Today I’m pleased to announce that selected courses from Tuts+ are now available for individual purchase on courses.tutsplus.com for just $15 each, together with a growing range of free courses. This is all about additional choice: previously you could subscribe on Tuts+ Premium to access all courses but only for a limited period of time, and now you have the extra alternative of buying an individual course for long-term access.
This is a fairly big change for us, so I wanted to take a few minutes to share why we’re doing it and how input from our readers has guided these decisions. I’d also like to explain our philosophy on simple, straightforward pricing, and why you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a discount coupon.
Why are we doing this?
There are several reasons why we’re making courses available like this, but the most important is tied to Envato’s #1 value: “When the community succeeds, we succeed”.
A few months back we asked for feedback on Tuts+ via a detailed survey. We were amazed and honoured by the collective response: over 4,300 of our readers took the time to complete the survey and in doing so provided a rich set of insights into who they are, why they’re visiting our sites, and how we can help them succeed.
One vital insight was that although all-access subscriptions to Tuts+ Premium work well for many of our users, there are also plenty of people who would prefer to buy courses individually.
This finding made a lot of sense to us, especially when “a lack of available time” emerged as the #1 challenge faced when learning online. It also helped explain the slightly baffling results in our exit surveys, where departing members of Tuts+ Premium rated the courses very highly yet still chose to leave. Put simply, the way we offered access to courses didn’t suit many of you.
Having been impressed by the community’s efforts in providing us with feedback, we felt strongly that Tuts+ should take immediate action to improve. The new courses platform is a direct result.
How did we make this happen so quickly?
To enable individual purchases of courses, our team hand-picked a selection of Tuts+ Premium video courses on popular topics such as development, design & illustration, and photography. We also built a shiny new home for these video-based courses so you can enjoy them on all major web browsers and mobile devices with a nice smooth user experience.
Given the desire to move quickly, we chose to keep the platform fairly minimal to start with, but you can expect to see plenty of new features and improvements over time. The initial catalogue of 46 courses will also grow over time, drawing upon the 240+ courses already on Tuts+ Premium as well as the many new courses our content team publishes every month.
What does this mean for Tuts+ Premium?
If you’re a fan of the current all-access subscriptions, then you can safely ignore this change! Your Tuts+ Premium subscription continues to be a great way to access everything, just like before. But if you’re someone who likes the idea of individual courses (or if you aren’t sure how much time you’ll have for learning), then the new courses site is designed for you.
Why did we choose to price everything at $15?
Everyone here feels strongly about helping as many people as possible to learn online, so we wanted to keep the price very affordable, regardless of where in the world you are located and what income you have. We also see value in being simple and straightforward to deal with.
For example, some of our competitors are addicted to discounts. They price high to create a perception of value and then use hefty time-limited discounts to drive immediate action. This is effective because it taps into psychological levers like “anchoring” and “scarcity”, but personally I don’t like those tactics because they harm everyone involved: it’s arguably quite manipulative, and both companies and customers get hooked on ever-increasing discounts. It also erodes your ability to trust prices (and brands) since only suckers pay list price in the “high-low pricing" game.
I believe that learning and self-education is too important to trivialise with gimmicks, so for Tuts+ courses we made a decision not to play the discount game and instead to embrace a simple, straightforward price that offers exceptional value to everyone, everyday.
To help us do this, we asked our community what price they perceive as being (i) too cheap to trust, (ii) great value, (iii) getting expensive, and (iv) too expensive. And surprisingly, the responses were remarkably consistent, regardless of employment status, age, or gender. Based on that data, we’ve chosen $15 as a price point that is great value to almost everyone. We could make more money pricing higher but that’s not our main objective. We’d rather maximise impact, which is about having as many people as possible learn these skills (which is why we also offer a growing range of free courses).
Now it’s over to you!
I’m pretty proud of our new courses platform, and I hope it opens up new learning opportunities for our many users who prefer per-course versus subscription access. Ultimately you’ll be the judge of how effective this initiative is, so please head over to courses.tutsplus.com to check it out. Let us know what you think in the comments below… or simply vote with your wallet and buy a course!
Update: The introductory price for courses referred to above ($15) no longer applies. As of the 7th March 2014, course prices have been changed to $25 each.