They existed even before 2019, B.C. (where B.C. stands for Before COVID), Online Course Platforms were already a thing. They were created for the same purpose: to sell and create online courses.
The majority of courses back then were more niche-oriented, such as leadership seminars, wholesomeness and self-help classes. There were also classes and courses that covered normal topics.
These classes were designed to bring education to the most convenient and comfortable places.
People who were housebound due to multiple reasons (maybe childcare or health problems) could keep studying and learning despite not being able to go out. Due to its flexibility, people who are unable to attend school regularly due to scheduling conflicts or duties could still complete courses.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. However, people still needed to learn, and online course platforms and other eLearning platforms made it possible for a lot to continue their studies.
In the early times of the pandemic, the industry saw a 221% increase in new course creators on one Course Platform. This growth may be shared across multiple online platforms.
Everybody from Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to human resource professionals and proper educational institutions has used a course platform or two during the pandemic.
Not only that, but the pandemic also showed the potential of these platforms as a way to earn extra profit. They say that knowledge is wealth. Online courses platforms have given this maxim legs and allowed people to convert their knowledge into wealth.
There are many online courses that people can take. You can find everything from life coaching to make your life easier, to tutorial classes on the more academic subjects such as Algebra. You can even learn how to make your courses more lucrative.
Online courses are everywhere, and if you want to get in on the action, the next question is which platform you will use to share that treasure in your noggin.
Ross Herosian has posted a video review on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. For those who like a visual experience, To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below, which compares it to some competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform Best Thinkific Sites
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one the most popular options for selling, hosting and building your courses.
Thinkific is unique because you can feel that they are passionate about what they do. You can feel that they are more focused on giving the best learning experience they can to both the creators and their audience and that earning money is needed to keep things afloat.
How could you not? After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Thinkific offers a free service that is just as good as the paid lower-tiered.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. The free plan lets users see what they’re about to do without making any investments.
This free plan has one limitation. You can only create one course. I find that this is sufficient.
Thinkific also does not take any cut for a transaction fee whenever a user makes a sale on the platform. All profits go to content owners.
Thinkific ensures that all profits are immediately available after they have been sold. That means that course makers and content creators can use their earnings directly, with no need to wait for a quote or a certain threshold to reach before being able to touch the money.
This is a testament to how Thinkfiic views its customers.
Let me start by saying that almost all online courses platforms have the same features. First, there is the course builder, then there is the website builder for your courses, and then the marketing features.
The only difference between them is how well they work, along with some bits and bobs that make the product unique. These are the features that Thinkific is known for.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. The creation part of Thinkific’s features is the most important. They ensure that online courses are as interactive as possible.
Thinkific’s user interface is very easy to get into. It’s intuitive and logical. Users will have no problem navigating everything. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Best Thinkific Sites
Users who love to check on analytics and performance will love this interface, as everything is placed and organized neatly on the dashboard.
From the dashboard, you can see how well you are doing in revenue, student accounts and sign-ups, student course enrollments, and much more.
If we are to nitpick something out of this, it would be that the aesthetics of the interface can be done a little bit better.
As mentioned above, Thinkific’s main focus is on the creation side of course creation. The platform makes course creation easy. Thinkific lets you try all the features of the course creator even if it is a free plan.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These media types include quizzes and surveys, assignments, pdfs, content, and student discussion areas that allow for peer-to-peer interaction.
Other highlights include scheduling of course content as well as some automation in terms of drip-feeding content.
The marketing features of Thinkific are where I fear the platforms will fall flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
That’s not all. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. The overall checkout experience is pretty clunky.
What’s more is that there is really nothing you can do about this part since it has very limited customization.
Even email marketing features lag behind the competitor. It is very basic and you can only notify your students about new products or courses, send them progress reports and update them on their course status.
However, not everything is bad, as Thinkific can integrate multiple third-party applications. These third-party applications are not meant to be used as bandages. They can be used to address some of the problems in Thinkific’s marketing department.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
It makes sense considering the platform’s repeated promises to focus on course creation. It would be wiser to pour all resources into ensuring they got that part right and get third-party apps to tackle the marketing part.
Although I’ve already spoken highly of Thinkific’s Free Plan, it’s still a limited plan and far less than Thinkific’s paid plans. It’s not like the rest of the competition.
Thinkific is a lower-cost option that allows you to create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students. This is in keeping with their mission to focus on education. Best Thinkific Sites
As such, if you want to use a more affordable plan and have many content ideas you think will sell, Thinkific should be one of the best matches for you.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 per month||$374 per month|
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
Thinkific offers a more complex and customized plan, Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes what you know of Thinkfiic and makes it a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform.
Of course, it still maintains its dedication to course building, teachers, and students.
You will need to contact the sales team of Thinkific Plus to request this upgrade. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. You will also discuss the cost of this upgrade with them.
Every Thinkific Plus plan has its own unique cost, so different Plus plans may have slightly different prices. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will give you the features of the most expensive plan as well as these additional features:
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific’s free package is permanently free. It also is not just a glorified free trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- Thinkific does not ask for transaction fees whenever a sale is made. Content creators own all earnings. Creators can even claim and use these funds as soon as they arrive in their account.
- Thinkific is flexible when it comes to payment options. They offer different payment options for different types and types of students.
- Thinkific’s premium plans remove the restriction on the number of courses. In fact, users can create an unlimited number of courses and enroll an unlimited number of students in these courses.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- Speaking of easily getting the hang of, Thinkfic’s course builder is similarly easy to use. It also allows for many course materials, making it possible to have your course as exciting and engaging as possible.
- In the name of engagement, Thinkific also gives you the ability to put incentives such as leaderboards, awards, and scores to motivate your students.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not user-friendly. You may need to take some time and read guides to learn how to use the tools.
- The marketing features of Thinkifiic make it hard to recommend for people who are more focused on propping up businesses on the platform. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. Best Thinkific Sites
Thinkific is one the most popular online courses platforms on the market. It is a great platform for beginners as well as those who are looking for more course-focused platforms. Despite its limitations, it still competes with other more “advanced and feature-rich” platforms.
In my opinion, its strongest suit would be its focus on providing the best course experience and free plan. As for its weakness, Thinkfiic has already provided some kind of solution to it. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
You’re searching for an online course creation tool that creates courses from scratch. Thinkific is the best online course creation software.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. Its main focus is on productivity and sales. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying your operations.
Kajabi’s top features include automations and pipelines, email marketing and a mobile application.
The platform allows you to sell a variety of products. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
It is no wonder that Kajabi also has advanced marketing features, the most prominent of which include sales funnels (OVO pipelines), email marketing, and automations. This allows Kajabi users to sell their products more easily.
As such, Kajabi is one of those rare products where the “all in one” platform fits. It’s a course-creation platform that offers more than just decent marketing features. It even has automation features that could help you focus more on marketing or creating than the menial tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. For starters, it has one of the more expensive platforms available in the market. The lowest plan is $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. The lowest plan allows you to sell only 3 products.
Kajabi’s features are not as rich, particularly in the community engagement and gamification departments. So you might need some third-party integrations to address these issues.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. Even more, they have one of the most expensive courses in the market. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. Best Thinkific Sites
So let’s take a look at how good Kajabi features are starting from the interface.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It’s minimalist, clean, and modern. Most of the available features can be accessed through 3 to 4 clicks. For easier accessibility, the page has a search assistant to quickly find the features and the tools inside the application.
Kajabi’s pages also load faster. It provides for a smoother experience and does not get in the way of your work.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. You can choose among these types for whichever suits your needs. (i.e. For long courses with long content, short courses for product launches.
Kajabi offers blueprints that are similar to templates for a simpler building experience. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. You can organize them depending on their types and content. You can have text and slideshows in one place, and audio and video in another.
Kajabi offers cloud storage via Dropbox and Google Drive, so you don’t have to worry.
Kajabi has robust and extensive marketing features.
Of course, it has the usual stuff of providing coupons in a flexible manner, which as we have established, is an old, tried and tested marketing strategy.
If you want to market through email, Kajabi has a powerful email marketing solution that is already built in the platform which has plenty of features in and of itself. You can even have email templates ready for the different functions you want it to.
Another conversion tool they possess are their pipelines, which can help you convert more customers and increase your sales. They are not that hard to use and even the platform has provided various templates that can easily be used by their customers.
Kajabi also has a dedicated affiliate program for users of a higher plan than the basic one. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It organizes both affiliate links and affiliates in its own category, making it easier to track down and find them.
Kajabi’s lack of an integrated payment solution is the main problem. Instead, users will need to rely on integration from other payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and BitPay.
This is a huge disappointment considering how poor their marketing tools and how adept their checkout at upsells, bumps offers, downsells is.
Although it is not perfect, Kajabi has a lot to offer that can be used for both marketing and course creation. As such, it is easy to see that these features are good for almost everybody who are serious about making an online business.
Potential users must be prepared to pay a high price for these tools.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is among the most expensive service when it comes to the course creation market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month and this plan doesn’t even include unlimited courses. Best Thinkific Sites
However, if you think that Kajabi’s steep price as well as its more advanced features like automation is something you really need, then of course, it is the customer’s choice at the end of the day.
|$119 monthly billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros & Cons
- Kajabi, as its name suggests, is an all-in-one content creation and marketing tool. It provides various tools to create courses, like a drip course or a mini-course, and combine them with different marketing automations to ensure they sell.
- Kajabi provides blueprints and templates to help you get started on your project.
- Kajabi allows you to sell other digital products like coaching, webinars, communities, podcasts, etc. It is also one of the best places to do so.
- Kajabi also includes an assessment function that allows students to grade their performance and monitor them. This feature is especially useful when used in conjunction with drip courses. Drip courses allow you to offer courses that are only accessible when the correct grades have been achieved.
- Kajabi’s accessibility is pretty good thanks to its mobile app, which students can use to access classes and lessons whenever and wherever they are. It even includes a notification feature that can help with alerts.
- Kajabi has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for their customers. This feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive content.
- Kajabi has an automation feature that can automate offers purchase, course or membership post-completion, assessment completion, and much more. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- Kajabi has one of the strongest marketing features among the content and course-building platforms available right now.
- Kajabi’s Email marketing is one of the best in the business. There are many email templates that you can use in various situations. Kajabi also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. Best Thinkific Sites
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. The pipeline features automate the selling of the products and “funneling” your customers to where you want for better conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s pricing is not to be laughed at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It offers only 3 products and 3 pipelines.
- Kajabi doesn’t offer certificate of completion for courses, which some users would like to have as proof that they took the class.
- Kajabi has no page templates for designing landing pages, thank you pages, checkout pages, forms, and other pages. This means that users will have to create all pages from scratch using the page builder. As such, it will be very difficult for new and non-tech users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi does not have a local payment gateway. You must rely on Stripe and Paypal integrations to take payment from orders.
- Kajabi has some great features but it still lacks some key features, particularly in the community section. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They provide the best marketing experience. Their pipeline and automation features can be the envy of other platforms and something users would want to have if they want the best rate of conversions.
Kajabi has its faults, however. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. Best Thinkific Sites
Kajabi can also be quite expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. It is perfect if you are looking for a platform for its marketing features. It might be a bit expensive, but Kajabi’s features can be worth it.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. It is also an all-in-one platform that has powerful marketing features. Online courses, coaching, webinars and community are just a few of the many products that you can sell through this platform.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. It might even be one of the most affordable. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. This might be their way to offset the high price of its powerful features.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Podia offers a lot of features.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. It is designed to have all the other features accessible within 3 clicks. It is so easy that almost no learning curve is required to use Podia’s interface.
This makes it very user-friendly. Accessing or reaching the information you desire or need is easy with no additional steps or terms. In fact, almost all of Podia’s functions can be accessed straight from the dashboard.
For its Course creator, Podia supports various files that can serve as the building block for your lessons. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. You can make interesting lessons from the platform provided.
That said, This course creator can be lacking in some parts. Unlike most other platforms, Podia only supports very few lesson types. Furthermore, it does not have a proper assessment feature to help you monitor student performance. Best Thinkific Sites
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. These websites include:
- Youtube, Vimeo and Dailymotion are video hosts.
- Podcast and music platforms like s Spotify, soundcloud and podbean
- Slideshow platforms such as speaker deck, presentation and google slides.
- Social media sites like Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Behance
- Form Builder websites like Google Forms, Typeform and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. However, Podia only has one type of certificate for now. They cannot still customize and design your certificates.
In terms of marketing, Podia is focused on the bag. You can use it to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. You can promote your products using tools like coupons, upsells, or pre-launch.
This makes Podia an excellent choice for marketers looking to sell products on a smaller site.
That said, not everything is perfect. Podia’s weak point is its email marketing. It only offers the basics. It allows you to send broadcasts and email campaigns but lacks some features, such as split testing and personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. You will need to connect to your PayPal or bank accounts to pay processors. For a simpler solution, you can also integrate with Stripe and PayPal.
Checkout is possible for your audience using their credit cards. These usually are processed within 2 days and will be credited to your bank or PayPal account. Best Thinkific Sites
In terms of pricing, it is one of the cheapest there is in the market. The platform recently added a free plan. Although it doesn’t offer much, this plan is a great way to learn more about Podia.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s strongest point is its clean and crisp UI/UX. It is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. It is easy to set up for users of all tech levels.
- Podia can serve many purposes and be a one-stop shop to meet all your needs. Digital products can include memberships, webinars and bundles.
- Podia also offers a free plan that allows you to sell unlimited products and courses. This means that you can make as many pages as you like for your products and courses as long as there is energy.
- Podia allows you to upload unlimited videos for your content. This is thanks to the unlimited storage and bandwidth that the platform offers its users. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia offers an affiliate program that you can use to reach your audience. This is only available for Shaker or Earthquaker plans.
- Despite providing only the most basic functions, the built-in email marketing tools are enough to support broadcasts and campaigns.
- Podia supports a prelaunch mode as one of its marketing features. It will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. Best Thinkific Sites
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- Podia has a new feature that allows content creators to give certificates, community, and quizzes. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- Their email marketing provides only the most basic functions. Especially in its email composer, which lacks personalization fields. Other features that the tool does not have include templates, drag-and-drop editor and other features.
- There is a noticeable lack of course-compliance features in the platform
- Podia also does not have many customization features. It lacks custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia also has no landing page builders or funnels, which are important tools when considering Podia’s focus on marketing.
- The free plan does not allow you to host more than one product. There is also an 8% transaction charge.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia supports only a handful of lesson types. It lacks support for some types like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and HTML 5 Content, among others.
- While it has pretty good marketing features, it still lacks some. These include cart abandonment, downsells and order bumps.
- Podia does not have a mobile app, which can limit its user base or access, given how much the world has depended on smartphones and tablets. Best Thinkific Sites
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many might think that with Podia, you get what you pay for. It isn’t true. Podia is more than what you pay. You can make impressive courses with enough creativity and great ideas and sell them for a fair price.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. It is perfect for a lot of people. Content creators, teachers, marketers, and people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Kartra Versus Thinkific
Kartra is a different product from the others listed above. Scratch that, Kartra is entirely different from the other products listed in this review.
We offer a platform that allows you to sell your products, instead of creating courses. Yep, it is a platform that goes all in on the marketing side.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
Instead, focus on the strengths of your site and sell products, memberships, and services.
Kartra can be used to create and sell digital and physical products. You can sell unlimited quantities of these products and many different types of products. In fact, it also offers multiple pricing options for more flexible pricing on your part.
Since Kartra is a different beast altogether, we might focus on features not found in most course-building websites. Kartra might not have a course-building website.
As for the features, we already mentioned that Katra allows you to sell many products. Each account can sell unlimited quantities of products and offer them at any price.
Kartra’s focus is on lead conversion and marketing to maximize its users’ profits. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. While Kartra does not refer to funnels as campaigns, They function similarly. Best Thinkific Sites
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. You can even market and sell your campaigns and make money from them.
Kartra manages all of the billing and payment processes so that you can concentrate on improving your funnels as you gain more experience.
Kartra also has page-building capabilities, and it is surprisingly powerful. These features allow users to create product pages, checkout pages and opt-in pages. You can even use professionally designed templates to speed up or start the process.
These pages can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. You can host these pages on your domain or on Katra itself.
They are not yet able to host the full functionality and features required for a website. Even Kartra feels it themselves, as they wouldn’t allow you to host those pages in your domain otherwise.
The marketing features are to be considered as Kartra’s shining jewel. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use to create email sequences. Drag-and-drop visual sequence builders make it easy to create them. Once you’re done, the program can run on autopilot.
Another one that is unique to the platform is its behavior-based automation. This powerful tool allows to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. This allows you to relax after all the work has been done.
Kartra’s pricing is high for a platform that focuses on lead conversions and marketing. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. Best Thinkific Sites
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per Month when you pay annually||$229 per month when billed annually,||$379 per month when billed annually|
Kartra Pros and Cons
- External marketing integrations are not required. Kartra has it all: built-in email marketing, automation, sequence builder, and other essential features needed to perfectly market your products
- Kartra offers an automatic translation feature for its checkout pages. It is based on the user’s geographical location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar allows you to drip content or vary access to different levels, if you have an existing membership site.
- You can use A/B testing to refine your automated email responses as you set them up.
- Kartra includes an agency feature that can hold multiple client accounts. This feature allows you to manage multiple websites from one dashboard.
- Some might feel that Kartra’s pricing is too high for the quality of what they offer
- There are not unlimited integrations available with any of the plans.
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Best Thinkific Sites
- Even Kartra’s pages can load slow
- For beginners, it can be difficult to understand the many features.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
It has a lot of tools and features that provide you with the opportunity for interesting and engaging promotions and products.
That said, it isn’t a course builder and definitely not a website builder. Kartra should be used in conjunction with a professional website page maker. This could be pretty difficult to swallow, as Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what it does.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Overall, Verdict Best Thinkific Sites
When you are interested in joining the industry, course builder websites can be very useful.
As with most markets and industries, there will be a lot of platforms that will offer the service that you need. For course building and selling, there are Thinkific, Podia and Kajabi (and a bit of Kartra), as well as other platforms.
These platforms will almost offer identical services in a market-like setting. They will have very few differences. Some might be better than others in certain areas.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.