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Thinkific Review: 100% FREE and $0 Transaction Fees?

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thinkific review - is it worth the money

Thinkific Review: 100% FREE and $0 Transaction Fees?

Home / Learning / Thinkific Review: 100% FREE and $0 Transaction Fees?
thinkific review - is it worth the money
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Welcome to my complete Thinkific review for 2022. I am PUMPED to review the online course platform that helped launch it all for me.

Unlike pretty much every other Thinkific review out there, I’ve actually:

  • Used Thinkific to build a success online course
  • Used Thinkific competitors like Teachable and Kartra
  • Helped others build their online courses on Thinkific
  • Spent countless hours tinkering with the landing page builder, building quizzes, and running a community

I’m uniquely qualified to show you exactly what Thinkific excels at, and where competitors are considerably better. 

LOOK

You have to do a ton of research before choosing a home for your online course. If you don’t, you’ll overpay, miss out on key high-value features, and enrage your students when migrating – if you even can (it's not fun nor simple).

So sit back, relax, and get ready for this beast of a review.

In it, I’ll cover Thinkific’s top features, pros and cons, pricing, and my personal experience after building my online courses with it.

Ready?

Let’s go!

Actually Wait… Here’s How I Found My Way to Thinkific in the First Place 

I’ll never forget my first course sale ever.

Black Friday, 2017. 

After 8 months of hell, my course was live. I’d just spent the past 8 months:

  • Planning the overall structure
  • Planning and scripting every slide
  • Recording and editing 60 videos
  • Plotting my escape to the Alaskan wilderness to live out my final years in a barren hellscape
  • Pushing it out for free to big names for feedback

I remember refreshing my email every 10 seconds.

Then…. it happened. 

$297!

I was euphoric – popping bottles, messaging friends, screenshotting the email for my IG story. It felt more like $297 million than $297

There’s nothing like that “YESSSSSS!!! CLAP, SLAM FIST, WOOHOOOO!!!!!moment you get after pouring your heart and soul into something and seeing your first sale.

I was riding high… until I checked my bank the next day.

$257

Math isn’t my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure 297 and 257 are not the same number (just checked with a friend of mine… he confirmed).

So I contacted Teachable (my former course creation tool) and told them about their accounting error.

No sir, we take processing fees and we hold a percentage of your payment in reserve in case of chargebacks”

So I said “let me get this straight. I pay $139/month AND you take a percentage”?

Yes, sir. Exactly. We charge subscription fees and processing fees for payments”

Which brings me to this Thinkific review…

Switching to Thinkific as a course platform was a lifesaver. I started paying HALF the price for the same features, and paying $0 in fees.

My monthly payment DROPPED by $60, and my fees per sale dropped to $0.

Moral of the story – do your research, and don’t get ripped off by bigger platforms charging tons of money for literally nothing.

Quick Verdict – Is Thinkific the Best Platform for My Course?

I’d say… probably yes

Thinkific is a great platform for solopreneurs, first-time creators, new business owners, mini-courses, and creators on a budget. 

I don’t recommend it for more advanced, expensive courses that need CRM, customer support, and conversion rate optimization features like upsells and cross sells. But as long as you aren’t currently building a $5,000 masterclass, you’ll be fine.

Thinkific offers everything you need to plan, create, host, and market a course at a fraction of competitors like Teachable or Kajabi. Including:

  • Course templates
  • Video hosting
  • Custom domains
  • Unlimited students
  • Affiliates
  • Coupons
  • Landing pages
  • Course branding

And it all comes either FREE or stupidly cheap with ZERO TRANSACTIONS FEES

Theoretically, you could create your curriculum, host it, accept payments, and do minor marketing all for free. You don’t get that anywhere but Thinkific.

If you want a simple, affordable platform for creating online courses, Thinkific is your best option. If you want an all-in-one course creator with marketing, CRM, and customer support, Thinkific is not for you.

Thinkific Pros and Cons

STOP!

I have a confession to make.

I no longer have a Thinkific course. Mine grew to the point that I needed an all-in-one marketing system.

But that’s actually a good thing for you – I have unique insight you probably can’t get elsewhere having used Teachable, Thinkific, and now, Kartra.

So let me walk you through the pros and cons compared to other platforms.

Thinkific Pros

Thinkific’s Free Plan Is One-of-a-Kind

Nowhere else on Planet Internet can you build a course, host it, and accept payments 100% for FREE.

I remember contacting support and asking “wait, is this for real?”.

It’s the perfect way to test drive the industry without investing hundreds of dollars up front.

My advice is to start small, build your Thinkific course, get a feel for creating pages, branding, and running your school (quizzes, certifications, etc.), and then upgrade when you’ve got the juice to step up a level.

You eventually will need to upgrade, though. There are a few strings attached to the free plan that make it untenable long-term (I’ll cover them all later).

Zero Transaction Fees and No Commission

Imagine keeping every penny you earn on every sale. No fees, no commissions, no nothing.

Unlike some competitors that shall not be named (TEACHABLE!), Thinkific doesn’t bludgeon you to death with processing fees. If you charge $297, you keep $297.

The Scandinavian Welfare system has nothing on Teachable. And their transaction fees don’t come with free healthcare or maternity leave.

So not only do they have the cheapest plans out there, they don’t take a cut of your sales. Making a Thinkific course puts the maximum amount of money in your pocket.

Voice Over PowerPoint Tool

Thinkific makes it faster and easier to create simple online courses than other tools.

When I made my first one, I had to record audio and video separately, then combine, edit, and upload into Teachable (hence Alaskan wilderness plan).

Thinkific lets you do it right inside the platform. So you can go from a PowerPoint presentation to a full course with 0 extra technology.

Huge time and headache saver there. Why didn’t I know about this 4 years ago?

Literally Anyone Can Build a Good Landing Page

Thinkific’s page builder is good enough to make a solid sales page

Thinkific’s page builder is good enough to make a solid sales page, but simple enough so that anyone can use it with no coding experience in HTML and CSS.

Just choose a template, pick a color scheme, and fill in the text where prompted. That’s really it. Now you can sell online easily.

Thinkific’s page builder

You can add extra sections if you want, like an additional call to action or pricing options.

Going from Teachable’s page builder to Thinkific’s is like going from drawing stick figures to making real art.

It’s nothing special, and eventually you should pay for a professionally designed sale page, but it’s great for getting a solid landing page live with all your deals.

Let me put it this way – Thinkific’s landing page editor can build you something that actually drives sales. Teachable’s is nothing but a world of pain.

Awesome Support (Email, Phone, Facebook)

Unlike pretty much every other platform, Thinkific offers phone support.

Between their Facebook group, OKish email support, and phone support, there’s pretty much always a fast solution to any problem you might have.

They actually won a Silver Stevie Award for customer service. Normally, I’m not one for business awards, since they’re usually meaningless. But Stevies are really competitive and they don’t just hand them out to everyone.

If you can’t get an answer to a question, just pick up the phone and ask. Huge value point here for me.

Rich Lessons. Economy Pricing

For such a cheap platform, Thinkific provides a hell of a lot. 

I remember expecting to sacrifice a lot of functionality to save money. Then, I logged in and was like “oh, Thinkific offers a lot more than I thought. Why didn’t I switch a year ago?”.

For example, you can integrate live lessons directly into Thinkific via YouTube or host a lesson live with Zoom. That way, you can have the perfect blended learning experience. 

My students love my weekly Q&A sessions. Remember, when you sell courses, it’s all about value points. The more value you offer students beyond your content, the more you can charge. Thinkific makes it super easy to deliver beyond their expectations with surveys, presentations, exams, live lessons, and even Brillium advanced testing.

Thinkific Cons

Let me preface this section by saying that Thinkific is a great platform for creating videos and hosting them. Thinkific provides online learning resources. Anything beyond that is not in the bag. Email, inbound marketing, CRM, social media, other marketing tools etc…not going to be able to do it. 

Not gonna do it as Thinkific does.png

Pretty much all the cons of the learning platform spawn from that family tree.

You’ll Need Plugins to Scale

If you’re serious about growing your course into your main online income stream, you’ll need a lot of plugins. At the very least you’ll need MailChimp, Google Analytics, and some social media plugins.

Not the end of the world, but managing multiple plugins complicates things a bit.

The real drawback here is paying extra subscription fees for tools like SalesForce (CRM) and AWeber (email marketing). These can add hundreds of dollars per month in fees. The good news is you won’t need them until you’re making dozens of sales or more per month, so you’ll have plenty of money by then. Until then, you can get by with a free email tool and managing things in your email.

No Sales Funnel Builder

With Thinkific, you can make a course, build landing pages, run promos, and all of that fun stuff, but there’s no way to tie it all together and start bringing leads.

What I mean is your academy just kind of sits there until you use a tool like ClickFunnels or LeadPages to build a sales funnel to bring in leads.

In case you haven’t heard of a sales funnel before, it’s basically just a system for bringing in interested customers by putting them through a series of steps that eventually leads to your sales page. 

You could give them a free downloadable PDF related to your niche, then send them a free webinar in their email. After the webinar, you could offer a one-time discount and link to your page.

Eventually, you’ll need one if you're serious about scaling. If you choose Thinkific to sell courses, that means you’re also choosing to integrate a 3rd-party sales funnel builder (again, way down the line). Don’t worry, there are plenty of cheap options.

Too Much Zapier

Zapier is a service that lets you connect apps that are not native to the platform you’re using. 

For example, if Thinkific doesn’t integrate with a sales funnel builder, you can connect with Zapier, and then connect with the funnel builder through Zapier. It’s kind of like when your US adapter doesn’t work in Europe, so you buy a crummy nine Euro adapter and connect to the power through that. That adapter would be Zapier.

Thinkific isn’t exactly the United Nations when it comes to integrations, if you catch my drift. It’s missing a lot.

If you really want to scale, you’ll have to run a lot of integrations through Zapier (like ClickFunnels I mentioned before). This just creates extra subscription fees and steps in the process.

Not the end of the world, but a bit annoying.

Thinkific Pricing: Is it Worth the Money?

Thinkific's Pricing Plans

Thinkific’s main USP is its pricing. It’s online learning at a massive discount. Most Thinkific reviews fail to drive home just how amazing the value is.

Every online course platform out there charges at least ~$100 per month to get in the online learning game. 

Not Thinkific. You don’t even need one of the paid plans.

Their main goal is to give new coaches, consultants, course creators, and entrepreneurs an affordable, no-BS way to get their foot in the door. It gives you everything you need to go live at a fraction of its competitors. 

Even its Basic plan is up to 3x cheaper than rivals like Kajabi. And its Pro Plan (sometimes called Pro Growth) costs less than Kartra’s 

Let me break down the 4 pricing plans in more detail:

NOTE: Pricing is reflected (MONTHLY/ANNUALLY)

Free

The only legit free plan in town. Everything you need to get up and running for nothing.

The Free plan comes with:

  • 1 course
  • Unlimited students
  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Payment processing
  • Templates
  • Email and phone support

There’s no reason NOT to try it out. It’s FREE.

NOTE: The free plan lacks key features like a branded domain, affiliates, and the app store. You can get started for $0, but you’ll eventually need to upgrade.

Basic ($49/$39)

Basic is perfect for new consultants, coaches, and course creators. You could run your business entirely on this plan and never need to upgrade. Not bad for $49 per month.

Unless you plan to build a fully interactive online academy with certifications, communities, and live lessons, this plan is plenty to run your business with.

It comes with everything in Free, plus must-haves like:

  • Affiliates and coupons
  • Live chat
  • A custom domain
  • Integrations
  • Unlimited courses and content
  • Access to Thinkific Basic Academy

Pro ($99/$79)

I highly recommend Pro Growth if you want to build high-priced online courses that students love. If your plan is to make serious income from your course and build a legit business, you’ll need at least Pro.

Here’s why:

Pro includes rich content features that take your courses to the next level like:

  • Live lessons and webinars
  • Extra curricular assignments
  • Student communities
  • Subscriptions and flex pricing
  • An extra admin account

Why is this a big deal?

Because these are all ways to justify charging big bucks for courses. Nobody is going to pay thousands of dollars for a series of static videos. You need to build a real “academy” and community for that to happen. And the more money you charge the more payment options you need to offer. Why do you think $5,000guru” courses always allow payment installments?

Premier ($499/$399)

This is online education at an astronomical scale. If you’re dead set on building a real eLearning business that takes over the web, Premier is for you.

Key upgrades include:

  • 15 admins
  • Groups (for assigning and reporting)
  • Brillium exams (super genius stuff I’ve never used)
  • API access (customize everything in any way)
  • Unlimited communities

I never used Premier. And honestly, I can’t justify spending $499 per month on something that doesn’t have CRM, email, or inbound marketing tools. I’m not planning on making unlimited courses in my life. And I don’t care if it allows you to build communities for your online courses – I’m out.

If anyone out there has used it, holler at me. I really want to know what it’s like.

NOTE – Thinkific has two add on packages

If you want to power up your course, you add either of these packages for extra oomph.

Growth (Pro Plan Add-On)

Pro Growth powers up the Pro plan:

  • Groups
  • Removing Thinkific branding
  • Communities
  • Public API
  • Bulk emails
  • Extra integrations

Thinkific Plus

Online companies with a high volume of students can get Thinkific Plus and gain access to:

  • Employee training
  • Customer success team
  • Single sign on (SSO)
  • Custom migration
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Enterprise API access

You have to contact the sales team for custom pricing.

Thinkific Features Breakdown

Thinkific is the Manny Pacquiao of course platforms…

 It’s pound-for-pound the most robust platform for online courses in the business.

I’m going to cover the most important features here in detail with screenshots along with my personal experience with each one. That way, you’ll know what you’re getting into before you sign up.

Course Creation

Thinkific's Course Creation

Thinkific’s course builder strikes the ideal balance between “wow, this is easy” and “wow, this does a lot!”. You don’t need to know HTML and css in the slightest.

It’s simple, clean course builder is so easy that anyone can use it after a basic tutorial. But it’s powerful enough that you can make a flagship course with rich lessons featuring audio, video, downloads, and live streaming.

Thinkific's Course Templates

Once you click New Course, choose a template or go blank if you’re feeling dangerous. 

I highly recommend sticking with a template, since they’re pre-built based on already successful course models. It’s way better than flying blind.

Now that you’ve got your template, you’ve got to add lessons:

How to add lesson to Thinkific's Course?

Notice how clean and simple the interface is? Nothing getting in the way, no distractions, no extra steps. Just “these are the lesson types – click one”. Building courses doesn’t get much easier.

Also, notice how many different lesson types there are?:

  • Video
  • Text
  • Live (beta)
  • Survey
  • Multimedia
  • Quiz
  • PDF
  • Audio
  • Download
  • Assignment
  • Presentation
  • Brillium

That’s a lot more than other competitors I won’t keep naming and shaming (HINT: it’s Teachable).

Thinkific Drip Content

Thinkific's Drip Content

Thinkific lets you spoon feed students in your courses one lesson at a time to pace their learning. Say you want to limit students to 2 chapters per week or to block off certain lessons before a certain time, just choose to drip feed it based on student enrollment date, course start date, or on a specific calendar date.

From there, you can add extra course progress settings. For example:

  • Autoplay and autoprogress
  • Video percentage completion (a lesson is marked complete only when a student completes a certain percentage of the video)
  • Completion certificate
  • Custom completion page (congratulate your student for finishing the job)

Course Templates

Thinkific templates shortcut the course creation process, helping you finish your course in a fraction of the time. 

Instead of spending days building the structure yourself, you use a simple, pre-defined structure based on decades of educational research, and plug your lessons in where Thinkific tells you. 

Here’s why that’s important:

The human brain is hardwired to learn in a specific way. If you don’t follow it, your course won’t flow properly. And your students won’t have the right knowledge to advance to the next material or know how to compartmentalize the info you’re teaching them.

Ask me how I know.

My first SEO course was basically “here’s 50 SEO tips”. Everyone hated it. 

Students need goals, they need to know how to use your course, and they need to learn foundational information before moving on to higher level concepts. If not, they’ll finish the course and think “what the hell was all that?”.

Basically, what I’m saying is your course needs to have the right structure and flow, or everyone will hate it and you’ll have to DELETE IT AFTER 5 MONTHS OF WORK AND START ALL OVER AGAIN.

Here’s an example of the mini-course template:

 An example of Thinkific's mini-course template

See how it gives you the logical structure right from the get go, so you don’t have to learn it as you go along (OR DELETE ALL YOUR WORK)?

Thinkific's course template gives you the logical structure right from the get go

Following these templates drastically reduces decision fatigue and anxiety. The entire time making my first course I was stressing over how to structure each module. Follow the template. Trust me.

Thinkific Landing Page Builder

Thinkific's Landing Page Builder

Thinkific’s landing page builder makes it dead simple to create a functional sales page.

It’s one of the few page builders that actually lets you design a professional-looking sales page easily rather than the slop offered by most other teaching sites. It’s nice not having to host a page on WordPress and get a pro to make the sales page design for you.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Thinkific's Block Editing Feature

It uses everyone’s favorite style: block editing.

It’s not ideal, but this is the easiest way to do it. And since this is aimed at beginners, I can’t complain.

You can add sections like:

  • Text and media
  • Social proof
  • Images
  • Video
  • Banner
  • CTA
  • Curriculum preview

And rearrange them however you’d like. After that, you just edit the color scheme and add text/images.

I highly recommend you use a theme, though. I have 0 design skills. I still draw stick figures and my handwriting is less legible than your doctor’s.

And you don’t even have to make one from scratch. Oh, yeah. That’s right. You know what’s coming.

THEMES.

Thinkific Landing Page Themes

Thinkific's Landing Page Themes

Themes are just pre-designed templates based on conversion science. They come with predefined sections and color schemes. All you have to do is change the images and text, and you’re all set.

Why spend hours building something from scratch when it’s literally 90% done already?

You can just take someone else’s successful landing page, enter your own text, and have a perfect course landing page in no time. I set my first one up in 20 minutes.

So, not only are the templates basically ready to go, if you need to change anything, the block editor is super easy to get the hang of. 

Quick Tip – How to write a course sales page

It’s all about your STORY. What drove you to make this course? Who are you? What problems did you encounter and how does this course solve them? What makes you qualified anyway?

Then move on to DESIRE. Show the reader in bullet points what their life will be like after this course.

Marketing and Sales Features

Thinkific's Marketing and Sales Features

I’m a marketing junkie, so this is my first major gripe with Thinkific. Native marketing features are almost non-existent.

Kartra has email marketing. Kajabi has blogging. Thinkific has…

Pretty much nothing. At least not built directly into the tool. 

There are plenty of integrations to make up for what Thinkific lacks, though.

My stack was:

  • Mailchimp (email marketing)
  • Salesforce (CRM)
  • Google Analytics (analytics)
  • Zapier (literally everything else)

You won’t have to go door-to-door peddling courses in suburbia, but you don’t have much to work with here. Here’s what you do have though:

  • Affiliates: The #1 way to build a course. I made a year’s salary in 6 months selling courses, and guess how much work I did marketing? 0. Find influential people, give them a cut, and let them work their magic.
  • Facebook Pixel: A great way to track Facebook ad performance. When running Facebook ads (you’ll need an integration), Pixel gives you actionable insight into ad performance, page views, purchases, and other valuable metrics.
  • Coupons: Self explanatory here. Make a coupon/discount code, and use them when running promos. They enter the code and get a certain dollar amount or percentage off.
  • Payment Plans: It’s a lot easier to pay $50/month for 6 months than $300 at once.
  • Bundles And Upsells: My personal favorite. Thinkific even allows you to offer non-course upsells like consulting packages or training. 

Thinkific Security

Thinkific's Security

I never once had a problem with Thinkific. They’re on top of their security game.

In terms of web courses, there are two types of security you need to think about: The platform and your content in particular.

Let’s look at both individually.

The Platform

Your site is automatically secured with an SSL certificate that secures data – credit card number, passwords, personal info, etc. – at all times. 

As long as you have an SSL, your site is basically Fort Knox. No one – not the KGB, Russian hackers, dark web spies – can see.

Thinkific's Security- The Platform

And Thinkific uses Amazon Web Services to host their platform in the cloud. If the 2nd richest man in the world can’t keep your course safe, no one can.

Your Content

There’s nothing you can do about students sharing content. It’s just the price of doing business. 

However, you can disable copy and pasting so it’s a lot harder. You can also disable downloading PDFs if you really want to make life tough.

I don’t recommend it though. I find that most people do pay, and sharing your course content at least builds your brand. You might even get more sales out of it down the line. 

Student Support

Thinkific's Student Support

Thinkific’s student support is excellent.

Supporting students within your course through quizzes, progress reports, certificates, and regular reminders is the best way to increase engagement. And greater engagement has shown to increase positive reviews, course sales, and upsells.

Thinkific does a solid job of providing you enough options to keep a student engaged, but not so much that they’re overwhelmed.

Another cool thing about engaging tasks: They make the course feel more valuable and educational. If students are taking quizzes after every video, they’ll feel like they’re accomplishing more goals, learning more valuable tips, and taking a “serious” course.

Thinkific provides a few types of support:

  • Student quizzes
  • Completion certificates
  • Progress reports
  • Teacher activity feed (see what students are up to)
  • Automated email notifications
  • On-lesson discussions

TIP: short 1-3 question quizzes after each key video increase the perceived value of your course exponentially. And it shows that you care.

All in all, A+ on the support side here.

Thinkific Advanced Features

Thinkific has some 22nd-Century features for courses when you’re ready to kick into overdrive. That’s the cool thing about this platform – it’s so cheap and simple that anyone can use it, but if you’re a super genius with complex plans for world domination, you can do that too.

Here are just a few:

High-Level Integrations

Subscribers to the Growth pack and above gain access to:

  • Keap (formlery Infusionsoft) for sales and marketing
  • ActiveCampaign for email automation
  • Zapier actions (enroll students in courses based on Zapier behavior)

Brillium Exams

Brillium software takes your tests to the next level by giving you access to advanced question types and powerful reporting.

Questions include multiple choice, ranking, matching, agree/disagree, and essays. You can then take the grades and student data, and further improve your course. For example, if you notice students are all getting certain types of questions wrong, or all of their essays are missing the point, you know you screwed up your course and need to fix things.

You also now know where their companies might need some consulting help. Wink, wink.

Student Communities

Imagine a place outside of your course where students could hang out, discuss materials, and give feedback to you and each other. Think of it like a Facebook group, except Mark Zuckerburg isn’t spying on everything you say. 

Communities are an excellent way to connect with your students, foster trust, improve education, and build a brand students love.

Most people use communities to add extra value to their course, but I always used mine as a higher-tiered offering. My SEO community was always an upsell after the original course. Like my course? How about being in my personal group where I answer your questions for an hour every day? 

API

Thinkific’s API allows developers to access Thinkific’s code and extend it however they want.

I’ve never done this personally, but be my guest!

Pros

  • Best support in the business
  • Unbeatable Free plan
  • Unrivaled content enrichment options
  • Super simple
  • Great plug-and-play templates
  • Student communities

Cons

  • Lots of integrations needed
  • Few marketing features
  • Lower tier plans very limited

Verdict: Is Thinkific the Best Course Platform for Your Next Course?

To conclude this Thinkific review: yes, I think so.

Thinkific is definitely my top choice for starting your next online course if:

  • This is your first online course
  • You plan to start small and scale gradually
  • You’re on a budget
  • You plan to use quizzes and rich exams within your online course
  • You have basic experience in email marketing

Thinkific is an affordable, simple, and powerful course platform with excellent course enrichment features like communities, student groups, Brillium exams, and quizzes. 

It has everything you need to create and host an online course, accept payments, design a landing page, perform basic marketing, and enrich your content all in one place. And it all comes cheaper than any competitor with NO TRANSACTION FEES.

If you need more advanced sales features, you’ll need an all-in-one platform, and if you want inbound marketing, CRM, and advanced analytics, you’ll have to make a big step up in price.

But when it comes to the mixture of price, simplicity, and content options, there’s Thinkfic and then there’s the rest. And with the 100% FREE plan, you have nothing to lose. Give it a try and see for yourself. It won’t cost you anything but time.

If you want more powerful marketing and management features, check out these Thinkific alternatives.

Alternatives to Thinkific

1. Kartra – Cheap, All-In-One Solution (Starting From $99/month)

Kartra is Thinkific's Alternative

Kartra is the only true all-in-one platform for courses on the web. It does almost everything Thinkific does PLUS:

  • Email marketing
  • CRM
  • Customer support
  • Sales funnels

And it comes with Kartra Marketplace, a forum to sell your course, buy others, and hire help. 

I love keeping all of my services under one roof. 0 integrations or extra subscriptions needed. 

You can manage leads, build pages, onboard affiliates, build advanced sales funnels, hire out help desk support, and run analytics on your course all from one place without ever using a plugin.

The downsides to that are it’s more expensive, the learning curve is higher, and you don’t have as many rich content options like Brillium exams and student communities.

NOTE: No communities is a bummer, but I just have a free Facebook group for students. It’s pretty much the same.

Make sure to also check out our full Kartra review.

2. Kajabi – The Ultimate Course Creator (Starting From $119/month)

Kajabi

Kajabi is basically Kartra plus Thinkific combined – and it’s priced that way. 

Kajabi is the final boss of online course platforms, complete with rich quizzes, discussions on lectures, a blogging platform, and lecture-level automations (EX: sending an email upon completion).

On the business side it has:

  • Complex sales funnels
  • Email marketing
  • Advanced SEO for your site
  • 1-click upsells
  • Payment plans
  • Course insights

However, it is expensive, and it’s pretty tough to use. The UX doesn’t compare to Kartra. Not even close. Kartra is so much easier, and all the features work seamlessly. Kajabi is bulky, wonky, and slow.

3. Systeme.IO – Simple and Cheap (Starting From Free)

Systeme.IO

If for some reason my 4,000 pro-Thinkific tirade hasn’t convinced you, AND you don’t like Kartra or Kajabi, then you might like System.io. It’s another super simple, all-in-one platform like Thinkific that also has a blogging feature.

The one key selling point is that it has a super cheap $27 per month plan that includes sales funnels, blogs, 5,000 contacts, and even A/B testing.

If Thinkific’s Free plan isn’t enough, but you don’t feel like paying extra money, check out Systeme.IO. There’s really nothing special about it though.

Thinkific F.A.Q

Q: Is Thinkific really free?

A: Yes, Thinkific is really 100% free. Thinkific allows you to build, host, and sell online courses, and offers different payment options all totally free. Tools like its drag and drop editor and templates come included in the free plan. However, Thinkific offers paid plans in its online course platform that include a custom domain, greater marketing features, rich content, and the ability to create multiple websites.

Q: Is Thinkific safe?

A: Yes, Thinkific is perhaps the safest learning management system for online courses on the market. Every Thinkific course is protected by an SSL certificate, and the course creation platform uses Amazon Web Services to host their services in the cloud.

Q: Does Thinkific take a cut?

A: No, Thinkific does not take a cut. It is the only online course platform I know that doesn’t charge any transaction fees.

Q: What can Thinkific do?

A: Thinkific can do just about whatever other course creation platforms can do, with a few exceptions. You can build a website with their drag and drop editor, create landing pages from templates, create videos and quizzes for better student engagement, and it’s even an interactive learning platform with on-lecture discussions and live lessons. It’s also one of the most user-friendly learning management systems on the market.

Q: How popular is Thinkific?

A: Thinkific is extremely popular, with over 16 million students in 164 countries using the learning management system as we speak. As far as online courses go, it’s nearly as popular as competitors like Teachable and Kartra. Thinkific pricing is extremely competitive, and very affordable – that’s what draws people to the software.