While they already existed 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 were housebound due to multiple reasons (maybe childcare or health problems) could keep studying and learning despite not being able to go out. Due to its flexibility, people who are unable to attend school regularly due to scheduling conflicts or duties could still complete courses.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. However, people still needed to learn, and online course platforms and other eLearning platforms made it possible for a lot to continue their studies.
In the early times of the pandemic, the industry saw a 221% increase in new course creators on one Course Platform. This growth 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.
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.
Nowadays, there are countless online courses people can partake in. 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 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 How Thinkific vs Free
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. It is clear that they are more concerned with providing the best learning experience possible to creators as well as their audience. They also understand that making money is important to maintain the business.
How could you not? After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Yes, Thinkific has a free service that is as good as their paid lowest-tiered one.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. Using the free plan allows users to glimpse what they are about to partake in without any investment.
This free plan has one limitation. You can only create one course. I find that this is sufficient.
Thinkific does not take any transaction fees when a user sells on the platform. All profits go to content owners.
Thinkific even makes sure that all profits are directly available upon being sold. That means that course makers and content creators can use their earnings directly, with no need to wait for a quote or a certain threshold to reach before being able to touch the money.
This 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. The course builder is first, followed by the website builder to create your courses and finally the marketing features.
They are all the same except for how they work and some other unique features. As such, we will be focusing on these aspects of Thinkific’s features.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. Most of their features are geared toward the creation bit, of course, creation. They ensure that online courses are as interactive as possible.
Thinkific’s user interface is very easy to get into. It’s intuitive and logical. 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 Free
Users who love to check on analytics and performance will love this interface, as everything is placed and organized neatly on the dashboard.
From the dashboard, you can see how well you are doing in revenue, student accounts and sign-ups, student course enrollments, and much more.
If we are to nitpick something out of this, it would be that the aesthetics of the interface can be done a little bit better.
As mentioned above, Thinkific’s main focus is on the creation side of course creation. The platform makes course creation easy. Thinkific lets you try all the features of the course creator even if it is a free plan.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These media types include quizzes and surveys, assignments, pdfs, content, and student discussion areas that allow for peer-to-peer interaction.
Other highlights include scheduling of course content as well as some automation in terms of drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It has everything that you need to promote and market your courses.
But that’s just about it. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. The overall checkout experience is pretty clunky.
What’s more is that there is really nothing you can do about this part since it has very limited customization.
Even email marketing features lag behind the competitor. It is very basic and you can only notify your students about new products or courses, send them progress reports and update them on their course status.
However, not everything is bad, as Thinkific can integrate multiple third-party applications. These third-party applications are not meant to be used as bandages. They can be used to address some of the problems in Thinkific’s marketing department.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
I guess it makes sense, given the platform’s repeated promises of focusing on course creation. It would be wiser to pour all resources into ensuring they got that part right and get third-party apps to tackle the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
While I have already mentioned Thinkific’s Free Plan and how great it is, that plan is still limited and is a far cry from what Thinkific’s paid plans are. It’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. How Thinkific vs Free
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 business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
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.
It still dedicates itself to teaching, lecturing, and supporting students.
To get Thinkific plus, you need to contact the platform’s sales team and ask for this upgrade. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. You will also discuss the cost of this upgrade with them.
Every Thinkific Plus plan has its own unique cost, so different Plus plans may have slightly different prices. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will 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
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. This isn’t a glorified trial. It is a free account, with the only limitation being the number of courses you can take.
- Thinkific 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.
- Thinkific is flexible when it comes to payment options. They offer different payment options for different types and types of students.
- The limitation for the number of courses is removed in all instances of Thinkific’s premium plans. In fact, users can create an unlimited number of courses and enroll an unlimited number of students in these courses.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- 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. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. How Thinkific vs Free
Thinkific is one the most popular online courses platforms on the market. I would easily recommend it to beginners and those looking for a more course-focused platform. Despite its limitations, it still competes with other more “advanced and feature-rich” platforms.
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. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
You’re searching for an online course creation tool that creates courses from scratch. Thinkific is the best online course creation software.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. Its main focus is on productivity and sales. It offers tools that simplify your operations.
Some of Kajabi’s highlights include automations, pipelines, email marketing, and a mobile app.
The platform allows you to sell a variety of products. Aside from courses, you can sell coaching, memberships, communities, podcasts, and other digital content.
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. 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 is a course creation platform with more than decent marketing features. It even has automation features that could help you focus more on marketing or creating than the menial tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. For starters, it has one of the more expensive platforms available in the market. The lowest plan is $149 per month. These plans are not unlimited. 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. 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. How Thinkific vs Free
So let’s take a look at how good Kajabi features are starting from the interface.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It’s minimalist, clean, and modern. The majority of features are accessible in just 3-4 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.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. You can organize them depending on their types and content. 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 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.
If you want to market through email, Kajabi has a powerful email marketing solution that is already built in the platform which has plenty of features in and of itself. 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. 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. 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.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead, users will need to rely on integration from other payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and BitPay.
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.
Overall, while its not perfect, Kajabi offers a lot of features that are both geared towards marketing as well as course creation. These features can be used by anyone who is serious about starting 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. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month and this plan doesn’t even include unlimited courses. How Thinkific vs Free
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 billed 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 allows you to sell other digital products like coaching, webinars, communities, podcasts, etc. It is also one of the best places to do so.
- Kajabi also has a built-in assessment function that allows you to grade and observe your students’ performance. This is extremely good when combined with drip courses to provide courses that can only be accessed when the proper grades are reached
- Kajabi’s accessibility is pretty good thanks to its mobile app, which students can use to access classes and lessons whenever and wherever they are. It even includes a notification feature that can help with alerts.
- Kajabi 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 has an automation feature that can automate offers purchase, course or membership post-completion, assessment completion, and much more. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- Kajabi’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 has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. How Thinkific vs Free
- 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 starts at $149 per month and does not even offer unlimited course creation. It only offers 3 products as well as 3 pipelines
- Kajabi does not offer course completion certificates, something that some users want to receive as proof of going through the class
- Kajabi has no page templates for designing landing pages, thank you pages, checkout pages, forms, and other pages. This means that users will have to create all pages from scratch using the page builder. As such, it will be very difficult for new and non-tech users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi has no local payment gateway. You must rely on Stripe and Paypal integrations to take payment from orders.
- 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.
Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They provide the best marketing experience. Their pipeline and automation features can be the envy of other platforms and something users would want to have if they want the best rate of conversions.
That said, Kajabi is not without its flaws. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. How Thinkific vs Free
Kajabi is also pretty expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi is a good creation platform with advanced marketing features. It is perfect if you are looking for a platform for its marketing features. It might be a bit expensive, but Kajabi’s features can be worth it.
Podia Versus Thinkific
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. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. It might be their way of offsetting the price for its powerful features.
At the end of the day, Podia is an excellent tool and platform, especially for those who are more focused on the business side, such as marketers, promoters, and the like.
In terms of features, Podia has loads of them.
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. Podia can access almost all functions from its 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. With some imagination, you can create interesting lessons with the platform that is given to you.
Nevertheless, there are some areas where the course creator is lacking. Unlike most other platforms, Podia only supports very few lesson types. Furthermore, it does not have a proper assessment feature to help you monitor student performance. How Thinkific vs Free
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. Some of these websites include:
- Youtube, Vimeo and Dailymotion are video hosts.
- Podcast and music platforms like s Spotify, soundcloud and podbean
- Slideshow platforms like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- Social media sites like Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Behance
- Form Builder websites like Google Forms, Typeform and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. However, Podia only has one type of certificate for now. 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. Tools like Pre-launch, upsells, and coupons make great strategies to promote your products.
This makes Podia an excellent choice for marketers looking to sell products on a smaller site.
That said, not everything is perfect. Podia’s weak point is its email marketing. It only offers the basics. It allows you to send broadcasts and email campaigns but lacks some features, such as split testing and personalization fields.
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.
Your audience can use their credit cards at checkout. They usually take less than 2 days to process and are credited to your PayPal or bank account. How Thinkific vs Free
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 is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. It is easy to set up for users of all tech levels.
- Podia can serve many purposes and be a one-stop shop to meet all your needs. Digital products can include memberships, webinars and bundles.
- Other than the free plan, Podia allows you to sell unlimited courses and products. 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. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia offers an affiliate program that you can use to reach your audience. This is only available for Shaker or Earthquaker plans.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. How Thinkific vs Free
- 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. 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
- There is a noticeable lack of course-compliance features in the platform
- Podia also does not have many customization features. It lacks custom CSS/HTMl customizations. 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. There is also an 8% transaction charge.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia supports only a handful of lesson types. Podia does not support certain types of lesson, such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.
- While it has pretty good marketing features, it still lacks some. 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. How Thinkific vs Free
Overall, Podia is an acceptable platform for hosting your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. Well, it is not entirely 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 is perfect for a lot of people. Content creators, teachers, marketers, and people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
Thinkific Versus Kartra
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. It is also a marketing platform.
Kartra should not be considered a website in its own right or your product’s.
Rather, you should focus on its strengths and use them to sell products, services, and membership for your proper sites.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. 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.
Since Kartra is a different beast altogether, we might focus on features not found in most course-building websites. In fact, there might not be a course-building site for Kartra.
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.
To maximize the profits of its users, Kartra focuses on marketing and lead conversion. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. While Kartra does not refer to funnels as campaigns, They function similarly. How Thinkific vs Free
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. You can even market and sell your campaigns and make money from them.
Kartra 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. These features allow users to create product pages, checkout pages and opt-in pages. You can even use professionally designed templates to speed up or start the process.
These pages can also be optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. You can host these pages on your domain or on Katra itself.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper website. 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. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Kartra can also use automation to create email sequences. Drag-and-drop visual sequence builders make it easy to create them. Once you’re done, the program can run on autopilot.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. This powerful tool allows to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. This allows you to relax after all the work has been done.
Kartra’s price is steep for a platform focused on marketing and lead conversions. However, depending on your needs, the price of Kartra’s plans may be worth it. How Thinkific vs Free
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per month when billed annually||$229 per Month when you pay annually||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay 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 offers an automatic translation feature for its checkout pages. It is based on the user’s geographical location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar allows you to drip content or vary access to different levels, if you have an existing membership site.
- You can use A/B testing to refine your automated email responses as you set them up.
- Kartra 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 Free
- Even Kartra’s pages can load slow
- For beginners, it can be difficult to understand the many features.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
It has a lot of tools and features that provide you with the opportunity for interesting and engaging promotions and products.
It is not a course builder, and certainly not a website creator. As such, If you use Kartra, ensure that you are doing so in conjunction with a proper website page maker. Kartra is quite expensive for the features it offers. This can be difficult to swallow.
However, if you take the plunge, you might just get your money’s worth and more.
Overall, Verdict How Thinkific vs Free
When you are interested in joining the industry, course builder websites can be very useful.
There will be many platforms available to provide the service you require, just as there are for most industries and markets. In the case of course building and selling, we have Thinkific, Podia, Kajabi ( and a little bit of Kartra), among others.
In a market-like course building, these platforms will offer almost identical services. They will have very few differences. 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. And find the platform that is best aligned with that. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.