There are sooooo many different course creation platforms to choose from! Have you ever wondered if you’ve chosen the right one? Maybe you still need to choose a platform for the new online course or coaching program you want to create…
If you are stuck? confused? or not sure which course delivery platform is the best fit for you, here’s a quick cheat sheet of the best online course platforms for new coaches and online course creators!
** There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the perfect course platform. Want to dive deeper into how to find the best fit for you? Make sure to read the list of course creation platforms I list below and do your research!**
How to find the best course platforms for new coaches and course creators
If you’re going through the online course creation process and you’ve been stressing out about which platform you should choose, Hi!! You are in the right place and today we are going to take a deep dive into how to choose the perfect platform for you and your online course.
Choosing the right course platform is critical. You want to feel comfortable and confident in your choice PLUS you don’t want to start using a platform only to have to change it a few weeks or months down the line because you didn’t do your homework.
Every course creator or coach is going to have their own wishlist when it comes to how they want to deliver their course and the experience they want to create for their students.
Some of you may want a platform that is easy to navigate, budget-friendly, with simple features. Others will want more advanced functionality and features.
Well regardless of what you are looking for, I want to help make your decision easier by giving you a quick comparison of the most popular online course platforms for new coaches and online course creators.
*There are literally dozens of course platforms, so don’t come for me if there’s one I missed. I am going to bring to you the platforms that I have researched, used myself, and would recommend to my own community based on reliability, functionality, and ease of use.
Why do you need a course platform anyways?
Simply put, your course platform is the delivery system that allows your students to navigate and consume your course. So once you have your videos recorded, your worksheets designed and your audios edited, it’s time to upload and organize that content for your students. This is where these platforms come in.
A course creation platform is going to give you the tech, tools, and third-party integrations you need to upload, store, publish, and sell your online courses.
While different platforms provide different features, the main bits are basically the same. Inside your course creation platform, you will be able to:
- Upload your course content (text, video, Pdfs, audio files, links, closed captions, etc.)
- Create, edit, and design sales pages, thank you pages, and checkout pages inside of a page editor
- Integrate payment getaways (connect with Stripe, PayPal, or other merchant accounts)
- Generate quizzes, activate comments, track course progress, send emails, and store student data such as purchase date, courses enrolled, purchase price, etc.
Now, the course creation platforms WILL NOT create the content for your course or market your course for you, though that may not be far off, with all of this AI and ChatGPT technology taking over these days – but if you need help creating a juicy, transformational and cash generating course, check out my course, 5 Figure Course Creator!
Course Platform Comparision Chart
Teachable is easy to use, cost-effective and the support is amazing. It’s a plug-and-play platform that takes the stress out of the tech and it allows course creators to deliver a clean, modern product.
If you are not ready to commit to a course platform and want to give Teachable a test run, you can preview their features by enrolling in their free plan. And if you are on a budget, you can enroll in the free plan, launch your course, and reinvest some of your profits into one of their upgraded plans. Their paid plans start at $39/month which is one of the most budget-friendly options out there.
Also, as Teachable continue to evolve and bring more features to its users, you’ll also be able to use their platform for selling your digital downloads and Coaching programs as well. So, if you’re a coach who works with 1:1 clients and creates courses as well, this is the perfect combo.
I’ve been using Teachable for years or so and it is my go-to for both newbies and more seasoned coaches.
In my opinion, Thinkific is essentially a dupe for Teachable. It is a few dollars less a month than Teachable and boasts very similar features.
Their user course creation interface is not as fluid as Teachable but it is modern and minimalistic and at the end of the day it does the job. They also have a free plan available which gives you 1 course and then their paid plans start at $36/month.
Kajabi is a very popular course creation platform when it comes to course creation and memberships. I would not consider Kajabi newbie-friendly, but if you’re looking for an all-in-one business platform, this is a pretty great option!
Even though it is more pricey, you get what you pay for because Kajabi provides its users with website creation, email marketing, sales funnels, and landing pages, in addition to a platform to publish and sell your online courses, digital products, and membership sites.
If you want to house all of your online business tools under one roof, and don’t want to pay revenue fees, Kajabi is definitely a platform to consider but if online course creation or selling a coaching programs will be your focus, and you want to keep things simple, another platform might be a better fit.
If you want to give Kajabi a go, they offer a 14-day free trial and their paid plans start at $119/month.
Podia is one of the most unique course creation platforms that you’ll either loves or hate. It is uber simplistic, almost too much so, and it reminds me of a Kajabi’s knockoff, but if you want a platform that you can grow with, this is definitely one to consider. With Podia, like all of the other course creation platforms gives you the opportunity to start with a free plan.
You can use Podia to build your website, grow your email list, sell online courses and digital products, and host communities. Paid plans start at $33/month.
Created by online course extraordinaire, Danielle Leslie, who’s sold more than 20 Million in online courses, MemberUp is a customizable, easy to use, all in one platform where you can build a premium course, community, or membership site, without the tech headache.
Every creator on any MemberUp plan receives access to MemberUp University completely FREE! MemberUp University is a community where you can network with and connect to other community leaders, ask questions, attend live events, have your community reviewed, get access to their product roadmap, request features and learn what’s working in other communities. PLUS access to a full course on community building from industry leaders.
MemberUp is a platform where course creation and community colide! It’s a new platform and has an entry point similar to Teachable and Thinkific and because all plans come with a 14-day trial, it is definitely worth checking out. You can learn more about MemberUp here.
Samcart was originally known to be a checkout feature for selling your digital products and that is what I used to sell my WomanpreneuHER Profit Planner for the longest, but over the last couple of years, they have made a big push into becoming an online course platform.
With Samcart you can create, sell, and deliver unlimited courses to unlimited students and their course creation platform is included free in every SamCart plan.
Samcart is a little pricier than the other course creation platforms, with their entry-level subscription being priced at $59/month. This will allow you to sell your online courses, create effective landing pages and sell any other products as well.
Their higher-priced plans offer some amazing features and are more in line with what Kajabi offers its users. From order bumps to post-purchase sales, an affiliate center, and built-in A/B testing, this tool is one of the most robust on the market and a great alternative to Kajabi. You can compare the Samcart plans here.
I was first introduced to Circle by Payt Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com. A long time stan of Teachable, when I saw a difference in the way he was delivering his courses and paid content, I had to pay attention.
Circle is a digital marketer’s dream and if you sell digital products, courses, coaching programs, and memberships this is the tool you’ve been waiting for. Circle is an all-in-one community-based platform for creators & brands that help you bring together engaging courses, discussions, members, live streams, chat, events, and memberships — all in one place, all under your own brand. It literally has all the things and is optimal for online business owners who prioritize community and deliver their content across multiple platform types!
How to know which course crearion platform is the best fit for you?
As a business owner, it is important to try and test out different platforms to see which one feels right for you. You really won’t know which one is right until you get inside and are able to play around with all the features.
While each platform has its pros and cons, you will not only want to choose a course creation platform that provides the essential functionality you need right now, but you’ll want to choose a platform you can grow with.
I always suggest starting with Teachable because it is reasonably priced, has all of the essential features a beginner course creator will need, and allows you to expand and grow your offers. It also provides a great student experience which will be important to your new clients and customers.
The one feature to be desired for many course creators using Teachable is their lack of a membership site layout. While they do provide payment plans and recurring payment options, the traditional membership site setup is lacking.
Now if you want to squeeze a little bit more out of your course creation platform, but don’t want a course creation platform with a huge learning curve, give Samcart a look.
But if you want to go ALL IN and consolidate all of your business tools and tech, Kajabi could be the perfect choice for you.
But hey, you’ll never know unless you try, right?! So, dive in and get the free trials to really see how each platform performs for you.
Now if none of these course creation platforms seems like a good fit, here are a few others to consider:
Questions to ask when considering which course creation platform to choose?
Yep, as I mentioned before, there are quite a lot of options but when narrowing down your course creation options, here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Can the platform I am considering support the media files I want to use?
Think about the type of media you plan on using in your course, i.e. video, audio, images, text files, etc if you’re making a video course, you definitely want to choose a platform that comes with video hosting, or at least gives you the option to embed videos. If you want to provide downloadable PDF files such as workbooks and printables to support your lessons, choose a platform that supports this.
2. Does the platform include features that will help me keep my students engaged?
Your goal is to get your students to complete the work and finish the course, so they can see the transformation and results you promised. The more you keep your students engaged and focused the better results they will get, that’s why it’s a good idea to choose a platform that lets you level up the engagement through features like interactive quizzes, rewards and certificates, and other gamification elements.
3. Does the platform prioritize student interaction & community building?
If you are a hands-on type of coach and want to be able to engage and interact with your course students directly, investing in a platform that offers feedback features is key. Some platforms include live streaming, community forum integration, and community chat, which gives you the opportunity to interact with students in real-time and answer their questions.
4. Does this course creation platform include essential delivery options?
Think about how you want to package up and deliver your course to your students. Do you want customers to have access to the whole course straight away? Or would you prefer to drip your course content over the course of weeks or even months? Maybe you want your students to simply complete one section before moving on to the next. If so your platform will need to be able to support this type of content delivery?
5. Does your course creation platform provide marketing and sales tools?
Delivering your course is only one part of being able to monetize your expertise. If you don’t already have an existing audience or email list, it’ll be a good idea to have a platform that can provide tools to market your course if you want to make sales. That’s why an all-in-one course platform such as Kajabi or Samcart which both have built-in marketing tools, such as email marketing, affiliate marketing, and sales funnels, would be a good fit.
You can also purchase your email autoresponder service separately (I use ConvertKit) and integrate it with your course platform.
6. Does your platform give you the ability to create customizable landing pages?
Most online course platforms these days come with a drag-and-drop page builder that allows you to create, customize and publish high-converting landing pages, webinar registration pages, opt-in pages, and sales pages. Look for a platform that has a variety of high-qualty professionally-designed, high-converting page builder templates, and make sure they’re easy to customize.
If you like to DIY it, you can build your landing pages separately using your email marketing service, a landing page builder such as LeadPages or you can create your pages inside of WordPress.org or Squarespace, then integrate them with your course platform. This approach will give you more control over the look and feel of your landing pages allowing for a more aligned brand experience.
7. Does the platform offer your preferred payment options?
How do you want your students to pay you? Most course creation platforms offer multiple pricing systems and payment gateways but some platforms support more payment processors than others.
For example, you may want to use both PayPal or Stripe to collect payments, and depending on what platform you choose, you might be able to set up payment plans, recurring subscriptions, product bundles, order bumps, coupon codes, etc. Make sure you choose a solution that can set up the kind of course pricing system you want.
8. Does the platform offer the third-party Integrations you need?
Do your due diligence and made sure you understand exactly what integrations are supported before you decide on a course platform. This is a critical step because many of the decisions you will make in regard to how you cs deliver your online course will depend on the integration options. You will also want to make sure your platform integrations work well with the rest of your existing tech stack, such as your email autoresponder service, website, CRM, etc.
9. Does the platform fit your budget?
Price can have a huge impact on the course creation platform you choose. You can get started with most online course platforms for free, but you will also need to understand that those free options tend to come with additional transaction fees that give the platform a percentage of every sale. And this is on top of any payment processor fees.
If you plan on selling a lot of courses, signing up for a paid plan that has 0% transaction fees will typically save you some money. Now keep in mind that the free and less expensive plans, come with fewer features and you will more than likely be limited to the number of courses you can build. Most free plans limited you to 1 course before you are forced to upgrade. At the end of the day, be financially responsible and choose something that fits your budget and makes sense for you as an online coach and business owner.
Hopefully, this quick comparison post of the most popular online course platforms for new coaches and course creators gave you some much-needed insight into the options you have when it comes time to deliver your course.
Learn to plan, create & scale your online course in The 5 Figure Course Creator. The step-by-step guide to creating, branding, launching, and selling your OWN wildly profitable course…(despite not having a big audience or feeling “ready”)
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