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.
Back then, most courses were much more focused on niched things like 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.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. However, people still needed to learn, and online course platforms and other eLearning platforms made it possible for a lot to continue their studies.
In the early times of the pandemic, the industry saw a 221% increase in new course creators on one Course Platform. This growth is probably shared throughout multiple platforms online.
Everyone, from solopreneurs and entrepreneurs to professionals in human resources and educational institutions, has used at least one course platform during the pandemic.
Not only that, but the pandemic also showed the potential of these platforms as a way to earn extra profit. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
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. 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.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. 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 Lifterlms vs Thinkific
Thinkific is one the most popular options for selling, hosting and building your courses.
Thinkific is unique because you can feel that they are passionate about what they do. It is clear that they are more concerned with providing the best learning experience possible to creators as well as their audience. They also understand that making money is important to maintain the business.
How could you not? It is one of few online courses platforms that offers a free full-service service. Thinkific offers a free service that is just as good as the paid lower-tiered.
This makes the platform perfect for newcomers as they get to experience what it’s like to build content and courses, as well as the overall flow and environment of the industry. The free plan lets users see what they’re about to do without making any investments.
The only limitation of this free plan is that it only allows you to create one course and one course, and in my opinion, that is generous enough.
Thinkific 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. 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.
First, let me preface this by saying that most online course platforms share almost the same features. The course builder is first, followed by the website builder to create your courses and finally the marketing features.
The only difference between them is how well they work, along with some bits and bobs that make the product unique. 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. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
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.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These media types include quizzes and surveys, assignments, pdfs, content, and student discussion areas that allow for peer-to-peer interaction.
Another highlight is the scheduling of course content and some automation in drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It has everything that you need to promote and market your courses.
But that’s just about it. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. 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.
For email marketing alone, Thinkific directly integrates five of the most popular email marketing providers, including ConvertKit, Active Campaign, Aweber, Drip, and MailChimp.
I guess it makes sense, given the platform’s repeated promises of focusing on course creation. It would be wiser to pour all resources into ensuring they got that part right and get third-party apps to tackle the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
Although I’ve already spoken highly of Thinkific’s Free Plan, it’s still a limited plan and far less than Thinkific’s paid plans. It isn’t like most of the competition.
At a cheaper price point, Thinkific allows users to make an unlimited number of courses and enroll an unlimited number of students in these courses. This is in line with their mission to be focused on the education part. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
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
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
Thinkific offers a more complex and customized plan, Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes the best of Thinkfiic, makes it powerful, scalable and simple-to-use, and then adds more.
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. 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
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. It also is not just a glorified free trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- Thinkific doesn’t charge transaction fees for any sale. All earnings by content creators are theirs. These funds can be claimed and used by creators as soon as they are received in their accounts.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- Thinkific’s premium plans remove the restriction on the number of courses. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- Thinkific’s interface is one of the most intuitive. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. This interface is easy to use for users just starting out.
- 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.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not user-friendly. You may need to take some time and read guides to learn how to use the tools.
- It is difficult to recommend Thinkifiic for those who are more interested in promoting the platform’s marketing capabilities. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- 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. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
Thinkific is one the most popular online courses platforms on the market. 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. Thinkfiic already has a solution for this problem. Any problems with the platform can be fixed by integrating third-party services.
If you’re looking for the best online course creation software that builds courses from scratch. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
Kajabi Versus Thinkific
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying your operations.
Kajabi’s top features include automations and pipelines, email marketing and a mobile application.
As for products, there is a lot you can sell through the platform. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
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.
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. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. In the case of the lowest plan, you can only sell 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. These issues might require third-party integrations.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. They even have one of the more expensive plans in the course creation market. As such, it is only to be expected that the audience will have high expectations of the product. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
So let’s take a look at how good Kajabi features are starting from the interface.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It 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 provides for a smoother experience and does not get in the way of your work.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. 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” 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 be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. They can be arranged according to their content and types. So you can text and slideshows in one area, audio and video to different areas.
As for storage, Kajabi allows for cloud uploading from Dropbox and Google Drive so there is little to worry about.
Kajabi is a strong and comprehensive marketing tool.
It also offers the traditional stuff of offering coupons in a flexible way, which, as we have seen, is an old and proven marketing strategy.
If you want to market through email, Kajabi has a powerful email marketing solution that is already built in the platform which has plenty of features in and of itself. Email templates can be created for different functions.
Another conversion tool they possess are their pipelines, which can help you convert more customers and increase your sales. These are easy to use, and the platform even provides templates that customers can easily access.
Kajabi offers a dedicated affiliate program to users who have a higher plan. It is a feature that makes the process overly easy and simple. It organizes both affiliate links and affiliates in its own category, making it easier to track down and find them.
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.
Although it is not perfect, Kajabi has a lot to offer that can be used for both marketing and course creation. These features can be used by anyone who is serious about starting 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. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
However, if you think that Kajabi’s steep price as well as its more advanced features like automation is something you really need, then of course, it is the customer’s choice at the end of the day.
|$119 per month billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||Monthly payment of $319|
Kajabi Pros & 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 templates and blueprints to get you started with your project.
- Kajabi allows you to sell other digital products like coaching, webinars, communities, podcasts, etc. It is also one of the best places to do so.
- Kajabi also 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 also has a membership feature that allows users to create and sell membership options to their customers. This can be used to provide users with a way to sell extra and exclusive course content.
- Kajabi has an automation feature that can automate offers purchase, course or membership post-completion, assessment completion, and much more. To be more precise, users can use conditional filters.
- Kajabi has one of the strongest marketing features among the content and course-building platforms available right now.
- Kajabi’s Email Marketing is among the best in the industry. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature makes it possible to have various OVO funnel templates. The pipeline features automate the selling of the products and “funneling” your customers to where you want for better conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s pricing is not to be laughed at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It offers only 3 products and 3 pipelines.
- Kajabi does not offer course completion certificates, something that some users want to receive as proof of going through the class
- Kajabi has no page templates for designing landing pages, thank you pages, checkout pages, forms, and other pages. That means users must do everything from scratch when editing page templates through the page builder. As such, it will be very difficult for new and non-tech users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Buyers are assured of the product’s quality by obtaining a guarantee.
- Kajabi does not have a 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.
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It is undeniable that Kajabi is a juggernaut of a platform regarding course creation and marketing. Their marketing tools are unparalleled.
They provide the best marketing experience. Users would love to have their pipeline and automation features if they want to convert at a high rate.
Kajabi has its faults, however. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
Kajabi is also pretty expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi is a good creation platform with advanced marketing features. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. It might be a bit expensive, but Kajabi’s features can be worth it.
Thinkific Versus Podia
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.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. This might be their way to offset the high price of its powerful features.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
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In terms of features, Podia has loads of them.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. It is designed to have all the other features accessible within 3 clicks. In fact, it is so simple that the learning curve for using Podia’s interface is almost non-existent.
This makes the platform very beginner friendly. There are no more complicated terms and actions needed just to reach or access something that you need or want. In fact, almost all of Podia’s functions can be accessed straight from the dashboard.
Podia allows you to upload files that will be used as building blocks for your lessons. A course can contain text, embeds and quizzes as well as coaching and files. 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. It does not provide a way to monitor student performance. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
It also supports multiple platforms thanks to its powerful embed tool. Some of these websites include:
- Video hosts such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion
- Podcast and music platforms like s Spotify, soundcloud and podbean
- Slideshow platforms such as speaker deck, presentation and google slides.
- Social media sites such as Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.
- Form Builder websites such as Google Forms, Typeform, and Paper Form
- Coding websites such as Github and Codepen
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. They cannot still customize and design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is on the bag. You can use it to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. Tools like Pre-launch, upsells, and coupons make great strategies to promote your products.
This 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.
Also, those looking for automation features have lost their luck since Podia’s is not as advanced as some of theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. 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. These usually are processed within 2 days and will be credited to your bank or PayPal account. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
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’s very user-friendly and doesn’t require any training. 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.
- Podia also offers a free plan that allows you to sell unlimited products and courses. That means as long as you have the energy and the idea, you can create as many pages for your courses and products as you want.
- Podia also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. 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.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
- 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. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- 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
- The platform lacks course compliance features.
- Podia does not offer many customization options. It lacks custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia 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. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- 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.
- It has some good marketing features but it is still lacking others. 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. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many might think that with Podia, you get what you pay for. Well, it is not entirely true. Podia is more than what you pay. With enough creativity and good ideas, you can create impressive courses and sell them at a good price.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. It is perfect for a lot of people. Content creators, teachers, marketers, and people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
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Thinkific Versus Kartra
Kartra is a different product from the others 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.
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. 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 unlimited quantities of products and offer them at any price.
Kartra’s focus is on lead conversion and marketing to maximize its users’ profits. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels are a way for sellers to get their customers to buy their products. While Kartra does not refer to funnels as campaigns, They function similarly. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
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.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. Your campaigns can be marketed and sold to make money.
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.
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.
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. 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. Drag-and-drop visual sequence builders make it easy to create them. Once you’re done, the program can run on autopilot.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. This powerful tool allows to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. 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. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
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 billed 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 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 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 no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Lifterlms vs Thinkific
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- The number of features can be very difficult for beginners to get used to.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
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. Kartra should be used in conjunction with a professional website page maker. Kartra is quite expensive for the features it offers. This can be difficult to swallow.
However, if you take the plunge, you might just get your money’s worth and more.
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Overall, Verdict Lifterlms vs Thinkific
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. For course building and selling, there are Thinkific, Podia and Kajabi (and a bit of Kartra), as well as other platforms.
These platforms will almost offer identical services in a market-like setting. 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. And find the platform that is best aligned with that. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.