The Complete Guide to Naming Your Online Course

There are many things to consider when choosing a name for your online course.You'll want to choose something that is catchy and memorable so that it provides brand recognition.

The Complete Guide to Naming Your Online Course

There are many things to consider when choosing a name for your online course. You'll want to choose something that is catchy and memorable so that it provides brand recognition.

This ultimate guide will teach you how to name your course so that it attracts more students.

Step 1: How to start the creative process by thinking about your course content

Woman at home deep in thought

Sometimes course creators get stuck before even starting to create name. This step will help you to start the creative process by taking a 50,000-foot view of the substance of your course.

And don't think that you have to actually have your course finished before starting the rest of the online course creation process. You can think about what you want to have in your course and brainstorm your course name based upon what you think you might want to include.

A benefit of coming up with a name before the actual course content is that a good course title can help you to focus your content so that it meets the promises made by the course's title.

Keep in mind that you're not actually drafting course names at this point. Instead, you're organizing your thoughts to help you apply the later steps where you'll actually come up with a killer course title.

What is the main focus of your online course?

Focus the goal on the horizon

Your course name should quickly let potential customers know what the course is about.

What are the key topics that will be covered?

Vintage keys

A great course title accurately reflects the content of the course. You don't want to use a course title that makes learners think that they will learn something that's not in the course.

How will the course be structured?

Businessman building a structure with wooden cubes

The structure of the course can help determine your name. You might want to say if it's a mini-course, email course, or another type of course in the title.

What is the target audience?

Target audience

It's important to think about your target audience when choosing a name. The name of your course is an important part of your marketing, so you'll want to make sure it's something that a prospective student will be easily drawn to.

Once you write down answers to these general questions, which sort of provide guide rails to help you create a title that makes sense based on your content, you can continue with the rest of the process.

Web searching

An important step that is often overlooked by online course creator rookies is to look at the phrases that people use to search for your course topic.

Researching what people are actually searching for can help you to make sure that your course name has a better chance to reach the top of Google.

Keyword research

Keyword research

This process is called keyword research. The goal is to find popular queries in google results to increase the number of site visitors that learn about your course through search.

Adapting your content to what search engines are looking for is called Search Engine Optimization (often abbreviated "SEO"). The goal of this step is to help to create an SEO-optimized title by finding popular search queries for your topic.

Unfortunately, the search engines do not give out this information easily. Tools are usually necessary to help you to come up with keywords to potentially use in your course name.

The better tools can be pretty expensive, but in this stage, you can get by using free tools. After all, you're looking for general terms at this point so you don't need the extra specificity provided by the paid tools.

Free keyword research tools

Woodworking tools

Good free starting points are Ubersuggest's free version and Google's keyword planner. Note that these tools are free for a reason.

Ubersuggest will try to upgrade you to their paid version (something we don't recommend for this step) and Google's goal with their keyword planner is to encourage you to advertise on their platform.

The keyword planner used to be a free tool available to anyone, but it's now only free if you've already set up an ad account. Setting up this account requires a credit card, but nothing will be charged if you don't run any ads.

Find your keywords

Male hands putting puzzle together

Whether you choose to use either of these free tools or a paid alternative, the basic steps are the same.

First, come up with a few search phrases that you think people would use when looking for your online course. Enter the terms into the tool. Some tools allow you to enter multiple phases into a search while others only allow one at a time. Results are usually best when you enter multiple terms because it helps the tool narrow down the keywords it will suggest. Analyze the results. The most important statistic to pay attention to is search volume. This is usually a number that represents the number of searches performed for the keyword in an average month.

You'll want to focus only on the keywords with the greatest volume. It's usually not worth focussing on a term that only gets 10 or so searches per month because that is not a big enough volume to increase your online course sales.

Write down all of the high-volume keywords.

Assess your keywords

Male hands with wooden happy faces

Now that you have identified some higher volume keywords it's time to ask yourself whether any of them would make sense to use in an online course name.

Remember to consider the initial considerations mentioned in Step 1.

Some keywords will be usable and some won't. It's also possible that it might feel like none of them will make sense to use in the course title.

If that's the case, don't be discouraged and feel like this step was a waste of time.

Remember that this is a multi-step process and we'll be bringing all of the information together in later steps to come up with a great course title.

This step also helped you to learn more about your own target audience and what they are looking for to help you in marketing efforts once you launch your online course.

Step 3: How to research your competition or use your existing audience to find potential course names

Competition

Now that you have some general ideas of what your online course title should promise and what potential customers are typing into search engines it's time to see what kinds of titles your competitors are using for similar online or related courses.

The goal isn't to copy anyone else's title as you look at your competitors for example course names. Your goal in this step is to look for trends among your competition.

If a lot of your competitors are structuring their titles in a certain way or using specific phrases in their titles then it's likely that those phrases help a potential student to see that the course will meet that student's needs.

Look for your competitor's courses

Spying businessman

How do you find your competitors' courses? You probably already know of some competitors and you can find more by using the keywords that you found in Step 2.

See, I told you that it wasn't a waste of time even if you couldn't use the keywords in your title.

Use your existing audience

Training seminar

Don't forget that you can also gain a lot of this information from your current audience if you already have a blog, social media following, or course or coaching business.

If your existing audience is using certain phrases when they ask you if you offer help with a certain topic it would probably be beneficial to use the phrases that they are using when you are creating your course title.

Blueprint

Here's where it all comes together. It's time to use all of the information that you've gathered so far to help you to put information into our online course title template so that you can come up with a good title.

Two-part course titles

We recommend picking two-part course titles that have a title and a subtitle. An example is the name of this step:

Online course title blueprint: How to use power words and related keywords to attract people's attention.

The title is the part of the name before the colon (":") and the subtitle is the part of the name after the colon.

This is the title: This is the subtitle.

The title is usually a phrase that is a catchy name and the subtitle is usually a complete sentence that is strongly connected to your title.

The title lets you be creative and catchy and the subtitle allows you to be more specific. This template helps you to come up with a unique title based on your research.

How to attract attention in your course title

Attention

Your students are interested in the result they will get from your course. As difficult as it is to hear, they aren't that interested in your process or the theory behind it.

A title that attracts people's attention focuses on what the learner wants to gain, not how the teacher wants to teach it. Keep this in mind as you work through this template.

Use a results-based title

Achieving best results

Try to make a results-based title, but if you can't work a result into the title itself, try to place a result into the subtitle. Your result has to be there somewhere because that's what the potential learner wants to get from taking your course.

We used a result in our subtitle in the example for this step. Attracting people's attention is our result.

Should I use alliteration or clever grammar in my course title?

Woman studying in library

The names of some online courses contain alliteration or other clever grammar techniques.

Although these can add cuteness and help people to remember the name of your online course, they don't work with every course so don't get stuck thinking you have to be so clever. If clever grammar doesn't work, skip it and move on.

It's more important that your course title expresses a clear idea rather than being overly clever. Notice that we didn't use any clever grammar or alliteration in our example. That doesn't mean it's better not to; it's just not always necessary.

How to create your title

Installing electric light bulb

Your online course title should contain power words.

These attract attention or otherwise stand out and make your course title easy to remember and unique. Creativity is good, but don't be so creative that your course title becomes confusing.

Good course titles communicate that the course contains a unique process or system.

Students like to buy courses that are made of steps, systems, or processes.

There are certain phrases that you can add to your course title that communicate that your course is different from everything else out there.

Here are some examples:

  • 101
  • Academy
  • Accelerated
  • Advanced
  • Alchemy
  • Attract
  • Blueprint
  • Breakthrough
  • Build
  • Catalyst
  • Code
  • Control
  • Club
  • Complete
  • Create
  • Den
  • DNA
  • Elevate
  • Elite
  • Empire
  • Engine
  • Even if
  • Explode
  • Fast
  • Field
  • Guide
  • Formula
  • Freedom
  • From scratch
  • Game plan
  • Get
  • Grow
  • Harness
  • How to
  • Implementation
  • In ## Days
  • Machine
  • Master plan
  • Masterclass
  • Mastery
  • Maximizer
  • Method
  • More
  • Lab
  • Path
  • Powerful
  • Project
  • Proven
  • Quick
  • Regain
  • Secrets
  • Signature
  • Smart
  • Society
  • [Start] to [Finish] (replace with your own start and finish terms)
  • Step-by-Step
  • System
  • Ultimate
  • Uncover
  • Undercover
  • University
  • Unlimited
  • Without

If you can't get started, a good tip is to start with the word "The" then end with a power word to see what happens.

Granted, some of the power words work best at the beginning of the title so if you're still stuck try starting with those and see what comes to mind.

Try to incorporate the ideas from your search keyword and competitor research.

How to create your subtitle

Two engineers studying house drawings

Your subtitle allows you to get more specific in your course name and integrate the keywords you found in your research while promising a specific result.

Since this is the longer part of the title, you're better able to use search terms and your unique value proposition when writing this portion.

Many of the power words from the list above will also work in a subtitle. Use them, along with the ideas you gathered in your research to come up with a subtitle that gives greater details concerning what your online course is about.

If you're stuck, it's best to start your subtitle with "How to" and go from there. This is actually our preferred method of adding a subtitle to our course name.

Starting with "how to" tends to open up your creativity to start writing words on the page that will lead to the discovery of your final course subtitle.

Don't be afraid to change your subtitle once you start writing it. You might start with "how to" but then get a better idea using one of the other power words as you work through the process.

Keep in mind that creativity is a process and, although creating a course name might sound easy at first, it can get a bit more complex once you begin to write what will become your great course name.

Step 5: Finalize your great course title

Complete the white puzzle

Once you have decided on what you think would make a good elearning title, it's time to finalize your decision before committing to it.

Did you use someone else's name?

Colorful children's name tags

The first thing you want to do is make sure that no one else is using your course name. If you want to be absolutely sure that your title is not violating any copyright, it may be a good idea to perform a copyright search for your title.

Did you use a brand name in your title?

Brand name

Ensure that you are not using anyone else's brand name in your title to avoid any copyright concerns, even if your course is about the brand name.

As an example, there used to be a lot of courses about how to sell on Amazon that actually contained the name "Amazon" in the course title.

This really helped for SEO purposes, but this violated Amazon's copyrights and Amazon legally compelled the course sellers to change their names.

That's also why you now see a lot of courses about selling products on Amazon that use words like "Amazing" or other words that start with "Ama-" in them rather than the legal brand name.

Not all companies seem to be concerned with their brand names in the course title. There are a lot of courses out there about Facebook Ads that have the word "Facebook" in the title.

However, even if a company doesn't mind their name being in a course title today, it doesn't mean they won't change their mind tomorrow so it's usually best just to avoid using brand names in your course title, even if others seem to be doing so without any consequences.

That way you'll never have to worry about changing all of your marketing, your website, and your course if you are ever forced to change your course name due to copyright issues.

What do other people think?

What is your opinion?

Share your potential course title with your close friends, family, business partners, and/or employees to see what they think, but keep in mind that they haven't learned as much about creating course titles as you have.

They might have a valid concern or they just might not understand what you were trying to accomplish with your course title.

Even though it's important to gain feedback, it's up to you to decide the value of their feedback.

Are they cynical?

Woman on beach with two thumbs down

They might even feel that your title sounds "scammy" because it sounds like how people try to sell things online.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been scammed online and simply have a bad feeling about the sound of online products and online advertising even if there isn't anything scammy about the product or advertising.

But someone saying this might actually be a compliment because your goal is to sell your course online so it's not a bad thing if your title sounds like other successful online marketing.

Of course, that's assuming that your online course actually delivers everything that your title and other marketing promises, and you're not literally scammy. We do not want any of our readers to actually be scammy.

Did you make an obvious mistake?

Shocked businessman

Most importantly, the people that give you feedback on your course title might realize something about your title that wasn't clear to you.

Sometimes we get so much "in the zone" when being creative that we don't see something that's clear to others that are less attached to the process.

As an example, I once thought I had come up with a great name for a new website and I even bought the domain name, but when I ran the idea past a friend I learned that the phrase had a double meaning that I wasn't aware of.

Sometimes double meanings can be clever if both meanings relate to your product, but sometimes the second meaning isn't something that you want to be associated with.

I was relieved that I was able to scrap the idea before investing any more time or effort into it.

If you've completed all of the preceding stages and have yet to find any concerns with your course name, congratulations! You're finished.

If problems are discovered, return to Step 4 and try again.

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