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.
The majority of courses back then were more niche-oriented, such as leadership seminars, wholesomeness and self-help classes. There were also classes and courses that covered normal topics.
These classes focused on bringing education to where it is most convenient and comfortable.
People who 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 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.
These platforms can also be used to make extra profits, as the pandemic showed. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
There are many online courses that people can take. You can find everything from life coaching to make your life easier, to tutorial classes on the more academic subjects such as Algebra. Even to courses about making your courses more profitable.
Online courses are everywhere, and if you want to get in on the action, the next question is which platform you will use to share that treasure in your noggin.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. 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 Hightail
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. You can feel that they are more focused on giving the best learning experience they can to both the creators and their audience and that earning money is needed to keep things afloat.
How could you not? It is one of few online courses platforms that offers a free full-service service. Yes, Thinkific has a free service that is as good as their paid lowest-tiered one.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. 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 profits go to content owners.
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 is a testament to how Thinkfiic views its customers.
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.
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 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 vs Hightail
This interface is perfect for users who enjoy performing analytics and monitoring performance. Everything is neatly organized and placed on the dashboard.
From the dashboard, you can see how well you are doing in revenue, student accounts and sign-ups, student course enrollments, and much more.
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.
But that’s just about it. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. It doesn’t include a sales funnel builder. This is the most noticeable aspect. The overall checkout experience is pretty clunky.
What’s more is that there is really nothing you can do about this part since it has very limited customization.
Even email marketing features are behind the competition. 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.
For email marketing alone, Thinkific directly integrates five of the most popular email marketing providers, including ConvertKit, Active Campaign, Aweber, Drip, and MailChimp.
It makes sense considering the platform’s repeated promises to focus 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.
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 line with their mission to be focused on the education part. Thinkific vs Hightail
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
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
Thinkific offers a more complex and customized plan, Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes the best of Thinkfiic, makes it powerful, scalable and simple-to-use, and then adds more.
Of course, it still maintains its dedication to course building, teachers, and students.
To get Thinkific plus, you need to contact the platform’s sales team and ask for this upgrade. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. 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. 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%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thinkific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. It also is not just a glorified free trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- 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.
- In terms of interface, Thinkific has one of the easiest to understand. The majority of options are logically placed and easy to find. 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.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not user-friendly. You may need to take some time and read guides to learn how to use the tools.
- The marketing features of Thinkifiic make it hard to recommend for people who are more focused on propping up businesses on the platform. You will need third-party integrations to get a better experience.
- 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.
- 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 Hightail
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.
In my opinion, its strongest suit would be its focus on providing the best course experience and free plan. As for its weakness, Thinkfiic has already provided some kind of solution to it. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
You’re searching for an online course creation tool that creates courses from scratch. Thinkific is the best online course creation software.
Kajabi Versus Thinkific
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying your operations.
Kajabi’s top features include automations and pipelines, email marketing and a mobile application.
The platform allows you to sell a variety of products. Aside from courses, you can sell coaching, memberships, communities, podcasts, and other digital content.
It is no wonder that Kajabi also has advanced marketing features, the most prominent of which include sales funnels (OVO pipelines), email marketing, and automations. This allows Kajabi users to sell their products more easily.
Kajabi is a rare product that can be described as an “all-in-one” platform. It is a course creation platform with more than decent marketing features. You can even use automation features to help you spend more time marketing and creating than on the mundane tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. These plans are not unlimited. The lowest plan allows you to sell only 3 products.
Kajabi’s features are not as rich, particularly in the community engagement and gamification departments. So you might need some third-party integrations to address these issues.
Kajabi claims to be one of the best platforms. 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 Hightail
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 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.
Kajabi offers a variety of course creation options. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. You can choose among these types for whichever suits your needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
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 also be organized into subcategories, posts, and categories. 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 has robust and extensive marketing features.
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.
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. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It also organizes affiliate links as well as affiliates into its own category which it makes easier to find and track down.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead, users will need to rely on integration from other payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and BitPay.
This is a huge disappointment considering how poor their marketing tools and how adept their checkout at upsells, bumps offers, downsells is.
Overall, while its not perfect, Kajabi offers a lot of features that are both geared towards marketing as well as course creation. These features can be used by anyone who is serious about starting an online business.
Of course, potential users should be willing to pay for the steep price point to use these tools.
Kajabi is undoubtedly the most expensive course creation service in the market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month and this plan doesn’t even include unlimited courses. Thinkific vs Hightail
If you feel that Kajabi’s high price and more advanced features such as automation are something you really need, then you can choose to purchase it.
|$119 monthly billed annually||$159 per month billed annually||Monthly payment of $319|
Kajabi Pros & Cons
- True to its name, Kajabi is an all in one content making and marketing tool. You can create courses using various tools, such as a drip or mini-course. Then, you can combine them with marketing automations to make sure they sell.
- Kajabi provides blueprints and templates to help you get started on your project.
- Kajabi lets you sell digital products such as coaching, webinars and communities. This is also a great place to do this.
- Kajabi also has a built-in assessment function that allows you to grade and observe your students’ performance. This 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. It even includes a notification feature that can help with 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 has an automation feature that can automate offers purchase, course or membership post-completion, assessment completion, and much more. 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 vs Hightail
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature allows various OVO funnel templates to be available. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s pricing is not to be laughed at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It only offers 3 products as well as 3 pipelines
- Kajabi does not offer course completion certificates, something that some users want to receive as proof of going through the class
- Kajabi 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. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi has no 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. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
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Kajabi is undoubtedly a giant platform for course creation and marketing. They have the most advanced tools for marketing alone.
They have the tools that provide a great 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. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. Thinkific vs Hightail
Kajabi can also be quite expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi is a good creation platform with advanced marketing features. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. It might be a bit expensive, but Kajabi’s features can be worth it.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. Podia is a powerful platform with strong marketing features. Online courses, coaching, webinars and community are just a few of the many products that you can sell through this platform.
Furthermore, Podia is one of the cheaper digital content-selling platforms in the market. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. It does take a portion of your profit when you sell. This might be their way to offset the high price of its powerful features.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
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Podia offers a lot of features.
From looking at the interface, Podia has it clean and minimal. It is designed to have all the other features accessible within 3 clicks. It is so easy that almost no learning curve is required to use Podia’s interface.
This makes 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.
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. With some imagination, you can create interesting lessons with the platform that is given to you.
That said, This course creator can be lacking in some parts. Podia supports only a few lesson types, which is a major difference to other platforms. It does not provide a way to monitor student performance. Thinkific vs Hightail
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. Some of these websites include:
- Video hosts such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion
- Music and podcast platforms such as 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 such as Google Forms, Typeform, and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate feature can be viewed as an incentive/prize to complete your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. Podia cannot customize or design your certificates.
Podia’s marketing focus is on the bag. It has a lot of excellent features to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing. You can promote your products using tools like coupons, upsells, or pre-launch.
This makes Podia an excellent choice for marketers looking to sell products on a smaller site.
That said, not everything is 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.
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.
Your audience can use their credit cards at checkout. They usually take less than 2 days to process and are credited to your PayPal or bank account. Thinkific vs Hightail
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. What’s more, is that the platform has recently added its own free plan. While this free plan does not offer much, it is still a good way to figure out how Podia works.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s 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. Digital products can include memberships, webinars and bundles.
- Podia also offers a free plan that allows you to sell unlimited products and courses. 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 offers an affiliate program that you can use to reach your audience. This is only available for Shaker or Earthquaker plans.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia 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 Hightail
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- 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. 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. It lacks 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.
- The free plan does not allow you to host more than one product. There is also an 8% transaction charge.
- There are no course blueprints available in Podia.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. It lacks support for some types like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and HTML 5 Content, among others.
- 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 Hightail
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is an acceptable platform for hosting your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many might think that with Podia, you get what you pay for. Well, it is not entirely true. Podia offers a lot more with what you pay for it. With enough creativity and good ideas, you can create impressive courses and sell them at a good price.
Despite some of its limited capacity, it is still an all-in-one platform. It’s perfect for many people. Content creators, teachers, marketers, and 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. Scratch that, Kartra is entirely different from the other products listed in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. Yep, it is a platform that goes all in on the marketing side.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
Rather, you should focus on its strengths and use them to sell products, services, and membership for your proper sites.
Kartra can be used to create and sell 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.
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 an unlimited number of them and offer them at any price point.
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 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 Hightail
Kartra makes funnel building relatively easy. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. You can even market and sell your campaigns and make money from them.
Kartra handles all the payment and billing processes needed, so you can focus on better funnels as you gain experience.
Kartra has powerful page-building capabilities. Users can create product pages, checkout pages, and opt-in forms with these features. You can even use professionally designed templates to speed up or start the process.
These pages can be optimized for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. These pages can be hosted on your domain, or on Katra.
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. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
First, it can send broadcast messages either by email or SMS. This will require integration with all 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.
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 price is steep for a platform focused on marketing and lead conversions. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. Thinkific vs Hightail
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per Month when you pay annually||$149 per Month when you pay 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 is based on the user’s geographical 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 has an agency feature that allows you to 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 is quite slow and might get frustrating to use at times. Thinkific vs Hightail
- 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.
That said, it isn’t a course builder and definitely not a website builder. Kartra should be used in conjunction with a professional 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.
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Overall, Verdict Thinkific vs Hightail
When you are interested in joining the industry, course builder websites can be very useful.
There will be many platforms available to provide the service you require, just as there are for most industries and markets. For course building and selling, there are Thinkific, Podia and Kajabi (and a bit of Kartra), as well as other platforms.
In a market-like course building, these platforms will offer almost identical services. Their differences will be minimal at best. Some might be better than others in certain areas.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. And find the platform that is best aligned with that. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.