OSTraining has launched a free 40-video WordPress Beginner course on YouTube, thanks to a sponsorship from GoDaddy. The open source software education site has created more than 3,000 videos for PHP platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal. This particular course, which has all new information for WordPress 4.7, was inspired by the company’s success in launching a free Drupal 8 course in 2016.
“The original idea was a happy accident,” CEO Steve Burge said. “We did a Kickstarter project based around the launch of Drupal 8. That involved about 200 free videos, spread over several classes. The main class was ‘The Drupal 8 Beginner class’ and it went viral, getting over 1 million views in a year.”
The Kickstarter campaign raised more than $12K towards its $10K funding goal. It was the first time OSTraining produced a free course. Once the videos were released, Burge and his team were amazed by how popular the course became.
“It led us to re-think our business approach,” Burge said. “Rather than putting everything behind a paywall, we realized the power of giving away our best beginner material. From a business perspective, that made sense so long as we could find a sponsor.”
OSTraining worked with Topher DeRosia to film the WordPress Beginner course after securing a sponsorship from GoDaddy. Although the company has done multiple versions of its beginner class over the years, with updates for changes in each release, WordPress 4.7 presents a new opportunity for content longevity.
“We hope that by targeting 4.7 this class will last longer than most, because the new release cycle means a new version won’t be here in a couple of months,” Burge said.
In addition to beginner topics like how to install WordPress, write posts, and use the media library, the course also includes information on getting started with WordPress plugins like NinjaForms and Jetpack. The last few videos cover more advanced topics like security, spam, staging, and performance.
Although the official WordPress YouTube channel doesn’t have much educational content for beginners, the WordPress community in general is gaining a stronger presence on YouTube. Searching for “WordPress” turns up more than five million videos in many different languages. Educational topics like “How to make a WordPress website” and other tutorials are the most popular.
WordPress businesses are also starting to see the value of having a solid presence on YouTube. Last year Automattic started beefing up its channel with a steady stream of new videos, including ads and tutorials for WordPress.com. Other large WordPress companies like iThemes, WPBeginner, and Yoast are publishing hundreds of free videos to YouTube, generating millions of views and thousands of subscribers.
After finding success on YouTube with the free Drupal 8 videos, OSTraining has also launched a free Magento 2 course and has a free Joomla course on the way.
“Getting more than 1 million views of the Drupal class really opened our eyes,” Burge said. “It’s almost like the difference between free, open source software and expensive, closed source software. You can reach so many more people by giving it away free.”