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 were designed to bring education to the most convenient and comfortable places.
People who were housebound due to multiple reasons (maybe childcare or health problems) could keep studying and learning despite not being able to go out. Due to its flexibility, people who are unable to attend school regularly due to scheduling conflicts or duties could still complete courses.
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.
In the early times of the pandemic, the industry saw a 221% increase in new course creators on one Course Platform. 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 all the rage. The next question is how you plan to share the treasure you find in your head with the world.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. You can still read our article below to get a complete overview of Thinkific. It also compares it with some other competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform Thinkific And Zoom
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. 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.
It’s impossible to not! After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Thinkific offers a free service that is just as good as the paid lower-tiered.
This makes the platform perfect for newcomers as they get to experience what it’s like to build content and courses, as well as the overall flow and environment of the industry. Using the free plan allows users to glimpse what they are about to partake in without any investment.
This free plan has one limitation. You can only create one course. I find that this is sufficient.
Thinkific does not take any transaction fees when a user sells 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.
They are all the same except for how they work and some other unique features. As such, we will be focusing on these aspects of Thinkific’s features.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. The creation part of Thinkific’s features is the most important. They make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
The user interface of Thinkific is easy to use. It is intuitive and logical. It is easy to navigate. You can access all other features via a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Thinkific And Zoom
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
If we are to nitpick something out of this, it would be that the aesthetics of the interface can be done a little bit better.
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.
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.
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. It doesn’t include a sales funnel builder. This is the most noticeable aspect. Overall, checkout is quite clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in customization.
Even email marketing features are behind the competition. Most of it is quite basic, and at most, you can notify your students of new courses or products, as well as send them their course progress and notify them about their course progress as well as updates.
Thinkific can also integrate third-party apps. Rather than band-aids, you can consider these third-party apps as bandages to fix some of Thinkific’s deficiencies in the marketing department.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
I guess it makes sense, given the platform’s repeated promises of focusing on course creation. It would be smarter to invest all resources in ensuring that they get the course creation part right, and then to hire third-party apps for the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
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 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 keeping with their mission to focus on education. Thinkific And Zoom
As such, if you want to use a more affordable plan and have many content ideas you think will sell, Thinkific should be one of the best matches for you.
|$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 business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
Aside from these plans, Thinkific also has a more advanced and bespoke plan called Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes what you know of Thinkfiic and makes it a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform.
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. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. Lastly, you will also discuss with them the total cost of this upgrade.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will offer you all the benefits of the most expensive plan, plus these extra features.
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ 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
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent 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. Content creators own all earnings. 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.
- The limitation for the number of courses is removed in all instances of Thinkific’s premium plans. In fact, users can create an unlimited number of courses and enroll an unlimited number of students in these courses.
- Thinkific’s interface is one of the most intuitive. With most options logically placed and easily located. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- 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. 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. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- There is a distinct lack of customization options within the platform. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. Thinkific And Zoom
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.
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. Any problems with the platform can be fixed by integrating third-party services.
You’re searching for an online course creation tool that creates courses from scratch. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is a widely used platform for running an online course business. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying your operations.
Kajabi’s top features include automations and pipelines, email marketing and a mobile application.
The platform allows you to sell a variety of products. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
It is no wonder that Kajabi also has advanced marketing features, the most prominent of which include sales funnels (OVO pipelines), email marketing, and automations. These features give the Kajabi platform users an easier time selling their products.
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.
Kajabi land is not perfect. For starters, it has one of the more expensive platforms available in the market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. These plans are not unlimited. 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. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. Thinkific And Zoom
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
At first glance, Kajabi’s interface is pretty normal. It’s minimalist, clean, and modern. The majority of features are accessible in just 3-4 clicks. For easier accessibility, the page has a search assistant to quickly find the features and the tools inside the application.
Kajabi’s pages load quicker. It provides for a smoother experience and does not get in the way of your work.
Kajabi offers a variety of course creation options. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. For long courses with long content, short courses for product launches.
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
These courses could 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 has robust and extensive marketing features.
It also offers the traditional stuff of offering coupons in a flexible way, which, as we have seen, is an old and proven marketing strategy.
Kajabi offers a powerful email marketing platform that allows you to market via email. It is built on top of the platform and has many features. Email templates can be created for different functions.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase 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. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It organizes both affiliate links and affiliates in its own category, making it easier to track down and find them.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead users will have to rely on the integration form other payment gateways such as Stripe, Paypal, BitPay, Authorize.net and others.
This is entirely disappointing given how robus their marketing tools are as well as how good their checkout is at doing things like upsells, bump offers, and downsells.
Overall, while its not perfect, Kajabi offers a lot of features that are both geared towards marketing as well as course creation. 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.
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 Zoom
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 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. 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 has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for 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. Users can also use more advanced options with conditional filters to be precise in the automation process.
- 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. There are many email templates that you can use in various situations. Kajabi has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. Thinkific And Zoom
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature makes it possible to have various OVO funnel templates. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s price point is nothing to laugh at. It starts at $149 per month and does not even offer unlimited course creation. It offers only 3 products and 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 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. Guarantee badges are a good tool for increasing 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.
- Kajabi has some great features but it still lacks some key features, particularly in the community section. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
It is undeniable that Kajabi is a juggernaut of a platform regarding course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They have the tools that provide a great marketing experience. Their pipeline and automation features can be the envy of other platforms and something users would want to have if they want the best rate of conversions.
That said, Kajabi is not without its flaws. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. Thinkific And Zoom
Kajabi is also pretty expensive. It might be difficult for people to justify purchasing a plan that can only hold 3 products, when there are cheaper options that allow them unlimited access.
Overall, Kajabi is a good creation platform with advanced marketing features. 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.
Thinkific Versus Podia
Podia is another popular digital content-selling platform. It is also an all-in-one platform that has powerful 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. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. It might be their way of offsetting the price for its powerful features.
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.
Podia offers a lot of features.
From looking at the interface, Podia has it clean and minimal. The interface is easy to use and allows you to access all other features in just 3 clicks. In fact, it is so simple that the learning curve for using Podia’s interface is almost non-existent.
This makes it very user-friendly. Accessing or reaching the information you desire or need is easy with no additional steps or terms. Podia can access almost all functions from its dashboard.
Podia allows you to upload files that will be used as building blocks for your lessons. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. With some imagination, you can create interesting lessons with the platform that is given to you.
Nevertheless, there are some areas where the course creator is lacking. Podia supports only a few lesson types, which is a major difference to other platforms. Furthermore, it does not have a proper assessment feature to help you monitor student performance. Thinkific And Zoom
It also supports multiple platforms thanks to its powerful embed tool. Some of these websites include:
- Youtube, Vimeo and Dailymotion are video hosts.
- Podcast and music platforms like s Spotify, soundcloud and podbean
- Slideshow platforms 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. However, Podia only has one type of certificate for now. They cannot still customize and design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is on the bag. 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. Podia’s weak point is its email marketing. It only offers the basics. It allows you to send broadcasts and email campaigns but lacks some features, such as split testing and personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. 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. Thinkific And Zoom
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. Although it doesn’t offer much, this plan is a great way to learn more about Podia.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s strong point is its clear and simple UI/UX. It is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. Users of all edges and tech levels will find it intuitive to set it up.
- 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 allows you to upload unlimited videos for your content. This is thanks to the unlimited storage and bandwidth that the platform offers its users. 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 Zoom
- Podia does not charge any transaction fees for sales, except the free plan.
- Podia has a new feature that allows content creators to give certificates, community, and quizzes. You can even create memberships in the community area.
- Their email marketing 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 also does not have many customization features. 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. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia supports only a handful of 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. 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 Zoom
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. 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.
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. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
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 can be used to create and sell digital and physical products. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. It also allows you to choose from multiple pricing options, which will allow you to set a more flexible price.
Since Kartra is a different beast altogether, we might focus on features not found in most course-building websites. 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.
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 Zoom
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 also has page-building capabilities, and it is surprisingly powerful. These features allow users to create product pages, checkout pages and opt-in pages. 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.
They are not yet able to host the full functionality and features required for a website. Kartra believes it, and they won’t let you host these pages on your domain.
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. 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 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. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. Thinkific And Zoom
After all, Kartra has some advanced features that are not found in others.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per month when billed annually||$229 per Month when you pay annually||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay annually|
Kartra Pros and Con
- External marketing integrations are not required. Kartra has it all: built-in email marketing, automation, sequence builder, and other essential features needed to perfectly market your products
- Kartra has an automatic translation for its checkout pages. It works based on the user’s geographic location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar allows you to drip content or vary access to different levels, if you have an existing membership site.
- There is A/B testing for your email content which can help you refine your automated email replies as you set them up.
- Kartra includes an agency feature that can hold multiple client accounts. This feature allows you to manage multiple websites from one dashboard.
- Some people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface is quite slow and might get frustrating to use at times. Thinkific And Zoom
- Even Kartra’s pages can load slow
- The number of features can be very difficult for beginners to get used to.
Kartra is an all-in-one marketing and sales platform that’s powerful.
It has a lot of tools and features that provide you with the opportunity for interesting and engaging promotions and products.
That said, it isn’t a course builder and definitely not a website builder. 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.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
Overall, Verdict Thinkific And Zoom
When you are interested in joining the industry, course builder websites can be very useful.
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.
These platforms will almost offer identical services in a market-like setting. They will have very few differences. Some might be better than others in certain areas.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.