5 Best Online Course Platforms to Create and Teach
Last Updated on September 16, 2021 by Anita Hendrieka
Do you have market-competitive skills and knowledge that you would like to share with the world? Ever since the global pandemic hit us, a lot of jobs have shut down and a lot of people have started working from homes. This has increased the demand for certain skills and knowledge that mid-career level professionals cannot attain, well because COVID shut everything down.
Also, getting a master’s degree is pretty painful for the wallet, so what do individuals who shift careers do?
They turn to online courses. And this is where you, an industry specialist, should divert to. If you have a skill or are experienced in something that will most likely stay in demand for the next two to three decades, then create an online course today and start selling.
You might have come across popular course creation and online course platforms where a lot of influencers and industry specialists are offering their expertise and knowledge in bite-sized online courses. But these popular online coaching platforms demand an exorbitantly high transaction cost and offer very few services to actually propel your business.
You need an all-in-one marketing platform, that not just allows you to create an online course, but market and sell it effectively.
The problem with popular course creation platforms is that they charge high fees and there is little room to grow for you as a small or medium-sized business owner.
Therefore, in this article, we will give a review on 5 different course creation platforms out there, better than the popular and expensive ones, with better features for marketing automation and sales funnels.
Out of these five, we will also talk about the best software for creating online courses – Kajabi.
5 Best online course platforms
Clickfunnels, marketed as an all-in-one marketing automation platform, was primarily created for mitigating the hurdles faced by businessowners in marketing their digital products and services like online courses. It is used by businessowners to create landing pages and sales funnels for creating a high-converting and seamless marketing campaign.
Clickfunnels offers relatively good features and tools to work with like email marketing automation, an affiliate marketing system, creation of webpages, membership sites, webinars and a lot more. Clickfunnels also offers tracking of business automation through analytics and a plethora of informative articles and video tutorials on its blog and Funnelsflix.
Despite the advantages, there are some pros and cons of using Clickfunnels which every online course creator must be wary of.
Pricing for Clickfunnels is divided into three plans:
- The Clickfunnels – starting $97 per month allows creators only 20 funnels, 100 webpages, 3 domains for website hosting and 3 payment gateways. There is no email marketing automation, but access to Funnelflix and Clickfunnels form is given
- The Clickfunnels Platinum – starting at $397 per month, offers unlimited sales funnels and webpages, 9 custom domains for website hosting, 9 payment gateways, email marketing automation and live chat as well as training to run a business on Clickfunnels
- The TwoCommaClubX – starts at $2497 per month, includes features of the two plans above, along with other privileges
Pros of clickfunnels
- An extensive library of themes and templates for creating landing pages and sales funnels suited for your business type
- Intuitive page builder and web editor with an interactive user interface that is suitable for those with barely any technical knowledge of coding or web development
Cons of clickfunnels
- Online course creators will have to integrate a third-party application like Wistia or Vimeo for video hosting and hosting webinars. Users can only embed videos from video streaming platforms like Youtube or Vimeo, not upload them directly to Clickfunnels
- Limitation on number of emails allowed every month for email automation
- Websites hosted on Clickfunnels are different from traditional websites, mostly certain web pages like an about us, contact and home page can only be installed
- Most features are not available within the platform, therefore, third-party integrations will be needed
Clickfunnels was mainly created for marketing automation and creating sales funnels, therefore, it might not be the best software for creating online courses. It may be one of the best online course platforms, but not the best, therefore, read along to find out which platform we think is the best for you.
Thinkific has gained much recognition from online course creators over the years and has become one of the best online course platforms, primarily due to its feature of allowing users to create online courses right within the platform. However, Thinkific is more focused on academic courses creators and new businessowners, not entrepreneurs or established businesses.
Thinkific’s interface is relatively easy to use the course-building tool is user-friendly, specifically curated for those without technical experience. The development team at Thinkific is always eager to incorporate new changes into its system, therefore, you don’t have to worry about outdated software or tools.
Pricing for Thinkific is divided into four plans and an additional Growth package
- Free Plan – $0 per month for those who are just starting out as online course creators as it allows businessowners to create up to 3 courses and allows video hosting as well. Course creators can also create quizzes and surveys in their course content for an unlimited number of students
- Basic Plan – starts at $49 per month and offers access to an unlimited number of students, a custom domain for web hosting and integrations for email automation for marketing. Other integration tools can also be added like Zapier. This course is perfect for those who are familiar with how Thinkific works and have basic knowledge of online course creation and businesses alike
- Pro Plan – starts at $99 per month is the most sought-after plan and includes features of the free and basic along with permission to create unlimited courses. This plan also offers access to 2 administration accounts and allows creating private courses for certain customers, along with certificates. This plan also offers memberships and subscription-based content. The features don’t stop here, you can also customize your website and enhance the user experience for your customers
- Premier Plan – starts at $499 per month, includes the features of the pro plan and a lot more. This plan allows creators to sell their courses to other organizations or businesses and allows users to analyze the progress of the course. Creators can also track the progress of their students and remove Thinkific branding from their course
- Growth Package is an add-on package with additional features like integrated marketing solutions with Infusionsoft. This is useful for email marketing automation. This package charges according to the number of active students taking the course. The first 100 are free and the charges for the rest are 10 cents per student.
- Thinkific Plus – another plan which is integrated towards large-scale businesses that want to provide corporate training or are expected to achieve high business growth.
Pros of Thinkific
- Perfect for newly emerging online course creators as the interface is easy to use and there is a built-in course builder which is adequate for creating stellar courses
- Relative to other popular course creation platforms, it is inexpensive and does not require a lot of technical experience or handling
Cons of Thinkific
- A lot of features are not present within the Thinkific platform, like Clickfunnels, and you might have to use third-party integrations to get your work done. Therefore, even if the monthly package isn’t expensive, the overall cost per month of other subscriptions might hurt your wallet
- There is no tool or feature for email marketing automation – an external service is needed for that
- Cannot build sales funnels on Thinkific, unlike Clickfunnels. For building funnels, additional software or apps might be needed and this can be a drawback for new businessowners
- The website builder has only three themes with up to four styles, and users cannot create a blog on their hosted website
Thinkific is an easy-to-use course creation platform for beginners, and not established course creators or entrepreneurs. Neither does it have automated email marketing, nor plenty of design options. Though it can work as a good Clickfunnels alternative, nothing too over the top.
Teachable often managed to be included in articles on online course platforms comparison or some even consider it one of the best software for creating online courses. As a rival to Kartra and Kajabi, Teachable provides far more features than Thinkific and Clickfunnels. With its easy-to-use interface, it is far more convenient to create online courses and sell them.
Teachable also has a built-in payment system, thereby no integration from a third-party application or software is required. Like Thinkific, Teachable also offers a free plan for new businessowners who have just entered the world of online coaching platforms and are still exploring which platform best suits their needs.
Teachable does not provide creators with additional marketing tools and funnels to increase business growth. It does provide an affiliate management system and allows businessowners to either use Teachable’s subdomain or link it with the main business page of your business. There are no other features like creating a blog, website, or even cool themes and designs.
Teachable does not provide marketing automation tools, so you have to install and pay for an external service, which can be a hefty sum. It also has an analytics option to view the progress report of your courses – which students are lagging behind and the overall growth of your business and revenue. This platform requires no prior knowledge in coding or web development, therefore it is easy to use.
In terms of pricing, it has three plans.
- The Basic plan starts at $39 per month, creators can cater an unlimited number of students, access to administer the platform is given to 2 admin users, along with email marketing and integration with Google Analytics. Businesses can also choose a custom domain for their website
- The Pro plan starts at $119 per month and has features of the basic plan, as well as allows access to 5 admin users and creators can make graded assignments, quizzes, and give out certificates upon completion of the course. Creators can also track progress reports of their students
- The Business plan starts at $299 per month and allows up to 20 admin users, group coaching, customization of the site and a high enrollment of students is also allowed
Pros of Teachable
- Creators have control over those who sign up for their courses, in terms of email addresses of students, their analytical data and progress reports
- Teachable gives easy-to-comprehend analytics which are helpful in understanding the progress of your courses and overall business growth
- Allows upselling of certain related products like if a customer is buying one of your courses, you can offer them another course
Cons of Teachable
- Creators have to pay transaction fees on the Free and Basic plans
- Need to install basic integrations which might be available for free or at a lesser price on other platforms
- Does not allow to host live workshops or webinars
Kartra boasts itself as the best software for creating online courses and the #1 alternative to Clickfunnels, and we don’t disagree with the latter statement. Though it might not be the best online coaching platform, it surely outperforms Clickfunnels, Thinkific and Teachable.
Kartra offers a ton of features that platforms like Clickfunnels and Thinkific fail to provide. Firstly, Kartra allows video marketing within its platform and there is no need to hire a third-party application or software. Everything happens within the platform, and your business website.
Kartra also has an amazing helpdesk and support system for users which is built into the platform. There is immediate support through live chat and email support for a faster and effective customer support experience.
It allows creators to track and assess the reports of their students and their overall business within the platform and not install external analytical software. Kartra will provide you with every detail on who’s opening your email newsletters, clicking on the links provided, how many students are passing the course and what is the success rate of your business.
Kartra has four pricing plans, which are as follows:
- The Starter, at $79 per month, offers 15000 emails, 100 web pages to be hosted, 2 membership sites, 1 helpdesk feature, 2500 leads and 1 custom domain
- The Silver, at $149 per month, offers 12,500 leads, unlimited emails, video hosting, membership sites, webpages and 3 custom domains. Apart from the basic helpdesk feature, it offers access to the Kartra Agency as well
- The Gold, at $229 per month, offers features of the above plans, along with additional leads, and 5 custom domains
- The Platinum, at $379 per month, offers 50,000 leads, all of the above plans’ features and 10 custom domains
Pros of Kartra
- With Kartra, online course creators will have access to all the tools needed for running the business, and this is not limited to a certain plan. Apart from some restrictions, email marketing automation is provided on every plan
- An all-in-one marketing platform for your online business
- Video and web hosting is available within the system, no need to install third-party integrations
- Kartra’s membership system offers additional features like managing members, embedding videos from external streaming platforms, sharing files and a lot more
Cons of Kartra
- Compared with other platforms like Clickfunnels, Kartra has a low loading speed for webpages and the checkout process
- Kartra’s web builder has some limitations in terms of features
If you have come this far in this post, you are probably wondering which is the best software for creating online courses out there, when every platform has drawbacks. Well, we purposefully saved the best one for the last.
If you are even remotely familiar with the world of online teaching platforms or read a couple of articles on online course platforms comparison you must have come across Kajabi and most likely have only read good things about it, because it is that good.
Kajabi is an all-in-one online teaching platform that not just allows creating courses, but sell other digital services and products, host webinars and create membership sites. With Kajabi, you don’t have to rely on third-party integrations to get your work done. Everything comes within Kajabi, and this includes web hosting, marketing funnels, landing pages, email marketing automation and a lot more. You can read our review on Kajabi vs Kartra here and see for yourself why we prefer Kajabi over Kartra.
In terms of pricing, Kajabi has three plans
- Beginner Plan starts at $149 per month which allows creators to sell up to 3 digital products, which can include anything from paid content, podcasts and online courses. Creators can also create landing pages, sales funnels, pipelines and host one website on a custom domain
- The second plan starts at $199 per month and is for relatively established creators. Business owners can sell up to 15 digital products per month but hosting of only one website is allowed. This plan includes the features of the previous plan along with other marketing automation features
- This plan starts at $399 per month and is best suited for advanced and established businesses and entrepreneurs. Creators can sell up to 100 digital products, create 100 sales funnels, email lists and landing pages. This plan allows users to host up to three websites.
Pros of Kajabi
- Kajabi offers an intuitive and easy-to-use interface and web builder, perfect for crafting online courses that sell
- Creators can track the progress of their business as well as the courses they have created, along with the progress of students through assessment strategies like quizzes and assignments
- Most features are available within the platform, therefore, no need to buy third-party integrations or services.
- Kajabi also has a community option so you can create a community (similar to Facebook) within the platform. This definitely puts Kajabi in the running for one of the best online community platforms too!
Cons of Kajabi
- Hosting of only three websites is allowed in the third plan, might not be suited for advanced businesses
- Pipeline (funnel) automation are basic for now
Read more: Kajabi Review: My In-Depth Honest Opinion!
Kajabi is the all-in-one platform that you need. You can not only create and sell courses but run your entire business from that platform. By creating membership-based courses, providing subscription-based content and creating drip content or mini-courses, you can really upsell your business in a matter of months.
Kajabi is keen to update its software and system every now and then. Its web builder has been improving as there are more themes and styles and better tools for creating websites and courses.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your online business today, with Kajabi! Get your 30-day FREE trial here.
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