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 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. Due to its flexibility, people who are unable to attend school regularly due to scheduling conflicts or duties could still complete courses.
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 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 that knowledge is wealth. Online courses platforms have given this maxim legs and allowed people to convert their knowledge into wealth.
Nowadays, there are countless online courses people can partake in. You can find everything from life coaching to make your life easier, to tutorial classes on the more academic subjects such as Algebra. Even to courses about making your courses more profitable.
Online courses are 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, To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below, which compares it to some competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform How Thinkific vs Xlsx
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
One of the main reasons why Thinkific stands out is that you know they are doing this in a place of passion. 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? It is one of few online courses platforms that offers a free full-service service. Thinkific offers a free service that is just as good as the paid lower-tiered.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. The free plan lets users see what they’re about to do without making any investments.
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 also does not take any cut for a transaction fee whenever a user makes a sale on the platform. All the profits go to the content owner.
Thinkific ensures that all profits are immediately available after they have been sold. This means course creators and content producers can immediately use their earnings without needing to wait for a quote, or reach a certain threshold before they can touch the money.
This is a testament to how Thinkfiic views its customers.
Let me start by saying that almost all online courses platforms have the same features. The course builder is first, followed by the website builder to create your courses and finally the marketing features.
The only difference between them is how well they work, along with some bits and bobs that make the product unique. As such, we will be focusing on these aspects of Thinkific’s features.
For Thinkific, the main focus would be their course curriculum creation capabilities. The creation part of Thinkific’s features is the most important. They ensure that online courses are as interactive as possible.
Thinkific’s user interface is very easy to get into. It is intuitive and logical. 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 Xlsx
Users who love to check on analytics and performance will love this interface, as everything is placed and organized neatly on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
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. As such, the platform ensures that the course creation mechanism is easy to get used to. Even in the free plan, Thinkific allows you to try everything the course creator can do.
This course builder also allows you to include a multitude of media types. 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. Compared to the competition, Thinkific’s market features are a bit lackluster. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. Overall, checkout is quite clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in customization.
Even email marketing features are behind the competition. 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. Rather than band-aids, you can consider these third-party apps as bandages to fix some of Thinkific’s deficiencies in the marketing department.
For email marketing alone, Thinkific directly integrates five of the most popular email marketing providers, including ConvertKit, Active Campaign, Aweber, Drip, and MailChimp.
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.
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 keeping with their mission to focus on education. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
Thinkific is a great choice if you are looking for a cheaper plan with many content ideas that you believe will sell.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 per month||$374 per month|
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
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. 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 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
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thinkific 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. 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. In fact, users can create an unlimited number of courses and enroll an unlimited number of students in these courses.
- Thinkific’s interface is one of the most intuitive. With most options logically placed and easily located. This interface is easy to use for users just starting out.
- Thinkfic’s course creator is also easy to use. You can also choose from many course materials to make your course more engaging and exciting.
- In the name of engagement, Thinkific also gives you the ability to put incentives such as leaderboards, awards, and scores to motivate your students.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not 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.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- There is a distinct lack of customization options within the platform. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
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.
My opinion is that its greatest strength would be its commitment to providing the best course experience possible and a free plan. As for its weakness, Thinkfiic has already provided some kind of solution to it. 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. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is a widely used platform for running an online course business. Its main focus is on productivity and sales. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying 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.
Kajabi has many marketing features. It’s no surprise that they have sales funnels, email marketing, and automations. These features give the Kajabi platform users an easier time selling their products.
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. 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. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. The lowest plan allows you to sell only 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. So you might need some third-party integrations to address these issues.
Kajabi boasts about being one of the better 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 Xlsx
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
At first glance, Kajabi’s interface is pretty normal. It’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 load quicker. 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. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. For long courses with long content, short courses for product launches.
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
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. They can be arranged according to their content and types. You can have text and slideshows in one place, and audio and video in another.
As for storage, Kajabi allows for cloud uploading from Dropbox and Google Drive so there is little to worry about.
Kajabi 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. 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 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.
Overall, while its not perfect, Kajabi offers a lot of features that are both geared towards marketing as well as 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.
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 Xlsx
If you feel that Kajabi’s high price and more advanced features such as automation are something you really need, then you can choose to purchase it.
|$119 monthly billed annually||$159 per month billed annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros and Cons
- True to its name, Kajabi is an all in one content making 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 blueprints and templates to help you get started on your project.
- Kajabi allows you to sell other digital products like coaching, webinars, communities, podcasts, etc. This is also a great place to do this.
- Kajabi also 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. You can even set up notifications to receive alerts.
- Kajabi has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for their customers. This can be used to provide users with a way to sell extra and exclusive course content.
- Kajabi’s automation feature can automate the purchase of offers, post-completion of courses or memberships, assessment completion, as well as other tasks. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- Kajabi’s marketing strategy is one of the most powerful among all the course-building and content platforms currently available.
- Kajabi’s Email marketing is one of the best in the business. There are many email templates that you can use in various situations. Kajabi has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature makes it possible to have various OVO funnel templates. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher 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. It will be difficult for non-tech users and new users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Buyers are assured of the product’s quality by obtaining a guarantee.
- Kajabi 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. There are no gamification or community engagement features.
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 have the tools that provide a great marketing experience. Their pipeline and automation features can be the envy of other platforms and something users would want to have if they want the best rate of conversions.
Kajabi has its faults, however. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
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. 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. 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. 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.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
Podia offers a lot of features.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. The interface is easy to use and allows you to access all other features in just 3 clicks. In fact, it is so simple that the learning curve for using Podia’s interface is almost non-existent.
This makes it very user-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.
For its Course creator, Podia supports various files that can serve as the building block for your lessons. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. You can make interesting lessons from the platform provided.
That said, This course creator can be lacking in some parts. Unlike most other platforms, Podia only supports very few lesson types. It does not provide a way to monitor student performance. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
It also supports multiple platforms thanks to its powerful embed tool. 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
- Coding websites such as Github and Codepen
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. 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. You can promote your products using tools like coupons, upsells, or pre-launch.
This marks Podia as an excellent choice for marketers who want to sell their products on a smaller website.
Nevertheless, not all things are perfect. In this case, Podia’s weakness is its email marketing, which only provides the basics. Although it allows you to send email broadcasts and campaigns, some of its features are missing such as split testing or personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
For payment processors, Podia has a local payment gateway. 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 Xlsx
In terms of pricing, it is one of the cheapest there is in the market. What’s more, is that the platform has recently added its own free plan. 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 strongest point is its clean and crisp UI/UX. It is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. It is easy to set up for users of all tech levels.
- Podia can serve many purposes and be a one-stop shop to meet 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. This means that you can make as many pages as you like for your products and courses as long as there is energy.
- Podia allows you to upload unlimited videos 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.
- Despite providing only the most basic functions, the built-in email marketing tools are enough to support broadcasts and campaigns.
- Podia supports a prelaunch mode as one of its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
- 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 provides only the most basic functions. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Other features that the tool does not have include templates, drag-and-drop editor and other features.
- There is a noticeable lack of course-compliance features in the platform
- Podia does not offer many customization options. It lacks custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Expect to have generic-looking websites when using Podia.
- Podia does not have landing page builders and funnels. These are essential tools considering Podia’s focus in marketing.
- Its free plan is severely lacking and will only allow you to host 1 product. There is also an 8% transaction charge.
- There are no course blueprints available in Podia.
- 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. This includes order bumps, downsells, cart abandonment, and others.
- 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 Xlsx
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. It isn’t true. Podia offers a lot more with what you pay for it. 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 completely different product to the ones listed above. Scratch that, Kartra is entirely different from the other products listed in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. 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.
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. 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. 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. As such, one of their main features is funnel building.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. While Kartra does not refer to funnels as campaigns, They function similarly. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. You can also have Katra build it for you with their plug-and play campaigns, which are from industry leaders.
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 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. 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.
They are not yet able to host the full functionality and features required for a website. Even Kartra feels it themselves, as they wouldn’t allow you to host those pages in your domain otherwise.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown jewel. In terms of email marketing, it has all the stuff that a good email marketing feature has.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use 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.
Another one that is unique to the platform is its behavior-based automation. This powerful tool allows to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. As such, when you are done setting up the hard work, you can just sit back and relax.
Kartra’s price is steep for a platform focused on marketing and lead conversions. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
After all, Kartra has some advanced features that are not found in others.
|$79 per Month when you pay annually||$149 per month when billed annually||$229 per Month when you pay annually||$379 per month when billed annually|
Kartra Pros and Con
- External marketing integrations are not required. Kartra has it all: built-in email marketing, automation, sequence builder, and other essential features needed to perfectly market your products
- Kartra offers an automatic translation feature for its checkout pages. It is based on the user’s geographical location. In this vein, it also supports different currencies.
- Kartar allows you to drip content or vary access to different levels, if you have an existing membership site.
- There is A/B testing for your email content which can help you refine your automated email replies as you set them up.
- Kartra includes an agency feature that can hold multiple client accounts. This feature allows you to manage multiple websites from one dashboard.
- Some might feel that Kartra’s pricing is too high for the quality of what they offer
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. How Thinkific vs Xlsx
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- The number of features can be very difficult for beginners to get used to.
Kartra is an all-in-one marketing and sales platform that’s powerful.
It has a lot of tools and features that provide you with the opportunity for interesting and engaging promotions and products.
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.
However, if you take the plunge, you might just get your money’s worth and more.
Overall, Verdict How Thinkific vs Xlsx
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. Their differences will be minimal at best. 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.