“Everyone loves Teachable” – the first of many lies
Hello and welcome to my Teachable review.
If you’re looking for a platform to host your online courses, you need to consider things very carefully.
Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
About 5 years ago, I jumped straight into using Teachable without a second thought. I just wanted to get my course off the ground. “Any ole’ platform will do. They’re all the same, right?”
There are better platforms for selling online courses that have more features and are cheaper. I hate to sound like I’m bashing it, but it basically puts you at a competitive disadvantage compared to other course builders.
I know there are a ton of biased reviews out there and it’s hard to know who to trust. So, I think the best thing for you to do is to read my full Teachable review and see WHY it’s not the best place for your online course.
In this Teachable review I’ll cover:
- My overall experience building a course with Teachable
- My “unbiased” thoughts on Teachable’s ridiculously stupid and unfair pricing
- A deep dive into key features
- How the platform stacks up to competitors
- Why I think Teachable puts you at a competitive disadvantage
- The pros and cons of teachable
Ready? Let’s get to it.
With this one platform, you can upload videos, add quizzes, create a landing page, email students, and accept payments all from one dashboard.
It’s popular with beginner online course creators due to its ease of use and excellent customer support.
- Very beginner-friendly
- Excellent customer support
- Add rich features like quizzes and course completion certifications
- Simple coupon, affiliate, and analytic features
- Poor cost-to-value ratio
- Lacks high-end features
- Email marketing is practically useless
- Not all-in-one as the company claims
- More expensive than competitors with more features
Teachable Review Quick Verdict: Is It the Right Platform for Your Online Course?
Teachable is a very average online course platform, and that’s me being “let’s try not to get sued” Karl today.
I’ve been in the online business for 10+ years and made my first course more than 5 years ago. Since then, I’ve used Teachable, Kartra, and Kajabi, and I’ve also checked out Thinkific and Mighty Networks. Did I mention Podia? And LearnWorlds or LearnDash?
Yeah basically… I've tried them all.
Teachable is nowhere near any of those competitors.
I hate to hate, but facts are facts. Here are just a few of the issues:
- The sales page builder is useless
- The email marketing tool is pretty much useless
- Teachable only hosts courses. There’s no marketing or anything else. You’ll need to pay for other tools and connect them.
- There’s no community builder
- You have to do course surgery to create a membership site
- 5% transaction fees!
It’s all a nightmare you want NO part of.
As I said before, Teachable is a competitive disadvantage. After 6 months of using it, I was nowhere.
It costs more than Kartra and does less than half of what Kartra does. I only regret NOT canceling Teachable sooner.
Here’s a good analogy…
You know those super touristy restaurants on every main square in Europe and the USA? Everyone goes there because it’s popular and smack-dab in the center of town, but the food and drinks are absolute garbage.
That’s Teachable. It’s the tourist trap of learning management systems.
It’s popular, the ads are everywhere, it has “teach” in the name, and it’s easy to get set up. So, everyone and their mother wants to sell online courses or coaching services with it.
But once you’ve been in town a while you start finding the restaurants with better food, better drinks, and better service—oh, and they cost half the price.
That’s what eventually happened to me.
OK, so before I get too far into the Teachable platform bash-a-thon, let me say some nice things.
3 Things I Like About Teachable
There’s a reason that over 100,000 users have made Teachable courses and the Teachable platform is one of the most popular online course platforms. I see why it’s appealing to most newbies.
The User Experience (UX) is Outstanding
Online courses are a B***!!!!. So it’s nice that Teachable doesn’t make your life any more miserable than it already is.
Adding videos and other content is super easy. And all of your options are one click away on the left-hand side.
Also, you get to update the thumbnail, which is a nice touch.
If you want to take your online courses to the next level, get some personal branding to start every video, and make sure to change the thumbnail to show your name/logo each time.
By the way, I charge $500 for coaching sessions about selling online courses. Check your email for the invoice. (Kidding but not kidding)
Easy Course Enrichment
It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Creating quizzes is super simple. Just click on the create quiz button and add the question and answers.
Other platforms make you click into a different section and toggle a bunch of different options. Here it takes 10 seconds flat.
As someone who adds a quiz to every single lecture, this was a breath of fresh air.
Excellent Customer Support
Teachable really does have the best support in the business—at least for email. They always got back to me within 24 hours, and the agent always knew their stuff.
I had a bunch of problems with coupon codes and affiliate links in the beginning. They solved everything for me super quickly.
I wish they had a real live chat, though. Like, if I’m paying $119 a month for your service, I better be able to talk to a real human within an hour on a chat or I’m going to be pissed.
3 Reasons I Don’t Like Teachable (And Can’t Recommend It)
I totally understand that it’s impossible to know who to trust when researching online.
When everyone is getting affiliate commissions for recommending products, they’ll hate on anything just so you choose another platform (that probably pays them more).
That’s why I’m going to break it down brick by brick and show you exactly why Teachable puts you at a massive competitive disadvantage.
Insane Transaction Fees
Teachable Payments loves transaction fees. Teachable is like the Nordic Countries of online learning platforms.
5% is outrageous. Kajabi charges 0%.
Let’s do a quick example.
Say your course is $100.
In that case, Teachable would charge 5% and Stripe would charge 2.9%. Oh, and they also keep 10% in reserve in case of chargebacks. You’ll eventually get that back, but you’ll have to wait for a billing cycle.
Now that’s 7.9% in fees ($7.90) plus a 10% chargeback ($10). So $17.90 comes out of every sale right away. Even if you get the chargeback money back, you’re still paying nearly 8% in fees.
Forget Stripe, you’ll probably pay that anywhere. Even just the 5% fee is nuts. Say you build a $100,000 business with Teachable—you’ll have to pay $5,000 of that to Teachable Payments.
That’s $5,000 you can’t invest in ads, email software, design experts, or time devoted to building a new course.
Let me put it yet another way. It costs $5,000 MORE to build a six-figure business with Teachable than it does with Kajabi.
Drops mic (picks mic back up because it cost $250 and I need to make a new course soon).
Teachable Is Only a Course Platform and Nothing Else
Sorry, but this headline is a flat-out lie. No other way to say it.
Teachable course pages look like they came with Windows 98, and the editor is super basic. I had to get a custom domain and hire a freelancer to make me a real sales page. I didn’t even use Teachable’s course pages feature.
And there’s no real email tool to speak of. Here’s what it is: You get the option to “email all students.”
I integrated MailChimp and then eventually ConvertKit, but that’s just more money and more headaches (more on this next).
How bad is this?
Well, here’s what Kartra comes with:
- Email marketing
- Paid marketing
- A real page builder
Teachable is already more expensive, and then you’ll have to pay for all of these extra tools too.
Speaking of that…
Teachable Is Not Really All-In-One
This is similar to what I mentioned above, but it deserves its own section. I think this is competitive disadvantage #1.
Teachable claims to be an all-in-one tool, but it’s 100% not.
You have to treat your online course like a real business. Just poking around in Facebook groups or relying on affiliates isn’t going to cut it. You need a legit funnel, a help center, and paid ads at minimum. Teachable has none of these tools.
That means you’re going to need AT LEAST:
- ClickFunnels: Starting from $127/mo.
- Freshdesk: Starting from $15/mo.
- SemRush: Probably hundreds of dollars at scale.
Oh, but Teachable comes with email and landing pages, right? At least you won’t have to pay for that!
They just add insult to injury. The email tool is basically like your appendix. It’s there and it looks like it’s supposed to do something—but it’s just a ticking time bomb that blows up one day. Boom, you’re dead.
I eventually needed ConvertKit (~$29/mo) and a custom landing page (~$300 including freelancer fees).
So, not only is Teachable more expensive than competitors, but you also need hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of 3rd-party tools just to build a functioning business. And that business will hang by a thread with duct tape.
See why it’s an online course disadvantage? Can you sense my anger?
Teachable Review: Key Features
Let’s check out some key Teachable features in a bit more detail so you can see how the platform works and what you’ll be capable of when building your first online course.
Teachable makes it dead easy to create courses.
Everything is right here in the dashboard and only a click away. As a not very technically inclined person, I was ecstatic when I first started making Teachable courses.
Just click Edit Lecture and choose your content type.
Once you add your video or text (or whatever floats your boat), add a description at the bottom explaining to your students what’s in the video. For example, “In this video, I walk you step-by-step through how to make the best oatmeal raisin cookies just like my grandma did.”
Here’s my favorite feature…
You don’t really need one, but they help. It basically organizes your course curriculum in an optimal way for learning and easy digestion. It’s kind of like cutting your food into small bites and eating slowly. I think that’s how digestion works. Anyways.
Still with me? Let’s cover a couple of key course features you’ll most likely be using.
Teachable allows you to drip-feed content to users. That means setting a schedule for content release, which is usually a set number of days after the user enrolls.
So, for example, if you want a new user to unlock certain content one week after enrolling (to give them enough time to digest the first batch of videos), then just set the drip feed to 7 days after enrollment.
As with all things, Teachable makes it really easy. Thanks, Teachable.
Teachable also makes adding quizzes (with as many potential answers as possible) super easy. Just add lecture content, click Quizzes, type in the questions and answers, and you’re done.
Now, your students won’t be able to advance without finishing the quiz if you don’t want them to. The only downside here is that you can only have 1 quiz per lecture. Bummer.
Here’s where things start to get ugly. Teachable offers a simple landing page builder with some pre-designed templates for a course page, checkout page, and thank you page.
But man are they “meh” at best on a good day. Check out this section from the sample template. It looks blocky, outdated, and super simple.
The good news is that if you want to edit it, the drag-and-drop editor is pretty easy to get the hang of.
But still, no page builder is going to save you from 2003-era designs. When you create online courses, the #1 way to stick out is to have a killer sales page with a great story, branding, and design.
I highly suggest you build your own website and NOT use the Teachable builder.
Teachable is nothing close to Kartra or Kajabi but does have a few helpful marketing features. Unfortunately, most are only available on the Professional plan, so it’ll cost $100+ to even access them.
Let’s cover a few ways Teachable helps you sell more online classes.
Email (Or Something Vaguely Like It)
Teachable offers a way to electronically message students. I refuse to call it email marketing, though.
Here’s how it works…
When a new student signs up for one of your Teachable courses, their email goes into your “Students” section. Now, you can send them an email with some basic markup like links and images.
That’s literally it. There are a couple of mostly useless templates like “receipt,” but again, they’re mostly useless.
Good email marketing tools have tons of design templates, sequence automation, and lead tagging—Teachable is literally just a plain text messenger.
Sure, you can use Teachable integrations and get MailChimp or ConvertKit, but you shouldn’t have to do that.
Here’s one thing that Teachable gets right. Order bumps are a great way to boost average order value by offering an “upsell” at checkout. So, if your customer orders a burger you can program Teachable to automatically ask “would you like fries with that?”
I don’t offer one, but here’s an example from their knowledge base:
Creating one is easy IF you already have a product to bump sell.
Just click that button next to Products and you’re set. The only issue is that you can only offer another course, coaching services, or a bundle as an upsell.
With other platforms, you can offer downloads (such as an eBook) or one-time consultation calls as upsells. Again, Teachable is pretty limited.
Affiliates are going to be the crux of your early-stage marketing. They’re free, they do all of the dirty work, and they don’t get any money unless they make a sale. I love it.
Affiliates are what powered me through the initial launch phase of my first course. Without them, I’d be nowhere.
Again, this is why I dislike Teachable so much as a learning management system.
Affiliates are not available on the Basic plan. You need to upgrade your Teachable account to the Professional plan. I really think there’s no point in creating a course if you aren’t going to use affiliates.
However, Teachable makes it very easy. Just give a user affiliate privileges and generate an affiliate link. Then, send the link to your affiliate and you’re good to go. Teachable then tracks everything.
Teachable features some basic analytics for Teachable users, but it’s nothing much. I will admit that seeing my smart passive income keep rising every month used to be a lot of fun.
As you can see, I don’t use Teachable anymore, so my graph is going nowhere.
Teachable gives you the basic arithmetic of your course, but no real actionable data or insights.
Don’t laugh at my course sales. I’m watching you.
Sure, you can see new signups, bumps, and revenue… but what does all of this mean? Where are the insights?
You can also dig a little deeper and see how much you’re earning in upsells by the month, but there’s not much to glean from that either.
You’re going to need to integrate with Google Analytics if you want any real insight or analysis. Have fun with the headache medicine.
Teachable Pricing: Is It Worth $119 a Month?
Let me give some overall thoughts on pricing based on my experiences with other platforms before we get into the details.
Teachable isn’t necessarily “expensive.” It costs roughly the same as Kartra. The problem is that Teachable comes with fewer features and so many more 3rd-party subscription fees.
It really doesn’t get any simpler than that. When it comes to selling courses, Teachable costs more and gives you less—and that’s a S*** sales pitch if I’ve ever heard one.
There are a few bright spots though, so let’s give it a fair shake. I hate going into nitty-gritty details that are available on the pricing page, so let me just give you some analysis based on my experience selling courses.
Teachable Pricing Pros
- All paid plans come with unlimited students and multiple courses
- 0% transaction fees on the Pro plan
- The Basic plan includes referral marketing, which is critical to growing a business
- There is a Free plan, which is huge for a new course creator
- The Pro plan comes with unlimited courses
Teachable Pricing Cons
- The Free plan is basically useless if you want to sell courses
- The Free plan still includes Teachable branding
- Massive jump up from $39/mo to $119/mo
- The Basic plan charges 5% transaction fees
- The Basic plan DOES NOT include affiliate marketing (might as well quit at that point)
- $119/mo is missing key online school features
- Many competitors offer ALL FEATURES for less than Pro costs
Teachable lures new course creators with shiny “Free” and “$39” plans, but they are fool’s gold. They look great, but once you bite into them, they crumble (who bites gold rocks, anyway?).
Say you want to start your own online course. You get the $39/mo plan and upload all your videos, create your quizzes, and start getting the word out there.
You don’t have any affiliate marketing or advanced reporting. So, growing your business probably isn’t going to happen. And transaction fees are 5% (see above rant).
Not only are you missing key features, but you’re also paying some of the highest fees of any course creation software. By then, all of your online lessons, student emails, and banking info are tied to the Teachable software. Do you know how hard it is to switch?
Long story short, Teachable is not $39/mo. It’s $119/mo if you actually want to sell courses and grow a legit online course creation business.
My blood is boiling just writing this actually. I need to go meditate for a few minutes. Be back soon.
I have no clue how Teachable became the most popular all-in-one platform for creating online courses. Don’t fall into the same trap that I did.
There are plenty of alternatives to the Teachable platform that cost less and do more. Trust me, you either sign up for one of these now or do it in 6 months when you realize that Teachable is practically useless (ask me how I know).
Kartra empowers you to do so much more than Teachable… and it costs less to build a legit business.
Imagine if Teachable came with a real email marketing tool and legit course-building features like a marketplace and landing page builder.
Now, imagine that tool also came with:
- A complete funnel builder
- Built-in lead capture forms
- Built-in videos for landing pages
- Membership sites
- Customer relationship management to tag leads
OK, now imagine that this legit online course platform costs less to get started than Teachable.
That’s Kartra. I recommend everyone to start here. It has everything you need to build an online courses and coaching business under one subscription. And the entry-level plan ($99/mo) includes everything—no features are excluded.
So, you can build and grow your course without needing a single extra subscription.
You can build legit landing pages, embed pop-up videos on the page, link those pages to ads, capture leads and tag them in your CRM, and use the email marketing tool to sell, upsell, and cross-sell for the rest of eternity—all from one dashboard.
I honestly don’t know how Teachable is still in business.
If you want to maximize sales and provide great support all while reducing costs and headaches, Kartra is the platform for you.
Kajabi is a powerhouse digital products and community builder with more features than any other platform. Whereas Teachable and Kartra help you build and sell courses, Kajabi takes it a step further with features like:
- Complex membership sites
- Full websites
- In-depth analytics
- A mobile app
With Kajabi, you can build a course, create a podcast, and manage a thriving community with user chats, badges, and groups. And that gives you so many more potential avenues to monetize like private groups, webinars, and masterminds.
It’s definitely not cheap, but it’s the absolute best at what it does. I use Kajabi now, and I swear by it.
Thinkific – The Cheap Alternative
Thinkific is a cheap and easy way to create and sell online courses. If you’re absolutely strapped for cash, it’s a good way to get your feet wet.
I never recommend taking the cheap way out, but Thinkific’s free plan is rock solid. If I were you, I’d take Thinkific for a test drive and see how your course looks and feels before paying for a tool like Kartra or Kajabi.
Courses are just like any business—you want to “beta test” things first. Put your material out there, get feedback, iterate, and refine it until it’s good. That’s how you succeed.
With Thinkific, you can host your course, community, or coaching services 100% free until they’re perfect…then migrate away (evil laughter).
Teachable Review: Final Verdict
I think the conclusion of this Teachable review is pretty clear:
I recommend every online course creator NOT USE the Teachable platform.
It’s missing way too many features and the cost-to-value ratio just isn’t there. Think about it this way:
If your competitors are using Kartra or Kajabi, they’ll have more marketing avenues, better courses, more money to invest in ads/personnel, and legit business features like help desks, funnels, memberships, and communities.
You’ll be stuck duct taping 5 different tools together and spending $500 a month on random tools that your competitors are getting with their subscriptions.
Teachable costs $119 a month, and that DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Legit email marketing
- A real landing page builder with legit templates
- Customer support
- CRM (huge for advanced online course creators)
- A marketplace for pages, templates, funnels, and trained experts
So, even though there are plenty of good features, I truly feel like Teachable puts you at a competitive disadvantage, especially considering it’s missing so many good next-level marketing features.
You have 2 choices:
- Subscribe to Teachable, pay for 5 other tools, duct tape it all together, and grow slowly OR
- Get a legit all-in-one tool that includes email, blogging, communities, CRM, funnels, and customer support that empowers you to grow fast and save money
It’s not me hating on Teachable. It’s just facts.
Teachable Review F.A.Q.
Q: Is Teachable legit?
A: Yes, Teachable is legit. It’s one of the most popular platforms to create and sell courses, and it offers a lot of very helpful online learning features. You can even create more than one course and bundle them together for more sales. The problem is that Teachable is a very limited learning management system. Aside from video course material, course completion certificates, and quizzes, there are no advanced features. On the flip side, that means there’s a shorter learning curve to making great course content.
Q: Is teaching on Teachable worth it?
A: No, teaching on Teachable is not worth it. If you want to create and sell online free courses or paid courses, you need a platform with more features. Teachable costs more than $100 a month but doesn’t offer key features in its professional and business plans. And Teachable payments take a 5% cut of every transaction. So, while Teachable offers decent online course creation, it’s not the best place for your online school, especially if you can’t afford the Professional plan.
Q: Is Udemy better than Teachable?
A: It’s hard to say whether Udemy is better than Teachable for your online school. Udemy is definitely cheaper and easier, but Teachable offers a lot more features for your online school and also has a better reputation. Plus, Teachable integrations include helpful tools like MailChimp, Google Analytics, and more. They even offer course completion certificates for your course content.
Q: Is Teachable reputable?
A: Yes, Teachable is reputable. It’s one of the best places to make free courses or paid courses. They even have a free plan so you can test it out. Also, all of the paid plans offer unlimited students, so they aren’t trying to gouge money from you. Many Teachable reviews claim it’s the best place to build your own online school. Online business owners typically choose Teachable, Kartra, or Kajabi for their training courses. And Teachable U is a vast knowledge base that teaches you how to use the platform. Student feedback is mostly pristine. So, yes. It’s reputable.
Q: What comes with Teachable’s Free plan?
A: Teachable’s free plan includes 1 free course, referral marketing, 1 digital download, and 1 coaching package. It’s enough to test the platform out, but it’s missing key features like completion certificates, affiliates, and advanced customizations.
Q: Is Teachable mobile-friendly?
A: Yes, Teachable is mobile-friendly. You just need to download the iOS app and make sure you add mobile-friendly images to your course.