SOFTWARE REVIEWS

Best Online Course Platforms

Just a few years ago, the online learning market was worth $107 billion worldwide, and that figure is predicted to reach $325 billion by 2025.

As the popularity of eLearning has been growing, many software companies have been providing platforms for hosting online courses.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best online course platforms that are currently available for individuals and businesses looking to host their courses online.

Table Of Contents

What is the best online course platforms?

1. Teachable

Teachable is one of the most popular online course platforms among course creators, and for good reasons.

The software is endorsed by some big names in the online marketing space, such as Pat Flynn.

The software is easy to set up and use while offering a lot of customizations. So, it ideal for course creators who don’t have any tech background.

Key features

  • You can offer multimedia lectures with videos, images, texts, audios, and PDF files.
  • The platform is user friendly with its drag-and-drop builder.
  • Students can easily access your course from desktop, tablets, and smartphones.
  • The software allows advanced customizations in its power editor.
  • You can host the course under your domain name.
  • You are able to change the language used in your site for international audiences.
  • It comes with features to engage your students, such as quizzes, course completion certificates, and course compliance.

What is good

  • It is easy to change the look of your course the way you want without coding knowledge.
  • Not too expensive compared to some of their competitors.
  • There’s no extra fee for more users or sales.
  • Fast loading time.

What they can improve

  • Landing page customization can be a little counterintuitive for some.
  • Features to create a membership community.
  • Provide better reporting metrics for a monthly subscription.
  • You have to contact their support team if you want to delete your account.

Pricing plan

They have four plans available, which include free, basic, professional, and business.

Free plan: You do not have to pay anything to host free courses. You do, however, need to pay a dollar and 10% for each sale when you sell your paid course with the free plan. You also get paid monthly instead of receiving an instant payout, which is another drawback.

Basic plan: The basic plan costs $39 a month, and you only need to pay 5% for each sale of the course. You still only get paid monthly, just like the free plan.

Pro plan: You have to pay $119 a month for the pro plan. With this plan, you no longer have to pay any fee for the sales you make on your paid courses. You also get instant payouts.

Business plan: The business plan will cost $299 a month. It offers all the perks of the previous memberships and includes features such as advanced reports and group coaching calls.

All of Teachable’s plans have the same processing fees, as listed below.

US Sales is 2.9% plus 30 cents.

International credit and debit card sales is 3.9% plus 30 cents.

International paypal sales are 4.4% plus 30 cents.

Chargeback fees are $15.

Get started with their free plan and see if it fits your needs.

2. Thinkific

Thinkific boasts over $200 million revenue earned on its platform with more than 20 years of experience in the industry.

The platform offers intuitive tools to build and market your course.

Key features

  • Easy customization.
  • No coding required as you can do everything drag and drop style.
  • Allows you to offer multimedia course contents via video, text, downloads, quizzes, survey, discussions, and more.
  • You can host 100% of your video content for free on the platform.
  • It allows you to link your website with the platform easily.

What is good

  • There is a place to upload documents in the discussion section, which comes in handy when teaching courses.
  • No transaction fee charged.
  • Fast customer service
  • You need zero technical skills to use the platform effectively.
  • It integrates with other apps through Zapier.
  • The software allows you to collect payments from customers directly.
  • No Hidden costs.

What they can improve

  • If you are willing to spend money, you can find a few other online course platforms that offer more features.
  • More customization for the landing page would be ideal.
  • The platform could improve their layout to be more modern.

Pricing plan

Free plan: You can try Thinkific for free before you go with the paid plan. With the free plan, you can design up to 3 courses. You also get access to quizzes, surveys, and instant access to your funds.

Basic plan: You will need to pay $39 a month for the basic plan. It offers unlimited course creation and comes with more advanced features, such as scheduling of your content, coupon creation, affiliate reporting, emails to students, and more.

Pro Plan: The plan costs $79 a month. It includes all of the features from the previous two memberships as well as two site admin accounts, five admins for your course, private and hidden course features, and more.

Premier Plan: This is the most premium plan offered by Thinkific, and it costs $399 a month. The membership comes with every feature including, up to 15 group analysts and 50 admins for your course.

I suggest you start with Thinkific’s free plan to see if you like the software.

3. Kajabi

You can host everything on Kajabi, including your website, products, and community, although I would highly advise you stick to WordPress for your brand website.

Nonetheless, it’s certainly nice to have those capabilities all in one place.

You can also easily customize the pricing, delivery, and packaging of your course with Kajabi.

The software offers in-depth analytics of users with features, such as user forecasting, and customer progress tracking.

Key features

  • It’s an all-in-one solution for course creators.
  • It comes with in-depth analytics to help you make a data-driven decision.
  • You get customizable emails.
  • The software gives you the ability to categorize people based on their behavior to supercharge your marketing.
  • You get access to community features.

What is good

  • The platform offers all the features you need to start your online course business. It means you can potentially save a lot of money if you don’t yet have enough funds to pay for other software.
  • It is intuitive and easy to use for non-techies.
  • It’s easy to create landing pages and integrate them into your existing site.
  • You can access helpful tutorials and videos to guide you through any technical difficulties.
  • The platform allows you to use your custom domain.
  • You can cancel your account from the dashboard, so there is no need to contact the support team to cancel your subscription.

What they can improve

  • The price point for their higher-priced plan can be a little steep if you are just using the platform to host your online course, and you are tight on budget.
  • Email automation is limited compared to other top-notch email service software.
  • Adding gamification features such as scoring and trophies to the software would help engage students more.
  • The platform only integrates with PayPal and Stripe, which can be limiting if most of your customers are international.
  • The software doesn’t allow students to download course content offline when using a mobile app.

Pricing plan

Basic plan: The plan will cost you $149 a month, and you can create up to 3 digital products with this plan.

Growth plan: You will pay $199 a month, and you can create up to 15 digital products.

Pro plan: The plan will cost you $399 a month, and you can create up to 100 digital products.

All of Kajabi’s plans include unlimited landing pages and marketing emails, although 24/7 chat support is only available for the growth and pro plan.

Kajabi offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there is no reason for you not to try.

4. Podia

Podia also promotes its software as an all-in-one solution.

You can do a lot of different things on the platform, such as creating a digital product, writing content for your customers, handling payments, analyzing customer data, and marketing to your customers via email.

You can also create a membership product, and host webinars to promote your product.

Key features

  • You can host unlimited files.
  • The platform allows users to sell any type of digital downloads, such as ebooks, audiobooks, cheat sheets, checklists, PDFs, video files, audio files, and text.
  • You can host webinars, and create a website from their platform.
  • The messaging function allows you to chat in realtime with visitors.

What is good

  • The platform has a slick and clean looking design.
  • A great support team.
  • Fast to implement suggestions from their users.
  • On-demand chat service.
  • It only contains useful features for the most part.

What they can improve

  • They can improve their reporting and native integrations.
  • Make their interface a little more user friendly.
  • Email marketing features can be improved to match the quality of their competitors.
  • Make their pages more customizable.

Pricing plan

Podia offers two pricing plans.

Mover plan: This is the most basic plan, and it costs $39 per month. You’d want to go with this plan if this is your first time launching your digital product.

Shaker plan: You will be paying $79 a month for this plan. The shaker plan offers extra features, such as membership features, blogs, offsite buy buttons, unique codes for your affiliates, and third-party code.

You can sign up for a 14-day free trial on their website without putting in your credit card detail.

5. Kartra

Here is yet another online course software platform that offers an all-in-one solution.

It can be frustrating and time-consuming if you are having multiple technical difficulties in your sales funnel, and each problem requires individual attention.

Kartra helps you reduce this headache by weaving together all the individual sections of your sales process, so they effectively communicate with one another.

For example, if a customer opts-in on your landing page, Kartra Mail will add him to your email list. If someone pays on a Kartra checkout page, he will automatically receive login information via the Kartra membership feature.

The more software you use, the more potential problems you will face.

So, platforms that offer an all-in-one solution is a great option for those who value speed.

Key features

  • It offers every feature you need to design and sell your online courses, such as checkout forms, content pages, lead form, funnels, automated email, membership area, and more.
  • It comes with pre-made templates and utilizes a drag-and-drop interface.
  • The platform integrates with most email marketing platforms, top payment gateways, membership platforms, Zapier, and more.
  • You get access to in-depth reporting and analytics of products and emails.
  • They provide you a step-by-step course that teaches how to navigate through the platform.

What is good

  • Kartra is a cloud software, which means you don’t need to download anything.
  • There is no difference between the higher and the lower-priced plan in terms of what features you get. The only difference is your traffic bandwidth, the size of your contact list, and how much you can create.
  • You will potentially save time and money since Kartra gives everything you need to get started.

What they can improve

  • Some users complain about the complexity of the platform.
  • They can provide better stats and analytics for sales and membership sites.
  • Designs for email templates can be better.
  • The membership area can include more features.
  • The page builders can be more efficient.

Pricing plan

There are currently four plans available from Kartra.

Starter plan: The starter plan will cost you $99 a month. With the starter plan, you can create two membership sites, and sell up to 20 products. It also has some limitations, which may not be suitable for business owners who want to scale.

Silver plan: You will pay $199 a month for the silver plan. It includes three custom domains and up to 12,500 leads. You have access to all features with zero limitations.

Gold plan: At $299 a month, you will have unlimited access to all features, including five custom domains and up to 25,000 leads.

Platinum plan: The plan will cost you $499 a month, and it comes with unlimited access to all features, including ten custom domains and up to 50,000 leads.

Kartra offers a 14-day trial for just $1, and you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

5. Ruzuku

Key features

  • It integrates with Mailchimp.
  • The platform accepts payments via Paypal and Stripe.
  • You can invite or remove participants from your courses.
  • Students can post PDFs, images, and videos in the response section.
  • You can access the support team via Phone, Skype, Email, Live Chat, and the social media group.

What is good

  • The simple layout of the course allows you and your students to better focus on the content.
  • The software allows students to keep track of their achievements, which keeps them engaged and more likely to stick with the course.
  • You can give students either a subscription or a single payment option, which helps to increase the number of students that sign up.
  • You can host a webinar on the platform.

What they can improve

  • The platform offers only basic customizations.
  • You can’t set up a custom domain name unless you choose the most expensive plan.
  • It is not possible to set up an affiliate program for your course.
  • Reporting and analytics are not as in-depth compared to competitors.
  • You cannot bundle your course.
  • Advanced customization with CSS and HTML is not possible.

Pricing plan

Three plans are available from Ruzuku

Bootstrapper plan: This basic plan will cost you $99 a month, and you have the freedom to create an unlimited number of courses along with no limits on how many students can enroll in your class. There is also no limit for hosting audio, video, and data.

Up-and-comer plan: You will have to $149 a month, and you get unlimited webinars, polls, and quizzes on top of all the features from the Bootstrapper plan.

University plan: The plan costs $199 a month, and you’re allowed to use your custom domain, have multiple instructors and site managers.

You can try Ruzuku for free for 14 days without a credit card and gain access to all features.

6. Learnworlds

This software is featured by big names in the business industry, such as Forbes.

Key features

  • The software automatically extracts transcripts, quizzes, and tables of contents.
  • It comes with a drag-and-drop block-based builder.
  • You can easily customize your content pages.
  • It includes features, such as self-assessment,  video interactions, and interactive ebooks to engage students.
  • You can build bundles for your online course, and create a membership product.

What is good

  • It has a bright and user-friendly interface.
  • It seamlessly integrates with other marketing tools, such as AWeber, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, Zapier, and much more.
  • Their support team is available 24/7 and promptly responds to help you with any technical difficulties.
  • They host your videos in-house, which means you don’t need other platforms to host your videos.

What they can improve

  • They can improve their gamification feature.
  • The platform has a lot of different tools, which may be overwhelming initially.
  • They can improve consistency in format for landing page customization.
  • Many international students face problems with payments on the platform.

Pricing plan

You get four options with Learnworld’s online course platform.

Starter plan: It will cost you $24 a month, and you will get access to unlimited paid courses. You are required to pay a $5 fee per each course sale with this plan.

Pro trainer: The plan will cost you $79 a month. You get exempted from any transaction fee, and you also get unlimited access to landing page creation.

Learning center: You will pay $249 a month. The plan includes interactive video and advanced affiliate management feature, and many more.

You can also apply for a personalized plan if you are doing high volume.

Learnworlds offers a generous 30-day free trial without requiring a credit card.

7. Learndash

Some of the brands that use Learndash include, University of Florida, Infusionsoft, University of Michigan, University of Washington, and Problogger.

Many universities host their courses on Learndash, although it is also an excellent place to sell online courses for business owners.

Key features

  • You can control enrollment by making your online course free, private, or available only to members.
  • The platform provides advanced quizzing with eight question types, custom messages, and question banks.
  • You are able to create custom certificates and badges for your students.
  • The platform supports both a one-time purchase and subscription for students.
  • Your students will get automatic email notifications.
  • The software provides detailed reporting on student’s enrollment, progress, and quiz performance.
  • You get the option to set prerequisites for the courses you create.
  • The platform allows you to remove access to course content after a specified time.
  • It supports class discussion with forum integration.
  • You can drip-feed content based on the schedule you set.

What is good

  • It is compatible with multiple plug-ins and themes.
  • They don’t require a monthly fee.
  • It is one of your better options if you want to host your course on WordPress.

What they can improve

  • Non-techie people may find it challenging to get used to the platform since it has a steep learning curve.
  • WordPress may not be an ideal place to host your course if you have a large student base since your site will slow down significantly.
  • You may need some coding skills to make customization for features that lack.
  • It would be nice to have more detailed reporting.

Pricing Plan

Leardash offers three plans, and you are only required to make a one-time payment.

The basic plan is $159 a month, and it comes with one site license.

The plus package is $189 a month, and you will have access to 10 site licenses.

The pro package costs $329 a month, and you get 25 site licenses.

The company does not offer any free trial, but you are eligible to receive a refund if you cancel the service within 30 days of purchase.

8. Teachery

Teachery may not be the most popular online course platform, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is inferior.

Key features

  • There is a zero monthly fee.
  • You can create an unlimited number of courses, landing pages, and payment pages.
  • You have access to two templates for your course.
  • The platform offers an affiliate system, so others can easily promote your course.
  • You can track customer data and activity, such as how much time your customers are spending on viewing your course, or the lifetime value of a customer.

What is good

  • Unlimited courses and students mean you never have to worry about getting penalized for your online course business being too successful.
  • The support team usually responds within a day.
  • You get customizable lesson pages.

What they can improve

  • Add customer support via phone.
  • Implement automated emails to students.
  • Develop more interactive features.
  • Introduce PayPal support since the platform only integrates with Stripes.
  • Allow users to create course bundles and upsells.
  • Host videos on their platform.

Pricing plan

Teachery offers only one plan and you get the option to pay either monthly or annually.

The monthly plan costs $49 a month. If you decide to go with the annual plan, you will pay $470 a year and save 20%.

You can try the software for free for 2 weeks.

How to sell information products online

Before you create your online course, I want you to keep in mind that if no one wants to buy your course, then you can’t teach it.

Your priority should be to create an online course that will benefit your students, but you also need to realize that a great course without a student is a useless course.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to spend hundreds of hours creating a product and trying to sell your course afterward.

So, before you create your course, you need to do enough market research to confirm that there’s enough demand for the course you’re about to make.

Once you create your course, the best way to market it is to over-promise what it delivers and live up to that promise by creating a fantastic course.

What then is the best way to communicate your marketing message to potential customers?

When you look at the highest-paid online course creators, you will see a pattern that they ALL use webinars to pitch their courses.

To host a webinar and create a viable course, you will need these six components.

  • Email service provider to collect emails.
  • A webinar registration page.
  • A confirmation page.
  • You’ll need platforms to host your live and evergreen webinar.
  • You also need a place to host your online course.
  • An order form.

So far, you’ve got the software part figured out. Let’s now talk about how you can put your idea into practice.

These are the four vital steps you need to follow to launch a “successful” course.

Step 1

The first step is to do your market research and find out what problems people desire to solve within your niche.

You then want to look for individuals that need your help, and you don’t need to look far. This individual can simply be your close friend.

Have a conversation with them and find out the most significant problems they are facing.

You will use this information as an outline for your course.

Step 2

The second step is to build your audience, and this can be done via social media, blogs, youtube, or paid advertising.

As you build your audience, you will also recruit people who want to get personal coaching from you.

This is a win-win relationship because not only will you be helping these people transform their lives, but they will also give you invaluable information on how you should create your course.

You will continuously refine your approach during this process, so your students can get the best results in the most efficient manner.

This process should help you gain enough knowledge to create an online course of the highest quality.

As a bonus, you will also start to collect testimonials from the students you are helping.

I want to emphasize one crucial point.

If you can’t even get results for students that you personally coach, it is unlikely you will manage to create a high-quality online course.

In such a case, you will have to refine your teaching system until you can get a tangible result for your coaching students.

Step 3

At this point, it is time to prepare the launch for your online course.

You will create a webinar, and you will be selling to people on your webinar.

I need to note that you will NOT hit a home run on your first try.

You will continually refine your webinar until it starts to perform well.

Once you create a webinar that converts, then it is time to put all of your focus on creating a course that delivers all of the promises you made on your webinar.

During this process, you will continue to collect testimonials from students who were happy with your course.

Step 4

The last step is automation.

You are going to turn your most successful live webinar into an automated webinar, and you will also automate your email and sales process.

How to create an online course

As we had discussed earlier, the first principle of creating an online course is to create a product that gets people tangible results.

To accomplish this, you need to give students goals that are challenging but attainable.

Why no one wants your online course

It’s a good idea to educate yourself on what stops your potential customers from buying an online course.

These are just a few reasons why people may decide not to purchase your course.

  • People are naturally worried about buying a new product.
  • Most people had bad experiences buying a course in the past.
  • They don’t see you as trustworthy.

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