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. 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. 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.
There are many online courses that people can take. From the usual life coaching stuff about making your life better to tutorial classes of the usual academic subjects like Algebra. You can even learn how to make your courses more lucrative.
Online courses are everywhere, and if you want to get in on the action, the next question is which platform you will use to share that treasure in your noggin.
Ross Herosian has posted a video review on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. For those who like a visual experience, To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below, which compares it to some competitors.
Thinkific: Your Go-To Online Course Platform Is Thinkific Worth It
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one the most popular options for selling, hosting and building your courses.
One of the main reasons why Thinkific stands out is that you know they are doing this in a place of passion. You can feel that they are more focused on giving the best learning experience they can to both the creators and their audience and that earning money is needed to keep things afloat.
It’s impossible to not! 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. Using the free plan allows users to glimpse what they are about to partake in without any investment.
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 even makes sure that all profits are directly available upon being sold. This means course creators and content producers can immediately use their earnings without needing to wait for a quote, or reach a certain threshold before they can touch the money.
This just proves how much Thinkfiic thinks of its customer base.
First, let me preface this by saying that most online course platforms share almost the same features. First, there is the course builder, then there is the website builder for your courses, and then the marketing features.
They are all the same except for how they work and some other unique features. These are the features that Thinkific is known for.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. 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. It is easy to navigate. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. They are properly classified to where they are, except for occasional hiccups. Is Thinkific Worth It
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.
This course builder also allows you to include a multitude of media types. 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.
The marketing features of Thinkific are where I fear the platforms will fall 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 are behind the competition. Most of it is quite basic, and at most, you can notify your students of new courses or products, as well as send them their course progress and notify them about their course progress as well as updates.
Thinkific can also integrate third-party apps. Rather than band-aids, you can consider these third-party apps as bandages to fix some of Thinkific’s deficiencies in the marketing department.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
I guess it makes sense, given the platform’s repeated promises of focusing 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.
Although I’ve already spoken highly of Thinkific’s Free Plan, it’s still a limited plan and far less than Thinkific’s paid plans. It’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. Is Thinkific Worth It
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.
|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.
Of course, it still maintains its dedication to course building, teachers, and students.
To get Thinkific plus, you need to contact the platform’s sales team and ask for this upgrade. You will discuss with them the tools you need to make the most 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:
- Unlimitted 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
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thinkific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. This isn’t a glorified trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- 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.
- 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.
- Thinkific’s interface is one of the most intuitive. With most options logically placed and easily located. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- 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.
- The marketing features of Thinkifiic make it hard to recommend for people who are more focused on propping up businesses on the platform. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Despite Thinkific having one of the most intuitive user interfaces, it looks outdated, and there are times when the experience can be clunkier than expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. Is Thinkific Worth It
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. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
If you’re looking for the best online course creation software that builds courses from scratch. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
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 provides tools that are geared towards simplifying 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.
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.
As such, Kajabi is one of those rare products where the “all in one” platform fits. It is a course creation platform with more than decent marketing features. You can even use automation features to help you spend more time marketing and creating than on the mundane tasks.
Kajabi land is not perfect. 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.
Kajabi’s features are not as rich, particularly in the community engagement and gamification departments. So you might need some third-party integrations to address these issues.
Kajabi boasts about being one of the better 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. Is Thinkific Worth It
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’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 makes it easier to work and provides a smoother experience.
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. For long courses with long content, short courses for product launches.
Kajabi offers blueprints that are similar to templates for a simpler building experience. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
These courses could 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.
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.
Kajabi offers a powerful email marketing platform that allows you to market via email. It is built on top of the platform and has many features. Email templates can be created for different functions.
Another conversion tool they possess are their pipelines, which can help you convert more customers and increase your sales. They are not that hard to use and even the platform has provided various templates that can easily be used by their customers.
Kajabi also has a dedicated affiliate program for users of a higher plan than the basic one. 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.
Kajabi’s lack of an integrated payment solution is the main problem. Instead, users will need to rely on integration from other payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and BitPay.
This is a huge disappointment considering how poor their marketing tools and how adept their checkout at upsells, bumps offers, downsells is.
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.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is among the most expensive service when it comes to the course creation market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month and this plan doesn’t even include unlimited courses. Is Thinkific Worth It
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 per month billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros & Cons
- Kajabi, as its name suggests, is an all-in-one content creation and marketing tool. It provides various tools to create courses, like a drip course or a mini-course, and combine them with different marketing automations to ensure they sell.
- Kajabi provides blueprints and templates to help you get started on 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. You can even set up notifications to receive alerts.
- Kajabi also has a membership feature that allows users to create and sell membership options to their customers. This feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive content.
- Kajabi’s automation feature can automate the purchase of offers, post-completion of courses or memberships, assessment completion, as well as other tasks. To be more precise, users can use conditional filters.
- 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. Is Thinkific Worth It
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. The pipeline features automate the selling of the products and “funneling” your customers to where you want for better conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s price point is nothing to laugh at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It only offers 3 products as well as 3 pipelines
- Kajabi doesn’t offer certificate of completion for courses, which some users would like to have as proof that they took 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. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi does not have a local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- Kajabi has some great features but it still lacks some key features, particularly in the community section. 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. 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. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. Is Thinkific Worth It
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 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
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.
Furthermore, Podia is one of the cheaper digital content-selling platforms in the market. It might even be one of the most affordable. 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.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
Podia offers a lot of features.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. It is designed to have all the other features accessible within 3 clicks. It is so easy that almost no learning curve is required to use Podia’s interface.
This makes 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. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. You can make interesting lessons from the platform provided.
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. Is Thinkific Worth It
It also supports multiple platforms thanks to its powerful embed tool. 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 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.
One of the more recent additions to Podia’s courses is the ability to give certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. However, Podia only has one type of certificate for now. 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. 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.
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. 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.
Checkout is possible for your audience using their credit cards. These usually are processed within 2 days and will be credited to your bank or PayPal account. Is Thinkific Worth It
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. Although it doesn’t offer much, this plan is a great way to learn more about Podia.
|$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 has many functions and can become a one-stop shop for 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 allows you to upload unlimited videos for your content. This is thanks to the unlimited storage and bandwidth that the platform offers its users. This way, you don’t need to use Vimeo or 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 supports a prelaunch mode as one of its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. Is Thinkific Worth It
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- Podia has a new feature that allows content creators to give certificates, community, and quizzes. You can even create memberships in the community area.
- Their email marketing provides only the most 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. 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.
- Its free plan is severely lacking and will only allow you to host 1 product. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- There are no course blueprints available in Podia.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. It lacks support for some types like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and HTML 5 Content, among others.
- It has some good marketing features but it is still lacking others. These include cart abandonment, downsells and order bumps.
- 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. Is Thinkific Worth It
Summary of Podia
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 is perfect for a lot of people. Content creators, teachers, marketers, and people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
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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. Yep, it is a platform that goes all in on the marketing side.
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. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. It also allows you to choose from multiple pricing options, which will allow you to set a more flexible price.
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.
As for the features, we already mentioned that Katra allows you to sell many products. 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. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Is Thinkific Worth It
Kartra makes funnel building relatively easy. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. 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 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. These pages can be hosted on your domain, or on Katra.
They are not yet able to host the full functionality and features required for a website. 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. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
First, it can send broadcast messages either by email or SMS. This will require integration with all 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.
Another one that is unique to the platform is its behavior-based automation. This powerful tool allows you to send emails based on the recipient’s behavior. As such, when you are done setting up the hard work, you can just sit back and relax.
Kartra’s pricing is high for a platform that focuses on lead conversions and marketing. However, depending on your needs, the price of Kartra’s plans may be worth it. Is Thinkific Worth It
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||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay 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 has an automatic translation for its checkout pages. It works based on the user’s geographic location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar also allows you to drip content and vary access to different levels if you have a membership site.
- You can use A/B testing to refine your automated email responses as you set them up.
- Kartra has an agency feature that allows you to hold multiple client accounts. This allows you to manage different websites in just a single dashboard.
- Some might feel that Kartra’s pricing is too high for the quality of what they offer
- There are not unlimited integrations available with any of the plans.
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Is Thinkific Worth It
- 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.
There are many tools and features available that will allow you to create engaging and compelling 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. 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.
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Overall, Verdict Is Thinkific Worth It
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.
These platforms will almost offer identical services in a market-like setting. They will have very few differences. Of course, some might excel in one aspect or another.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.