They existed even 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. Of course, courses and classes focused on normal subjects were there too.
These classes focused on bringing education to where it is most convenient and comfortable.
People who 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.
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 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 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. You can even learn how to make your courses more lucrative.
Online courses are everywhere, and if you want to get in on the action, the next question is which platform you will use to share that treasure in your noggin.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. 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 vs Gumroad
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one the most popular options for selling, hosting and building 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.
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.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. The free plan lets users see what they’re about to do without making any investments.
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 does not take any transaction fees when a user sells on the platform. All profits go to content owners.
Thinkific ensures that all profits are immediately available after they have been 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.
First, let me preface this by saying that most online course platforms share almost 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.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. 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. 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 vs Gumroad
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.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These include content, quizzes, surveys, assignments, pdfs, and student discussion areas to allow peer-to-peer interaction.
Another highlight is the scheduling of course content and some automation in drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
That’s not all. 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. The overall checkout experience is pretty clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in 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. These third-party applications are not meant to be used as bandages. They can be used to address some of the problems in Thinkific’s 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 wiser to pour all resources into ensuring they got that part right and get third-party apps to tackle the marketing part.
The Thinkific Price
Although I’ve already spoken highly of Thinkific’s Free Plan, it’s still a limited plan and far less than Thinkific’s paid plans. It’s not like the rest 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 vs Gumroad
Thinkific is a great choice if you are looking for a cheaper plan with many content ideas that you believe will sell.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 per month||$374 per month|
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
Thinkific offers a more complex and customized plan, Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes what you know of Thinkfiic and makes it a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform.
Of course, it still maintains its dedication to course building, teachers, and students.
To get Thinkific plus, you need to contact the platform’s sales team and ask for this upgrade. You will discuss with them the tools you need to make the most of your platform. Lastly, you will also discuss with them the total cost of this upgrade.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will 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%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. This isn’t a glorified trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- Thinkific doesn’t charge transaction fees for any sale. All earnings by content creators are theirs. These funds can be claimed and used by creators as soon as they are received in their accounts.
- Thinkific is flexible when it comes to payment options. They offer different payment options for different types and types of students.
- Thinkific’s premium plans remove the restriction on the number of courses. 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. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. Users just starting can easily understand how things work in this interface.
- Thinkfic’s course creator is also easy to use. It also allows for many course materials, making it possible to have your course as exciting and engaging as possible.
- 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. Their email marketing capability is quite basic, and you will need to depend on third-party integrations to have a better experience.
- Although Thinkific has one of the most intuitive user interfaces in the industry, it can sometimes look dated and the experience can sometimes be more confusing than you expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. As such, it is not impossible to find other websites that may look the same as yours. Thinkific vs Gumroad
The Thinkific Summary
Thinkific is one of the best online course platforms in the market today. I would easily recommend it to beginners and those looking for a more course-focused platform. 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. 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. Thinkific is the best online course creation software.
Thinkific Versus Kajabi
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It 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.
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.
As such, Kajabi is one of those rare products where the “all in one” platform fits. It is a course creation platform with more than decent marketing features. It even has automation features that could help you focus more on marketing or creating than the menial tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. What’s more, is that these are not unlimited plans. In the case of the lowest plan, you can only sell 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. These issues might require third-party integrations.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. 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 vs Gumroad
So let’s take a look at how good Kajabi features are starting from the interface.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It is neat, minimal, and feels very modern. Most of the available features can be accessed through 3 to 4 clicks. The page also includes a search assistant that allows you to quickly locate the tools and features within the application.
Kajabi’s pages also load faster. It provides for a smoother experience and does not get in the way of your work.
In terms of Course Creation, Kajabi allows you to create various types. You can create mini-courses, online or drip courses, as well as creating your own. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
Kajabi offers blueprints that are similar to templates for a simpler building experience. These “skeletons” can be used as templates, so you don’t have to worry about adding content.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. 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.
As for storage, Kajabi allows for cloud uploading from Dropbox and Google Drive so there is little to worry about.
Kajabi is a strong and comprehensive marketing tool.
Of course, it has the usual stuff of providing coupons in a flexible manner, which as we have established, is an old, tried and tested marketing strategy.
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.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase 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. It is a feature that makes the process overly easy and simple. It organizes both affiliate links and affiliates in its own category, making it easier to track down and find them.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead, users will need to rely on integration from other payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and BitPay.
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. The cheapest plan is $149 per month, and it doesn’t include unlimited courses. Thinkific vs Gumroad
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
- Kajabi, as its name suggests, is an all-in-one content creation 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 templates and blueprints to get you started with your project.
- Kajabi lets you sell digital products such as coaching, webinars and communities. It is also one of the best places to do so.
- Kajabi also includes an assessment function that allows students to grade their performance and monitor them. This is extremely good when combined with drip courses to provide courses that can only be accessed when the proper grades are reached
- 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 also has a membership feature that allows users to create and sell membership options to their customers. This can be used to provide users with a way to sell extra and exclusive course content.
- Kajabi has an automation feature that can automate offers purchase, course or membership post-completion, assessment completion, and much more. To be more precise, users can use conditional filters.
- Kajabi has one of the strongest marketing features among the content and course-building platforms available right now.
- Kajabi’s Email Marketing is among the best in the industry. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi has the ability to automate email sequences using triggers or actions. Thinkific vs Gumroad
- 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 pricing is not to be laughed at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It offers only 3 products and 3 pipelines.
- Kajabi does not offer course completion certificates, something that some users want to receive as proof of going through the class
- Kajabi has no page templates for designing landing pages, thank you pages, checkout pages, forms, and other pages. That means users must do everything from scratch when editing page templates through the page builder. It will be difficult for non-tech users and new users.
- Kajabi doesn’t offer a guarantee badge on its checkout page. A guarantee badge is a great tool to increase conversions. Buyers are assured of the product’s quality by obtaining a guarantee.
- Kajabi has no local payment gateway. You must rely on Stripe and Paypal integrations to take payment from orders.
- Despite having some advanced features, there are still some features that Kajabi lacks, especially in the community department. There are no gamification or community engagement features.
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. 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 Gumroad
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. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. 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. It might even be one of the most affordable. However, it takes a percentage of the profit whenever you sell. It might be their way of offsetting the price for its powerful features.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
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. 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. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. 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 Gumroad
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 like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- Social media sites like Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Behance
- 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. Podia cannot customize or design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is on the bag. You can use it to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. 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. In this case, Podia’s weakness is its email marketing, which only provides 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.
For payment processors, Podia has a local payment gateway. 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 vs Gumroad
In terms of pricing, it is one of the cheapest there is in the market. The platform recently added a free plan. Although it doesn’t offer much, this plan is a great way to learn more about Podia.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s strongest point is its clean and crisp UI/UX. It’s very user-friendly and doesn’t require any training. It is easy to set up for users of all tech levels.
- Podia can serve many purposes and be a one-stop shop to meet all your needs. You can sell various digital products such as courses, memberships, webinars, bundles, community, and other digital downloads.
- Podia also offers a free plan that allows you to sell unlimited products and courses. 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. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia offers an affiliate program that you can use to reach your audience. This is only available for Shaker or 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 will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. Thinkific vs Gumroad
- Podia does not charge any transaction fees for sales, except the free plan.
- Podia now offers a new feature that allows content creators the ability to give certificates, community, or quizzes. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- Their email marketing only provides the basic functions. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Aside from that, the tool lacks templates, drag and drop editor, and other features
- The platform lacks course compliance features.
- Podia also does not have many customization features. 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 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. 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 vs Gumroad
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. Well, it is not entirely 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.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. 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.
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. You can sell unlimited quantities of these products and many different types of products. In fact, it also offers multiple pricing options for more flexible pricing on your part.
Kartra is an entirely different beast, so we may focus on features that aren’t found in most course-building sites. 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 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 are a way for sellers to get their customers to buy their products. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Thinkific vs Gumroad
Kartra makes funnel building relatively easy. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
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. 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 also be optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. 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.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown 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. Drag-and-drop visual sequence builders make it easy to create them. Once you’re done, the program can run on autopilot.
Another one that is unique to the platform is its behavior-based automation. This powerful tool allows you to send emails based on the recipient’s behavior. 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. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. Thinkific vs Gumroad
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per Month when you pay annually||$229 per month when billed annually,||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay annually|
Kartra Pros and Cons
- You don’t need any external marketing integrations. 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 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 might feel that Kartra’s pricing is too high for the quality of what they offer
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Thinkific vs Gumroad
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- For beginners, it can be difficult to understand the many features.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
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. 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 vs Gumroad
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. Their differences will be minimal at best. 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.