Best platforms to sell courses in 2024
With the growing demand for online courses, course creators are often overwhelmed when choosing the best platform to sell their courses in 2024.
After comparing popular options like Teachable, Thinkific and Podia, we've determined the top platform based on features, pricing, pros and cons to help you make the right choice.
In this post, we'll provide an in-depth analysis of these major players in the online course market, weighing their strengths and weaknesses. We'll also explore emerging platforms incorporating new technologies like AI. By the end, you'll know which platform best aligns with your needs to effectively sell courses online this year.
Introduction to Online Course Platforms
Online course platforms have exploded in popularity over the last few years. As more people seek out alternative forms of education and income online, these platforms provide an easy way to create, market, and sell online courses.
Exploring the Online Course Marketplace
Some of the most popular online course platforms today include:
Teachable: User-friendly platform great for beginners. Easy course creator and beautiful course pages.
Thinkific: Very customizable platform. Excellent marketing tools and analytics. Higher pricing tiers.
Podia: Great for marketing courses with email sequences, funnels and automation. More affordable pricing.
Kajabi: Robust all-in-one platform. Includes email marketing, membership sites, landing pages, and more. One of the most expensive platforms.
These platforms all cater to creators looking to sell various types of online courses, including video courses, ebooks, coaching programs, online communities, and more. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses to consider.
Determining the Best Fit for Your Online Education Needs
When selecting the right online course platform, key factors to evaluate include:
Features: Assess which core features are most important like course builder, templates, quizzes, community, and integrations.
Ease of use: Make sure the platform is easy for you and your students to navigate. Complex platforms add more work.
Pricing: Choose an affordable pricing tier for your business model and revenue goals. Watch for hidden or add-on fees.
Marketing capabilities: Consider how well a platform helps you create, market, and sell your online course through email, affiliates, and funnels.
Student management: Ensure the platform provides the student management and communication tools you need.
By weighing these criteria against business goals, course type, and budget, online educators can determine the best online course platform for their unique needs.
What is the best platform to sell a course?
When deciding on the best platform to sell your course, there are a few key factors to consider:
Ease of Use
You want a platform that is intuitive and easy to navigate, both for you as the course creator and for your students. Kajabi, Teachable, and Thinkific are known for their simplicity and ease of use. They provide drag-and-drop course builders and templates to allow you to create professional looking courses without technical skills.
Course Delivery & Student Experience
Consider how your course content will be delivered to students and their learning experience. Features like interactive quizzes, community forums, and mobile access can enhance engagement. Platforms like Kajabi, Teachable, and Podia offer strong course delivery capabilities.
Marketing & Sales Tools
To attract students and make sales, you need marketing tools like email marketing, affiliate programs, and landing pages. Kajabi provides exceptional built-in marketing tools to promote your course and drive sales. Teachable and Thinkific also offer solid marketing features.
Pricing & Business Model
The pricing model varies across platforms. Kajabi charges monthly subscription fees but lets you keep 100% of course sales. Udemy takes a cut of your course sales. Thinkific and Teachable offer competitive and transparent pricing models that scale with your business.
The ability to customize your course site and integrate other tools is also useful. Kajabi offers endless customization with themes, domains, and integrations. Teachable also provides strong customization capabilities to tailor your course site.
Overall, Kajabi stands out as the best all-in-one platform for ease of use, course delivery, built-in marketing tools, pricing model, and customization options. But weigh your specific needs - Teachable and Thinkific are also very strong choices for selling courses online.
Which is the best online course platform?
Online course platforms allow educators to create and sell online courses. When choosing the best platform, it's important to consider factors like features, ease of use, customization, and cost. Here is an overview of some top options:
Teachable is one of the most popular and user-friendly course platforms. Key features include:
- Intuitive course builder with drag-and-drop editor
- Custom domains and branding
- Marketing tools like coupons and bundles
- Analytics to track student engagement
The platform is very customizable, though advanced functionality requires upgrading from the free plan. Teachable takes a transaction fee from each sale you make.
Thinkific offers slightly more advanced features than Teachable, like drip content scheduling and sophisticated quiz builders. Other notable aspects include:
- Automated email sequences for students
- Integrations with marketing and payment platforms
- Customizable themes and layouts
- Detailed analytics on course performance
Thinkific also takes a transaction fee but offers a free plan for core features.
Kajabi is a versatile all-in-one platform for online courses, memberships, and other digital products. Key highlights:
- Robust marketing automation tools
- Built-in email and landing page creators
- Unlimited hosting, bandwidth, and storage
- Mobile app for accessing courses
Kajabi has no transaction fees but requires a monthly subscription starting at $119 per month. This gives it the most predictable pricing model.
Based on needs around features, pricing, and flexibility - Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi tend to be the best online course platforms available today. Evaluating individual requirements can help determine the ideal choice.
Is Teachable better than Thinkific?
When comparing Teachable and Thinkific, there are a few key differences to consider:
Course Creation and Delivery
Thinkific offers more customization options for course pages and landing pages. You can fully customize themes, layouts, fonts, colors, etc. Teachable offers templates but less flexibility.
Thinkific has a visual course builder that's easy to use. Teachable uses a code editor that allows HTML customization but requires more technical skills.
Both platforms support quizzes, assignments, discussions and drip content. Thinkific has a few more native tools like certificates and surveys.
Marketing and Sales
Thinkific allows unlimited landing pages and funnels. Teachable limits you to 5 landing pages on their starter plan.
Teachable has native affiliate marketing tools while Thinkific requires a third party integration.
Both platforms allow coupons and discounts. Thinkific has more flexibility for usage limits and restrictions.
Analytics and Reporting
- Teachable provides basic analytics on students, sales and traffic. Thinkific includes funnel analysis, conversion tracking and advanced metrics.
Customization and Scalability
Thinkific is the more customizable platform overall but can be more complex. Teachable is simpler to start with but has design limitations.
Thinkific removes limits on students and bandwidth as you upgrade plans. Teachable has account limits unless you contact them.
Overall, Thinkific comes out slightly ahead for features and flexibility but also has a steeper learning curve. Teachable is easier to start with but has more constraints as you scale up. Unfortunately neither platform provides much support for live, cohort-based courses.
What is the most selling course?
The most popular online course topics in 2023 based on current trends are digital marketing, entrepreneurship, meditation, finance, creative arts, fitness, web development, and personal development.
Digital Marketing & Entrepreneurship
Digital marketing and entrepreneurship courses remain one of the hottest selling topics. With the rise of social media and ecommerce, these skills are in high demand for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Courses teach strategies like SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, and business plan development. They provide a clear path for launching and growing an online business.
Meditation & Mindset
Meditation and mindset programs also perform well, appealing to those seeking personal growth and fulfillment. These courses guide students in practices like mindfulness, manifestation, self-actualization, and more. With flexible self-paced formats, meditation bestsellers empower personal development journeys.
Finance & Investing
Finance and investing represents another area of strong interest. Offerings here explore wealth-building topics like stock trading, cryptocurrency, financial planning, and passive income. As people look to take control of their financial future, these courses deliver actionable education.
The most popular course topics help students acquire career-enhancing skills, achieve personal growth, or build wealth. By aligning with student aspirations in these areas, course creators can find an audience and make an impact.
Teachable: A Comprehensive Review for Course Creators
Teachable is a popular online course platform that provides creators with the tools to build, market, and sell their courses. With features like customizable course pages, marketing integrations, and secure payment processing, Teachable aims to make it easy for anyone to profit from their knowledge and expertise.
Teachable's Feature Set: A Deep Dive
Some of Teachable's key features include:
Course builder: An intuitive drag-and-drop course builder to create professional-looking course pages, lectures, quizzes etc.
Marketing tools: Email marketing, affiliate programs, and UTM link tracking to promote courses.
Secure payment system: Built-in payment processing to sell courses and collect revenue. Supports one-time purchases or subscriptions.
Student management: Tools to engage with students via messaging, track progress, access analytics etc.
Mobile app: iOS and Android apps so students can learn on the go.
Overall, Teachable provides a comprehensive set of features to build, customize, market, sell and manage online courses all in one platform.
Understanding Teachable's Pricing Structure
Teachable offers the following pricing plans:
Free plan: Limited to 5 courses and 50 students per course. Charges a 10% transaction fee on payments.
Basic ($29/month): Remove Teachable branding and transaction fees. Get monthly payouts.
Pro ($99/month): Access advanced marketing and analytics features like coupons and quizzes. Add custom domains and landing pages.
There are no long-term contracts so users can upgrade or downgrade plans as needed. Overall the pricing aims to be competitive and flexible for creators at different stages.
Pros and Cons: Is Teachable Right for You?
- Intuitive platform to create professional online courses
- Robust marketing tools to promote and sell courses
- No coding skills required
- Top-rated support team
- Some advanced features only available on higher-tier paid plans
- Transaction fees may eat into profits for free users
- Less flexibility compared to self-hosted solutions
Teachable is a great fit for coaches, instructors, entrepreneurs and other subject matter experts looking for an all-in-one platform to create and sell online courses without needing technical skills.
Cultivating a Student Base with Teachable
Teachable makes it easy to build up a student base over time by leveraging its marketing tools like coupons, bundles, affiliate programs etc. As creators publish more courses, they can cross-promote their offerings to convert existing students into repeat buyers. Leveraging Teachable's WordPress plugin and custom domains also helps build brand authority and attract more students.
Overall, Teachable provides creators with the essential tools and platform to gradually cultivate a thriving student community around their niche.
Thinkific: An Online Learning Platform Analysis
Thinkific is an online course platform that empowers creators to build, market, and sell their courses. With an intuitive course builder, marketing tools, analytics, and monetization options, Thinkific aims to provide everything educators need to create thriving online academies.
Exploring Thinkific's Online Course Capabilities
Thinkific offers a drag-and-drop course builder to create professional, media-rich courses without coding. Key features include:
- Intuitive course creation tools to add lessons, quizzes, multimedia, and assignments
- Responsive course designs optimized for web and mobile
- Custom domains and branding options to establish authority
- Student portals for easy access to enrolled courses
- Discussion forums and messaging to engage students
- Coupon codes, bundles, and drip content to segment and upsell
With these robust capabilities, Thinkific empowers creators to publish polished courses that nurture student relationships and growth.
Decoding Thinkific's Pricing Options
Thinkific offers four paid plans, plus a free option:
- Free: Up to 3 courses, 50 students, and basic features
- Basic: $39/month billed annually. Unlimited courses, students, bandwidth, and premium features
- Pro: $99/month billed annually. Everything in Basic, plus advanced branding, security, and marketing tools
- Premier: Custom pricing. Enterprise-level support, priority access to new features, branded mobile apps, and more
There are no transaction fees, allowing creators to keep 100% of revenue. Overall, Thinkific offers flexible and scalable plans to meet diverse business needs. The free and low-cost tiers make Thinkific accessible for early-stage creators.
Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages of Thinkific
- Intuitive drag-and-drop course builder
- Responsive course designs work on all devices
- 100% revenue share on payments
- Robust free plan to get started
- Great support community and resources
- Limited custom code editing options
- Less flexibility for super advanced functionality
- Must upgrade for additional branding and security
For most creators, Thinkific hits the sweet spot between ease-of-use and customization. Users wanting maximum code control may prefer more developer-focused platforms.
Targeting the Right Student Base with Thinkific
Thinkific best serves creators offering online courses focused on:
- Professional skills (business, marketing, tech, creative)
- Health, fitness, and wellness
- Hobbies and creative outlets
- Personal development and lifestyle
Thinkific's marketing tools can nurture organic traffic and word-of-mouth referrals. The platform scales from hobbyists to CEOs, making it suitable for creators at all stages. An intuitive interface also appeals to less tech-savvy educators.
With a full-featured free plan, reasonable pricing, great support, and easy course creation, Thinkific removes barriers so creators can focus on transforming lives through education.
Podia: A Versatile Online Course Sales Platform
Podia's Suite of Online Learning Tools
Podia provides a robust set of tools for creating, marketing, and selling online courses. Key features include:
- Intuitive course builder with templates, multimedia integration, quizzes, and discussions
- Marketing tools like email campaigns, affiliate programs, and coupon codes
- Ecommerce functionality for accepting payments, managing pricing tiers, automatic tax calculations
- Analytics dashboards tracking enrollment, revenue, refunds, and more
With this all-in-one platform, course creators have everything they need to build professional online courses, promote them, sell them, and analyze their performance.
Podia's Pricing Explained: What to Expect
Podia offers four paid subscription plans:
- Basic ($39/month): Up to 5 courses, 500 students, basic features
- Growth ($79/month): Up to 20 courses, 2,500 students, more advanced features
- Business ($159/month): Up to 100 courses, 10,000 students, additional functionality
- Enterprise (custom pricing): For large organizations with higher usage needs
There's also a free 14-day trial to test it out. Overall, Podia provides excellent value at affordable rates compared to competitors. Plans scale based on number of courses and students, allowing flexible growth.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Podia
- Intuitive interface and course builder
- Comprehensive tools for course creators
- Scales for businesses of any size
- Very affordable compared to other platforms
- Less flexibility for highly customized courses
- Fewer specialized tools versus niche competitors
- Integration options more limited than higher-end systems
So while Podia may not be the best fit for organizations with very complex needs, it strikes an ideal balance of ease-of-use and functionality for most course creators.
Identifying Podia's Ideal User Base
Podia works best for:
- Solopreneurs and small teams creating their first online courses
- Bootstrapped startups focused on rapid iteration and MVP testing
- Small businesses with straightforward online training needs
- Creators who value simplicity over endless customization options
Essentially, Podia hits the sweet spot between power and simplicity. For independent creators and small teams who want great results without unnecessary complexity, Podia is a top-tier choice.
LMS Comparison: Beyond the Big Names
Kajabi: More Than Just an Online Course Platform
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform for creating and selling online courses, membership sites, and coaching programs. Some key features include:
- Intuitive course builder with templates
- Marketing automation and email marketing
- Built-in payment processing and affiliate management
- Mobile app for accessing courses on-the-go
Kajabi uses a subscription model based on number of members, starting at $119/month for up to 1,000 members. It's a great choice for coaches, consultants, influencers, and small business owners looking to monetize their knowledge.
Pros: Robust feature set, easy to use, great support. Cons: Can get pricey for larger membership sites.
Absorb LMS: A Corporate Learning Solution
Absorb LMS targets mid-size and enterprise companies needing an advanced corporate training platform. Key capabilities include:
- Custom branding and white labeling
- Robust reporting and analytics
- API access and integration with HR systems
- Scalable for 10,000+ users
Pricing starts at $850/month for up to 100 active users. Absorb competes with Cornerstone OnDemand, SAP Litmos, and Docebo. It's ideal for companies that need regulatory compliance, certification tracking, and structured learning programs.
Pros: Enterprise-grade features, great support, customizable platform. Cons: Expensive, overkill for small businesses.
KREDO: The Impact of AI in Online Learning Platforms
KREDO utilizes artificial intelligence to provide personalized recommendations and feedback to online learners. Features include:
- AI-powered course suggestions based on skills, goals
- Automated analysis of engagement, retention, completion rates
- Real-time feedback to instructors on content quality
Pricing not publicly listed. As AI capabilities in education improve, platforms like KREDO show the potential for data-driven optimization of online learning.
Pros: Cutting-edge AI application, actionable analytics.
Cons: Limited course catalog currently.
Rockstar Learning Platform: Engaging the Modern Learner
Rockstar targets nontraditional students with social learning and gamification techniques. Features include:
- Discussion forums and study groups
- Point/badge system for completing modules
- Interactive video lessons and quizzes
Rockstar offers both self-paced courses and cohort-based programs. Its flexible model accommodates diverse learning styles.
Pros: Innovative social engagement tools.
Cons: Light on formal credentials.
Choosing the Best Online Course Platform in 2024
When selecting an online course platform, there are a few key factors to consider:
Essential Factors in LMS Comparison
Features and functionality: Assess which core features are most important for your use case, such as course creation tools, communication capabilities, assessments, etc. Compare platforms on how robust their feature sets are.
Ease of use: The platform should be intuitive and easy to navigate for both course creators and students. Complex interfaces lead to frustration.
Customization: Evaluate custom branding capabilities, white labeling options, integrations, and the ability to tailor courses.
Analytics and reporting: Robust analytics allow you to track student engagement and course performance. Dashboards and custom reports are useful.
Customer support: Having readily available customer service during onboarding and beyond is vital when issues arise.
Pricing model: Consider one-time fees vs monthly subscriptions, scalability pricing tiers, commissions on sales, etc. based on your monetization strategy.
Final Verdict: Which Platform Tops the Charts?
The "best" online course platform depends largely on the specific use case and target audience. However, a few frontrunners emerge:
For simplicity and ease of use, Teachable and Podia rate highly. Their intuitive dashboards and workflows make course creation accessible for beginners.
Thinkific excels for marketing tools and analytics. Useful for established creators aiming to scale their student reach.
Kajabi suits advanced creators building a full membership site or community beyond just courses.
Evaluate your priorities and test different platforms to determine the right fit. The key is finding a solution that empowers you to produce high quality courses and engage your students.