Considering choosing Thinkific as a platform to host your online course? It might be a great choice, but there are other alternatives that you should consider first.
What are the best Thinkific alternatives? My top Thinkific alternatives are Udemy, Kajabi, Teachable, LearnWorlds, Podia, Clickfunnels, and LearnDash. Each comes with its own pros and cons which may be better or worse suited to different course creators.
In this article, I’ll explain why you may want to look at alternatives before settling on Thinkific to host your online courses. Then I’ll walk you through some of my favorite other options.
With most things in life, one size doesn’t fit all.
Just because an online marketer or influencer that you follow raves about Thinkific, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for your business.
Different online course platforms will be better or worse depending on what stage your business is currently at. And you may simply value some features in a platform more or less than others.
Thinkific also doesn’t help with marketing efforts, so you’ll need to put a lot more time and resources into promoting your online courses if you choose to use their platform.
With that in mind, here are my top 7 Thinkific alternatives.
If you’re just starting out, Udemy is one of the platforms with the lowest barrier to entry when it comes to creating courses.
They only have a few quality requirements for courses on their platform. Your course needs at least 30 minutes of video, and at least five modules.
But aside from that, anyone can sign up to be an instructor and sell their courses on Udemy.
Udemy also offers a lot of help along the way with getting started. When you sign up to be an instructor on their site, they’ll provide you with a lot of tools to help you succeed.
You’ll get access to a tool similar to Google Analytics that will help you determine if your course idea will get enough traffic to consider pursuing.
They also provide a large range of lessons and other resources to help you start creating high-quality courses, even if you’re a complete beginner.
Since Udemy gets a percentage of the earnings from every course you sell, it’s in their best interest to help you succeed and create worthwhile courses.
Since Udemy is a market leader when it comes to online courses, there also isn’t much you need to do in terms of marketing. This is a big advantage over Thinkific.
You can choose to promote your course if you wish. But you can also simply create it and upload it to Udemy, and people will start to find it and sign up organically.
So it’s one of the more passive course creation platforms that are available.
So you’ll have to consider if that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make. Or alternatively, you may want to consider other platforms where you keep more of your earnings, but need to do more legwork in finding students on your own.
Putting a course on Udemy is sort of like uploading your eBook for sale on Amazon. While you own the content, you’re using someone else’s platform. So your business is at the whims of someone else.
You may not be able to connect with your customers directly or get them to sign up for your email list. And if the platform decides it doesn’t like your course, there’s the risk that it could shut down your course overnight.
Lastly, you’re likely to face more competition from other course creators on Udemy.
Since the platform has over 100,000 courses available, it might be hard to find a where at least one or two courses aren’t already available.
While these other courses will exist regardless of what platform you use to host your own course, when you publish on Udemy it means you’ll be directly competing with them in the site’s own search results.
But even with these cons, I do think Udemy has a lot to offer to new course creators who have no existing audience.
It’s a great way to get started. And since Udemy does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to promoting your course, you can make creating great course content your main focus.
Kajabi is one of the Thinkific alternatives that offer more of an “all in one” package. It’s a great choice if you consider yourself an intermediate or advanced level course creator.
It’s also worth checking out if you already have an existing coaching business, or are an expert in your field.
The sheer amount of options Kajabi offers might be a bit overwhelming for a complete beginner. But you don’t need to be a very technical person by any means to use it.
You can use the platform to create great courses without any frustrating coding or other technical details.
With Kajabi, you get everything you need to create a great online course and everything that goes along with it.
Of course it includes all the basics you’d expect in an online course. But it also allows you to create a membership site or private social area for your course.
It also comes with website building tools and blogging features included as well.
Want to connect with your students in realtime? Built-in video streaming capabilities is something that you get from Kajabi that Thinkific doesn’t currently include.
Kajabi is also a powerhouse when it comes to marketing, and provides you with everything you need to drive course sales.
You get email marketing tools, landing page tools, and automated marketing funnels to start building your email list.
Plus it also includes a whole range of affiliate marketing features.
You also get more streamlined payment processing with Kajabi, that’s all done without having to leave the site.
One thing that Kajabi may not help with is creating a uniquely branded or very customized website.
But if you already have a premium WordPress theme for your site, this is probably less of a huge deal.
Teachable is another Thinkific alternative that I’d consider if you’re interested in a platform that provides more support for promotion and marketing.
Teachable is easy to initially set up. With just a few clicks, your school will be ready to go with minimal configuration needed.
However, in terms of customization things get a bit trickier than on some other platforms.
Some users report that Teachable’s drag and drop page builder isn’t the easiest to use, compared to some other course platforms. The dashboard can initially be a bit confusing to get around as well.
So Teachable may be a bit less user-friendly initially than some platforms. But if you can get over these hurdles, it does have a lot to offer.
Teachable comes with a great affiliate program built in. So it’s super easy to get satisfied students and others to promote your course for you, in exchange for a percentage of your sales.
This can really get the word out there and provide a major boost in course sales.
The platform also comes with powerful email marketing tools that allow you to set up specific triggers at various steps along the way.
For example, your students may receive an email after signing up, a congratulations email after finishing all of the modules, or other key points in the process.
Teachable includes all sorts of surveys and forms to get feedback from students. This allows you to better communicate with your customers and hear how they really feel, or areas you may be able to improve your course.
Teachable is also awesome for creating sales pages! Lastly, this Thinkific alternative comes with a lower price tag.
LearnWorlds is an alternative that offers a lot in terms of third-party marketing tools, analytics, and other areas where I feel it surpasses what Thinkific offers.
It also allows for the creation of really engaging and interactive courses.
Like a lot of online course platforms, LearnWorlds helps you with SEO (search engine optimization) and helps you to manage keywords, metatags, and other information.
But it does a lot more including landing page and sales page creation, native mobile apps, full white label branding, and more.
What I really love about LearnWorlds is how it handles video. It allows you to add interactions to your video without a lot of extra time-consuming editing and post-production.
You can simply upload your video and then add questions, pointers, overlay images, links, and a lot more directly to your videos on the platform.
LearnWorlds also automatically extracts an interactive transcript from your video. Not only does this improve accessibility for students, but also makes your video content easier to navigate.
You can choose to either host your video content with LearnWorlds directly, or use any major video provider if your videos are already hosted somewhere else in the cloud.
LearnWorlds features a built-in social network that further helps boost course engagement.
Your students can share tips and ideas, talk about their experiences, or give feedback on any issues they’re facing.
Your students will love the chance to communicate with each other, and this can also add a lot of extra value in terms of networking.
If you’re looking to generate residual income instead of just one-off course purchases, they also support a subscription model.
So if you’re selling more than about 10 courses per month, it makes sense to upgrade to their $79 Pro Trainer plan which has no transaction fees, unlimited courses, and many other features including Zapier integrations, question banks, and more.
Podia is yet another Thinkific alternative that allows you to have all of your tools in a single platform.
You can use Podia to run online courses and membership sites, plus host all of your digital downloads to go along with them. It also includes email marketing, landing page creation, and a built-in live chat tool.
Podia is a bit more limited compared to other platforms when it comes to customization. But if you aren’t looking for something super customized and branded, you can likely overlook that.
But no matter what Podia plan you choose, there are always zero transaction fees.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re making $10 per month or $10,000 per month, you always pay the same monthly fee.
If you’ve been in the world of internet marketing for any period of time, then you’ve probably heard the name Clickfunnels before.
But you may not necessarily associate it with creating online courses.
While other course platform alternatives like Thinkific are more focused on organizing and presenting course content, Clickfunnels has a strong focus on making more money for its users.
Where ClickFunnels excels is getting customers to buy your product. In this case, your online course.
It features an easy-to-use page builder with a drag and drop editor. It’s a fairly simple platform to learn and start using.
But it also has a lot of additional sales features that other course platforms may not offer.
Including A/B testing capabilities, and lots of easy integrations with third party software to take payments and capture emails right on your site.
Clickfunnels also has a WordPress plugin that will save you a lot of time and effort in terms of site integration.
Unless you’re hosting your online course on a site like Udemy, chances are that you’re going to need some kind of sales funnel to promote your online course anyway.
So it makes sense to just use your sales funnel software to also host your online course. Otherwise you’ll need two separate services, and some way of connecting them.
And in my experience, the more different platforms and software you’re trying to link together, the more chance there is to run into technical difficulties.
That might be a bit much for you if you’re a new course creator that’s just starting out.
LearnDash is a bit different than the other Thinkific alternatives I’ve discussed so far. Most online course platforms require you to upload your content to them.
But LearnDash is an LMS (Learning Management System plugin for WordPress.
I prefer this because every part of your course is on your own site. You don’t have to worry about other platforms having outages or closing.
You have full control over your content. So it’s my preferred way of running online courses.
LearnDash is rich with features and allows you to customize your course and deliver it exactly how you envision it.
It includes a powerful page builder, plus you can add your own user forums, course quizzes, and other interactive features.
It also integrates nicely with most of the major shopping cart plugins, which makes taking payments easy and straightforward.
But considering the full control that you get over your course, I think it’s a great value for instructors who are serious about selling online courses.
Thinkific is one of the top platforms that you should consider when creating your online course.
But there are alternatives that could be a better choice, depending on your specific situation.
The online course platform that you select is likely something that you’re going to stick with for years to come. So it’s worth doing your due diligence to find something that will best suit your needs.
Not just in the immediate future, but also long-term as your online course business continues to grow.
Get inspiration by these Thinkific Course Examples if you decide to choose Thinkific as you online course platform.
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