While they already existed before 2019 B.C. (where B.C. B.C. stands for Before COVID, Online Course Platforms were already in existence. 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 were housebound due to multiple reasons (maybe childcare or health problems) could keep studying and learning despite not being able to go out. Due to its flexibility, people who are unable to attend school regularly due to scheduling conflicts or duties could still complete courses.
Everything else had to be shut down when the pandemic struck. 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 may be shared across multiple online platforms.
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.
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 vs Absorb
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one the most popular options for selling, hosting and building your courses.
Thinkific is unique because you can feel that they are passionate about what they do. You can feel that they are more focused on giving the best learning experience they can to both the creators and their audience and that earning money is needed to keep things afloat.
It’s impossible to not! 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.
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 ensures that all profits are immediately available after they have been 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.
The only difference between them is how well they work, along with some bits and bobs that make the product unique. As such, we will be focusing on these aspects of Thinkific’s features.
For Thinkific, the main focus would be their course curriculum creation capabilities. Most of their features are geared toward the creation bit, of course, creation. They ensure that online courses are as interactive as possible.
Thinkific’s user interface is very easy to get into. It’s intuitive and logical. It is easy to navigate. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Thinkific vs Absorb
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
If we are to nitpick something out of this, it would be that the aesthetics of the interface can be done a little bit better.
As mentioned above, Thinkific’s main focus is on the creation side of course creation. 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 media types include quizzes and surveys, assignments, pdfs, content, and student discussion areas that allow for peer-to-peer interaction.
Another highlight is the scheduling of course content and some automation in drip-feeding content.
The marketing features of Thinkific are where I fear the platforms will fall flat. Don’t get me wrong. It has everything that you need to promote and market 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 lag behind the competitor. 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 wiser to pour all resources into ensuring they got that part right and get third-party apps to tackle 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 isn’t like most 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 vs Absorb
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 business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|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.
It still dedicates itself to teaching, lecturing, and supporting students.
You will need to contact the sales team of Thinkific Plus to request this upgrade. You will discuss with them the tools you need to make the most of your platform. 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. 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
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email white-labeling
- Single 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. Content creators own all earnings. These funds can be claimed and used by creators as soon as they are received in their accounts.
- Thinkific is flexible when it comes to payment options. They offer different payment options for different types and types of students.
- The limitation for the number of courses is removed in all instances of Thinkific’s premium plans. 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.
- Speaking of easily getting the hang of, Thinkfic’s course builder is similarly easy to use. You can also choose from many course materials to make your course more engaging and exciting.
- In the name of engagement, Thinkific also gives you the ability to put incentives such as leaderboards, awards, and scores to motivate your students.
- Not everything in Thinkific’s tools are user friendly. You may need to take some time and read guides to learn how to use the tools.
- It is difficult to recommend Thinkifiic for those who are more interested in promoting the platform’s marketing capabilities. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- Despite Thinkific having one of the most intuitive user interfaces, it looks outdated, and there are times when the experience can be clunkier than expected.
- There is a distinct lack of customization options within the platform. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. Thinkific vs Absorb
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. Despite its limitations, it still competes with other more “advanced and feature-rich” platforms.
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.
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 an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. Its main focus is on productivity and sales. 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. Aside from courses, you can sell coaching, memberships, communities, podcasts, and other digital content.
Kajabi has many marketing features. It’s no surprise that they have sales funnels, email marketing, and automations. These features give the Kajabi platform users an easier time selling their products.
Kajabi is a rare product that can be described as an “all-in-one” platform. It is a course creation platform with more than decent marketing features. It even has automation features that could help you focus more on marketing or creating than the menial tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. 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 boasts about being one of the better 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 vs Absorb
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 is neat, minimal, and feels very 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 load quicker. It makes it easier to work and provides a smoother experience.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. 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” are pretty much presentation ready that if you want, you can just add your needed content and then you are good to go.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. It would be easy to organize your content in a neat and organized manner. You can organize them depending on their types and content. You can have text and slideshows in one place, and audio and video in another.
Kajabi offers cloud storage via Dropbox and Google Drive, so you don’t have to worry.
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. These are easy to use, and the platform even provides templates that customers can easily access.
Kajabi also has a dedicated affiliate program for users of a higher plan than the basic one. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It also organizes affiliate links as well as affiliates into its own category which it makes easier to find and track down.
Kajabi’s lack of an integrated payment solution is the main problem. 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.
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 vs Absorb
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. 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 includes an assessment function that allows students to grade their performance and monitor them. This feature is especially useful when used in conjunction with drip courses. Drip courses allow you to offer courses that are only accessible when the correct grades have been achieved.
- Kajabi’s accessibility is pretty good thanks to its mobile app, which students can use to access classes and lessons whenever and wherever they are. You can even set up notifications to receive alerts.
- Kajabi has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for their customers. This can be used to provide users with a way to sell extra and exclusive course 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 vs Absorb
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. The pipeline features automate the selling of the products and “funneling” your customers to where you want for better conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s price point is nothing to laugh at. It 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. 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 does not have a local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- Kajabi has some great features but it still lacks some key features, particularly in the community section. 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. Users would love to have their pipeline and automation features if they want to convert at a high rate.
That said, Kajabi is not without its flaws. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. Thinkific vs Absorb
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.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. 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. 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 < <
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. 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. Podia can access almost all functions from its 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. You can make interesting lessons from the platform provided.
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 vs Absorb
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. 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 like Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Behance
- Form Builder websites like Google Forms, Typeform and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
One of the more recent additions to Podia’s courses is the ability to give certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. 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. 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 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. 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.
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 vs Absorb
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. 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 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 also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. This way, you don’t need to use Vimeo or Wistia.
- Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience that is only available for Shaker and Earthquaker plans.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia supports a prelaunch mode as one of its marketing features. It will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. Thinkific vs Absorb
- 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. You can even create memberships in the community area.
- Their email marketing provides only the most basic functions. Especially in its email composer, which lacks personalization fields. Other features that the tool does not have include 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. 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.
- The free plan does not allow you to host more than one product. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. Podia does not support certain types of lesson, such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.
- While it has pretty good marketing features, it still lacks some. These include cart abandonment, downsells and order bumps.
- Podia doesn’t have a mobile app. This could limit its user base and access given how dependent the world is on tablets and smartphones. Thinkific vs Absorb
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is an acceptable platform for hosting your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. It isn’t true. Podia offers a lot more with what you pay for it. You can make impressive courses with enough creativity and great ideas and sell them for a fair price.
Despite some of its limited capacity, it is still an all-in-one platform. It is perfect for a lot of people. It is ideal for content creators, marketers, teachers, and other people who target marketers. If they have any questions, Podia can help.
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Thinkific Versus Kartra
Kartra is a completely different product to the ones listed above. Kartra is completely different to the other products in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. Yep, it is a platform that goes all in on the marketing side.
Kartra should not be considered a website in its own right or your product’s.
Instead, focus on the strengths of your site and sell products, memberships, and services.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. 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. In fact, there might not be a course-building site for Kartra.
Katra lets you sell multiple products, as we mentioned previously. Each account can sell an unlimited number of them and offer them at any price point.
Kartra’s focus is on lead conversion and marketing to maximize its users’ profits. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels are a way for sellers to get their customers to buy their products. While Kartra does not refer to funnels as campaigns, They function similarly. Thinkific vs Absorb
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.
For personally built campaigns, you can also choose to share them with other Kartra members. You can even market and sell your campaigns and make money from them.
Kartra manages all of the billing and payment processes so that you can concentrate on improving your funnels as you gain more experience.
Kartra also has page-building capabilities, and it is surprisingly powerful. Users can create product pages, checkout pages, and opt-in forms with these features. You can even use professionally designed templates to speed up or start the process.
These pages can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. 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. 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.
Another one that is unique to the platform is its behavior-based automation. 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 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 vs Absorb
After all, Kartra has some advanced features that are not found in others.
|$79 per Month when you pay annually||$149 per Month when you pay annually||$229 per month when billed annually,||$379 per month when billed 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. In this vein, it also supports different currencies.
- Kartar also allows you to drip content and vary access to different levels if you have a membership site.
- You can use A/B testing to refine your automated email responses as you set them up.
- Kartra 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 not unlimited integrations available with any of the plans.
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Thinkific vs Absorb
- 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.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
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Overall, Verdict Thinkific vs Absorb
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. 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. Of course, some might excel in one aspect or another.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.