They existed even before 2019, B.C. (where B.C. stands for Before COVID), Online Course Platforms were already a thing. They were created for the same purpose: to sell and create 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 were designed to bring education to the most convenient and comfortable places.
People who are housebound for multiple reasons (e.g., childcare or health issues) can still learn and study even if they cannot go out. People who couldn’t attend regular school due to duties and scheduling conflicts could still finish courses due to the medium’s flexibility.
Then the pandemic happened, and everything else was forced to shut down. People still needed to learn and online courses and other eLearning platforms made this possible.
In the early times of the pandemic, the industry saw a 221% increase in new course creators on one Course Platform. This growth is probably shared throughout multiple platforms online.
Everybody from Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to human resource professionals and proper educational institutions has used a course platform or two during the pandemic.
Not only that, but the pandemic also showed the potential of these platforms as a way to earn extra profit. They say, “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. You can even learn how to make your courses more lucrative.
Online courses are all the rage. The next question is how you plan to share the treasure you find in your head with the world.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. You can still read our article below to get a complete overview of Thinkific. It also compares it with some other competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform Thinkific vs Your Own Website
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
One of the main reasons why Thinkific stands out is that you know they are doing this in a place of passion. 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! After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Yes, Thinkific has a free service that is as good as their paid lowest-tiered one.
This makes the platform perfect for newcomers as they get to experience what it’s like to build content and courses, as well as the overall flow and environment of the industry. The free plan lets users see what they’re about to do without making any investments.
The only limitation of this free plan is that it only allows you to create one course and one course, and in my opinion, that is generous enough.
Thinkific also does not take any cut for a transaction fee whenever a user makes a sale on the platform. All 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 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. These are the features that Thinkific is known for.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. The creation part of Thinkific’s features is the most important. They make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
The user interface of Thinkific is easy to use. It is intuitive and logical. Users will have no problem navigating everything. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. They are properly classified to where they are, except for occasional hiccups. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
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.
We can make the interface look a bit more appealing if we have to.
Thinkific is primarily focused on course creation, as mentioned previously. As such, the platform ensures that the course creation mechanism is easy to get used to. 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. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. Overall, checkout is quite clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in customization.
Even email marketing features lag behind the competitor. 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.
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.
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 Your Own Website
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 company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|-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.
It still dedicates itself to teaching, lecturing, and supporting 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. 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
- Three+ 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
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. This isn’t a glorified trial. It is a free account, with the only limitation being the number of courses you can take.
- Thinkific does not ask for transaction fees whenever a sale is made. Content creators own all earnings. Creators can even claim and use these funds as soon as they arrive in their account.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- It is difficult to recommend Thinkifiic for those who are more interested in promoting the platform’s marketing capabilities. Their email marketing capability is quite basic, and you will need to depend on third-party integrations to have 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. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
Thinkific is one the most popular online courses platforms on the market. It is a great platform for beginners as well as those who are looking for more course-focused platforms. Despite its limitations, it still competes with other more “advanced and feature-rich” platforms.
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. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
If you’re looking for the best online course creation software that builds courses from scratch. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
Kajabi Versus Thinkific
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. It is primarily focused on productivity and selling. It provides tools that are geared towards simplifying your operations.
Kajabi’s top features include automations and pipelines, email marketing and a mobile application.
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. This allows Kajabi users to sell their products more easily.
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.
Kajabi land is not perfect. 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. The lowest plan allows you to sell only 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 boasts about being one of the better platforms. Even more, they have one of the most expensive courses in the market. As such, it is only to be expected that the audience will have high expectations of the product. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
At first glance, Kajabi’s interface is pretty normal. It’s minimalist, clean, and modern. 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” 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 also be organized into subcategories, posts, and categories. It would be easy to organize your content in a neat and organized manner. They can be arranged according to their content and types. 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. Email templates can be created for different functions.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase sales. These are easy to use, and the platform even provides templates that customers can easily access.
Kajabi offers a dedicated affiliate program to users who have a higher plan. 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 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. As such, it is easy to see that these features are good for almost everybody who are serious about making 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 Your Own Website
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 billed annually||$319 per month billed annually|
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 templates and blueprints to get you started with 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 mobile app makes it easy for students to access lessons and classes wherever and whenever they want. 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 feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive 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 one of the best in the business. It includes various email templates that can be used in different situations. Kajabi also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
- 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 doesn’t offer certificate of completion for courses, which some users would like to have as proof that they took the class.
- Kajabi does not have page templates to design landing pages, thank-you pages, checkout pages, forms or other pages. This means that users will have to create all pages from scratch using the page builder. It will be difficult for non-tech users and new users.
- Kajabi does not offer a guaranteed badge on the checkout page. Guarantee badges are a good tool for increasing conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi has no local payment gateway. You must rely on Stripe and Paypal integrations to take payment from orders.
- Kajabi has some great features but it still lacks some key features, particularly in the community section. There are no gamification or community engagement features.
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.
Kajabi has its faults, however. For one, it lacks features that help you connect with your students and customers. These features allow you to create a great community. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
Kajabi is also pretty expensive. People might find it difficult to justify buying a plan which can only host 3 products when there are cheaper alternatives that offer unlimited products.
Overall, Kajabi has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. It might be a bit expensive, but Kajabi’s features can be worth it.
Podia Versus Thinkific
Podia is another popular digital content-selling platform. Podia is a powerful platform with strong marketing features. Online courses, coaching, webinars and community are just a few of the many products that you can sell through this platform.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. It does take a portion of your profit when you sell. 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. 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.
Podia allows you to upload files that will be used as building blocks for your lessons. You can include text, embeds, quizzes, coaching, and files in a course. With some imagination, you can create interesting lessons with the platform that is given to you.
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 Your Own Website
It also supports multiple platforms thanks to its powerful embed tool. 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
- 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. 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. Podia’s weak point is its email marketing. It only offers the basics. Although it allows you to send email broadcasts and campaigns, some of its features are missing such as split testing or 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. 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 Your Own Website
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 is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. It is easy to set up for users of all tech levels.
- Podia has many functions and can become a one-stop shop for all your needs. 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. 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. This is thanks to the unlimited storage and bandwidth that the platform offers its users. You don’t have to use Vimeo and Wistia.
- Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience that is only available for Shaker and Earthquaker plans.
- Although it only provides the basic functions, the email marketing tools built-in are sufficient to support campaigns and broadcasts.
- Podia has supported a pre-launch mode among its marketing features. It will generate buzz about your products and encourage early conversions of email customers. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- Podia has a new feature that allows content creators to give certificates, community, and quizzes. Even the community area can be used to create memberships.
- Their email marketing provides only the most basic functions. Especially in its email composer, which lacks personalization fields. 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 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.
- There are no course blueprints available in Podia.
- 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.
- While it has pretty good marketing features, it still lacks some. This includes order bumps, downsells, cart abandonment, and others.
- Podia does not have a mobile app, which can limit its user base or access, given how much the world has depended on smartphones and tablets. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
Summary of Podia
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. This is pretty true especially given the price point it is offered.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. It isn’t true. Podia is more than what you pay. With enough creativity and good ideas, you can create impressive courses and sell them at a good price.
Despite some of its limited capacity, it is still an all-in-one platform. It 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.
Kartra Versus Thinkific
Kartra is a completely different product to the ones listed above. Kartra is completely different to the other products in this review.
We offer a platform that allows you to sell your products, instead of creating courses. 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 can be used to create and sell digital and physical products. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. 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. 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.
Kartra’s focus is on lead conversion and marketing to maximize its users’ profits. As such, one of their main features is funnel building.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. If you have previous experience in the field, you can create one yourself. You can also have Katra build it for you with their plug-and play campaigns, which are from industry leaders.
You can share your personally-built campaigns with other Kartra members. Your campaigns can be marketed and sold to make money.
Kartra manages all of the billing and payment processes so that you can concentrate on improving your funnels as you gain more experience.
Kartra 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 also be optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. These pages can be hosted on your domain, or on Katra.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper website. Even Kartra feels it themselves, as they wouldn’t allow you to host those pages in your domain otherwise.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown jewel. It has all that is needed for email marketing.
It can send broadcast messages by SMS or email. However, this will require you to integrate with any available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use to create email sequences. 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 to send emails based upon the behavior of recipients. As such, when you are done setting up the hard work, you can just sit back and relax.
Kartra’s pricing is high for a platform that focuses on lead conversions and marketing. However, depending on your needs, the price of Kartra’s plans may be worth it. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
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 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. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar allows you to drip content or vary access to different levels, if you have an existing 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 allows you to manage different websites in just a single dashboard.
- Some people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Thinkific vs Your Own Website
- Even Kartra’s pages can load slow
- For beginners, it can be difficult to understand the many features.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
There are many tools and features available that will allow you to create engaging and compelling promotions and products.
It is not a course builder, and certainly not a website creator. 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.
However, if you take the plunge, you might just get your money’s worth and more.
Overall, Verdict Thinkific vs Your Own Website
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. They will have very few differences. Of course, some might excel in one aspect or another.
The key to finding which product you should use is to decide on the direction of what you want to do. And find the platform that is best aligned with that. Chances are, you will find that their features will be most useful to you.