They existed even before 2019, B.C. (where B.C. B.C. stands for Before COVID, Online Course Platforms were already in existence. 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. There were also classes and courses that covered normal topics.
These classes were designed to bring education to the most convenient and comfortable places.
People who are housebound for multiple reasons (e.g., childcare or health issues) can still learn and study even if they cannot 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.
Everything else had to be shut down when the pandemic struck. People still needed to learn and online courses and other eLearning platforms made this possible.
The industry saw a 221% rise in course creators using one Course Platform during the initial stages of the pandemic. This growth is probably shared throughout multiple platforms online.
Everybody from Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to human resource professionals and proper educational institutions has used a course platform or two during the pandemic.
Not only that, but the pandemic also showed the potential of these platforms as a way to earn extra profit. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
There are many online courses that people can take. From the usual life coaching stuff about making your life better to tutorial classes of the usual academic subjects like Algebra. You can even learn how to make your courses more lucrative.
Online courses are everywhere, and if you want to get in on the action, the next question is which platform you will use to share that treasure in your noggin.
Ross Herosian has posted a video review on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. For those who like a visual experience, You can still read our article below to get a complete overview of Thinkific. It also compares it with some other competitors.
Thinkific: Your Go-To Online Course Platform How Thinkific vs Ascend
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one the most popular options for selling, hosting and building your courses.
Thinkific is unique because you can feel that they are passionate about what they do. You can feel that they are more focused on giving the best learning experience they can to both the creators and their audience and that earning money is needed to keep things afloat.
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.
This makes the platform perfect for newcomers as they get to experience what it’s like to build content and courses, as well as the overall flow and environment of the industry. 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 does not take any transaction fees when a user sells 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 just proves how much Thinkfiic thinks of its customer base.
First, let me preface this by saying that most online course platforms share almost 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.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. The creation part of Thinkific’s features is the most important. They make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
The user interface of Thinkific is easy to use. It is intuitive and logical. It is easy to navigate. You can access all other features via a sidebar menu. They are properly classified to where they are, except for occasional hiccups. How Thinkific vs Ascend
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
From the dashboard, you can see how well you are doing in revenue, student accounts and sign-ups, student course enrollments, and much more.
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.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These media types include quizzes and surveys, assignments, pdfs, content, and student discussion areas that allow for peer-to-peer interaction.
Another highlight is the scheduling of course content and some automation in 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.
But that’s just about it. Compared to the competition, Thinkific’s market features are a bit lackluster. It doesn’t include a sales funnel builder. This is the most noticeable aspect. Overall, checkout is quite clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in 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.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
It makes sense considering the platform’s repeated promises to focus on course creation. It would be 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
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 isn’t like most of the competition.
At a cheaper price point, Thinkific allows users to make an unlimited number of courses and enroll an unlimited number of students in these courses. This is in line with their mission to be focused on the education part. How Thinkific vs Ascend
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 with a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|-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 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. 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. One this is sure, though. 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%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- 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. It is a free account, with the only limitation being the number of courses you can take.
- Thinkific does not ask for transaction fees whenever a sale is made. Content creators own all earnings. These funds can be claimed and used by creators as soon as they are received in their accounts.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- The limitation for the number of courses is removed in all instances of Thinkific’s premium plans. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- Thinkific’s interface is one of the most intuitive. With most options logically placed and easily located. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- Speaking of easily getting the hang of, Thinkfic’s course builder is similarly easy to use. You can also choose from many course materials to make your course more engaging and exciting.
- Thinkific gives you the option to offer incentives, such as leaderboards and awards, to motivate your students.
- Not everything in Thinkific’s tools are 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. You will need third-party integrations to get 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. How Thinkific vs Ascend
The Thinkific Summary
Thinkific is one of the best online course platforms in the market today. 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.
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. 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. Thinkific is the best online course creation software.
Kajabi Versus Thinkific
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.
It is no wonder that Kajabi also has advanced marketing features, the most prominent of which include sales funnels (OVO pipelines), email marketing, and automations. This allows Kajabi users to sell their products more easily.
As such, Kajabi is one of those rare products where the “all in one” platform fits. It’s a course-creation platform that offers more than just decent marketing features. You can even use automation features to help you spend more time marketing and creating than on the mundane tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. For starters, it has one of the more expensive platforms available in the market. The lowest plan is $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. In the case of the lowest plan, you can only sell 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. So you might need some third-party integrations to address these issues.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. Even more, they have one of the most expensive courses in the market. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. How Thinkific vs Ascend
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It is neat, minimal, and feels very modern. Most of the available features can be accessed through 3 to 4 clicks. The page also includes a search assistant that allows you to quickly locate the tools and features within 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. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. You can choose among these types for whichever suits your needs. (i.e. For long courses with long content, short courses for product launches.
Kajabi offers blueprints that are similar to templates for a simpler building experience. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. They can be arranged according to their content and types. 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.
Another conversion tool they possess are their pipelines, which can help you convert more customers and increase your sales. They are not that hard to use and even the platform has provided various templates that can easily be used by their customers.
Kajabi also has a dedicated affiliate program for users of a higher plan than the basic one. It is a feature that makes the process overly easy and simple. 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 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.
Potential users must be prepared to pay a high price for these tools.
Kajabi is undoubtedly the most expensive course creation service in the market. The cheapest plan is $149 per month, and it doesn’t include unlimited courses. How Thinkific vs Ascend
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 & 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 lets you sell digital products such as coaching, webinars and communities. This is also a great place to do this.
- 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 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 also has a membership feature that allows users to create and sell membership options to their customers. This feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive 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 has one of the strongest marketing features among the content and course-building platforms available right now.
- Kajabi’s Email marketing is one of the best in the business. 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. How Thinkific vs Ascend
- 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 price point is nothing to laugh at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It offers only 3 products and 3 pipelines.
- Kajabi does not offer course completion certificates, something that some users want to receive as proof of going through 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. As such, it will be very difficult for new and non-tech users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. Guarantee badges are a good tool for increasing conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi has no local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- 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.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is a juggernaut of a platform regarding course creation and marketing. Their marketing tools are unparalleled.
They provide the best marketing experience. Their pipeline and automation features can be the envy of other platforms and something users would want to have if they want the best rate of conversions.
Kajabi has its faults, however. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. How Thinkific vs Ascend
Kajabi can also be quite 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 has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. Although it is a little expensive, Kajabi’s features are well worth the cost.
Thinkific Versus Podia
Podia is another popular digital content-selling platform. Podia is a powerful platform with strong marketing features. Online courses, coaching, webinars and community are just a few of the many products that you can sell through this platform.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. It might even be one of the most affordable. It does take a portion of your profit when 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.
In terms of features, Podia has loads of them.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. It is designed to have all the other features accessible within 3 clicks. It is so easy that almost no learning curve is required to use Podia’s interface.
This makes the platform very beginner friendly. There are no more complicated terms and actions needed just to reach or access something that you need or want. 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.
Nevertheless, there are some areas where the course creator is lacking. 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. How Thinkific vs Ascend
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. These websites include:
- Youtube, Vimeo and Dailymotion are video hosts.
- Music and podcast platforms such as s Spotify, soundcloud, and podbean
- Slideshow platforms like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- Social media sites such as Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.
- Form Builder websites like Google Forms, Typeform and Paper Form
- Coding websites such as Github and Codepen
One of the more recent additions to Podia’s courses is the ability to give certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. They cannot still customize and design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is on the bag. It has a lot of excellent features to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing. Tools like Pre-launch, upsells, and coupons make great strategies to promote your products.
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. In this case, Podia’s weakness is its email marketing, which only provides the basics. It allows you to send broadcasts and email campaigns but lacks some features, such as split testing and personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. You will need to connect to your PayPal or bank accounts to pay processors. For a simpler solution, you can also integrate with Stripe and PayPal.
Checkout is possible for your audience using their credit cards. They usually take less than 2 days to process and are credited to your PayPal or bank account. How Thinkific vs Ascend
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. What’s more, is that the platform has recently added its own 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 strong point is its clear and simple UI/UX. It’s very user-friendly and doesn’t require any training. Users of all edges and tech levels will find it intuitive to set it up.
- 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. This is thanks to the unlimited storage and bandwidth that the platform offers its users. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia offers an affiliate program that you can use to reach your audience. This is only available for Shaker or Earthquaker plans.
- Despite providing only the most basic functions, the built-in email marketing tools are enough to support broadcasts and campaigns.
- Podia has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. How Thinkific vs Ascend
- Podia does not charge any transaction fees for sales, except the free plan.
- Podia has a new feature that allows content creators to give certificates, community, and quizzes. You can even create memberships in the community area.
- Their email marketing only provides the basic functions. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Aside from that, the tool lacks templates, drag and drop editor, and other features
- The platform lacks course compliance features.
- Podia does not offer many customization options. It lacks custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia also has no landing page builders or funnels, which are important tools when considering Podia’s focus on marketing.
- The free plan does not allow you to host more than one product. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. It lacks support for some types like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and HTML 5 Content, among others.
- While it has pretty good marketing features, it still lacks some. This includes order bumps, downsells, cart abandonment, and others.
- Podia does not have a mobile app, which can limit its user base or access, given how much the world has depended on smartphones and tablets. How Thinkific vs Ascend
Overall, Podia is an acceptable platform for hosting your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. It isn’t true. Podia is more than what you pay. You can make impressive courses with enough creativity and great ideas and sell them for a fair price.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. It is perfect for a lot of people. It is ideal for content creators, marketers, teachers, and other people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
Kartra Versus Thinkific
Kartra is a different product from the others listed above. Kartra is completely different to the other products in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. 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.
Instead, focus on the strengths of your site and sell products, memberships, and services.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. In fact, it also offers multiple pricing options for more flexible pricing on your part.
Kartra is an entirely different beast, so we may focus on features that aren’t found in most course-building sites. 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. One of their key features is funnel construction.
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. How Thinkific vs Ascend
Kartra makes funnel building relatively easy. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
For personally built campaigns, you can also choose to share them with other Kartra members. Your campaigns can be marketed and sold to make money.
Kartra handles all the payment and billing processes needed, so you can focus on better funnels as you gain experience.
Kartra has powerful page-building capabilities. 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. Kartra believes it, and they won’t let you host these pages on your domain.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown jewel. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. However, this will require you to integrate with any 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.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. 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. How Thinkific vs Ascend
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
- You don’t need any external marketing integrations. 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 works based on the user’s geographic location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar also allows you to drip content and vary access to different levels if you have a 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. How Thinkific vs Ascend
- Even Kartra’s pages can load slow
- For beginners, it can be difficult to understand the many features.
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.
That said, it isn’t a course builder and definitely not a website builder. Kartra should be used in conjunction with a professional website page maker. This could be pretty difficult to swallow, as Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what it does.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
Overall, Verdict How Thinkific vs Ascend
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. In the case of course building and selling, we have Thinkific, Podia, Kajabi ( and a little bit of Kartra), among others.
These platforms will almost offer identical services in a market-like setting. They will have very few differences. Of course, some might excel in one aspect or another.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.