They existed even 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. 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.
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.
Everybody from Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to human resource professionals and proper educational institutions has used a course platform or two 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 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.
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: Your Go-To Online Course Platform Thinkific And Stripe
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
Thinkific is unique because you can feel that they are passionate about what they do. You can feel that they are more focused on giving the best learning experience they can to both the creators and their audience and that earning money is needed to keep things afloat.
How could you not? After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Yes, Thinkific has a free service that is as good as their paid lowest-tiered one.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. The free plan lets users see what they’re about to do without making any investments.
This free plan has one limitation. You can only create one course. I find that this is sufficient.
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 just proves how much Thinkfiic thinks of its customer base.
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. These are the features that Thinkific is known for.
For Thinkific, the main focus would be their course curriculum creation capabilities. The creation part of Thinkific’s features is the most important. They make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
Thinkific’s user interface is very easy to get into. It is intuitive and logical. Users will have no problem navigating everything. You can access all other features via a sidebar menu. They are properly classified to where they are, except for occasional hiccups. Thinkific And Stripe
Users who love to check on analytics and performance will love this interface, as everything is placed and organized neatly on the dashboard.
From the dashboard, you can see how well you are doing in revenue, student accounts and sign-ups, student course enrollments, and much more.
We can make the interface look a bit more appealing if we have to.
Thinkific is primarily focused on course creation, as mentioned previously. The platform makes course creation easy. 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 include content, quizzes, surveys, assignments, pdfs, and student discussion areas to allow peer-to-peer interaction.
Other highlights include scheduling of course content as well as some automation in terms of drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
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.
What’s more is that there is really nothing you can do about this part since it has very limited customization.
Even email marketing features 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.
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.
While I have already mentioned Thinkific’s Free Plan and how great it is, that plan is still limited and is a far cry from what Thinkific’s paid plans are. It’s not like the rest of the competition.
Thinkific is a lower-cost option that allows you to create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students. This is in line with their mission to be focused on the education part. Thinkific And Stripe
Thinkific is a great choice if you are looking for a cheaper plan with many content ideas that you believe will sell.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 per month||$374 per month|
|-Create and launch your product with a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
Thinkific offers a more complex and customized plan, Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes what you know of Thinkfiic and makes it a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform.
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. You will also discuss the cost of this upgrade with them.
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
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email white-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific’s free package is permanently free. It also is not just a glorified free trial. It is a free account, with the only limitation being the number of courses you can take.
- Thinkific doesn’t charge transaction fees for any sale. 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.
- 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. 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. 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. Some would need guides and a bit of time to get used to.
- It is difficult to recommend Thinkifiic for those who are more interested in promoting the platform’s marketing capabilities. Their email marketing capability is quite basic, and you will need to depend on third-party integrations to have a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- There is a distinct lack of customization options within the platform. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. Thinkific And Stripe
The Thinkific Summary
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. 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.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It offers tools that simplify your operations.
Some of Kajabi’s highlights include automations, pipelines, email marketing, and a mobile app.
As for products, there is a lot you can sell through the platform. Aside from courses, you can sell coaching, memberships, communities, podcasts, and other digital content.
It is no wonder that Kajabi also has advanced marketing features, the most prominent of which include sales funnels (OVO pipelines), email marketing, and automations. This allows Kajabi users to sell their products more easily.
Kajabi is a rare product that can be described as an “all-in-one” platform. It’s a course-creation platform that offers more than just 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. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. The lowest plan is $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. 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 claims to be one of the best platforms. They even have one of the more expensive plans in the course creation market. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. Thinkific And Stripe
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. Most of the available features can be accessed through 3 to 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. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. You can choose among these types for whichever suits your needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-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 be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. It would be easy to organize your content in a neat and organized manner. 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.
Of course, it has the usual stuff of providing coupons in a flexible manner, which as we have established, is an old, tried and tested 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. You can even have email templates ready for the different functions you want it to.
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 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. These features can be used by anyone who is serious about starting an online business.
Potential users must be prepared to pay a high price for these tools.
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. Thinkific And Stripe
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||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 blueprints and templates to help you get started on your project.
- Kajabi lets you sell digital products such as coaching, webinars and communities. 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 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 mobile app makes it easy for students to access lessons and classes wherever and whenever they want. 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 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 also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. Thinkific And Stripe
- 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 pricing is not to be laughed at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. 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 does not have page templates to design landing pages, thank-you pages, checkout pages, forms or 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 doesn’t offer a guarantee badge on its 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.
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Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for course creation and marketing. Their marketing tools are unparalleled.
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. Thinkific And Stripe
Kajabi can also be quite expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. It is perfect if you are looking for a platform for its marketing features. Although it is a little expensive, Kajabi’s features are well worth the cost.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Podia is another popular digital content-selling platform. Podia is a powerful platform with strong marketing features. Among the products you can sell on this platform are online courses, coaching, webinars, community, and many more.
Furthermore, Podia is one of the cheaper digital content-selling platforms in the market. It might even be one of the most affordable. It does take a portion of your profit when you sell. This might be their way to offset the high price of its powerful features.
At the end of the day, Podia is an excellent tool and platform, especially for those who are more focused on the business side, such as marketers, promoters, and the like.
> > Click Here to Start Your Free Trial < <
In terms of features, Podia has loads of them.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. The interface is easy to use and allows you to access all other features in just 3 clicks. It is so easy that almost no learning curve is required to use Podia’s interface.
This makes 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. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. 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. Thinkific And Stripe
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 such as speaker deck, presentation and google slides.
- Social media sites such as Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.
- 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 feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. Podia cannot customize or design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is 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 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.
For payment processors, Podia has a local payment gateway. That said, you will need to connect your bank account or PayPal account to payment processors. For a simpler solution, you can also integrate with Stripe and PayPal.
Your audience can use their credit cards at checkout. These usually are processed within 2 days and will be credited to your bank or PayPal account. Thinkific And Stripe
In terms of pricing, it is one of the cheapest there is in the market. The platform recently added a 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’s very user-friendly and doesn’t require any training. It is easy to set up for users of all tech levels.
- Podia can serve many purposes and be a one-stop shop to meet all your needs. Digital products can include memberships, webinars and bundles.
- Other than the free plan, Podia allows you to sell unlimited courses and products. That means as long as you have the energy and the idea, you can create as many pages for your courses and products as you want.
- Podia also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience that is only available for Shaker and Earthquaker plans.
- Despite providing only the most basic functions, the built-in email marketing tools are enough to support broadcasts and campaigns.
- Podia has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. Thinkific And Stripe
- Podia does not charge any transaction fees for sales, except the free plan.
- Podia now offers a new feature that allows content creators the ability to give certificates, community, or quizzes. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- Their email marketing only provides the basic functions. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Aside from that, the tool lacks templates, drag and drop editor, and other features
- The platform lacks course compliance features.
- Podia does not offer many customization options. Podia does not support 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.
- It has some good marketing features but it is still lacking others. This includes order bumps, downsells, cart abandonment, and others.
- Podia does not have a mobile app, which can limit its user base or access, given how much the world has depended on smartphones and tablets. Thinkific And Stripe
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many might think that with Podia, you get what you pay for. 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. It is ideal for content creators, marketers, teachers, and other people who target marketers. Podia will be able to serve their needs if they need to.
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Kartra Versus Thinkific
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.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
Rather, you should focus on its strengths and use them to sell products, services, and membership for your proper sites.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. In fact, it also offers multiple pricing options for more flexible pricing on your part.
Kartra is an entirely different beast, so we may focus on features that aren’t found in most course-building sites. Kartra might not have a course-building website.
Katra lets you sell multiple products, as we mentioned previously. Each account can sell unlimited quantities of products and offer them at any price.
To maximize the profits of its users, Kartra focuses on marketing and lead conversion. 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. Thinkific And Stripe
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. You can even market and sell your campaigns and make money from them.
Kartra handles all the payment and billing processes needed, so you can focus on better funnels as you gain experience.
Kartra has powerful page-building capabilities. 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. 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.
The marketing features are to be considered as Kartra’s shining jewel. In terms of email marketing, it has all the stuff that a good email marketing feature has.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Kartra can also use automation to create email sequences. You can do this through its drag-and-drop visual sequence builder, and once done, and you can let it run on autopilot.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. This powerful tool allows to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. This allows you to relax after all the work has been done.
Kartra’s 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. Thinkific And Stripe
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per Month when you pay annually||$149 per month when billed annually||$229 per month when billed annually,||$379 per month when billed annually|
Kartra Pros and Con
- External marketing integrations are not required. Kartra offers everything: integrated email marketing, sequence builder, automation, and all other features necessary to market your products perfectly
- 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.
- 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 people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are not unlimited integrations available with any of the plans.
- Kartra’s interface is quite slow and might get frustrating to use at times. Thinkific And Stripe
- 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.
It is not a course builder, and certainly not a website creator. As such, If you use Kartra, ensure that you are doing so in conjunction with a proper website page maker. Kartra is quite expensive for the features it offers. This can be difficult to swallow.
However, if you take the plunge, you might just get your money’s worth and more.
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Overall, Verdict Thinkific And Stripe
Course builder websites are pretty useful when joining the industry.
As with most markets and industries, there will be a lot of platforms that will offer the service that you need. 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. Some might be better than others in certain areas.
The key to finding which product you should use is to decide on the direction of what you want to do. And find the platform that is best aligned with that. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.