While they already existed before 2019 B.C. (where B.C. stands for Before COVID), Online Course Platforms were already a thing. Even then, they were made for the same purpose, to create and sell online courses.
The majority of courses back then were more niche-oriented, such as leadership seminars, wholesomeness and self-help classes. Of course, courses and classes focused on normal subjects were there too.
These classes focused on bringing education to where it is most convenient and comfortable.
People who were housebound due to multiple reasons (maybe childcare or health problems) could keep studying and learning despite not being able to go out. People who couldn’t attend regular school due to duties and scheduling conflicts could still finish courses due to the medium’s flexibility.
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.
In the early times of the pandemic, the industry saw a 221% increase in new course creators on one Course Platform. This growth may be shared across multiple online platforms.
Everyone, from solopreneurs and entrepreneurs to professionals in human resources and educational institutions, has used at least one course platform during the pandemic.
These platforms can also be used to make extra profits, as the pandemic showed. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
There are many online courses that people can take. You can find everything from life coaching to make your life easier, to tutorial classes on the more academic subjects such as Algebra. Even to courses about making your courses more profitable.
Online courses are all the rage. The next question is how you plan to share the treasure you find in your head with the world.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. You can still read our article below to get a complete overview of Thinkific. It also compares it with some other competitors.
Thinkific: Your Go-To Online Course Platform How Thinkific vs Heroku
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.
How could you not? After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free 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. That means that course makers and content creators can use their earnings directly, with no need to wait for a quote or a certain threshold to reach before being able to touch the money.
This is a testament to how Thinkfiic views its customers.
Let me start by saying that almost all online courses platforms have 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. These are the features that Thinkific is known for.
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 make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
Thinkific’s user interface is very easy to get into. It’s intuitive and logical. Users will have no problem navigating everything. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. How Thinkific vs Heroku
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
If we are to nitpick something out of this, it would be that the aesthetics of the interface can be done a little bit better.
As mentioned above, Thinkific’s main focus is on the creation side of course creation. As such, the platform ensures that the course creation mechanism is easy to get used to. Thinkific lets you try all the features of the course creator even if it is a free plan.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These include content, quizzes, surveys, assignments, pdfs, and student discussion areas to allow peer-to-peer interaction.
Other highlights include scheduling of course content as well as some automation in terms of drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
That’s not all. 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. 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.
It makes sense considering the platform’s repeated promises to focus on course creation. It would be smarter to invest all resources in ensuring that they get the course creation part right, and then to hire third-party apps for the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
While I have already mentioned Thinkific’s Free Plan and how great it is, that plan is still limited and is a far cry from what Thinkific’s paid plans are. It’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 Heroku
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.
|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.
Thinkific offers a more complex and customized plan, Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes what you know of Thinkfiic and makes it a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform.
It still dedicates itself to teaching, lecturing, and supporting students.
You will need to contact the sales team of Thinkific Plus to request this upgrade. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. Lastly, you will also discuss with them the total cost of this upgrade.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will give you the features of the most expensive plan as well as these additional features:
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ 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
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Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific’s free package is permanently free. This isn’t a glorified trial. It is a free account, with the only limitation being the number of courses you can take.
- Thinkific does not ask for transaction fees whenever a sale is made. All earnings by content creators are theirs. Creators can even claim and use these funds as soon as they arrive in their account.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- Thinkific’s premium plans remove the restriction on the number of courses. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. 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. It also allows for many course materials, making it possible to have your course as exciting and engaging as possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- There is a distinct lack of customization options within the platform. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. How Thinkific vs Heroku
The Thinkific Summary
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. 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. Thinkfiic already has a solution for this problem. Any problems with the platform can be fixed by integrating third-party services.
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. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It offers tools that simplify your operations.
Kajabi’s top features include automations and pipelines, email marketing and a mobile application.
The platform allows you to sell a variety of products. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
Kajabi has many marketing features. It’s no surprise that they have sales funnels, email marketing, and automations. This allows Kajabi users to sell their products more easily.
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. It has one of the most expensive platforms on 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.
Kajabi’s features are not as rich, particularly in the community engagement and gamification departments. These issues might require third-party integrations.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. Even more, they have one of the most expensive courses in the market. As such, it is only to be expected that the audience will have high expectations of the product. How Thinkific vs Heroku
So let’s take a look at how good Kajabi features are starting from the interface.
At first glance, Kajabi’s interface is pretty normal. It is neat, minimal, and feels very modern. The majority of features are accessible in just 3-4 clicks. 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 makes it easier to work and provides a smoother experience.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. You can choose among these types for whichever suits your needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” are pretty much presentation ready that if you want, you can just add your needed content and then you are good to go.
These courses could also be organized into subcategories, posts, and categories. 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.
Kajabi offers cloud storage via Dropbox and Google Drive, so you don’t have to worry.
Kajabi is a strong and comprehensive marketing tool.
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. You can even have email templates ready for the different functions you want it to.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase sales. They are not that hard to use and even the platform has provided various templates that can easily be used by their customers.
Kajabi offers a dedicated affiliate program to users who have a higher plan. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It organizes both affiliate links and affiliates in its own category, making it easier to track down and find them.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead users will have to rely on the integration form other payment gateways such as Stripe, Paypal, BitPay, Authorize.net and others.
This is entirely disappointing given how robus their marketing tools are as well as how good their checkout is at doing things like upsells, bump offers, and downsells.
Although it is not perfect, Kajabi has a lot to offer that can be used for both marketing and course creation. As such, it is easy to see that these features are good for almost everybody who are serious about making an online business.
Of course, potential users should be willing to pay for the steep price point to use these tools.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is among the most expensive service when it comes to the course creation market. The cheapest plan is $149 per month, and it doesn’t include unlimited courses. How Thinkific vs Heroku
However, if you think that Kajabi’s steep price as well as its more advanced features like automation is something you really need, then of course, it is the customer’s choice at the end of the day.
|$119 monthly billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros & Cons
- True to its name, Kajabi is an all in one content making and marketing tool. You can create courses using various tools, such as a drip or mini-course. Then, you can combine them with marketing automations to make sure they sell.
- Kajabi Provides templates and blueprints to get you started with your project.
- Kajabi lets you sell digital products such as coaching, webinars and communities. It is also one of the best places to do so.
- Kajabi also includes an assessment function that allows students to grade their performance and monitor them. This feature is especially useful when used in conjunction with drip courses. Drip courses allow you to offer courses that are only accessible when the correct grades have been achieved.
- Kajabi’s accessibility is pretty good thanks to its mobile app, which students can use to access classes and lessons whenever and wherever they are. It even includes a notification feature that can help with alerts.
- Kajabi has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for their customers. This feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive content.
- Kajabi’s automation feature can automate the purchase of offers, post-completion of courses or memberships, assessment completion, as well as other tasks. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- Kajabi’s marketing strategy is one of the most powerful among all the course-building and content platforms currently available.
- Kajabi’s Email marketing is one of the best in the business. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. How Thinkific vs Heroku
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s pricing is not to be laughed at. It starts at $149 per month and does not even offer unlimited course creation. It offers only 3 products and 3 pipelines.
- Kajabi 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 doesn’t offer a guarantee badge on its checkout page. Guarantee badges are a good tool for increasing conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi 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.
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It is undeniable that Kajabi is a juggernaut of a platform regarding course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They provide the best marketing experience. Users would love to have their pipeline and automation features if they want to convert at a high rate.
That said, Kajabi is not without its flaws. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. How Thinkific vs Heroku
Kajabi can also be quite 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 has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. It is perfect if you are looking for a platform for its marketing features. Although it is a little expensive, Kajabi’s features are well worth the cost.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. It is also an all-in-one platform that has powerful marketing features. Online courses, coaching, webinars and community are just a few of the many products that you can sell through this platform.
Furthermore, Podia is one of the cheaper digital content-selling platforms in 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.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Podia offers a lot of features.
From looking at the interface, Podia has it clean and minimal. 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 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. 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.
That said, This course creator can be lacking in some parts. 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 Heroku
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.
- Music and podcast platforms such as s Spotify, soundcloud, and podbean
- Slideshow platforms such as speaker deck, presentation and google slides.
- Social media sites like Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Behance
- Form Builder websites such as Google Forms, Typeform, and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
One of the more recent additions to Podia’s courses is the ability to give certificates. This certificate’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. 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 makes Podia an excellent choice for marketers looking to sell products on a smaller site.
That said, not everything is 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. You can integrate with Stripe or PayPal for a simpler solution.
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 Heroku
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. The platform recently added a free plan. While this free plan does not offer much, it is still a good way to figure out how Podia works.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s 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. You can sell various digital products such as courses, memberships, webinars, bundles, community, and other digital downloads.
- Other than the free plan, Podia allows you to sell unlimited courses and products. This means that you can make as many pages as you like for your products and courses as long as there is energy.
- Podia also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. This way, you don’t need to use Vimeo or Wistia.
- Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience that is only available for Shaker and Earthquaker plans.
- Despite providing only the most basic functions, the built-in email marketing tools are enough to support broadcasts and campaigns.
- Podia 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 Heroku
- 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. Especially in its email composer, which lacks personalization fields. 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 does not offer many customization options. Podia does not support 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 Heroku
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. Well, it is not entirely true. Podia offers a lot more with what you pay for it. 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’s perfect for many people. Content creators, teachers, marketers, and people who target marketers. Podia will be able to serve their needs if they need to.
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Thinkific Versus Kartra
Kartra is a completely different product to the ones listed above. Scratch that, Kartra is entirely different from the other products listed in this review.
We offer a platform that allows you to sell your products, instead of creating courses. It is also a marketing platform.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
Instead, focus on the strengths of your site and sell products, memberships, and services.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. You can sell unlimited quantities of these products and many different types of products. 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 unlimited quantities of products and offer them at any price.
To maximize the profits of its users, Kartra focuses on marketing and lead conversion. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels 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 Heroku
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.
For personally built campaigns, you can also choose to share them with other Kartra members. You can even market and sell your campaigns and make money from them.
Kartra manages all of the billing and payment processes so that you can concentrate on improving your funnels as you gain more experience.
Kartra has powerful page-building capabilities. Users can create product pages, checkout pages, and opt-in forms with these features. You can even use professionally designed templates to speed up or start the process.
These pages can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. You can host these pages on your domain or on Katra itself.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper website. Even Kartra feels it themselves, as they wouldn’t allow you to host those pages in your domain otherwise.
The marketing features are to be considered as Kartra’s shining jewel. In terms of email marketing, it has all the stuff that a good email marketing feature has.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. However, this will require you to integrate with any available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use 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. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. How Thinkific vs Heroku
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per Month when you pay annually||$229 per Month when you pay annually||$379 per month when billed annually|
Kartra Pros and Cons
- You don’t need any external marketing integrations. Kartra has it all: built-in email marketing, automation, sequence builder, and other essential features needed to perfectly market your products
- Kartra has an automatic translation 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.
- There is A/B testing for your email content which can help you refine your automated email replies as you set them up.
- Kartra has an agency feature that allows you to hold multiple client accounts. This allows you to manage different websites in just a single dashboard.
- Some people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. How Thinkific vs Heroku
- 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.
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Overall, Verdict How Thinkific vs Heroku
Course builder websites are pretty useful when joining the industry.
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. Their differences will be minimal at best. Of course, some might excel in one aspect or another.
The key to finding which product you should use is to decide on the direction of what you want to do. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.