While they already existed 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.
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 focused on bringing education to where it is most convenient and comfortable.
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 is probably shared throughout multiple platforms online.
Everyone, from solopreneurs and entrepreneurs to professionals in human resources and educational institutions, has used at least one course platform 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. Even to courses about making your courses more profitable.
Online courses are all the rage. The next question is how you plan to share the treasure you find in your head with the world.
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 Zombies 2
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.
It’s impossible to not! It is one of few online courses platforms that offers a free full-service 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. This means course creators and content producers can immediately use their earnings without needing to wait for a quote, or reach a certain threshold before they can 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.
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.
For Thinkific, the main focus would be their course curriculum creation capabilities. 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 is intuitive and logical. It is easy to navigate. You can access all other features via a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
Users who love to check on analytics and performance will love this interface, as everything is placed and organized neatly 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.
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. As such, the platform ensures that the course creation mechanism is easy to get used to. 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 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 contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
That’s not all. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. It doesn’t include a sales funnel builder. This is the most noticeable aspect. The overall checkout experience is pretty clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in customization.
Even email marketing features are behind the competition. Most of it is quite basic, and at most, you can notify your students of new courses or products, as well as send them their course progress and notify them about their course progress as well as updates.
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.
I guess it makes sense, given the platform’s repeated promises of focusing 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.
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 line with their mission to be focused on the education part. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
Thinkific is a great choice if you are looking for a cheaper plan with many content ideas that you believe will sell.
|$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 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
Aside from these plans, Thinkific also has a more advanced and bespoke plan called Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes the best of Thinkfiic, makes it powerful, scalable and simple-to-use, and then adds more.
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. Lastly, you will also discuss with them the total cost of this upgrade.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. One this is sure, though. Thinkific Plus will give you the features of the most expensive plan as well as these additional features:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. It also is not just a glorified free trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- Thinkific doesn’t charge transaction fees for any sale. All earnings by content creators are theirs. These funds can be claimed and used by creators as soon as they are received in their accounts.
- 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. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. With most options logically placed and easily located. This interface is easy to use for users just starting out.
- Thinkfic’s course creator is also 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.
- Not everything in Thinkific’s tools are user friendly. You may need to take some time and read guides to learn how to use the tools.
- It is difficult to recommend Thinkifiic for those who are more interested in promoting the platform’s marketing capabilities. Their email marketing capability is quite basic, and you will need to depend on third-party integrations to have 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.
- There is a distinct lack of customization options within the platform. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
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. It is still competitive with other “advanced” and more feature-rich platforms, despite its shortcomings.
My opinion is that its greatest strength would be its commitment to providing the best course experience possible and a free plan. Thinkfiic already has a solution for this problem. Any problems with the platform can be fixed by integrating third-party services.
If you’re looking for the best online course creation software that builds 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. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. 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. These features give the Kajabi platform users an easier time selling their products.
Kajabi is a rare product that can be described as an “all-in-one” platform. It’s a course-creation platform that offers more than just decent marketing features. You can even use automation features to help you spend more time marketing and creating than on the mundane tasks.
Kajabi land is not perfect. 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.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. These issues might require third-party integrations.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. They even have one of the more expensive plans in the course creation market. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
At first glance, Kajabi’s interface is pretty normal. 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 load quicker. It provides for a smoother experience and does not get in the way of your work.
Kajabi offers a variety of course creation options. 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.
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. 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.
As for storage, Kajabi allows for cloud uploading from Dropbox and Google Drive so there is little to worry about.
Kajabi has robust and extensive marketing features.
It also offers the traditional stuff of offering coupons in a flexible way, which, as we have seen, is an old and proven 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. These are easy to use, and the platform even provides templates that customers can easily access.
Kajabi offers a dedicated affiliate program to users who have a higher plan. 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. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
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||Monthly payment of $319|
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 templates and blueprints to get you started with your project.
- Kajabi allows you to sell other digital products like coaching, webinars, communities, podcasts, etc. This is also a great place to do this.
- 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 mobile app makes it easy for students to access lessons and classes wherever and whenever they want. 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 can be used to provide users with a way to sell extra and exclusive course content.
- Kajabi’s automation feature can automate the purchase of offers, post-completion of courses or memberships, assessment completion, as well as other tasks. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- 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 one of the best in the business. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher 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 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 does not have page templates to design landing pages, thank-you pages, checkout pages, forms or other pages. That means users must do everything from scratch when editing page templates through the page builder. It will be difficult for non-tech users and new users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Buyers are assured of the product’s quality by obtaining a guarantee.
- Kajabi does not have a local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- Despite having some advanced features, there are still some features that Kajabi lacks, especially in the community department. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is a juggernaut of a platform regarding course creation and marketing. Their marketing tools are unparalleled.
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. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
Kajabi is also pretty expensive. It might be difficult for people to justify purchasing a plan that can only hold 3 products, when there are cheaper options that allow them unlimited access.
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
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. 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. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. 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.
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.
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.
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. Podia supports only a few lesson types, which is a major difference to other platforms. Furthermore, it does not have a proper assessment feature to help you monitor student performance. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. Some of these websites include:
- Video hosts such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion
- 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’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. Podia cannot customize or 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 marks Podia as an excellent choice for marketers who want to sell their products on a smaller website.
Nevertheless, not all things are 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.
Also, those looking for automation features have lost their luck since Podia’s is not as advanced as some of theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. That said, you will need to connect your bank account or PayPal account to payment processors. You can integrate with Stripe or PayPal for a simpler solution.
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. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
In terms of pricing, it is one of the cheapest there is in the market. What’s more, is that the platform has recently added its own 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 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. That means as long as you have the energy and the idea, you can create as many pages for your courses and products as you want.
- 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. This way, you don’t need to use Vimeo or Wistia.
- Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience that is only available for Shaker and 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. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- 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. Expect to have generic-looking websites when using Podia.
- 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. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- There are no course blueprints available in Podia.
- 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.
- 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 Zombies 2
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. With enough creativity and good ideas, you can create impressive courses and sell them at a good price.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. 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.
Thinkific Versus Kartra
Kartra is a completely different product to the ones listed above. Scratch that, Kartra is entirely different from the other products listed in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. It is also a marketing platform.
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. 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 an unlimited number of them and offer them at any price point.
Kartra’s focus is on lead conversion and marketing to maximize its users’ profits. As such, one of their main features is funnel building.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
Kartra makes funnel building relatively easy. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. 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. Users can create product pages, checkout pages, and opt-in forms with these features. It even provides you with professionally designed templates to help you speed up the process or just start it out.
These pages can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. These pages can be hosted on your domain, or on Katra.
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. 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. You can do this through its drag-and-drop visual sequence builder, and once done, and you can let it 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. However, depending on your needs, the price of Kartra’s plans may be worth it. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
After all, Kartra has some advanced features that are not found in others.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per Month when you pay annually||$229 per Month when you pay annually||$379 per month when billed annually|
Kartra Pros and Cons
- 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 has an automatic translation for its checkout pages. It is based on the user’s geographical location. In this vein, it also supports different 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 has an agency feature that allows you to hold multiple client accounts. This feature allows you to manage multiple websites from one dashboard.
- Some people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are not unlimited integrations available with any of the plans.
- Kartra’s interface is quite slow and might get frustrating to use at times. Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- The number of features can be very difficult for beginners to get used to.
Kartra is an all-in-one marketing and sales platform that’s powerful.
It has a lot of tools and features that provide you with the opportunity for interesting and engaging promotions and products.
It is not a course builder, and certainly not a website creator. 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.
Overall, Verdict Can Thinkific vs Zombies 2
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.
The key to finding which product you should use is to decide on the direction of what you want to do. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.