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Are you thinking about creating and selling online courses? Do you need help figuring out which online course platform is right for your business?
If the answer to both questions is yes, then don’t stop reading.
Today, we’re going to compare two of the biggest platforms for creating courses — Thinkific and Teachable.
These are two of the best online course platforms available to consumers today. But since they share some features, some have a hard time deciding which one to use.
In this post, we’ll tell you their similarities and differences so you can gauge which is the right service for you.
Thinkific is a cloud-based software that lets you create, promote, and sell an online course. It’s designed to be a one-stop-shop for course creators. Not only can you build your course from scratch, but you can also design your site and market your business using the platform.
The company implements a drag-and-drop system. This means even beginners have a chance of creating a course that looks and feels professional without the need to learn how to code.
It also allows you to add multimedia files to add elements that keep users engaged such as videos, quizzes, surveys, and downloadable files.
If you’re selling more than one course, you can use Thinkific’s different customization options so you can design a program that works for all of your customers. For example, you can create membership programs, add hidden or private courses, enable multiple instructors, and turn on drip schedule content.
Another cool feature is Thinkific’s drag-and-drop site builder. So you can come up with an online store in minutes thanks to the customizable templates that are readily available. No coding experience necessary.
Thinkific comes with all the marketing tools you’ll need to promote and sell your courses. You can charge in over 100 currencies and it lets you accept payments for all credit cards. Best of all, you get paid immediately.
You also get to monitor your students using automated check-ins and progress reports.
This course builder also has impressive security features that include SSL certification and daily backups. It boasts of a 99.9% uptime and 24/7 monitoring.
Teachable is a similar product to Thinkific. It gives you space where you can create custom courses and host them on Teachable. You can upload unlimited courses and videos. There’s a tool that enables one-on-one sessions with students.
Plus you can integrate third-party tools that add more functions to your landing pages and backend operations.
When it comes to payments, you set how you want to be paid. You can do subscriptions, memberships, bundles, or one-time payments. And if you want to incentivize your leads, you can offer coupons. There are also affiliate marketing tools available so your customers will have a reason to promote your course on your behalf if that’s the direction you want to take.
With Teachable, you get paid in more than 130 currencies. You can also get paid using PayPal.
In general, Teachable offers the same level of security protection for you and your students. This includes 24/7 monitoring and SSL certification.
Before we discuss all the differences that set these two course builders apart, let’s take some time to talk about what features you can expect from using either platform.
Both tools can have all the features in the world. But if they can’t help you create courses to sell, then either one won’t do you any good.
Thankfully, both platforms are great tools for building courses.
Thinkific Course Builder
Thinkific and Teachable let you insert multimedia content like videos and images. And if you want to engage users and track their progress, you can have them take quizzes.
You have the freedom to structure your courses as you see fit. For example, you can drip feed your content — a feature that lets you control when a user can access certain parts of your course.
And depending on which plan you subscribe to, you can grant administrator access to members of your team who can help you manage your courses. This is a big deal especially for those of you who thrive in collaborative environments.
Thinkific and Teachable lets you design your website using a drag-and-drop interface. For the unfamiliar, this only means that you don’t need to know how to code in order to customize your site.
Teachable Site Design
Even better, Thinkific and Teachable can deal with the backend operations. This allows you to focus on developing courses once the site design is settled.
Your plan will come with free hosting. You also get SSL certification which is important if you want to gain the confidence of your customers.
As far as branding goes, you do get your own subdomain (yourdomain.thinkific.com or yourdomain.teachable.com) but you can use your own domain name if you have one.
What kind of sales and marketing options do Thinkific and Teachable have to offer?
Both platforms let you decide how to market your online course. For example, you can have customers pay a one-time fee or configure it to be a recurring fee. And if you want to drum up interest in your course, you can create coupons or create course bundles.
More importantly, both platforms have upsell features that give you an opportunity to boost your sales.
But what about payment options?
Teachable Payment Options
Luckily, both of them accept payments using credit cards through Stripe and PayPal. This means that your students can pay no matter where they are in the world using these payment methods.
If you’re into affiliate marketing, you’ll be happy to hear that they both have this structure in place. You can set a custom commission percentage for the courses that you want them to sell.
All affiliates will have a dashboard where they can monitor their progress.
Now it’s time to talk about what makes these two course builders different from one another.
The good news is that both of these platforms offer quizzes. But the extent of their quizzing features do vary.
Let’s start with Thinkific. If you need to, you can import your questions as a XLSX file. There’s a template provided to help users who are uploading for the first time. You’ll also find quiz features like randomized question banks and the ability to add explanations.
To make the quizzes more engaging, you can attach images and videos to your questions. This isn’t something that you can do over at Teachable.
And if you’re into handing out assignments, then Thinkific has your back. This gives you more ways to assess your students’ comprehension. You have the option to accept student assignments or not if they do not meet your standards.
There are two types of quizzes that you can add to lectures: non-graded and graded. However, the latter is only available if you subscribe to the Professional plan or higher.
If you do have access to the Graded Quiz feature, then the results would show up as part of your school’s course reports. In the course reports, you’ll find a student’s average score, minimum score, maximum score, and total completed (number of students who completed the quiz).
There’s even a leaderboard that displays a list of students that’s organized based on their course progress.
There are also community-building features available on both platforms as a way of improving your relationship with students. It can also act as a support line so that you can make sure that your students can get in touch with you if they have questions or concerns.
But how these features are implemented on both platforms are slightly different.
With Thinkific, you can establish a space on your website specifically for community building. Think of it as a forum where your students can post questions where other community members can post an answer.
You can configure your community to only grant access to students of a specific course, bundle, or membership. Alternatively, you can also grant access to all students to really be as inclusive as can be.
Having a Thinkific community will increase the chance of students sticking around way after they’re done with your course.
Like with Thinkific, there’s a space dedicated to members of your Teachable community. Here you can freely share business information with your students or share content that you feel like they should have access to.
Aside from the Teachable community feature, there’s also a commenting system where students can ask questions about the course.
As the moderator, you can enable or disable the feature, allow students to attach image files to comments, and allow multi-level threading of responses.
So, yes, there are plenty of ways that you can interact with your community on both platforms. But Teachable has a slight advantage in this department.
Having the option to post blog posts is important. Why? Because blog posts are important for search engine optimization (SEO). With the help of SEO, you can rank for keywords that relate to your online courses.
However, of the two platforms we’re reviewing today, only one of them has a blogging feature.
Teachable lets you post articles and optimize them for SEO.
Once you enable the blog feature, you can add blog details like your blog name, subtitle, and about information.
Creating a blog post is really simple. The interface isn’t that far off from what you’d expect to find in a content management tool like WordPress. You can modify details like the title of the post, the URL, author bio, publish date, and the content itself.
You can also edit the details of the blog post after it’s published.
Thinkific does not have a blog platform. They encourage users to use a third-party platform like WordPress if they really need the feature.
What’s the checkout experience like on both platforms? Is Teachable’s process faster than Thinkific? Let’s find out.
Teachable has a one-step checkout process which not only helps make it more convenient for the customer, but it also gives leads fewer chances to abandon their shopping carts.
Everything is on one page — including payment information.
Customers that do not have an account will be asked to create one after the sale pushes through. You can improve the checkout process by including elements that instill confidence like testimonials, bullet points, and money-back guarantees.
So how does Thinkific’s checkout process compare? Thinkific has two steps instead of one which adds an unnecessary strain in the checkout process.
The first page is where customers can fill out their personal information. And on the next page, that’s where they’re supposed to enter their payment details along with their coupon codes if applicable.
It is worth pointing out that Thinkific has recently released a single-page checkout page that you can A/B test. But there are problems with the single-page checkout that Thinkific implemented such as:
- The logo and site header not appearing
- The single-page checkout page does not work with the Site Builder feature
- The course description will not appear on the page
- The footer code does not run
Both platforms can include one-click upsells which can help boost sales.
Unfortunately, there’s also a difference in how both platforms approach customer support. With Teachable, you can expect real-time live chat customer support if you subscribe to the Professional plan (or higher). But Thinkific uses a ticket-based system.
But there is an upside to choosing Thinkific. It will respond even on weekends which is great.
There’s something to be said about both of these platforms’ resource pages. If you only need basic troubleshooting, there’s a good chance that you won’t need to get in touch with customer service. There’s a good chance that the answers you need are already in there.
Teachable Help Center
Plus, both platforms have onboarding training so that all of their subscribers would know how to start building courses.
Here are the factors that make Thinkific better than Teachable.
Thinkific will not charge you transaction fees regardless of which plan you select. This is a big deal because you don’t want potential earnings to slip out of your hands and into the pockets of your course builder platform.
If you go for the Teachable Basic plan, there’s a 5% transaction fee.
With Thinkific, you won’t have any problem looking out for your students. There are so many ways that you can show support.
You can create assignments that you could use to assess their understanding of your lessons and make every lesson more engaging.
Then there’s the option to build communities where you and your students could interact by publishing posts and comments. It helps students not only interact with you, but also with their peers.
But there are also Thinkific features that are great for the course creators themselves. Managing students is easy with all the tools that this platform makes available to you.
For starters, you can organize students by cohort. This means you can assign people to a group for easier reporting and filtering. Why are groups important? Well, you can use it to sell a specific course to a more receptive group. Or you can use this feature to track a certain group’s progress.
Thinkific also has an option that lets you enroll a new student manually should you ever need to.
Unenrolling students is also easy if they ever apply for a refund, cancel their subscription, or incorrectly fill up their registration. You can even do it in bulk.
Then there are the monitoring features. The Activity Feed will allow you to see the progress of each individual student.
What you’ll see are the student’s sign-in information, quiz and survey results (if there are any), video analytics (how students interact with your video content), and discussions (how the student interacts with other students).
These are just some of the ways that Thinkific makes your online courses more meaningful and efficient.
Thinkific has the advantage when it comes to site design. It offers a lot of site themes that you can customize to fit your branding.
And you also get a lot of lesson types to choose from. You can do videos, quizzes, multimedia, text, surveys, PDFs, audio, downloadable files, narrated presentations, Brillium exams, discussions, assignments, alternative quizzes, webinars, live streams, and more.
Teachable and Thinkific both have white-label features. But with Teachable, users still need to log in through its subdomain — even if you’re using a custom domain. This kind of defeats the purpose of white labeling, don’t you think?
So as far as white labeling goes, Thinkific takes the cake.
Here are the factors that make Teachable better than Thinkific.
When you look at all the ways that Teachable makes its checkout process efficient, you can’t help but be impressed. The use of testimonials and course guarantee badges, as well as the use of a one-step checkout process and upsells, really does improve the conversion rate.
Testimonials, in particular, help inspire confidence for customers. You can add testimonials to your checkout page. You can add a heading, a photo, name, and testimonial description.
The checkout page can also have up to five bullet points. This will help you make a last-minute pitch to your leads as to why they should purchase your course.
And let’s not forget about the Course Guarantee. You can make a money-back guarantee the default image or you can upload your own badge.
Having a money-back guarantee logo will help give your customer a sense of security right before they buy your online course.
What do we mean by better course content management? This refers to all the built-in features that make it easier for you as a course creator to manage all of your assets.
For example, Teachable lets you import content from cloud-based storage like Google Drive and Dropbox.
And if you find yourself needing to edit a large number of courses at once, you can use the bulk edit feature to get the job done as quickly as possible.
You’ll find the bulk action feature handy if you need to remove multiple users at once, set commission rates, delete emails, or assign roles (if you’re on the Business plan).
There’s a feature that lets you make a lesson downloadable. This is a great option for students who want to save lessons on their devices.
And yes, you can also upload lessons in bulk as long as they’re saved in one of the accepted file formats.
This will make your life so much better.
Another neat thing about Teachable is that it’s able to handle EU VAT. So when someone purchases a course, the EU VAT is automatically added to the course price. And it will add the right EU VAT based on where your student is located.
You can choose to display the EU VAT price on your course sales page for full transparency.
If the student uses Teachable’s gateway and not your Stripe or PayPal account, the platform will take care of the tax on your behalf.
There are workarounds for this if you’re going to stick with Thinkific. But you’ll have to go through a lot of hoops just to get EU VAT automatically deducted. Using third-party tools is just not ideal.
If you choose Teachable, you’ll have the option to publish blog posts. As previously mentioned, this is important especially for those who want to rank search engines for their target words and phrases.
But more than that, your students can turn to your blog as an additional resource. You can publish notes, studies, or relay just about any kind of information that your audience would find useful. It’s also a great tool for establishing credibility in your community.
You can also have guests publish blogs if they have something they’d like to share with your community.
Teachable blogs can be open to everyone or only to your students. The blog interface is comparable to WordPress so just about anyone can contribute. You don’t need prior blogging experience to publish your first post on Teachable.
Thinkific has four plans available. There’s the free version that gives you limited access to the tool. Then there’s Basic that costs $49/month. The Pro plan is $99/month. Then there’s the Premier plan that will set you back $499/month.
This platform has a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you pay annually, you’ll save up to 20%.
Teachable, on the other hand, only has three plans that you could choose from. The Basic plan is $39/month. The Pro plan is $199/month. The most expensive plan is Business at $299/month.
If you pay annually, you will save a significant amount of money.
While Teachable seems less expensive depending on which plan you’re considering, you should remember that Teachable’s lowest plan will have a 5% transaction fee. So you need to ask yourself if it’s worth sacrificing 5% every time somebody orders your online course.
Thinkific is ideal for those of you who’d like to prioritize after-sales support. Think about it. Features like quizzes give you an opportunity to assess students to see if they’re absorbing the things that you’re trying to teach.
This platform also lets you build communities with ease. It allows you to create a space where you can communicate with your students. And you students can then talk with others like them.
If you also need beautiful site themes to choose from, then Thinkific is the right platform to use. Teachable doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to site design. This is where Thinkific stands out. With Thinkific, you can use a sleek template that you can customize to meet your needs.
Teachable is the better choice if you’re going to prioritize lead capture. This platform has all the marketing and sales features to help drive your conversions higher. It can accept different payment methods including Apple Pay. It can also automatically handle EU VAT.
There are also affiliate marketing tools to encourage students to promote your course to their friends and loved ones.
Teachable also has decent analytics features, live chat support, and an iOS app.
But like we said before, the right course builder tool will always depend on what you need. To be honest, both of these platforms will have no problem helping you sell courses online. They have the majority of the features you’ll need. And what they lack are simply nice-to-haves. The foundation of these platforms should help you get to where you need to go.