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The Ultimate Guide To Picking The Right Online Course Platform!

Are you tech-stuck?

Getting tech-stuck happens when technology is the number one thing keeping you from growing your online course business!

You were so excited at the beginning imagining how selling courses online would free up your time to travel, be with your family and more.

But now, it’s been a few months (or years) of you working what feels like two full-time jobs and you’re still not making more than a handful of sales a month.

You find yourself up late at night googling phrases like “how to pick the best online course platform” or “how to sell online courses.”

Every month, you wince when you see your credit card bill with charges for services like Ontraport, Aweber, Active Campaign, Infusionsoft, Clickfunnels, Thrive Themes, Zoom Webinar, and Teachable.

You don’t even want to know how much you’re spending on software every month but you have a feeling it’s more than you are bringing in from sales.

If you’re honest with yourself, you don’t even really know what features you need and what you don’t need to create, market, and sell online courses.

You know you could be doing better if you could just figure this whole technology thing out.

You know there’s a solution out there that can help you sell enough courses to quit your job, expand your business and reach your goals.

You just don’t know what it is.

If you felt yourself nodding along to any of this, you’re in the right place!

This article is going to teach you how to pick the best online course platform without wasting time or money!

After you read this article, your days of overpaying for software you don’t need will be over!

You’ll know exactly what you need (and don’t need) to start selling more online courses.

You’re also going to learn how to pick the best online course platform for your business and get a feature by feature comparison of 15 platforms to create and sell online courses from Thinkific to Teachable.

Don't have time to read the article? 

Check out the slideshare presentation! 

Who This Article is For:

Because we respect you, we don't want you to waste your time, and this article is long (like 8,000 words long) so before we get started, let’s quickly talk about who this post is for and who this post isn’t for.

That way you know you’re in the right place and all your technology troubles will soon be over.

This post is for you if you’re “Tech-Stuck” but know if you can just get this technology thing handled your business will skyrocket, and you’ll be able to really build your online course empire!

If you know technology is the #1 hurdle keeping you from really building your online course business, this article is the answer to your prayers.

This article is not for you if you like wasting money on software you don’t need and never use.

We’ve seen it before – some people LOVE to waste money on the latest online course software.

They’re more into playing business than doing business so they buy things they don’t need like advanced analytics or a mobile app that they never use.

If you like wasting money on software, or you’re just playing business, this article is not for you.

This article is for you if you’re currently subscribed to one or more of the following: Ontraport, Aweber, Active Campaign, Infusionsoft, Clickfunnels, Thrive Themes, Zoom Webinar, or Teachable.

If you’re subscribed to one or more of those tools for creating, marketing, and selling your online course then you are definitely in the right place!

And you’re about to save a ton of time and money!

This article is not for you if you like the challenge of spending hours a day stitching together multiple systems.

And the jolt of adrenaline you get when one of them goes down!

If you don’t mind paying for and integrating multiple subscriptions to services like Ontraport, Aweber, Active Campaign, Infusionsoft, Clickfunnels, Thrive Themes, Zoom Webinar, and Teachable, then this article is not for you.

This article is for you if you’re not sure what features you need to sell more courses online and what you don’t need.

Or if you just think your current online software is too complicated!

By the end of this article, you will know EXACTLY what you need and what you don’t need to sell more online courses online.

Lastly, this article is for you if you’re sick and tired of wasting time and money on software when all you want to do is get your message out to more people and sell more courses!

Now that you know if you’re in the right place or not, let’s get started!

We’ve broken the article up into 6 sections so you can read it all or skip right to the section that is most relevant to you.

You can also download this article here as a PDF so you can read it later or whenever you have a few minutes!

Table of Contents:
Section 1: The Best Way To Sell Online Courses in 2019 and Beyond
Section 2: What Technology Do You Need To Sell Courses Online?
Section 3: What Is An Online Course Platform?
Section 4: The Top 15 Platforms To Create And Sell Courses Online
Section 5: Is An All-In-One Online Course Platform Worth It?
Section 6: Conclusion

Section 1: The Best Way To Sell Online Courses in 2019 and Beyond:

Self-directed learning through online courses is a huge business!

According to the latest data, online courses accounted for over $46 billion dollars in sales in 2016 alone.

The entire e-learning business is expected to grow to over $325 billion dollars by 2025!

Social media channels like Instagram and Youtube make it easier than ever to build an audience online for FREE!

Futurist Peter Diamandis expects EVERY person on Earth to have access to high-speed internet by 2024, creating at least 4 billion new customers with purchasing power.

Why then do experts expect to see a drop in online course learning sales of almost $13 billion dollars by 2021?

The Age of Peak Content:

You might remember the idea of peak tv from a few years ago.

“My sense is that 2015 or 2016 will represent peak TV in America and that we’ll begin to see the decline coming the year after that and beyond.”

John Landgraf, the president of FX Networks, gave that quote during the Television Critics Association press tour in 2015 but it could just as easily apply to the online course market in 2019 and beyond.

We have reached the age of peak content where the sheer amount of content for every subject from foraging for mushrooms to fitness hacks is overwhelming.

This oversaturation presents challenges and opportunities.

The first challenge is making sure that your content stands out in an ever-widening sea of information.

Sure, you can pick an uncompetitive “under the radar” niche, but even in those niches, you will still be competing with the information presented for free by channels like Wikipedia, Google, and Youtube.

And it’s not just oversaturation!

The big corporations like Google and Facebook are actively trying to devalue your content.

One of many ways that Google is actively trying to devalue your content is through the use of snippets.

Snippets are selected search results which Google displays below the ads but ABOVE the organic search results.

These snippets aim to answer a search question WITHOUT the searcher actually having to click through to the webpage that provided the snippet.

While these snippets are convenient for the searcher, they are horrible for content creators which provide the information and are no longer getting the click or engagement from the search!

Facebook has used its platform to devalue written articles to the point that 483 journalists lost their jobs when Facebook announced their pivot to video.

And those are just a few of the challenges created by the age of peak content.

But it’s not all bad news!

In addition to these challenges, the age of peak content also creates some amazing opportunities!

The first opportunity is that because there is so much content available, people don’t want to waste their time and energy sorting through all of it.

Customers want someone who they trust to tell them what they should pay attention to and what they should ignore.

That’s where you come in.

Your customers want someone they can trust to curate the BEST information about a subject and make it easy to learn.

That’s where your online course comes in.

But information alone is no longer enough.

The future of the online course business is not information, but transformation,

What is Transformation?

Transformation is how quickly and easily you can get someone from their current state to their desired state.

How quickly can you take someone from where they are to where they want to be?

While tech and tools will always change, transformation is timeless and cannot be devalued.

How do you deliver this transformation to your customers?

Through what we at Kajabi call Engaged Education.

What is Engaged Education?

Engaged education is a process we created here at Kajabi to help you build a real business with your online course.

Engaged education is made up of a combination of an Online Course, Coaching and Community.

Here’s how it works.

Online Course:

Your Online Course is the first part of engaged education.

In your online course, you’re going to teach the basics.

If you teach stock investing, your online course would help your customer go from knowing nothing about stock investing to knowing the basics, opening a brokerage account and buying his or her first stock.

For some people, that’s going to be enough.

But those customers that really want to make a transformation can get more help and speed up their journey by joining your coaching program.

Coaching:

Coaching is an INCREDIBLY powerful way to get faster results at anything you’re studying.

An internal report by the Personnel Management Association showed that when training is combined with coaching, individuals increase their productivity by an average of 86% compared to just 22% with training alone.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and one time World’s richest man said, “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.”

Here are a few different types of coaching you can provide for your students:

One-on-One Coaching

One-on-one coaching is the type of coaching you’re probably used to like having a personal trainer or an accountability coach.

One-on-one coaching programs tend to offer longer engagements such as 6-months to a year of coaching through email or over the phone.

Additionally, one-on-one coaching might offer in-person experiences such as workshops, retreats or intensives.

Group Coaching Programs:

A group coaching program is a program where the coach teaches a group of people at the same time, usually over an interactive webinar or membership site.

There are two types of group coaching programs: short-term group coaching programs and long-term group coaching programs.

Short-term group coaching programs last anywhere from four weeks to four months.

The goal of a short-term coaching program is to provide you with one specific transformational outcome over the course of the program.

Long-term group coaching programs typically requires a 6-month or 12-month commitment, although some programs are month-to-month.

Long-term programs are either curriculum based, mastermind-based, or a combination of the two.

Curriculum-based coaching programs go through a specific curriculum like an online course and offer in-depth insights on the material being taught.

Mastermind-based coaching programs are more interactive and usually involve “hot seats” where each member of the coaching program talks about a specific problem they are having and gets advice from the entire group as well as the instructor.

As far as what you give your coaching customers, a common model is to provide 3-5 modules of pre-recorded content, a weekly Q and A call, and a private community.

The content can be either dripped out week by week or delivered all at once.

These coaching programs can be extremely profitable for you as well as providing an amazing transformation for your students.

The average price for a group-coaching program is around $2,500.

On the higher end coaches who are extremely well-known in their niche, can charge up to $15,000.

One on one coaching prices can vary by industry but it’s not uncommon to see experts charge at least $100 an hour for one on one coaching over the phone or video chat.

The average price for 3 months of one to one coaching is around $5,000.

Community:

People online are searching for their community.

Their tribe.

What they're looking for are people just like them.

They want to feel welcomed, embraced and have their thoughts and ideas validated.

Online communities allow you to connect people from all over the world who hold the same values, ideas, and beliefs, no matter where they are.

Think about how amazing that is!

Community is the ultimate win-win because your community will be serving and connecting your ideal members.

Your community serves your ideal member by giving them a place to go to learn more about what you teach, get content and feedback from experts and bond with other people going through the same journey.

Your community connects your ideal members by introducing them to people who are on the same journey they are who they can ask questions, get feedback from, and become friends with!

More and more people are joining online communities so they can connect with people who share their interests.

Now you could just create an online community on Facebook or Linkedin, but there’s a BIG problem with creating your community on one of those channels.

You don’t own them.

When you create a group on Facebook, Facebook owns your group.

And your content.

And your data.

Same thing with Linkedin or any other social media channel.

That means that at any time, for any reason, Facebook can decide to shut you down without any warning or explanation.

So you want to create a community you own, on your website.

That way you own, the data, and the content, while providing a place for your students to connect with other people just like them.

Having an online course is no longer enough!

In order to get serious and build a real business, you need to be able to offer engaged education!

Winter is coming for the course creation business!

In order to survive, you’re going to need to offer more than just information.

You need to offer your customers a transformation using the combination of an online course, coaching, and community that makes up engaged education.

And you need the technology to support all 3 parts.

Now that you know what it takes to sell online courses in 2019 and beyond, let’s talk about exactly what technology you need to support you.

Section 2: What technology do you need to sell courses online?

Let’s start by looking at what the process of buying a course online is like.

If you’ve ever bought an online course before, you probably have a pretty good idea of what this process looks like.

First, your potential customer has to find your website.

Nowadays most people find out about online courses through social media so you’ll want to make sure that your website displays your social media information so people can find your course when they find your social media profiles.

When they land on your website it has to load quickly as 53% of internet searchers will leave if a webpage does not load within 3 seconds.

85% of adults think that a company’s website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be as good or better than its desktop website.

So your website better be mobile-friendly!

51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Which means you want to have videos on your website, you need a webpage builder that can easily upload video or integrate with a site like Youtube or Wistia.

Approximately 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to purchase!

That means you’ll need to be able to add your website visitors to your email list so you can nurture them into buying your course over email.

And you’ll need an email marketing service and lead capture forms on your site to do that.

You’ll need another service if you want to automate your emails.

To be able to take a variety of payment methods from Stripe and Paypal to credit cards you need a payment processing service.

And you need a secure shopping cart so your customers feel safe making a purchase and you are protected if your site gets hacked!

Once someone buys your online course, you need to host your online course or membership site somewhere that is easily accessible by your students and looks professional.

You’ll need to be able to put on webinars so you can do group coaching programs.

You need to be able to build your own community so you’re not dependent on Facebook groups or Linkedin.

And last but not least you’ll want to make sure that your website has analytics so that you know where your visitors are coming from and what keywords are leading them to your website.

Whew, that’s a lot of stuff you need just to sell an online course right?

There are 2 options for creating this type of system.

The first option is to do it yourself.

This can be a good option if you are really good with technology.

If you know how to write code, integrate different systems, and create clean easy-to-use web pages then, by all means, do it yourself.

It’s going to be a lot of work but you’ll be able to create the exact system you want.

But if you don’t know how to write code or create webpages you’re going to need to use an online course platform.

Section 3: What is an online course platform?

An online course platform is software that allows you to market, host and sell your online course.

There are 4 different types of online course platforms and they all have positives and negatives.

The 4 Types of Online Course Platforms:

  1. Standalone Platforms
  2. WordPress Plug-Ins/Themes
  3. Marketplace Platforms
  4. All-In-One Platforms

Let’s look at each of these types of platforms in a little bit more detail so you can decide what type is right for you.

What is a Standalone online course platform?

Stand-alone platforms are designed for entrepreneurs or small businesses that want a simple way to sell branded courses online. Stand-alone platforms provide everything you need to host and sell your course along with support and educational resources. Some stand-alone platforms have marketing functionality but it is usually very limited.

Who should use a stand-alone online course platform?

You should use a stand-alone online course platform if you are a solo entrepreneur or small business that wants a turnkey way to create a branded online course and doesn’t need to worry as much about email marketing or creating marketing funnels.

What is a Wordpress Plugin online course platform?

Wordpress plugin platforms are tools that allow you to create and sell an online course with an existing WordPress site. Wordpress plugins are generally inexpensive and often have a one time fee for lifetime use. You will need a little more technical skills to use these platforms. You will also need to integrate multiple plugins to create all the features you need. This can create problems if one part of the system goes down or needs an update.

Who should use a WordPress plugin online course platform?

You should use a WordPress plugin platform if you have a high level of technical skill, are experienced with selling courses online, and already have a WordPress site that gets a lot of traffic. If you’re going to use Wordpress plugins be sure to buy only from reputable companies that have been around for a while and have successful students. Your whole business can be shut down for days or longer if you buy an off-brand plugin from a fly by night developer.

What is a Marketplace Online Course Platform?

Marketplace platforms provide you with all the tools you need to create an online course. In addition to tools, education and support marketplace platforms also provide you with a marketplace to sell it in. Marketplace platforms can be a great way to sell your online course if you don’t want to do the work of marketing it yourself. You should be aware that marketplace platforms charge a transaction fee and often take more than 50% of your entire course sale.

Who should use a Marketplace Online Course Platform?

You should use a marketplace platform if you are not worried about making money from your online course. If you want to use your online course to boost your credibility or establish yourself as an expert in your field but don’t want to build a business around your course, you might want to use a marketplace course platform.

What is an All-In-One Online Course Platform?

All-in-one online course platforms provide everything you need to create a complete web presence. In addition to all the tools you need to create and host a course and website, an all-in-one platform also provides email services, community building, and more. All-in-one platforms provide a little bit of everything so that you only ever need to use one system.

Who should use an all-in-one online course platform?

If you are tech-stuck and want a platform that lets you skip the integrating and get everything you need all in one place, an all-in-one system is a good choice.

Now that you know a little bit more about what types of online course platforms there are, let’s take a closer look at the top 15 platforms to create and sell courses online!

Section 4: The Top 15 Platforms To Create And Sell Courses Online

In this section, we’re going to take a look at the top 15 platforms to create and sell online courses on.

You’ll get a brief overview of each platform, learn which of the 4 types of platform each platform is, and get some pros and cons.

Let’s get started!

1. Kajabi. Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that gives you everything you need to create, host and market your online courses. Kajabi provides templates, automations, and pipelines to help anyone start selling online courses within a few hours Kajabi also provides education through it’s Hero University program, 24-hour support, and an industry-leading partners program.

Type: Kajabi is an all-in-one online course platform.

Pros: Kajabi is easy to use to do everything from connecting web pages to creating offers all with just a few clicks. Kajabi consistently adds new features like community, multiple languages, and more. Everything you need to provide engaged education in one place.

Cons: Kajabi does not feature a marketplace so you will have to market your course to make sales. Kajabi does not integrate with as many tools as other platforms.

2. Thinkific. Thinkific is an all-in-one platform which has a course builder tool and offers you the ability to host your videos on the platform immediately. Thinkific is focused more on educators than coaches and entrepreneurs.

Type: Thinkific is an all-in-one online course platform.

Pros: Thinkific is easy to use, fairly inexpensive and updates frequently.

Cons: Thinkific has limits to its marketing capabilities. You can’t create a blog in Thinkific or an online forum. Additionally, Thinkific has no email marketing, webinar, or funnel building capability. While Thinkific might seem inexpensive if you add in additional software for funnel building, webinar hosting, and other services it ends up costing 4-5x as much per month. And you still have to integrate multiple systems.


3. Teachable. Launched out of the founder’s frustration with Udemy, Teachable is an all-in-one platform that helps you grow your audience and create online courses for them. Teachable lets you control your branding, data, and pricing all from one place. Teachable offers a free plan where you pay $1 + 10% of all transactions or you can pay a monthly fee and reduce the transaction fee to 5%. Like Thinkific, Teachable is focused more on educators and coaches than entrepreneurs.

Type: Teachable is an all-in-one online course platform.

Pros: Teachable is easy to use. Teachable has templates but also allows more tech-savvy users to edit or upload code. Everything is very straight forward.

Cons: Teachable doesn't offer webpage or funnel building. Like Thinkific, Teachable lacks marketing capabilities and requires integrations for things like gathering feedback and taking payments. That means you will still need multiple subscriptions and multiple services.

4. Udemy. Udemy is a marketplace online course platform. According to Udemy, “Our goal is to disrupt and democratize education by enabling anyone to learn from the world’s experts.” Udemy is one of the oldest online course platforms and unlike other platforms on this list, in order to teach a course on Udemy, you must first be approved as a “Premium instructor.” Udemy also reserves the right to change the price of your course at any time.

Type: Udemy is a marketplace online course platform.

Pros: Udemy offers a high level of support including reviews of your content. Udemy also promotes your course for you and features certain course creators in their emails and on their blog.

Cons: Udemy does not offer any marketing or sales capabilities outside of its marketplace. In order to even sell a course, you have to qualify to be a premium instructor. Udemy takes 3% of sales you generate on your own website and a WHOPPING 50% of all sales made through the Udemy marketplace! Udemy does not let you offer a community or coaching.

5. Podia. When it originally launched Podia called itself “WithCoach” and was exclusively marketed for coaches. Rebranded as Podia, this stand-alone platform helps you to build an online store for your course and market it with affiliate marketing. Each store's landing page includes an overview, a "What's included" section, a content section, FAQs, and creator bios. Podia also allows you to build membership sites.

Type: Podia is a stand-alone online course platform.

Pros: Podia charges no transaction fees and has no limit on the number of courses or membership sites you can create. Podia allows you to create private groups or membership sites so that you aren’t reliant on Facebook or Linkedin. Excellent support for affiliate marketing.

Cons: Podia doesn’t have an automated email responder, pipelines, or customizable themes. This means that you will need to have multiple subscriptions in order to properly market your course. Podia also does not support webinars making it difficult to do coaching without an additional subscription to a webinar service.

6. Learnworlds. Learnworlds is a stand-alone online course platform. Learnworlds considers itself a “premium” online course platform and is priced accordingly. Learnworlds allows you to create your own online school with multiple instructors.

Type: Learnworlds is a stand-alone online course platform.

Pros: Leanworlds allows you to easily upload content from Vimeo, Youtube or Microsoft word. Learnworlds includes an online community with every site they create. Learnworlds lets you create a variety of assets from e-books to images and videos to promote your courses.

Cons: While Learnworlds offers a variety of tools for creating and selling your online course it does not provide a lot of tools for marketing your course. Learnworlds has no automated email function, no web templates, and no pipelines. In order to market your online course on Learnworlds, you would need multiple subscriptions to email marketing tools, autoresponders, webinar services and more. Learnworlds also takes a $5 commission on every sale in their basic plan.

7. Academy of Mine. Academy of Mine is an all-in-one online course platform. Academy of mine offers white label e-learning platforms for anyone looking to build an online course. They also offer the option to have websites and courses built for you by their team for a totally “done for you” experience.

Type: Academy of Mine is an all-in-one online course platform.

Pros: Academy of mine offers a variety of options for customization. Academy of mine also offers support and 24/7 customer service. Academy of Mine will build everything for you.

Cons: Academy of mine runs on WordPress which means you will be working with plugins which can complicate things. Academy of mine also uses white labeling, so there is a chance that you and someone else could have very similar sites. Academy of Mine is the most expensive option on this list.

8. Lifter LMS. Lifter LMS is a Wordpress plugin online course platform. Lifter LMS offers a series of tools which can be bought together or ala carte that give you all the tools you need to market, host and sell your online course. Like Academy of Mine, Lifter LMS offers “done for you” option.

Type: Lifter LMS is a Wordpress plugin online course platform.

Pros: Lifter LMS has a free version. Lifter LMS is one of the cheapest solutions on the market.

Cons: Lifter LMS only works with Wordpress sites. Because Lifter LMS is a series of tools rather than an all-in-one system, there is a greater chance of failure. Lifter LMS doesn’t have its own systems but rather allows you to use other systems like email marketing on your site. This means you will need multiple subscriptions to services like webinars, email marketing, and analytics.

9. Skillshare. Skillshare is a marketplace online course platform which allows users to create, host and sell video courses. There are a few catches though, you have to enroll at least 25 students before you can get paid. And you generally only make between $1-2 per enrollment from a royalty pool. But there is an affiliate program where you can earn $10 for everyone who signs up for Skillshare.

Type: Skillshare is a marketplace online course platform.

Pros: Skillshare is free to use. Skillshare has support and instructions on making an online course. Skillshare has a marketplace where people can find your course without you having to market it.

Cons: There is no website building or marketing functionality with Skillshare. With Skillshare, you don’t control or own your course. You can’t decide how much to charge for it or market it outside of Skillshare to keep more of the profits. The Skillshare payments are the lowest of all marketplace online course platforms.

10. Click4Course. Click 4 Course is a stand-alone online course platform that lets you create a course and manage your students very easily. Click 4 Course also allows you to create some courses that are internal training and others that are for sale.

Type: Click 4 Course is a stand-alone online course platform.

Pros: Allows you to create and grade a wide variety of courses and assignments. Click4Course has strong testing, survey and certificate capabilities.

Cons: Click4Course does not have website building or marketing capabilities. This means you would still need multiple subscriptions for services like webinars, email marketing and more. Click4Course is one of the more expensive Stand-Alone platforms.

11. ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels is an all-in-one platform focused on sales that helps you market, host and sell online courses as well as services. ClickFunnels was founded by expert marketer Russell Brunson and is focused on making sales first and online courses second.

Type: ClickFunnels is an all-in-one online course platform.

Pros: ClickFunnels makes it easy to create high-conversion marketing funnels. Russell Brunson provides good ongoing education and training. ClickFunnels has a strong community and affiliate program.

Cons: ClickFunnels can be difficult to use for creating online courses. The ClickFunnels website themes and templates are not as current as many other solutions on the market and often create “ugly” websites. ClickFunnels doesn’t give you the capability to create your own community.

12. Digital Chalk. Digital Chalk is a stand-alone online course platform that supports the shareable content object reference model (SCORM) which means you can create standards-compliant online courses.

Type: Digital Chalk is a stand-alone online course platform.
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Pros: Digital Chalk offers SCORM compliance. Digital Chalk is mobile friendly.

Cons: Digital Chalk offers solutions for creating and selling your online course but not for marketing it. This means you will still need multiple subscriptions for services like social media integration and email marketing.

13. Zippy Courses. Zippy courses is a stand-alone online course platform developed by internet marketer Derek Halpern. Recently Zippy Courses has re-branded as an all-in-one online course platform but that version is currently by invitation only.

Type: Zippy courses is a stand-alone online course platform though they appear to have rebranded to become an all-in-one platform.

Pros: Developed by Derek Halpern a respected marketer and course creator.

Cons: Available by invitation only. Based on the website Zippy Course appears to still be using integrations with services like Aweber and Infusionsoft suggesting you will need multiple other subscriptions to be able to provide engaged education.

14. Ontraport. Ontraport is an all-on-one online course platform which is mostly focused on creating webpages to acquire more customers. You can host online courses on Ontraport through their membership sites feature which uses Wordpress.

Type: Ontraport is an all-in-one online course platform.

Pros: Ontraport has high-quality analytics and offers a wide variety of themes and page templates. Ontraport has a variety of tools for marketing your business like Sales Force Automation and email marketing.

Cons: Ontraport only lets you host online courses on a WordPress site. This also means that you will need to pay for and use other plugins as well as make sure everything works together and is up to date.

15. Ruzuku. Ruzuku is a stand-alone online course platform.

Type: Ruzuku is a stand-alone online course platform. Ruzuku focuses on helping course creators teach amazing courses. Ruzuku provides a high level of training and support along with their platform which includes unlimited webinars.

Pros: Ruzuku is very easy to use. Ruzuku offers a lot of training on creating, marketing and selling your online course. Ruzuku offers a community building feature.

Cons: Ruzuku only offers announcements not full email marketing functionality which you will need to integrate through MailChimp which appears to be the only option. Ruzuku’s billing offers only subscriptions options, not one time purchases. You will still need multiple subscriptions to other services.

There are pros and cons to every online course platform.

Stand-alone online course platforms are great if you just want to create and sell an online course and don’t mind using other services to market it.

WordPress online course platforms are a good choice if you already have a Wordpress site that gets a lot of traffic and you don’t mind using a series of tools instead of one system.

Marketplace online course platforms are not a good choice if you want to make a lot of money and build a business, but can be a good way to dip your toes into the course creation market if you don’t want to make a big investment.

However, if you are tech-stuck and want one system that will handle EVERYTHING from email marketing to webpage building and payment processing, an all-in-one online course platform is clearly the best choice.

But how do you know if an all-in-one online course platform is for you?

Section 5: Is an all in one online course platform worth it?

An all-in-one online course platform is the best way to get tech savvy!

There are two major reasons that an all-in-one online course platform is the best choice for your business.

The first reason is that using multiple systems stitched together is asking for trouble.

It’s only a matter of time until one of those different systems goes down or needs an update and your entire sales process goes offline.

Maybe for just a few minutes.

Maybe for hours.

Maybe for a few days.

How much money would you lose if your entire business went down for days?

Using an all-in-one online course platform eliminates this problem

The second reason using an all-in-one online course platform is the right choice is that it’s actually going to save you money!

As you saw in the list of top 15 online course platforms with stand-alone or WordPress platforms, you’re going to need multiple subscriptions to different services to be able to have the functionality of an all-in-one platform.

And those different subscriptions add up!

An all-in-one online course platform allows you to do EVERYTHING you need to do to create, market and sell your online course in one system.

For one price.

That’s why using an all-in-one online course platform is the solution to getting unstuck!

The list of top 15 platforms included 4 all-in-one online course platforms; Kajabi, Thinkific, Ontraport, and Clickfunnels

But what all-in-one platform is right for you?

Let’s see how the 4 all-in-one online course platforms stack up.

Kajabi vs Thinkific:

We’ll start by taking a look at Kajabi vs Thinkific.

Thinkific is an all in one platform which has a course builder tool and offers you the ability to host your videos right away on the platform. Thinkific is focused more on educators than coaches and entrepreneurs.

Kajabi is an all in one platform that gives you everything you need to create, host and market your online courses. Kajabi has tons of templates, automations, and pipelines to help anyone start selling online courses within a few hours! Kajabi also provides education through it’s Hero University program, 24-hour support, and a high-paying Partners Program.

Let’s see how Kajabi and Thinkific match up.

Website Building: Both Kajabi and Thinkific offer a webpage building tool and templates. While Kajabi offers an almost unlimited amount of modern themes, Thinkific has only 8 themes to choose from as of the writing of this article. Kajabi’s themes also look a little more modern and professional.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Email Marketing: Kajabi offers full Customer Relationship Management as well as an autoresponder and email sequence builder. Thinkific does not currently offer an email marketing feature though it does integrate with services like Aweber and Infusionsoft both of which will require an additional subscription.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Course Creation: Both Kajabi and Thinkific have intuitive easy to use course builders. Kajabi also provides step by step support through the 28-Day Challenge program which shows you what to do to go from having an idea to creating your first course in just 28 days.

Advantage Kajabi.

Integration: While Kajabi already has all the functions you need to create, market and sell your online course it still offers integrations with services like MailChimp, Drip, and Convertkit. Thinkific does not offer as much marketing functionality but makes up for it by integrating with almost every marketing tool known to man from Infusionsoft to ClickFunnels.

Advantage: Thinkific

Support: While Kajabi offers 24 hour technical and customer support over the phone or through chat, Thinkific only offers support through an email forum. Kajabi also provides a ton of advice on creating, marketing and selling your course through Hero’s University and continuing education programs like Marketing Mastery. Thinkific provides a series of articles, a webinar, and a resource page.

Advantage: Kajabi.

As you compare Kajabi vs. Thinkific, it becomes obvious that while they are both technically all-in-one online course platforms, there is a big difference in their marketing capabilities.

While Kajabi contains everything you need to create, market and sell your course in one system, in order to use email marketing or host webinars with Thinkific, you will need additional subscriptions to services like Infusionsoft ($199 a month) or Zoom ($19.99 a month).

Kajabi vs Teachable:

Teachable is an all in one platform that helps you grow your audience and create online courses for them. Teachable lets you control your branding, data, and pricing all from one place.

Kajabi is an all in one platform that gives you everything you need to create, host and market your online courses. Kajabi has tons of templates, automations, and pipelines to help anyone start selling online courses within a few hours!

Let’s see how they compare!

Website Building: Both Kajabi and Teachable provide website building but they are very different experiences! With Kajabi’s website builder, you can pick from a variety of modern, mobile friendly themes. Kajabi even allows you to add features like pop-ups, headers, and videos to your webpage with just a few clicks. Teachable on the other hand provides no themes, no pop-ups, no video and limited options to customize your website.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Email Marketing: Kajabi offers you the ability to send out one-time email broadcasts like newsletters and it also allows you to set up a full autoresponder sequence. While Teachable claims that it offers email marketing, the truth is that it only lets you send email broadcasts to your existing students. This means you can’t actually use the email function to market your course to prospects who have not yet bought. In essence, Teachable’s email function is merely an announcement feature not a fully functioning CRM like Kajabi.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Course Creation: Both Kajabi and Teachable allow you to take any type of content you have already created and turn it into a product. Both platforms use Wistia to deliver video content and offer unlimited hosting. Both platforms make it really easy to create an online course. There’s just one big difference. In Teachable, the concept of course theming is reduced to a singular theme. This means your products will look uniform but they are not customizable beyond your logo, typography, and colors. That’s fine if you only have one product but if you have more than one product they are all going to look EXACTLY the same. Which can be problematic. On the other hand, Kajabi has a library of beautiful customizable themes to help you differentiate all of your products.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Integration: Even though Kajabi does everything you need to create, market, and sell your online course, it still integrates with a variety of tools from Zapier to Mailchimp. Kajabi has 10 built-in integrations, while Teachable only has 5. Not to mention that Kajabi's Facebook Pixel integration lets you easily track every page on your site just by pasting your pixel id instead of having to paste the actual code into your site on Teachable.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Support: Kajabi offers 24/7 email and chat support in addition to an encyclopedic knowledge base. Teachable offers email support although the hours are not particularly clear on the website.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Comparing Kajabi and Teachable, you can clearly see that Kajabi offers more functionality, more templates, more integrations and a higher level of customer support.

In order to get the same functionality from your Teachable account, you would need additional subscriptions to services like Thrive Themes ($19 a month), Constant Contact ($49 a month) Zoom ($19 a month) and others.

Kajabi vs Ontraport:

Ontraport is an all-in-one online course platform which is mostly focused on creating webpages to acquire more customers. You can host online courses on Ontraport through their membership sites feature which uses Wordpress.

Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that gives you everything you need to create, host and market your online courses.

Let’s see how they compare!

Website Building: Because Ontraport uses Wordpress as part of its online course hosting, all website building using Ontraport must be done through Wordpress which means you will have to pay additional money for modern themes and templates. With Kajabi’s website builder, you can pick from a variety of modern, mobile friendly themes. Kajabi even allows you to add features like pop-ups, headers, and videos to your webpage with just a few clicks. No subscriptions necessary.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Email Marketing: Both Kajabi and Ontraport offer top of the line email marketing services, which allow you to send broadcast messages, use click-through tracking and set up autoresponders. While Ontraport offers a few more analytics, their system is A LOT more complicated. And when you’re just starting to build your audience you don’t actually need all those advanced analytics.

Advantage: Kajabi for beginners. Ontraport for those with a decent amount of email marketing experience and a larger list.

Course Creation: The biggest difference between Kajabi and Ontraport is the course creation process. In Kajabi the process is simple, intuitive and easy to use. Ontraport does not have a course creation tool and instead uses a series of plugins to allow you to create a membership site and upload content there without branding, logos or templates. This means you will either need to be able to create a professional looking video course on your own with logos, colors, and branding, or you’re going to need to pay for a course creation tool.

Integration: Kajabi offers 10 built-in integrations for services like MailChimp, and Convertkit, as well as other integrations which are not built in. Ontraport offers a variety of integrations with services like Zapier and others but it is not clear what integrations are offered with the membership site function which uses Wordpress.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Support: Kajabi offers customer support and technical help 24/7 in addition to a help center and continuing education courses. Ontraport offers a knowledge center and email, and chat support from 6 am to 12 am Monday through Thursday with reduced hours on Fridays and weekends. Ontraport also offers a screenshare help option but it appears you have to wait about 48 hours to get an appointment.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Even though Ontraport has jumped into the online course platform market, their service is really analytics-based marketing with a membership site feature thrown on top. In order to create a course on Ontraport, you would need to create it yourself and upload it on to a membership site severely limiting the options for branding.

Additionally, because Ontraport only offers a membership site feature you can only offer one type of product; membership sites.

In order to get the same functionality you get from Kajabi from Ontraport you would need to first buy a course creation platform like Thinkific ($49 a month) and Zoom ($19 a month) and Thrive Themes ($19 a month).

Kajabi vs Clickfunnels:

Clickfunnels is an all-in-one platform focused on sales that helps you market, host and sell online courses as well as services. Clickfunnels was founded by expert marketer Russell Brunson and is focused mainly on making sales first and online courses second.

Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that gives you everything you need to create, host and market your online courses.

How does Kajabi compare to ClickFunnels?

Website Building: Both Kajabi and ClickFunnels offer easy to use website builders with plenty of templates. The ClickFunnels themes and templates are older and less modern. This is because Russell Brunson the owner of ClickFunnels believes that you don’t even need a website to make sales online so he often promotes how “ugly” Clickfunnels templates are. Kajabi’s themes are modern, professional and mobile friendly for any type of business from sales to healthcare.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Email Marketing: Both Clickfunnels and Kajabi have high-quality email marketing systems. The only difference is that ClickFunnels is a little more complicated to use and requires both a custom domain and SMTP authentication. With Kajabi as soon as you sign up and upload your list you can begin sending emails.

Advantage: Kajabi.

Course Creation: Creating courses on ClickFunnels is tricky. The ClickFunnels course creator tool is a little bit older and harder to use especially for those with no previous web design experience. Kajabi’s course creation tool is simple to use, intuitive and fast! Many Kajabi clients get their courses uploaded and ready to sell just a few hours after signing up!

Advantage: Kajabi.

Integration: Because ClickFunnels is not solely focused on the course creation business it has an exhaustive list of integrations including Shipstation, Salesforce, and Hubspot. Kajabi has 10 built-in integrations with services like Zapier and Facebook.

Advantage: ClickFunnels.

Support: While Kajabi offers 24/7 technical and customer support, ClickFunnels uses a ticket system with a time window that can stretch up to 48 hours. Both ClickFunnels and Kajabi provide industry best educational training.

Advantage: Kajabi.

While ClickFunnels offers excellent funnel building and marketing capabilities, their course creation and webpage builder still leave a lot to be desired. Russell Brunson provides high-quality marketing training for ClickFunnels users and there is a strong affiliate program. But it is clear that ClickFunnels is still focused on sales first and online courses second.

If you use ClickFunnels and want modern, professional, and mobile-friendly web pages, you’re going to need to pay for an additional service like Thrive Themes ($19 a month). You would also need to pay for additional software to create your own community.

As you can see from our head-to-head comparisons, Kajabi is clearly the best, easiest to use all-in-one platform for creating, marketing, and selling online courses!

If you’re sick and tired of trying to stitch together multiple systems (and making multiple payments every month) it’s time to move your online course business to Kajabi!

Section 6: Conclusion

You don’t have to stay tech-stuck!

Imagine 6 months from now you’re sitting on a beach somewhere completely relaxed knowing that your business is running smoothly and making sales!

No more nights spent trying to create Paypal buttons or link websites!

Everything you need to run your business and provide engaged education is automated and simple to use because you made the switch to Kajabi.

You now have an all-in-one solution for your tech problems freeing you up to work on your business instead of in your business!

If you’re ready to make that change today, we’re here to help!

We recently put together a FREE proven, step-by-step program to take you from day 1 to actually making sales!

We call it the 28-Day Challenge and you can sign up here.

In the 28-day Challenge, you’ll learn everything you need to know to earn your first $1,000 and become a Kajabi hero in just 28 days!

You’ll get video lessons, detailed downloads and more that help you do everything from brainstorming your ideas to creating landing pages and making sales!

And the best part is it’s 100% FREE!

At Kajabi we have helped thousands of digital entrepreneurs just like you turn their knowledge into a thriving business!

No matter what kind of business you run, Kajabi can help you sell more online courses!

Sign up NOW to get started to start the 28-Day Challenge and become a Kajabi Hero!

You now know what you need and what you don’t need to sell more courses online, and start creating the business of your dreams!

You no longer have to worry about not knowing what different platforms do or how to stitch everything together.

In this article, you learned how to sell online courses in 2019 and beyond and what technology you need to do it!

You got an in-depth breakdown of the 4 types of online course platforms which were:

  1. Standalone Platforms
  2. WordPress Plug-Ins/Themes
  3. Marketplace Platforms
  4. All-In-One Platforms

Then we went through the top 15 online course platforms from Thinkific to Ruzuku.

You learned the pros and cons of each platform.

Then we talked about why all-in-one online course platforms are the right choice any course creator who is tech-stuck.

Finally, we compared the 4 all-in-one online course platforms on the list Kajabi, Thinkific, Teachable, and ClickFunnels.

In the comparison, you saw that Kajabi is the only true all-in-one online course platform.

With Kajabi you get everything you need all in one software!

For one price.

Our founder, Kenny Reuter, created Kajabi because he saw how hard it was to sell information online!

Our mission at Kajabi is to make that easier for you the course creator to get your message out.

Because we know it’s not just your business – it’s your dreams!

We know that every course that gets sold on Kajabi is more than an online course.

Every course sold on Kajabi means someone is living their dreams.

Every course sold on Kajabi supports a small business and a family.

That means when a course gets sold on Kajabi, it isn’t paying for a fancy dinner for some executive, it’s paying for dance lessons for your daughter or a vacation for your family.

We want to help you make that process easier so you can start spending more time focusing on your dreams, and less time focusing on technology!

Get started with Kajabi today, get unstuck and start living your dreams!