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. 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 are housebound for multiple reasons (e.g., childcare or health issues) can still learn and study even if they cannot go out. Due to its flexibility, people who are unable to attend school regularly due to scheduling conflicts or duties could still complete courses.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. People still needed to learn and online courses and other eLearning platforms made this possible.
The industry saw a 221% rise in course creators using one Course Platform during the initial stages of the pandemic. This growth 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.
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 all the rage. The next question is how you plan to share the treasure you find in your head with the world.
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 Thinkific And Zapier
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
One of the main reasons why Thinkific stands out is that you know they are doing this in a place of passion. It is clear that they are more concerned with providing the best learning experience possible to creators as well as their audience. They also understand that making money is important to maintain the business.
How could you not? It is one of few online courses platforms that offers a free full-service service. Thinkific offers a free service that is just as good as the paid lower-tiered.
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. 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.
Let me start by saying that almost all online courses platforms have 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.
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’s intuitive and logical. Users will have no problem navigating everything. You can access all other features via a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Thinkific And Zapier
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed 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.
As mentioned above, Thinkific’s main focus is on the creation side of course creation. The platform makes course creation easy. 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 media types include quizzes and surveys, assignments, pdfs, content, and student discussion areas that allow for peer-to-peer interaction.
Other highlights include scheduling of course content as well as some automation in terms of drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote 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.
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.
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 smarter to invest all resources in ensuring that they get the course creation part right, and then to hire third-party apps for the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
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 keeping with their mission to focus on education. Thinkific And Zapier
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.
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
Aside from these plans, Thinkific also has a more advanced and bespoke plan called 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. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. You will also discuss the cost of this upgrade with them.
Every Thinkific Plus plan has its own unique cost, so different Plus plans may have slightly different prices. One this is sure, though. Thinkific Plus will offer you all the benefits of the most expensive plan, plus these extra 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
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific’s free package is permanently 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. Content creators own all earnings. Creators can even claim and use these funds as soon as they arrive in their account.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- Thinkific’s premium plans remove the restriction on the number of courses. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. With most options logically placed and easily located. 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.
- Thinkific gives you the option to offer incentives, such as leaderboards and awards, to motivate your students.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not user-friendly. Some would need guides and a bit of time to get used to.
- The marketing features of Thinkifiic make it hard to recommend for people who are more focused on propping up businesses on the platform. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. Thinkific And Zapier
The Thinkific Summary
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. Despite its limitations, it still competes with other more “advanced and feature-rich” platforms.
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.
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.
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. 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. You can even use automation features to help you spend more time marketing and creating than on the mundane tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. The lowest plan is $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. In the case of the lowest plan, you can only sell 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. So you might need some third-party integrations to address these issues.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. Even more, they have one of the most expensive courses in the market. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. Thinkific And Zapier
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It’s minimalist, clean, and modern. Most of the available features can be accessed through 3 to 4 clicks. For easier accessibility, the page has a search assistant to quickly find the features and the tools inside the application.
Kajabi’s pages also load faster. It makes it easier to work and provides a smoother experience.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. You can choose among these types for whichever suits your needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” 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. 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.
Kajabi offers cloud storage via Dropbox and Google Drive, so you don’t have to worry.
Kajabi is a strong and comprehensive marketing tool.
It also offers the traditional stuff of offering coupons in a flexible way, which, as we have seen, is an old and proven marketing strategy.
If you want to market through email, Kajabi has a powerful email marketing solution that is already built in the platform which has plenty of features in and of itself. Email templates can be created for different functions.
Another conversion tool they possess are their pipelines, which can help you convert more customers and increase your sales. They are not that hard to use and even the platform has provided various templates that can easily be used by their customers.
Kajabi offers a dedicated affiliate program to users who have a higher plan. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It also organizes affiliate links as well as affiliates into its own category which it makes easier to find and track down.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead users will have to rely on the integration form other payment gateways such as Stripe, Paypal, BitPay, Authorize.net and others.
This is entirely disappointing given how robus their marketing tools are as well as how good their checkout is at doing things like upsells, bump offers, and downsells.
Although it is not perfect, Kajabi has a lot to offer that can be used for both marketing and course creation. 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. Thinkific And Zapier
If you feel that Kajabi’s high price and more advanced features such as automation are something you really need, then you can choose to purchase it.
|$119 monthly billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros and Cons
- True to its name, Kajabi is an all in one content making and marketing tool. You can create courses using various tools, such as a drip or mini-course. Then, you can combine them with marketing automations to make sure they sell.
- Kajabi provides 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 is extremely good when combined with drip courses to provide courses that can only be accessed when the proper grades are reached
- 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 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’s marketing strategy is one of the most powerful among all the course-building and content platforms currently available.
- Kajabi’s Email marketing is one of the best in the business. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. Thinkific And Zapier
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s pricing is not to be laughed at. It starts at $149 per month and does not even offer unlimited course creation. It 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 does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Buyers are assured of the product’s quality by obtaining a guarantee.
- Kajabi has no local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- Despite having some advanced features, there are still some features that Kajabi lacks, especially in the community department. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for 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. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. Thinkific And Zapier
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.
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.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. 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.
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. 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.
For its Course creator, Podia supports various files that can serve as the building block 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. Podia supports only a few lesson types, which is a major difference to other platforms. It does not provide a way to monitor student performance. Thinkific And Zapier
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. These websites include:
- Video hosts such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion
- Podcast and music platforms like s Spotify, soundcloud and podbean
- Slideshow platforms like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- 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’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. They cannot still customize and design your certificates.
In terms of marketing, Podia is focused on the bag. It has a lot of excellent features to enhance 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.
Nevertheless, not all things are 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.
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. They usually take less than 2 days to process and are credited to your PayPal or bank account. Thinkific And Zapier
In terms of pricing, it is one of the cheapest there is in the market. The platform recently added a free plan. While this free plan does not offer much, it is still a good way to figure out how Podia works.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s strong point is its clear and simple UI/UX. It’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. Digital products can include memberships, webinars and bundles.
- Other than the free plan, Podia allows you to sell unlimited courses and products. This means that you can make as many pages as you like for your products and courses as long as there is energy.
- Podia also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. This way, you don’t need to use Vimeo or Wistia.
- Podia 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 has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. Thinkific And Zapier
- 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. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Other features that the tool does not have include templates, drag-and-drop editor and other features.
- There is a noticeable lack of course-compliance features in the platform
- Podia does not offer many customization options. Podia does not support custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia also has no landing page builders or funnels, which are important tools when considering Podia’s focus on marketing.
- 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 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. Thinkific And Zapier
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is an acceptable platform for hosting your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many might think that with Podia, you get what you pay for. It isn’t 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.
Despite some of its limited capacity, it is still an all-in-one platform. It’s perfect for many 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.
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.
We offer a platform that allows you to sell your products, instead of creating courses. It is also a marketing platform.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
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. 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.
Katra lets you sell multiple products, as we mentioned previously. Each account can sell unlimited quantities of products and offer them at any price.
To maximize the profits of its users, Kartra focuses on marketing and lead conversion. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. While Kartra does not refer to funnels as campaigns, They function similarly. Thinkific And Zapier
Kartra makes funnel building relatively easy. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. You can also have Katra build it for you with their plug-and play campaigns, which are from industry leaders.
For personally built campaigns, you can also choose to share them with other Kartra members. 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. It even provides you with professionally designed templates to help you speed up the process or just start it out.
These pages can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. You can host these pages on your domain or on Katra itself.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper website. Even Kartra feels it themselves, as they wouldn’t allow you to host those pages in your domain otherwise.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown jewel. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use to create email sequences. Drag-and-drop visual sequence builders make it easy to create them. Once you’re done, the program can run on autopilot.
Behavior-based automation is another feature that makes the platform unique. 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. Thinkific And Zapier
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per Month when you pay annually||$229 per Month when you pay annually||$379 per month when billed annually|
Kartra Pros and 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 has an agency feature that allows you to hold multiple client accounts. This allows you to manage different websites in just a single dashboard.
- Some people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are not unlimited integrations available with any of the plans.
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Thinkific And Zapier
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- For beginners, it can be difficult to understand the many features.
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.
That said, it isn’t a course builder and definitely not a website builder. 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.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
Overall, Verdict Thinkific And Zapier
Course builder websites are pretty useful when joining the industry.
There will be many platforms available to provide the service you require, just as there are for most industries and markets. 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.