A very common question that I get here at the Course Creators Academy is: how to choose a title for my online course?
If you think that the title of your online course can't be that important, you really want to think twice... 😉
Make no mistake, a good title is the most important factor that determines the overall conversion rate of your course sales page.
In fact, a large percentage of your students will decide to buy your course (or not) just based on the information on the title, thumbnail, price, and nothing more!
A lot of people won't actually read the description or the benefits list, or even the titles of your lessons.
Some will, but a large percentage will not read that extra information. A lot of people will glance over it without much thought, especially if the price of the course is below $100.
As a course creator, what you don't want to end up with is a course title that tells your students nothing about what the course is about.
You also want to avoid titles that don't trigger any emotion or that are too long.
So, after about the importance of having an excellent online course title, you might wonder, "what should I name my online course?"
Coming up with the best online course title isn't that difficult. In fact, it's a bit formulaic.
So, how to name an online course?
Follow one of these formulas to come up with an attention-grabbing online course title:
- The “Breaking News” Headline
- The List Headline
- The Burning Question Headline
- The How-To Headline
- The "In Practice" or "In Depth" Headline
- The "Target Audience" Headline
- The “Ultimate” Headline
- The Mistakes & Failure Headline
- The “Lead with Why” Headline
- The “Do This, Get That” Headline
- The “Here To There” Headline
- The “Reveal Everything” Headline
We will also give you some of the best online course name ideas, examples of how to use them, and an overview of the complete title generation process.
And remember, if you don't have enough space in the title to apply multiple of these ideas, you can always apply them to the subtitle.
You can also check out all the free guides that you have available here at the Course Creator Academy by clicking on the Academy link on the top menu bar.
How To Name Your Online Course?
First of all, let's establish that even though your course title is the most important element of the course sales page, it's not the only thing worth paying attention to.
I have separate guides for every one of those key elements, so I recommend going through them one by one:
- How To Create An Online Course Thumbnail (To Boost Conversions)
- How To Write A High-Converting Online Course Description
- How To Create The Perfect Online Course Sales Page
To choose a good title, we need to follow a specific process. Let's go through the multiple steps one at a time, and then let's walk you through the formulas and give you some examples of some good and bad titles.
Step 1: Identify Your Perfect Student
This process begins with getting clear on who your ideal student is.
- What’s their pain?
- What is their biggest problem?
- What are some of their core demographics?
The better you know your student, the better you can serve them. Not just with a transformational online course but with a sales message that speaks to them.
Step 2: Research Relevant Keywords (+Topics)
Once you’re clear on who your ideal student is, you need to think about the type of questions they type into Google.
Sometimes people do this in a conscious and proactive way.
They literally visit a marketplace like Udemy and write video editing for beginners.
Yet often, they do this in a more subtle, subconscious manner. They venture onto Google and write something like how to create a viral video.
They don’t appreciate their problem, per se. All they know is what they’d like. In this case, a viral video.
Your job here is to figure out both these conscious and subconscious questions, words, and phrases.
Use tools like:
… to find out what these are.
After you go through all these tools, you’ll create a hit-list of words, phrases, topics, and ideas that relate to your and your audience. It’s these words that lay the foundation for your title.
3: Create a Long List of Eye-Catching Titles
This is where the fun begins. 😉
At this stage, there’s no right or wrong approach. The idea here is to create a long list of potential title ideas. We will provide you with some formulas for this.
You may end up with ten titles. You may end up with 110.
It doesn’t matter. Let your imagination roam!
You don’t have to worry about how tight and on-point these are, either. That comes next.
At this point, simply get as many ideas as you can into a spreadsheet.
4: Create a Short List of Eye-Catching Titles
Now that you have your long list of potential titles, it’s time to tighten things up.
This is also when you’ll want to utilize the formulas we share below…
Again, there’s no perfect number here. The point is to narrow your options. Whether this leads you to two… five… ten doesn’t matter.
What matters is you create a list of strong candidates you can test.
5: Make Sure Your Favorites Aren’t Already Taken
Next, you’ll test your final candidates and see which ones perform the best.
But first, you need to make sure none of your favorites are already taken by other course creators. Skipping this step can make it harder to stand out.
Just add your title to Google and see what comes up.
6: Test The Winners on Your Audience
Finally, you want to test your favorite titles on your existing audience:
- Create a poll in your Facebook Group…
- Build a simple sales page and A-B test different titles with paid ads…
- Ask your network for feedback…
- Design a few simple ads and measure how well they convert…
None of this costs money or takes a lot of time.
The point is to take some time to make sure you choose the right title.
It really can become the difference between an average and a highly successful course.
10 Online Course Title Formulas
The above process is the general blueprint to follow that sets you up for success.
But it doesn’t help you craft an eye-catching online course title.
That’s where we turn our attention now with some proven formulas that just work!
The “Breaking News” Headline
This formula is the kind you’ll often see in newspapers and various news channels. It focuses on an event/story and how it’s new, important, and something you need to know about right now!
It’s an interesting option for your course because it strikes hard.
It often provides an immediate hook and captures a lot of attention. This can be used on the title directly but also on the subtitle.
The Formula: [Story] + [Effect]
- Brand New SEO Formula — How To Rank on Page 1 Every Time
- The Exciting New Marketer’s Handbook To Creating Viral Content
The List Headline
This is one of the most common approaches to writing an eye-catching and attention-grabbing online course title. It hooks your audience by suggesting you have some kind of 5-step formula, for instance, or a list of tools/resources to set them up for success.
The Formula: [Number] of Ways To [Desired Outcome]
- High-Converting Facebook Ads In 5 Steps
- Improve Your Productivity With 30 Free Tools
The Burning Question Headline
This is an interesting approach as it centers around asking a thought-provoking question. The aim here is to get your audience to consider a question playing on their mind—whether they’re conscious of it or not—and how it leads them to the solution/desired outcome.
This formula tends to work better as the headline of an article, but it's worth also trying it out as a course title, especially if you have enough space for a longer title in your course platform.
The Formula: [Pose A Provocative Question] + [Desired Outcome]
- Is Email Dead? The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing in 2022
- Are You Leaving Money on The Table? The Only Sales Formula You’ll Ever Need
The How-To Headline
This is another popular approach used by course creators and marketers alike. It centers around some kind of method/framework and how using it leads your audience to the desired outcome (often involving a specific timeframe).
The Formula: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] Like [Specific Timeframe]
- How To Learn Google Adwords in 14 Days
- How To Use Content Marketing To Drive Sales in Less Than 30 Days
The "In Practice" or "In Depth" Headline
There are specific titles that are very common, and students are used to assigning a specific meaning.
For example, titles that end with "In Practice" if the course has a very practical, non-theoretical take on the topic, or "In Depth" if the course goes very deep into the topic in a way that other courses don't.
This simple formula allows you to create short titles that are attention-grabbing and great for SEO.
The Formula: [Course Topic] In Practice or [Course Topic] In Depth
- Excel In Practice
- Wordpress In Depth
The "Target Audience" Headline
This is another popular headline that speaks to the audience by directly identifying them with the title. This is ideal for targeting, for example, beginner or advanced students in your topic.
The Formula: [Course Topic] For [Target Audience]
- Angular For Complete Beginners
- Excel For Advanced Users
- Yoga From Beginner to Advanced
The “Ultimate” Headline
Here’s another popular approach, as it hints that what you have to offer is the only solution your audience needs. It gives them access to all the steps, meaning they don’t have to look anywhere else.
The Formula: The [Ultimate/Complete] Guide To [Total Transformation]
- The Ultimate Guide To Google Ads Training in 2022
- The Complete Digital Marketing Course—12 Courses in 1
The Mistakes & Failure Headline
This is a less popular approach in the course creation world. But it can still capture attention and help you stand out. Rather than focussing on desires, it centers around something your audience wants to avoid.
There might not be enough space on the title to apply this formula, but you can definitively leverage it in the subtitle.
The Formula: [Number] Mistakes People Make [Specific Action]
- 5 Mistakes Course Creators Make During Their Launch Period (and How To Avoid Them)
- 14 Fatal Sales Mistakes & How To Fix Each One
The “Lead with Why” Headline
This approach preys on your audience’s desire to understand why something happens. In some form, we’re all curious. We don't just want to know how something works, but why it works that way…
The Formula: [Why] [Specific Thing] [Outcome/Adjective]
- Why Your Marketing is Broken (and How To Fix It)
- Why You Don’t Need a Business Plan (and What You Need Instead)
The “Do This, Get That” Headline
This is an often underused approach, yet it can help you, and your course stand out. It focuses on how if your student does something, they’ll receive a specific benefit in return.
This technique might be better suited for the subtitle as it might need more words, but it can also work very well on the title.
The Formula: [Do something] and [Benefit]
- Stop Wasting Time and Make Money with Evergreen Content
- Love Yourself and Become Financially Free in 2022
The “Here To There” Headline
This is another interesting and underused approach that helps you stand out from the crowd. It focuses on your audience’s desire to progress—to get from where they are to where they want to be.
The Formula: [Starting point] to [Benefit]
- From Broke To Woke in 30 Days
- From $0 – $1,000 in 14 Days with This Brand New Sales Strategy
The “Reveal Everything” Headline
With this approach, you hint at how you have the answer to your audiences’ problem and that you know something other people in your industry don’t. You have to tread carefully with this one, but if you have the experience and expertise to back up your claims, it can work well.
The Formula: The Secrets of [Your Topic]
- The Secrets of Successful Online Course Creators
Combining multiple ideas in the same headline
These ideas don't have to be used in isolation, you can combine multiple of them in the same title, and indeed, some of the most popular courses do exactly that.
Here are a few examples:
- The Complete Yoga MasterClass - Beginner to Advanced
- 100 Days of Code: The Complete Python Pro Bootcamp
- The Web Developer Bootcamp
Notice, for example:
- the power words Complete and MasterClass that trigger the expectation of an all-inclusive resource that promises to be the only course you will ever need on the topic
- the audience targeting words Beginner and Advanced, telling the students who this course is exactly for
- The word developer, very specifically identifies who the course is for
- The word Pro means that the course is meant for professionals or that it promises to teach you how to become a professional in that topic
Remember that the same principles and formulas also apply to the subtitle, and often even better because, in the subtitle, you will more space to add longer text.
At this point, you might want to go to an online course marketplace and browse some of the most popular courses in any category and look at the titles.
You will notice that they will usually combine several of these ideas; you can go through them to find inspiration for your new course title.
Names for Online Courses: Good and Bad Examples
Whatever industry you’re in—and whoever your audience is—at least a few of these online course formulas will help you hone in on an attention-grabbing title.
It’s easy to get stuck in your head, too, which is why I recently asked those inside the Online Course Creators Academy Facebook Group to share their upcoming course titles.
Here are a few of the titles our fellow course creators shared with me…
(as well as my feedback on how to improve them)
If you would like to join this ever-growing community for free, click here
Title Example - “How To Host An Effective Meeting”
Overall, this is a good course title that follows the “how-to” formula discussed earlier. The problem here is, it isn’t specific enough.
The audience is left wondering how you’ll help them host an effective meeting.
It’s just a little bit too vague and slightly generic, so I suggested changing the title to How To Host An Effective Meeting with Zoom — this subtle change is enough to make the course more specific.
Title Example - “My Health Fix”
This is a good example of a course creator not stepping into their audience’s shoes.
As the creator, you know what your course does—in this instance, it’s about fixing your health. The question is, how do you do this?
What part of your health do you fix? What tools or frameworks do you use?
The last thing you want is for your potential students to have questions like these.
For a title to be effective, it needs to be a lot more clear. Your title needs to explain exactly what your students get and how it benefits them.
Title Example - “How To Save The World, Starting with Yourself”
Although this example has potential—and follows some of the rules discussed above—it still leaves you wondering what’s on offer.
The thought of saving the world is very broad.
After reading this title, I have no idea what the topic is, let alone the tools/resources inside.
Is this about climate change? Diet? Lifestyle? Building an eco-friendly business?
The title is very intriguing, that's for sure, but I think this is more adequate for the title of a novel rather than an informational online course.
I hope this helps everyone improve their course titles, if you want some feedback on your course title, you can always post it on our Facebook Group.
Final Tips: How to Choose a Title for Your Online Course?
I have a few final tips to share based on my own experiences over the years…
- Clear is Better Than Clever: You don’t have to create the next coming of Shakespeare. 😉 Simple is often best when it comes to a strong, eye-catching title. Don’t force fancy words in for the sake of it. Remember, there are no rewards for the most clever title in the marketplace.
- Power Words Are Powerful: In almost any situation, you can add one or two powerful words to enhance your title. Ultimate, Behind The Scenes, Crush, Elite, and Hack, to name just a few. But don’t add such words for the sake of it. Likewise, don’t add too many of them—it’s a fine balance. But do leverage them to bring your title to life.
- Use Free Tools: There are many free tools to help you hone in on keywords and fine-tune your title. Use them to your advantage. From Google Adwords to UberSuggest, CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to ShareThrough… these free tools can become the difference between a good and great title.
- Focus on Benefits (NOT Features): In general, there’s no room for features inside your title. Instead, focus on the benefits behind these features. The benefits evoke an emotion (more on this soon), not a list of technical features!
- Short is Often Best: We live in a busy world with lots of background noise. The last thing your audience needs is a complicated title. Keep it simple. Keep it short! If in doubt, go for a shorter title rather than a longer one.
- Evoke Emotions: Above all, your job is to evoke an emotion in your audience: fear, excitement, curiosity, hope… your title has to capture their attention. This isn’t easy in today’s fast-paced and hyper-competitive world. But it is possible, as this guide shows.
I'm sure these tips will help you come with a list of some of the best online course names for your program.
A good course title plays a huge role in your success…
As you can see, this kind of information can make or break your course, it's not just knowing about your topic well and how to record lessons.
Here at the Course Creator Academy, our mission is to bring course creators all the information that they need to create a successful course business.
All the information in the Academy is free, so go ahead and browse our guides.
We also have a powerful and super easy-to-use online course platform (OnlineCourseHost.com) that gives you access to all the tools you need to create your online courses; no designs or technical skills are needed.
Here are a few guides that you might want to read here at the Course Creator Academy:
- How To Create An Online Course (In 15 Super-Practical Steps)
- How To Choose An Online Course Topic That Sells
- Affordable Online Course Equipment - Complete Practical Guide
- The Ultimate Online Course Launch Checklist
- How To Create The Perfect Online Course Sales Page
- Create A Powerful Brand For Your Online Courses (In 5 Steps)
- How To Sell Online Courses? The Ultimate Guide
- How To Promote Your Online Course - Complete Guide
If you would like to join the Academy and get notified when new guides like this one are available, you are welcome to sign up here:
I hope you found this post helpful, let me know in the comments below what other topics you would like me to cover, or any questions that you have?
Thanks for reading… enjoy the course creation process! 😉
OnlineCourseHost.com Founder & Online Course Creator
You are welcome to ask me any questions in the comments below: 👇👇👇👇