We are all familiar with the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Having its roots in the Latin: scientia potentia est, it holds just as true today as all those years ago.
Knowledge makes us superior to the other more powerful creatures in the world. While eagles and other intelligent creatures may have better vision than humans, we have been able to see more by understanding the workings of the world.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. Because of our knowledge and ingenuity, the human race has risen to the top in food chain.
It is therefore beneficial to share the knowledge we have with others, so that this knowledge does not become a burden on our minds and make us forget. Knowledge must be shared and developed in order to grow and develop.
It is great to share your knowledge and ideas free of charge, but it is also fine to sell it. Knowledge is power, and money can also be power. At the end of the day, the knowledge owner gets to decide what to do with it. That is the beauty of it.
The only way to “sell” knowledge for years was to either directly or indirectly tutor the buyer.
The advent of the internet has only democratized this ability to distribute what you learned to the public. Anyone can share their knowledge, even those without a teaching license or who don’t know how to write books.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. People can share their knowledge on a variety of platforms, such as Youtube and TikTok, to teach others how they make or do the most common or absurd things.
Even formal education can have its niche platforms too. This is where online course platforms come in.
Here is a video review by SoftwarePundit for those who like a visual experience. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: an Online Course Platform Free Alternative To Thinkific
When it comes to online courses, Thinkific is among the best services to host your classes. A Learning Management System (LMS) creates, promotes, and sells your courses online.
Thinkific started in 2012 when a group of entrepreneurs sought to create a platform to provide a rich and easily accessible teaching and learning environment for instructors and students.
Luckily, they were able to find an effective solution to their dilemma. Thinkific was a great solution to creating, managing and marketing online courses. Thinkific was easy to use, so even people with no technical knowledge could use it.
Thinkific is a great tool for creating online courses. This allows the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Good content is what drives students and teachers to engage.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. We will examine these features later to see if the promises are true.
Thinkific is not the only platform that is a decent course maker. Many LMS and CMS can do the same job as Thinkific. That said, we would be remiss if we gloss over Thinkific just because of this fact.
So what is it about thinkific that makes us prefer it as a platform overall?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% yours.
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. While you are limited to 3 courses upload, you can host unlimited core content and have unlimited students.
- Thinkific’s drag-and-drop builder makes it simple to create an online course. This is in keeping with their commitment to letting content creators concentrate on the content. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- Thinkific also allows you to play with your course engagement by giving you various capabilities. The platform allows you to organize cohorts, schedule your content, and deliver them by drip-feed, locking them through prerequisite lessons and many others.
- You can also engage with students via Thinkific’s multiple channels. You can email them their progressions, engage them in discussions, and give them awards. You can even make them compete on the leaderboard.
As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. There are some differences, but these are minor. This is mostly because they focus on certain sections of the entire experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web site builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course makers need to market their courses. As such, giving them the proper tools to do so easier is a godsend. Similar to Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
In the same vein as selling courses, course builders like Thinkific should have the proper built-in email and affiliate marketing tools, sales widgets, and the ability to offer coupons to make it easy for users to sell their products in the platform.
- Flexible payment options
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. Having more than one payment option is also optimal, as it removes friction from wannabe customers, and more payment options can make it easier for your leads to paying you.
For content creation, analytics is the name of the game. Analytics is the only way to discover your approach and your weaknesses. This feature is offered by Thinkific to help users decide the direction of their content.
Do they need to continue making tutorial videos that include direct examples? Or should they just give instructions? One cannot decide the best course of action without properly tracking revenues, engagements, and business performance.
- Student support and communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. Besides that, it is also good for branding as well as engagements. Customer retention is greatly improved by having a strong community and customer support. It is good that Thinkific provides the avenue to do so with these features.
- Training tools
Although we are in the business selling knowledge, it’s a good idea to have our own. Course building and selling are different disciplines altogether. Many people who try Thinkific may be unfamiliar with the process and will stumble around until they feel at ease.
These newbies, as well as veterans, have the opportunity to benefit from the tried-and-trued knowledge of Thinkific. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App Store
Apps and programs can be purchased at the Thinkific App Store. The best thing about the AppStore is its community-made nature. It is a great place for fellow course creators and content creators to come together and have discussions with Thinkific developers.
The Thinkific Course Builder: Is it Good?
The only way to determine the quality of a course builder’s service is to actually test it.
The main course builder will determine how good a course builder service is. After all, what are we supposed to expect about their secondary and additional features if they can’t be bothered having a good and well-functioning course builder?
In the case of their course builder, Thinkific provides a handy “Get Started” checklist that guides you on what to do at your first foray into course building.
Create Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
This file opens the first-course builder interface. The layout is easy to follow. Course content is divided into Chapters and Lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
You can choose from the following content types:
- PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
You can upload any of these files as your lessons. If you want, you can add multiple course content and upload them using the Bulk Importer. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
Pick the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are currently building. The service also provides pre-formatted, professional-looking templates which can be used to create the course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
Some of these premade course types include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses are courses that attract students and keep them coming back. Every lesson is designed to be easy for students to follow and is simple to learn.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Free Alternative To Thinkific
- Membership Resource Library: You can use this template to create an archive of resources for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience to remain on your website even when looking at resources
- Webinar Replay is a similar template to the library template but it is specifically designed for webinars or live lesson videos. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
Your Students’ Course Design
Students will be able use your learning materials in the Course Player. As such, you can customize how this course player looks in the “Settings” tab on the “Courses” page. You can change the color scheme, fonts or add logos.
Here you can also add a description of the course and an image.
This part also allows you to preview your lessons in the course player. This allows you to see the views of your students on your lessons. As such, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the problem from their perspective.
You can assign assignments and track progress
As an extra way to engage students, assignments, quizzes and surveys can be very useful. You can also use it to rate your students. Free Alternative To Thinkific
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
Overall, Thinkific’s course builder is very user-friendly. Especially when you are just starting, they will provide you with enough guidance on approaching your course.
Building an Online Course Website
The course builder can be considered the core of Thinkific. However, it is the Site Builder that provides the foundation on which your courses can be built.
Thinkific Site Builder shares many of the same features as other landing page builders. This allows you to sell courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
This website builder is also pretty easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
To start building your website, you start with:
1. Choose a theme.
Picking a theme is the best place to start when building your website.
For this reason, Thinkific has three pre-built theme templates. Each theme has its own styles, color schemes, fonts, and tweaked layouts.
All in all, these websites have good and professional designs.
2. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
The Site builder uses drag-and-drop tools, making it easy for users to build your website from scratch. Combining this with pre-built themes, users can make a professional-looking web page from scratch.
This is only the beginning. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Make a Training website Entirely from Scratch.
Since we are already in the business of making courses, it would be a very good idea to proceed and build a training website to house your created courses. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages are pre-designed and ready to be mapped into a complete course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. Some pages of note include:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. The place where the most important things should be located
- Course pages: These can swerve as landing pages for approaching courses. You can create a course page to serve as a landing page for all courses in your class.
- Sign-up pages: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Free Alternative To Thinkific
- Sign in Pages: This should be sued for subscribers of your website
- Student Dashboard: This will serve as your student’s starting point when signing in to your website. It is possible to design a student dashboard that makes it easy for students to access all the content on your website.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- Coming Soon pages: These pages may look empty, but they can serve as teasers and previews for any upcoming pages, courses, offers, and even bundles you offer.
These pages can be used with your website in many ways. These templates can also be used to quickly create a website. These templates are a great way to skip the tedious part of selecting which template you want for your website. Free Alternative To Thinkific
If you want something entirely different, you can create a custom page by simply clicking on the Custom page in the menus and then designing your page to suit your needs.
4. Edit individual pages
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. These sections can easily be modified and moved around.
The provided pre-built pages even come with suggested sections to easily allow you to pick which ones you need for your page. Simply click on “Add Section” to add more sections.
Thinkfic offers 23 pre-formatted pages sections. Most of these pre-formatted pages are focused on building high conversions. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Call to Action.
This is a crucial part of selling. This will allow potential students and customers to know how to sign-up or purchase.
- Smart Product and Category
This section provides a list of information that can provide your customers with automatically listed summaries of available products you sell.
This section can be used for key messages and makes it easy to scan information with bullet points.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Free Alternative To Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections can be compared to testimonials. They show client reviews, comments, and experiences. They make a statement to show off what they get in the lessons, which in turn entices other customers to avail of your product.
These are sections that help promote other courses that you are selling. This section is often found on the checkout page for one of your courses.
This is where your instructors profiles can be added to the courses. This gives students information as to the people who are teaching them.
- Pricing Options
Here you can submit your pricing options. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. This is where you can also describe your bundles and what they include, as well as how much each one costs.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
You can earn profit through your content by using your online course platform
We now come to the part that is often the most anticipated. How does the business side of Thnkific work? Is the service providing enough tools and resources to enable users to make a living from their hard work?
The thing of the matter is that nowadays, all online course builders and course platforms include inherent tools to give users and teachers the ability to promote their courses and products. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
Yep, that’s right. Some course platforms focus more on selling and turning conversion than the creation side. Others, on the other hand, focus more on the business and promotion side of things and rely heavily upon integrations.
So on which side does Thinkific fall on? Let’s see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
Promote Your Courses
Thinkific comes with marketing tools to help you make money from your content. Even users who are utilizing the free plan can try these features, albeit they only have access to the most basic of functions and are pretty limited in their scope.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of these tools. Thinkific provides free plan users with the needed SEO options, which allows you to promote your lessons in the most basic ways by making your content capable of climbing up the top of the search engine results.
Another feature available for free users is the ability to build free trial courses. It’s like giving your customers a free taste or sample. This is among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Free Alternative To Thinkific
By allowing customers and potential students a taste of your content, you will allow them a peek into the curtains and how classes are done. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. In the right condition, they might even compete with some products that have been promoted to the extreme.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. You will unlock more marketing tools as you move up in the Thinkific pricing plans. These tools will help you promote your course material in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons need no introduction. They have been used in many transactions for a long time. It is not surprising that they are being used in online marketing and business.
Thinkific’s coupons come from digital codes that are very easy to share. These codes can be used in Thinkific’s ecosystem very well. Using a coupon on Thinkific’s checkout will automatically use it with little to no hassle.
From a marketing standpoint, coupons can be set up and used to promote your bundles and courses. You can encourage potential customers to visit your courses by including a discount.
Thinkific also allows you to personalize your coupons. From setting the dollar or percentage amount for the coupon to setting an expiration date and setting the number of times, the coupon can be redeemed.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. And let’s face it, you will need a lot of traffic.
You can’t expect traffic if your courses are new and you don’t have an audience. Even if your audience is already established, you still need a quick and easy way to link your courses with classes on other websites.
This is where social media comes into play. It’s a fact that social media is used by almost everyone. It is important to determine where the majority of internet traffic comes and redirect some traffic to your site.
The easiest way to do this is through sales widgets which generate HTML code that can easily be pasted on existing websites. This includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Free Alternative To Thinkific
Another customization you can do with this widget is how it looks. You have the option to show a button or a button with a product picture. Or you can add text to match it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing tools allow you to manage your newsletters and send targeted messages to subscribers. In a way, this tool is used less to get new conversions and rather to retain them. After all, you can only send this to people you already have contact with.
Thinkific’s email marketing tools are limited to this ……… Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. You can also notify them about new products and courses.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
However, it would have been a lot better if Thinkific had an even better local Email marketing tool available for its users.
- Affiliate Marketing
If you think your own marketing skills are insufficient, then you can opt to go the Affiliate marketing route and get experts and influencers to promote your courses.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. The steps include adding the affiliated person as a user and making him an “Affiliate” which you can find under “User Roles” in the Process.
If you find some current users of Thinkfiic or your course, you can convert them into affiliates through the same process.
As for checking the status and performance of your affiliates, Thinkific will track the courses or bundles your affiliate sells and record the corresponding revenue. Free Alternative To Thinkific
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. The same applies to instructor revenue sharing.
If you don’t have a way to receive payments or enroll in your courses, all that marketing effort will go sour. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. You can also connect PayPal to make one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. That way, you can get all the tools the eCommerce platform offers its users.
Thinkific’s payment options allow you to customize how you price your products. Customers can be charged with different payment options. For example, you can sell courses for a one off fee.
You can even make membership subscriptions and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. However, this feature is not available to me at the moment as I only have a handful of courses created with their system.
One thing to note about Thinkific though is that they do not charge you any commission fee for any of your courses sold!
Reporting and Analytics
A good website selling products should have a Reports and Analytics section. This will allow users to figure out which stuff they are doing well on and which ones they need to focus on and improve.
Though it’s a new feature, Thinkific does have one. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
It is a good step in the right direction. Having it is better than nothing.
So how does it work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Free Alternative To Thinkific
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. Still, it might be a problem with the way you are presenting the information or instructions. Once you have identified the problem, you will be able to find a solution that works without having to tear your hair out.
The data is displayed as a graph and chart, which makes it much easier to understand and read.
Prices and plans that are thought-provoking
Thinkific is one of the leading platforms on course building, and marketing. You can expect a price that’s appropriate for your standing.
Thinkfiic is a product that you pay for. With all its features, you won’t be ripped off.
Thinkific also offers a free plan that you can use to try their products. If you are interested in learning more about Thinkific’s features or need to start your course-creating journey, you can always get a free plan.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero 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.
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
The Free Plan
Is the first plan you should take if you are new to all this course building and course management stuff. This is the best way for you to get to know the service and test it out. You can do all the services offered by the free plan, but only in a limited capacity.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. Making more than that requires you to sign up. That said, this course has a lot of potential, allowing you to enroll an unlimited number of students you want.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. The main benefit of upgrading to this plan is your limiters are removed, and you are free to make unlimited courses.
Aside from that, Thinkific affords you a few more options in the type of courses you can make. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives you access to the Thinkific app store.
You also have the option of a custom domain to host your course website.
The Grow Plan
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. First, you will be able to remove the Thinkific branding. Although it may seem easy, it has a significant impact on branding, marketing, and professionalizing your courses.
This allows you to access bulk enrollments, making the enrollment process easier and quicker. You have priority email support and phone support. You can get faster solutions if you have different issues with your website. Free Alternative To Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. It allows you to optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform that is designed to scale.
This plan is especially good for huge institutions wanting to create an online presence. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students to manage.
Speaking of management, this plan also provides 5 administrators to help with running things.
Some LMS services give clients and customers an option to create bespoke plans separate from the services’ basic plans. Their prices are not listed because customization may change the cost. The customization will affect the price.
This is Thinkific Plus. It’s a powerful, scalable and simple-to-use learning platform that is tailored to your students and team.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They can help you to understand the tools that you need in order to optimize your platform. They will provide you with education experts who can inspire and give you the confidence to grow beyond what you imagine.
Thinkific Plus offers all the Expand features, but also adds these additional features to the plan:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email White-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does NOT charge transaction fees. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It has all the core features available and acts like a paid plan. There are no restrictions, but if you’re serious enough you can sell courses through the service with no upfront investment. Free Alternative To Thinkific
- Thinkkific’s drag-and-drop builder is super easy to use, and even non-tech-savvy people can use it. You can upload multiple media types to create different and exciting lessons and courses.
- There are some aspects of Thinkific that are not really that are not as user-friendly as expected. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- There is a huge lack of marketing features in the service. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- Thinkific’s designs and customizations are quite limited, given that the service only provides a few themes to play with. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
The Thinkific Verdict
Thinkific is an excellent choice for course promotion and course creation. Its price is entirely reasonable, and the features are as good and easy to use as most of its competitors.
For those who are just starting out, the free startup plan will be a great help. It will allow them to get a feel for how things work. Free Alternative To Thinkific
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They are confident in their product and willing to allow the public to try it.
You can see that Thinkific’s free plan is bold and understandable. This is not like other free plans of other products. However, there are still things you can do with it.
For the Course Builder, Thinkific is pretty easy and intuitive to use. You can quickly see what you need to do and which functions are what. As for the more complex side of things, Thinkific provides enough prompts to guide you through the process.
This is a difficult side to balance, too, as giving too many prompts away can usually overwhelm the beginner user and may irritate those who already have a handle on things.
However, it is important to remember that Thinkific might be too easy for some users. But that is just nitpicking. At the end of the day, Thinkific’s course builder is fast, easy, and responsive, and that’s what most people need.
For their Site Builder, Thinkific also chooses to keep it simple. It’s not a standalone platform. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It does offer impressive editing options, which makes it ideal for creating training and tutorial websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
There aren’t enough themes to suit all tastes and demographics.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still offers some useful tools to help you make money from your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Free Alternative To Thinkific
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. This means you can create both courses, websites, or your overall brand within one seamless platform. Thinkific has builders that are designed to facilitate building, marketing, and selling online courses.
I Want to Allow my Students Access to my Course Content while Offline; How Do I Do that?
It is up to you.
Bear in mind that your students will need help logging into your courses offline. You can make your courses downloadable. This can be done for content such as audio files, video files, and PDFs. These files can be downloaded to students’ devices so they can access them offline.
Who Owns the Content Published on Thinkific?
Any content built into the Thinkific Platform is the sole and exclusive property of the creators.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.