While they already existed before 2019 B.C. (where B.C. stands for Before COVID), Online Course Platforms were already a thing. Even then, they were made for the same purpose, to create and sell online courses.
Back then, most courses were much more focused on niched things like leadership seminars, wholesomeness, and self-help classes. Of course, courses and classes focused on normal subjects were there too.
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. People who couldn’t attend regular school due to duties and scheduling conflicts could still finish courses due to the medium’s flexibility.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. People still needed to learn and online courses and other eLearning platforms made this possible.
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.
These platforms can also be used to make extra profits, as the pandemic showed. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
Nowadays, there are countless online courses people can partake in. 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.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. You can still read our article below to get a complete overview of Thinkific. It also compares it with some other competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform Can Thinkific vs Browns
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
One of the main reasons why Thinkific stands out is that you know they are doing this in a place of passion. It is clear that they are more concerned with providing the best learning experience possible to creators as well as their audience. They also understand that making money is important to maintain the business.
How could you not? After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Yes, Thinkific has a free service that is as good as their paid lowest-tiered one.
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.
The only limitation of this free plan is that it only allows you to create one course and one course, and in my opinion, that is generous enough.
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.
First, let me preface this by saying that most online course platforms share almost the same features. The course builder is first, followed by the website builder to create your courses and finally the marketing features.
They are all the same except for how they work and some other unique features. As such, we will be focusing on these aspects of Thinkific’s features.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. Most of their features are geared toward the creation bit, of course, creation. 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. You can access all other features via a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Can Thinkific vs Browns
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
We can make the interface look a bit more appealing if we have to.
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.
This course builder also allows you to include a multitude of media types. These include content, quizzes, surveys, assignments, pdfs, and student discussion areas to allow peer-to-peer interaction.
Other highlights include scheduling of course content as well as some automation in terms of drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It has everything that you need to promote and market your courses.
But that’s just about it. Compared to the competition, Thinkific’s market features are a bit lackluster. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. Overall, checkout is quite 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.
Thinkific can also integrate third-party apps. Rather than band-aids, you can consider these third-party apps as bandages to fix some of Thinkific’s deficiencies in the marketing department.
For email marketing alone, Thinkific directly integrates five of the most popular email marketing providers, including ConvertKit, Active Campaign, Aweber, Drip, and MailChimp.
It makes sense considering the platform’s repeated promises to focus on course creation. It would be smarter to invest all resources in ensuring that they get the course creation part right, and then to hire third-party apps for the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
While I have already mentioned Thinkific’s Free Plan and how great it is, that plan is still limited and is a far cry from what Thinkific’s paid plans are. It isn’t like most 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. Can Thinkific vs Browns
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 with a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|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.
It still dedicates itself to teaching, lecturing, and supporting students.
To get Thinkific plus, you need to contact the platform’s sales team and ask for 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.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will offer you all the benefits of the most expensive plan, plus these extra features.
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ 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
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Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific’s free package is permanently free. This isn’t a glorified trial. It is a free account, with the only limitation being the number of courses you can take.
- Thinkific doesn’t charge transaction fees for any sale. 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. This interface is easy to use for users just starting out.
- Speaking of easily getting the hang of, Thinkfic’s course builder is similarly easy to use. You can also choose from many course materials to make your course more engaging and exciting.
- 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. Some would need guides and a bit of time to get used to.
- The marketing features of Thinkifiic make it hard to recommend for people who are more focused on propping up businesses on the platform. Their email marketing capability is quite basic, and you will need to depend on third-party integrations to have a better experience.
- Despite Thinkific having one of the most intuitive user interfaces, it looks outdated, and there are times when the experience can be clunkier than expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. Can Thinkific vs Browns
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. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
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.
As for products, there is a lot you can sell through the platform. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
Kajabi has many marketing features. It’s no surprise that they have sales funnels, 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 is a course creation platform with more than 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. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. These plans are not unlimited. 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 boasts about being one of the better 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. Can Thinkific vs Browns
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 is neat, minimal, and feels very modern. The majority of features are accessible in just 3-4 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.
Kajabi offers a variety of course creation options. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” are pretty much presentation ready that if you want, you can just add your needed content and then you are good to go.
These courses could also be organized into subcategories, posts, and categories. It would be easy to organize your content in a neat and organized manner. You can organize them depending on their types and content. So you can text and slideshows in one area, audio and video to different areas.
As for storage, Kajabi allows for cloud uploading from Dropbox and Google Drive so there is little to worry about.
Kajabi is a strong and comprehensive marketing tool.
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.
Kajabi offers a powerful email marketing platform that allows you to market via email. It is built on top of the platform and has many features. Email templates can be created for different functions.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase 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 also organizes affiliate links as well as affiliates into its own category which it makes easier to find and track down.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead users will have to rely on the integration form other payment gateways such as Stripe, Paypal, BitPay, Authorize.net and others.
This is entirely disappointing given how robus their marketing tools are as well as how good their checkout is at doing things like upsells, bump offers, and downsells.
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.
Of course, potential users should be willing to pay for the steep price point to use these tools.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is among the most expensive service when it comes to the course creation market. The cheapest plan is $149 per month, and it doesn’t include unlimited courses. Can Thinkific vs Browns
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 per month billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros and Cons
- Kajabi, as its name suggests, is an all-in-one content creation and marketing tool. You can create courses using various tools, such as a drip or mini-course. Then, you can combine them with marketing automations to make sure they sell.
- Kajabi Provides templates and blueprints to get you started with 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 has a built-in assessment function that allows you to grade and observe your students’ performance. This is extremely good when combined with drip courses to provide courses that can only be accessed when the proper grades are reached
- 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. To be more precise, users can use conditional filters.
- Kajabi’s marketing strategy is one of the most powerful among all the course-building and content platforms currently available.
- Kajabi’s Email Marketing is among the best in the industry. There are many email templates that you can use in various situations. Kajabi has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. Can Thinkific vs Browns
- 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 starts at $149 per month and does not even offer unlimited course creation. It only offers 3 products as well as 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 doesn’t offer a guarantee badge on its checkout page. Guarantee badges are a good tool for increasing 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. There are no gamification or community engagement features.
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Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They have the tools that provide a great 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. Can Thinkific vs Browns
Kajabi is also pretty 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 is a good creation platform with advanced marketing features. 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.
Thinkific Versus Podia
Podia is another popular digital content-selling platform. It is also an all-in-one platform that has powerful marketing features. Among the products you can sell on this platform are online courses, coaching, webinars, community, and many more.
Furthermore, Podia is one of the cheaper digital content-selling platforms in the market. It might even be one of the most affordable. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. It might be their way of offsetting the price for its powerful features.
At the end of the day, Podia is an excellent tool and platform, especially for those who are more focused on the business side, such as marketers, promoters, and the like.
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Podia offers a lot of features.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. The interface is easy to use and allows you to access all other features in just 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.
Podia allows you to upload files that will be used as building blocks for your lessons. A course can contain text, embeds and quizzes as well as coaching and files. You can make interesting lessons from the platform provided.
That said, This course creator can be lacking in some parts. Podia supports only a few lesson types, which is a major difference to other platforms. It does not provide a way to monitor student performance. Can Thinkific vs Browns
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 like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- Social media sites like Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Behance
- Form Builder websites such as Google Forms, Typeform, and Paper Form
- Coding websites such as Github and Codepen
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete 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. Although it allows you to send email broadcasts and campaigns, some of its features are missing such as split testing or personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
For payment processors, Podia has a local payment gateway. That said, you will need to connect your bank account or PayPal account to payment processors. For a simpler solution, you can also integrate with Stripe and PayPal.
Checkout is possible for your audience using their credit cards. They usually take less than 2 days to process and are credited to your PayPal or bank account. Can Thinkific vs Browns
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. The platform recently added a free plan. While this free plan does not offer much, it is still a good way to figure out how Podia works.
|$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 has many functions and can become a one-stop shop for 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 also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. 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.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. Can Thinkific vs Browns
- Podia does not charge any transaction fees for sales, except the free plan.
- Podia now offers a new feature that allows content creators the ability to give certificates, community, or quizzes. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- Their email marketing only provides the 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. Podia does not support custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia does not have landing page builders and funnels. These are essential tools considering Podia’s focus in marketing.
- Its free plan is severely lacking and will only allow you to host 1 product. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. Podia does not support certain types of lesson, such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.
- It has some good marketing features but it is still lacking others. These include cart abandonment, downsells and order bumps.
- Podia doesn’t have a mobile app. This could limit its user base and access given how dependent the world is on tablets and smartphones. Can Thinkific vs Browns
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. It isn’t true. Podia is more than what you pay. With enough creativity and good ideas, you can create impressive courses and sell them at a good price.
Despite some of its limited capacity, it is still an all-in-one platform. It’s perfect for many people. It is ideal for content creators, marketers, teachers, and other people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
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Kartra Versus Thinkific
Kartra is a completely different product to the ones listed above. Kartra is completely different to the other products 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.
Kartra should not be considered a website in its own right or your product’s.
Rather, you should focus on its strengths and use them to sell products, services, and membership for your proper sites.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. You can sell unlimited quantities of these products and many different types of products. It also allows you to choose from multiple pricing options, which will allow you to set a more flexible price.
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.
Katra lets you sell multiple products, as we mentioned previously. Each account can sell unlimited quantities of products and offer them at any price.
To maximize the profits of its users, Kartra focuses on marketing and lead conversion. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels are a way for sellers to get their customers to buy their products. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Can Thinkific vs Browns
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. You can also have Katra build it for you with their plug-and play campaigns, which are from industry leaders.
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 also be optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. You can host these pages on your domain or on Katra itself.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper 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. In terms of email marketing, it has all the stuff that a good email marketing feature has.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Kartra can also use automation 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.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. This powerful tool allows you to send emails based on the recipient’s behavior. 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. Can Thinkific vs Browns
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,||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay annually|
Kartra Pros and Con
- External marketing integrations are not required. Kartra offers everything: integrated email marketing, sequence builder, automation, and all other features necessary to market your products perfectly
- Kartra offers an automatic translation feature for its checkout pages. It works based on the user’s geographic location. In this vein, it also supports different currencies.
- Kartar also allows you to drip content and vary access to different levels if you have a membership site.
- There is A/B testing for your email content which can help you refine your automated email replies 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 no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface is quite slow and might get frustrating to use at times. Can Thinkific vs Browns
- 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. Kartra is quite expensive for the features it offers. This can be difficult to swallow.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
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Overall, Verdict Can Thinkific vs Browns
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. Their differences will be minimal at best. 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. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.