WooCommerce to your website, make sure that you have configured at least one payment gateway that you will be using for selling WooCommerce products with. WooCommerce has dozens of payment gateways integrations (you can find more about it here) so you can choose whichever suits your needs best. Of course, if you already have WooCommerce installed and your preferred payment method configured on your website, you can skip this step.
Next up, head to WooCommerce Settings > Accounts & Privacy tab and make sure that you have un-checked an option labeled Allow customers to place orders without an account. This is very important step since in order for this whole thing to work, your customers must be registered on your website as this will allow them later to log in and access your online courses.
After this, you should proceed and create a product in WooCommerce. You will be using this product (or multiple ones) as an “entry ticket” for your online course. So, if you will be offering just a single course, then you can settle with a single product, but if you will be offering different courses with different pricing options, then you should create multiple products with different pricing options, each of which will be granting access to your customers to different courses.
With this done, you’re ready to start selling the access to your courses. But, before you start selling anything, let’s first create a course itself.
Regardless whether your courses will be in written form, videos or whatever else, you will be placing your course as a content in a dedicated page or post. So, when you create a page or post that will contain your course, you should restrict it’s content to WooCommerce Users and then select Specific Product option after which you should select a specific product that is customer required to purchase in order to access the content of that page or post. In the screenshot below, you will find a post titled Online Course which has its content restricted to the customers who purchased a WooCommerce product named My Online Course:
Of course, if any other visitor tries to access this post, they won’t be able to see any content which means that only customers that are logged in to your website and have previously purchased this specific product will be able to access the content of this post.
Okay, with everything set up as explained above, you’re basically ready to go and everything will work fine. But why not add a few more extra touches to make even better experience for your customers? For example, you can head to Restrict > WooCommerce tab and you can specify a messages that will appear to the customers who haven’t purchased a required product. So, within the Specific product area you can set up a message saying something like In order to access this course, please purchase [rsc_woo_product_links]. With this, the customer will not only be able to figure out what they need to purchase but also, by clicking the product title, they will be redirected to WooCommerce product page from where they will be able to purchase this product. This will save them quite a few clicks and you will profit on the sheer simplicity of the process. Surely, this text can be anything you see fit for your scenario but the trick is with the [rsc_woo_product_links] placeholder which will display the product title which is clickable and leads to the product page.
Another awesome thing you can do is to make it easier for the customers who made a purchase, to log in to your website and access the content, you can place a login form as part of the message shown to the customers. To do this, head to the Login Form area of Restrict and copy the login form shortcode. After that, head back to the WooCommerce area of restrict and in the same area where you’re defining a message for specific product requirement, simply paste this shortcode. It will look something like this:
As a result, you will be offering customers to log in on that very page instead of redirecting them all over the website and as soon as they log in here, the restricted content will be displayed to them. Sounds awesome, right?
And another thing worth remembering is that Restrict allows you to restrict the content of the whole post category in a few simple clicks (check our documentation about this here).
So, for example, if you have multiple courses with the same restriction criteria, you can simply categorize all the posts that contain your courses with the same category and then apply content restriction to that whole category instead of having to set the criteria for each of the posts individually. Yep, it’s that simple.
Of course, there are lot more things that you can do depending on the requirements of your exact scenario but these are some common practices that will ensure you’re up and running with a few simple clicks and without too much hassle.