In this advanced guide, we'll compare the 9 best online course platforms in 2023. We'll discuss the pros and cons of each platform so you can make an informed decision as to which one is right for you.
The online course and e-learning market reached $315 billion in 2021, with a projected 20% annual growth rate from 2022 to 2028 [Global Markets Insights, 2022].
The world is increasingly digital, and hundreds of millions of people go online every year to learn new skills from knowledge-sharing individuals and businesses like you.
It is not a surprise that major online course platforms claim to have helped content creators earn billions of dollars selling courses and coaching programs:
- Kajabi: $4B+ earned by 100,000+ entrepreneurs
- Thinkific: $1.5B+ earned by 50,000+ entrepreneurs
- Teachable: $1B+ earned by 100,000+ entrepreneurs
More and more entrepreneurs want to learn how to start an online coaching business and sell online courses.
Do you also want to help people by sharing your expertise and making money selling digital products? If so, this article is for you.
The online course platform you choose matters as you will build your business on it. You want to choose a reliable, easy-to-use, proven online course platform that can support you on your way to success.
- What are the Best Online Course Platforms?
- FAQ – Selling Online Courses
- Wrapping Up
What are the Best Online Course Platforms?
I review the best online course platforms below to help you make the right decision for your online business.
Best Overall Online Course Platform (Free Plan)
I use Thinkific for my online courses, and I love it. They offer a great platform with everything you need to create, launch, and sell online courses. Their platform is easy to use, has a smooth onboarding process guiding you step by step, and offers excellent customer support. They even have an App Store to help you scale your business.
Overall, Thinkific is my #1 online course platform recommendation. Over 50,000 course creators like you and me use Thinkific, along with top brands like Later, Shopify, Hootsuite, Fiverr, Samsung, and Intel.
Best For Everyone
Price Free – $74/mo (Start plan)
Annual Discount Yes, Save 25%
Promotion One Month Free Trial
(included: Start Plan 1 month free (value: $99) + training bundle + 100+ hours of video content + exclusive software deals. Total value: $1099+. Get it for FREE via this special link).
Thinkific is the best online course creation software if you want an all-inclusive solution. It is easy to use, with everything you need to sell digital products online.
You can sell unlimited courses on all paid plans. A massive advantage of Thinkific is that it does not charge transaction fees on all plans, even for the Free plan! By comparison, Teachable charges $1 + 10% transaction fees on sales in its free plan.
Build all your course business with Thinkific: website, landing pages, online courses, sales funnels, email marketing, and more. Optionally, you can connect Thinkific to your existing website. All you need is an audience and Thinkific.
You can sell online courses and paid memberships for recurring revenue and build communities of engaged students to help them achieve transformation while sharing your skills. They offer many features to keep your students engaged, such as quizzes and surveys, live lessons, assignments, and more. You can add e-books or other files to your offers.
What I like about Thinkific is the excellent user experience both students and instructors get on the platform. Your students get a high-end learning experience with key features to keep them engaged.
The interface is clean, professional, and well-organized.
They guide you step by step to create your first course via messages and checklists.
Here is the interface when creating your first course:
After adding your learning products (course, community, membership site), you can design your own website via their drag-and-drop editor.
Select your preferred website template from their theme library, set up your payment methods, and you're good to go!
You also get onboarding emails, and you can also access their free courses on the Thinkific Academy. They offer live training programs to help you build membership communities and online courses.
Thinkific has an App Store with 80+ apps, so you can connect to external services and scale your business.
Their pricing is in line with other online course platforms, and you can also sell 1 course for free to unlimited students in their free plan.
Here's what people are saying about Thinkific:
- “By teaching our audience how to scale and grow their business through online training, we've grown ours. We couldn't have done it without Thinkific.” – John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneurs on Fire (15K students, 5 courses, $1.5M+ course revenue).
- “Thinkific is like the Shopify of online course platforms. The uptime is really solid, and above all, the support has been phenomenal. I feel like you're working to constantly improve my experience and the experience of my students. That's huge.” – Jonathan Levi, online coach, SuperHuman Academy (12 courses, 120,000 students)
- Course Builder: Quickly and easily create courses using templates and their drag-and-drop editor. No coding skills are required to sell courses!
- Student Experience: Use videos, texts, and files like e-books to teach your students in various ways. Let them access all the courses at once, on a schedule with others, or after completing preliminary steps. Track their progress and boost engagement with live lessons, quizzes, surveys, assignments, or exams before giving completion certificates. Create communities so your students can learn from others and build memberships for recurring revenue and long-term student engagement.
- Website Builder: build your course website fast with website themes and a drag-and-drop builder. On top of sales pages, add a home page, your teacher bio page, testimonials, a blog, a chatbot, banners, and more. You don't need any coding knowledge, but if you want, you can also use their HTML editor. If you already have a website, you can keep it and connect it to Thinkific for the course part. They have 80+ apps in their app store to let you connect to the services you use.
- Video Hosting: unlimited video hosting via Wistia. This is huge as video hosting is usually expensive.
- Sales Pages: Create beautiful, conversion-optimized sales pages without coding with the intuitive page builder.
- Sell More: offer coupons, promotions, bundles, order bumps, subscriptions, memberships, post-purchase upsells, and more.
- Course Pricing: Offer courses for free, on a one-time or recurring basis, via paid memberships.
- Branding: use your custom domain and remove Thinkific branding to maximize the branding experience.
You have everything you need to build and grow your course business without dealing with the technical aspects.
As Thinkific is cloud-based, it's always available with an SLA of 99.5%, and you can bring as much traffic as you want. You want to maximize your sales with a platform that works and is optimized for course sales. That's precisely what Thinkific has to offer.
- The user interface is very intuitive and easy to use. It's fast, and you can quickly find what you're looking for.
- The online course builder is easy to use with a drag-and-drop editor. The editing experience is very smooth.
- The student experience is excellent. The courses are well organized, and the interface is clean and professional. Students learn from your video courses and additional learning materials you can add (downloadable files, texts, videos).
Thinkific offers everything you need to successfully run a course business, from pre-selling your course and hosting webinars to tracking your student's progress.
Fiverr is the #1 marketplace for freelancers, used by millions of people each year. They use Thinkific as their online course platform. You can see for yourself how the interface looks like for your students by visiting Fiverr Learn.
Credit: Fiverr Learn
You can check on Fiverr's website with a right-click, “View page source,” and search for the “Thinkific” keyword.
Thinkific offers 4 pricing plans: Free, Start, Grow, Expand, and Plus.
You can start with the Free plan and build your first course. After that, upgrade to the Start plan to scale your business with unlimited online courses, custom domains, and sales features to help you sell more.
You can also benefit from their exclusive special offer with 1 month free on the Start plan and lots of premium video content: Claim your 1-month free trial.
If you want the best and are ready to pay more, their most popular plan for course creators is the Grow plan.
This Grow plan offers full flexibility as you can create many communities and have many admins for your business. On top of that, you get priority support and premium bulk features. You can also remove Thinkific branding with this plan.
Here is a comparison of the plans available with the main differences. All plans except the Free one offer unlimited courses. You get unlimited students and 0% transaction fees in all the plans.
- Free ($0/mo): 1 course, 1 community, 1 admin. Basic support. No custom domain (your URL looks like “YOURNAME “.thinkific.com, and you can change YOURNAME). It's an excellent plan to try the interface, create your first course and start selling online. Claim your free plan here.
- Start ($74/mo): Unlimited Courses. All Free features, plus custom domains, Paid Membership Sites for recurring revenue, and scheduled content. You also get 1:1 emailing, coupons, discounts, product bundles, assignments, and many other advanced options. They give you premium training materials to help you succeed. You need this plan if you're serious about your business. Claim your 1-month free trial.
- Grow ($149/mo): all in Start + more communities and admins (you can have a team!), no Thinkific branding, bulk emailing, and other advanced features like bulk enrollments (see the list here). You get priority support by phone and email. It's the plan you need to optimize the branding experience, do email marketing, have a team, or get priority support.
- Expand ($374/mo): For large businesses with plenty of communities and admins, as well as custom SSL certificates and priority support. See the complete feature list here.
- Plus: custom pricing. It's a plan for large businesses. For example, Fiverr, Later, Hootsuite, and other companies use this plan. You can learn more here.
Pros and Cons
- Free plan: it's excellent to get started. You can sell 1 course for free to as many customers as possible and have zero transaction fees. That's a fantastic opportunity.
- Premium Platform: you get the best user experience and a wide range of features in this all-in-one platform, including Memberships, Communities, and post-purchase upsells.
- Students Engagement: many key features to help your students engage and succeed.
- Support: via email, chat, phone, and a Resource Center with free video courses in the Thinkific Academy.
- App Store: connect your Thinkific course site to plenty of external services. They have 80+ apps: Google Analytics, Zoom, Shopify, Mailchimp, Facebook pixel, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and more.
- Marketing Automation and email marketing with powerful marketing tools.
- Theme library: there are only 3 themes available for your website design, with various styles for each theme. You can expect Thinkific to release more themes in the future.
- Paid plans: not everybody can afford to pay $99/mo for the Start plan ($74/mo annual). However, you get a premium online course platform. You can be profitable fast if you sell only a few courses monthly. If you're a total beginner, I recommend you to go for the Free plan, build your audience, create and sell your first course and scale later with a better plan.
I recommend Thinkific as my top pick for course creators and entrepreneurs dedicated to creating, marketing, and selling their own courses.
Its user-friendly interface makes creating online courses simple and fun. With customizable options for branding your online school and hosting on your domain, you have complete control over the look and feel of your courses.
You can quickly market your courses with built-in email automation, and an intuitive sales funnel system. Sell them to a global audience without any prior experience or tech skills.
Ready to get started? Use my link below to get a One-Month Free Trial of their Start Plan today!
Best High-End Online Course Platform (All-in-One, Starts at $119/mo)
Kajabi is one of the leading all-in-one online course platforms for ambitious course creators. This premium course platform is all you need to run your knowledge business. Sell online courses, coaching programs, membership sites, podcasts, and communities. Build your website, sales pages, and funnels, manage your students and do email marketing with powerful marketing tools, all with Kajabi. I also love the interface; well organized and beautiful.
I highly recommend Kajabi if you can afford it. You can take advantage of their free trial to launch your business.
Best For Ambitious Entrepreneurs
Price $119 – $319/mo
Annual Discount Yes, Save 20%
Promotion 14-day free trial
Are you ready to make serious money online by sharing your knowledge? Kajabi is an all-in-one knowledge commerce platform founded in 2010 that helps people monetize their knowledge online.
Creators have made over $4 billion with Kajabi; that's over 4000 million dollars! With over 100,000 businesses built on this online course platform, the average online course creator has earned over $40,000 on the platform. Sure, some make hundreds of thousands or even hit the million-dollar mark, others much less, but Kajabi is clearly helping entrepreneurs succeed online.
Kajabi is among the best online course platforms used by many successful content creators.
- Create online courses and much more with this online course platform.
- Add a membership site to get recurring revenue.
- Include an online community to increase engagement and retention. Sell coachingprograms, podcasts, courses, eBooks, and other digital products.
You can build your whole website with Kajabi, including your sales pages. I love this platform as they have everything in one place, including sales funnels and email marketing automation to boost your sales.
The online course editor is user-friendly, and the interface is easy to navigate. In the menu, you have 5 items: Website, Products, Sales, Marketing, People; I will explain them in the list of key features below.
With its intuitive interface, you can easily create and sell your courses to a global audience without any prior experience or tech skills. You can navigate the dashboard to create products, communities, memberships, and more. It's also easy to keep track of all your business.
I think there is a learning curve to understand all the key features available, but it's normal; you'll learn over time. The platform helps you get organized when building your business, also allowing you to scale it with automation. There is a Help Center and video courses to help you get started.
- Website Builder: Kajabi helps you create a beautiful website with a wide range of pre-built templates and a page builder – no coding skills required, no need to hire a designer. Pick a design template, add your sales copy, and you're ready to launch. Each template is flexible and customizable.
- Products: deliver value to your customers with digital products. Choose between pre-designed themes or start from scratch and add videos, audio, presentations, files, and assessments. They have templates for each product type: Mini-Course, Online Course, Drip Course (scheduled content), Membership, Coaching Program, and more. I recommend you start by creating a mini-course to get quick results. You get unlimited video hosting.
- Sales: once you have a product to sell, you will create an offer. It's how you'll package your digital products and present them: price, payment options, included files, and more. You can sell your products as a one-time offer, via multiple payments, or a subscription. Offers can consist of numerous products, and you can include each product in various offers. For example, you can add a membership to your course product, making this offer irresistible! You can add upsells and order bumps, an abandoned cart email, and automation. The checkout page is also customizable. Use coupon codes, and add affiliate commissions.
- Marketing: to make sales, you need to build an audience to have people to sell your products to. Kajabi has powerful marketing tools to help you do that. You don't need to pay for external tools, as Kajabi has everything you need to reach your potential customers and show them your products and offers.
- Automated Pipelines: landing pages + emails + automation triggers working altogether so you can make sales even when you sleep. Your system collects leads and gets sales on autopilot! It's easy with pre-built templates.
- Email Campaigns: create automated email sequences or broadcasts with various customizable templates depending on your use case.
- People: Kajabi has a fully integrated CRM (Customer Relationships Management system). Manage your customers, contacts, and affiliates in one place. Filter your list, add tags, create segments, and view your student's progress.
- Integrations: you can connect external tools with your business on Kajabi thanks to integrations: Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Aweber, Drip, Zapier, Clickfunnels, and more.
- Mobile App: they also have a beautiful, customizable app to let customers access your products on their phones. It's professional and mobile-friendly. Offering an excellent customer experience is essential to increase your sales.
Kajabi pricing depends on your usage. You get 0% transaction fees on all plans and unlimited landing pages and marketing emails.
- Basic ($119/mo): 1 website, 1 admin, 3 products, 3 funnels, 10,000 contacts, and 1000 active customers.
- Growth ($159/mo): 1 website, 10 admins, 15 products, 15 funnels, 25,000 contacts, and 10,000 active customers. You also get 24/7 chat support, advanced automation, and affiliate features. You can also remove Kajabi's branding.
- Pro ($319/mo):3 websites, 25 admins, 100 products, 100 funnels, 100,000 contacts, and 250,000 active customers. You get all the features of the Growth plan plus access to the code editor.
Pros and Cons
Here is what I like and dislike about Kajabi, in my experience. You may have a different view when claiming your free trial.
- High-end Platform: Best premium all-in-one platform for a knowledge business. You get everything you need to sell digital products online.
- Reputation: Kajabi is the high-end platform on the market that popular content creators join. Entrepreneurs sold for more than $4B on Kajabi.
- Automated Pipelines: you can scale your business with sales funnels automation and earn money even when you sleep.
- Products: sell any kind of digital products, from online courses to membership sites, coaching programs, files, and more.
- Video Hosting: unlimited via Wistia, an excellent service.
- Email Marketing: you don't need an external service to send emails to leads and customers. You can send unlimited emails via the built-in email marketing feature.
- Mobile App: professional app for an excellent customer experience.
- Payments: integration with Stripe and PayPal.
- Pricing: You get a 14-day free trial, but they don't have a forever free plan. Kajabi is an excellent online course platform, but it's pricey, so not everyone can afford it.
- Email sequences: You could have more complexity, as you can find in dedicated email marketing software with advanced marketing tools.
Overall, I recommend Kajabi as one of my top picks for online course creators. I love the all-in-one aspect of the platform, the ease of use, the beautiful design, and the large set of features. Try Kajabi if you want the best on the market, and have the budget.
Kajabi stands out with its email marketing automation capabilities. Send advanced, triggered emails to segmented users on your list for a more professional branded message.
I also like its mobile app and the video hosting feature. The platform is expensive, but it's worth it if you want to scale your online business.
Claim your 14-day free trial of Kajabi today.
Best Online Course Platform for Beginners (Free plan, Basic plan at $29/mo)
Teachable is an excellent platform for selling online courses and coaching programs. Since 2014, 100K+ creators have earned over $1 billion on this online course platform. I highly recommend Teachable for beginners because of its affordability on the entry-level plan.
I like the user interface, and it's easy to build a beautiful course website fast with the drag-and-drop editor.
Best For Beginners to experts
Price $0 – $249/mo (Basic at $29/mo)
Annual Discount Yes, Save up to 25%
Promotion Get Started with a Free Plan
Teachable is a good option if you want an easy-to-use, affordable, all-in-one platform to sell online. Indeed, this online course platform offers a beautiful design, an excellent user interface, and a large set of features. You can create online courses or coaching programs fast in your admin dashboard.
Teachable has a Free plan (1 course) and a Basic plan at just $29/month (unlimited courses), which is perfect if you are getting started in course creation. They charge transaction fees on sales tough ($1+10% in Free, 5% in Basic) unless you take the Pro plan.
I recommend you follow the free mini course “Establish Your Business's Hub on Teachable.” I did this when creating my academy, and it helps to build your course website and start with Teachable quickly.
After following this free course to have your course homepage and website, you can join their exclusive Launch Accelerator Challenge. This program helps you launch your first course and start selling in less than 30 days. The experts on the Teachable team will give you all the advice, resources, and tools you need to achieve this goal.
- Course Builder: Support self-paced or cohort-based courses and coaching programs, including live coaching. Add digital downloads like e-books and other files to improve your offers.
- Bundles: create courses, and package your courses and coaching programs to create unique offers.
- Sales Pages: Design your course's sales page in minutes with Teachable. It's never been easier to create a visually stunning, high-converting webpage that captures the attention of potential learners and transforms them from visitors into subscribers or even customers!
- Instructors: you can invite instructors to help you build your online courses. Set automatic payments for them within Teachable, so they get paid when a student buys a specific product.
- Email Marketing: Email students directly from Teachable with their email marketing tools. You need at least the Basic plan for that.
- Payment Processing: they have their native payment gateway, “Teachable Payments.” You can get paid faster (daily, weekly, or monthly) via direct deposit to your bank account using Stripe Express in the backend (PCI compliant). Teachable handles author and affiliate payouts for you. They also have the “Monthly Payment Gateway” to send money monthly to your PayPal account. There is also the possibility for custom payment gateways (Pro plan or higher) via your Stripe or PayPal accounts.
- Live Coaching: set milestones, chat with your students live, and schedule webinars they can attend on Teachable. They support live individual or group coaching.
The clean user interface offers an excellent experience for students and instructors. You can easily set up your site and create products like courses or coaching. Monitor your sales from your dashboard in 1 click.
Here is a view from your admin dashboard:
Here is the editor to create your online school landing page and other pages of your website. It's very intuitive and easy to play with! You can drag and drop elements; you don't need coding skills.
Create a course, a coaching program, or a digital offer from your dashboard and group them in bundles.
You can change the appearance and feel of your website and products with only a few clicks. You can change some of your website theme settings: logo, branding, font, and color palette. For your courses, you have the choice between 3 design templates.
Many tutorials and courses on Teachable are available to teach you how to navigate the interface and create your online courses.
- Free: 1 course, 1 admin, $1+10% transaction fees, no custom domain.
- Basic ($29/mo): unlimited courses, 2 admins, 5% transaction fees, custom domain available.
- Pro ($99/mo): unlimited courses, 5 admins, 0% transaction fees, live chat and group coaching, affiliate marketing, advanced reporting.
- Business ($249/mo): all in Pro + 20 admins and advanced features (bulk student import, advanced coding, and more).
Teachable is budget-friendly for beginners. Yes, they charge transaction fees on their entry-level plans, unlike Thinkific. However, Teachable's Basic plan is more affordable at only $29/month.
At first, you are not sure of succeeding. Therefore, you want to minimize risk with a free or cheap subscription, even if it means paying transaction fees on sales.
Once you make many sales, you can upgrade to the more premium Teachable Pro plan offering advanced features and zero transaction fees.
Pros and Cons
- Beginner-friendly pricing
- No transaction fees on the Pro plan
- Unlimited courses, coaching, students, bandwidth
- Easy to use, intuitive interface. Create courses and coaching programs easily.
- Products monetization: Free, One-Time Purchases, Subscriptions, and Payment Plans.
- Live group coaching is available on the Pro plan.
- Teachable Payments: get paid daily, weekly, or monthly directly in your bank account with their native payment gateway using Stripe Express in the background.
- Educational Materials: courses, launch challenge, online university, and more. You have everything you need to start selling online.
- Lead-capture forms: add them directly to your product pages and start collecting leads.
- One-click checkout
- Graded quizzes
- Course completion certificates
- Bundles: package various online courses and coaching products to sell them together with attractive offers.
- Integrations: Integrate Teachable with 8 external services: Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Sumo, Segment, Zapier, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Circle.so.
- Community: no in-built online community feature for interacting with your students. However, Teachable integrates with Circle.so, an external paid community service.
- Training courses: some of their training courses are only accessible if you have a paid plan—for example, their online school Teachable:U or the Launch Accelerator Challenge.
- Email Marketing: no advanced email marketing functionality. However, starting from the basic plan, you can integrate Teachable with popular external email marketing tools like ConvertKit and Mailchimp at no extra cost! (Thinkific charges for that).
- Design customizations: You can only change some branding aspects of your website (logo, favicon, thumbnail, color palette). Choose between 3 design templates (Classic, Simple, Colossal) to create beautiful courses. I expect them to release more design templates.
- Integrations: only 8 integrations with external services are available, while Thinkific offers 80+ in its app store.
- Payment: If your country is not eligible for their excellent native payment gateway, “Teachable Payments,” you will use their “Monthly Payment Gateway.” In that case, you get paid at least a 30-day delay due to their refund policy.
I think Teachable is an excellent online course platform for beginners and more advanced course creators, especially for its affordable Basic plan at $29/month.
I like the admin dashboard; the interface is easy to use and well-polished. Teachable has many features, so you'll find everything you need to create and sell online courses and coaching programs.
You may not find all the key features you can find with Thinkific or Kajabi. Still, they connect with powerful external services like ConvertKit for your automated email marketing campaigns.
They also offer lots of training to maximize your chances of success.
Teachable is on its way to becoming a complete all-in-one online course platform. You can already enjoy their beginner-friendly pricing plans!
Get started with your Teachable Basic plan today:
Best Online Course Platform for Interactive Learning ($24/month)
This course creation platform is perfect for training employees. You can also use it to sell online courses or educate your customers. I think LearnWorlds is one of the best online course platforms for engaging learning experiences. It does this via automatic video transcripts, gamification, quizzes, and interactive elements you can add to your videos. Students can highlight text, take notes, and more. You can also have your own iOS/Android native apps. This interactivity and a wide range of features make LearnWorlds one of the best online course platforms. However, it only comes with their premium plan.
Best For Staff Training/Interactive Learning
Annual Discount Yes, Save 20%
Promotion 30-Day Free Trial
LearnWorlds is an online course platform that gives course creators the freedom to create and sell engaging online courses with a focus on interactivity. The platform allows you to create and sell courses, bundles, subscriptions, and more.
I recommend it for entrepreneurs, coaches, artists who want to create and sell online courses, and companies for staff training.
LearnWorlds offers access to a comprehensive set of tools to help you grow your business, including the ability to build your online course website from scratch. Create compelling and interactive course content, promote your academy, and launch your branded mobile app.
LearnWorlds is the most interactive learning system, integrated with video features, gamification, note-taking, quizzes, and more.
- Site Builder: With 50+ site templates, you can easily create a professional-looking website without any coding or design experience. Choose between 200 design zones and 180+ widgets to customize the look and feel of your website. Add a blog, collect information with forms, and configure your sales and checkout pages. And with “Site flavors,” you can change your design without affecting your live website until you're ready to publish.
- Course Builder: Deliver unique learning experiences that keep your customers coming and recommending you.
- Interactivity: The course creation platform makes it easy to upload videos and make them interactive, with automatic transcript extraction, text highlighting, and student note-taking. You can also add interactive elements to your videos at any time. Add a wide range of interactive activities, including multimedia content like interactive video lectures and eBooks. Plan live and scheduled coaching sessions with Calendly booking and Zoom meetings. Add forms, tests, self-assessments, certificates of completion & knowledge, gamification, and embedding options.
- Course Player: it is highly flexible and configurable, providing an excellent learning experience for your students. It allows you to create multimedia-rich e-books and import Word documents with ease.
- Learning Activities: e-books, Youtube video, PDF, SCORM/HTML5, audio files.
- Assessments: multiple choice questions, hybrid with closed and open-ended questions, or request video responses from students using their webcams. There's no limit to creativity in measuring student progress!
- Learning Community: This feature allows students to collaborate and learn together around your course materials. They may exchange ideas and ask questions.
- Support: Get tons of help when you need it from the LearnWorlds team. You can access their Academy, free e-books and checklists, join webinars and access their Help Center with 500+ articles. Contact the support team mainly via email.
- Branded Digital Certificates: Give your students something to show for their work with branded certificates. They'll be proud of it too!
- Marketing & Sales: Promote your academy with LearnWorld's marketing stack. Capture leads with various forms and popups before nurturing them. Promote offers in bundles. The software supports membership sites, subscriptions, discounts, and frictionless customizable checkout pages.
- SEO: Optimize your website for search engines and integrate it with the most effective marketing tools to increase traffic with SEO-ready pages. With LearnWorld's SEO features, people are more likely to find you!
- Bundles: Instead of selling individual courses, offer them together as bundle offers.
- Content Subscriptions
- Site Memberships
- 1-Page Checkout
- Affiliate Program: have affiliates promote your courses and earn commissions with your affiliate marketing program.
- Alternative Payment Options: increase your sales by selling courses via installments or “buy now, pay later” plans.
- Payment Gateways: Stripe, PayPal, Shopify, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna, and local gateways.
- Automation: Connect LearnWorlds to the 40,000+ apps on Zapier to automate your processes.
- Integrations: Quickly and easily connect your online school to the tools you already use and love: Zapier, Zoom, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, ConvertKit, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Sumo, HubSpot, Zendesk, Vimeo, Stripe, Wistia, PayPal, iDEAL, Shopify, Bancontact, and more.
- Analytics: Get a deeper insight into what's going on in your school by getting detailed analytics. I like it for tracking student progress!
- E-learning API
- Taxes: With their built-in Quaderno integration, you can easily handle all your taxation needs.
- Mobile App Builder: With LearnWorlds, you can easily create a custom and branded native app for iOS and Android. Now your students can take your class with them on the go! Customize your app pages, including your logo, colors, and content, to create a branded experience for your learners. You can also add push notifications, in-app purchases, and learning reminders to keep your learners engaged. LearnWorlds will handle all the publishing and submission processes to the app stores for you. The cost of $119-$199 monthly may be a bit pricey, but for that price, you could have your very own branded academy mobile app!
LearnWorlds is a professional, well-organized, and user-friendly online course platform. Its flexible and configurable course player offers a great learning experience for your students.
The course player is also mobile responsive, so your students can access their courses on the go. Optionally, you can offer your students a branded native mobile app for a better learning experience.
I like that they have so many site templates available (50+) to design your website and customize the course player. Use them for perfect branding!
Give your website a makeover with just the click of one button! Choose between 200 design zones and 180+ widgets that you can change on demand. Your academy will look different in no time at all, thanks to “Site flavors.”
The course creation software has many features and customization options, so it may take some time to get used to the interface. However, it is worth learning because it will make online learning more enjoyable for your students.
- Starter ($24/mo, paid yearly): $5 fee per course sale, unlimited courses, 1 admin, custom domain, built-in community, coupons, and drip feed courses.
- Pro Trainer ($79/month): Starter, plus no transaction fees, 5 admins, complete site builder with blog and landing pages, unlimited popups. Subscriptions, memberships, installments, customizable course player and checkout pages, assignments, live classes and webinars, affiliate programs, and more.
- Learning Center ($249/month): Pro Trainer features, plus interactive video tools, auto-transcripts, and subtitles, native iOS & Android mobile app (extra fee: $119 to $199/mo), and lots of other advanced features on top of premium support.
Pros and Cons
- Interactivity: You should provide an excellent learning experience with engaging content. LearnWorlds is the platform that offers the most interactivity on videos. A few clicks can turn your videos into stunning, interactive masterpieces complete with transcripts, subtitles, quizzes, watermarks, interactions, tables of content, titles, pointers, buttons, and more. No expensive post-production is necessary! Also, students can better remember information by taking notes and highlighting key points.
- Automatic Video Transcripts: extract transcripts automatically from your course videos.
- Design Templates: Many design customization options with 50+ site templates and 200 design zones, and 180+ widgets.
- Comprehensive Features: the course platform has plenty of e-learning features, customization options, integrations, sales, and marketing features. Companies will especially love this platform to train their employees!
- White-labelling: full white-label options in the Learning Center plan. You can make the platform yours with your company branding without mentioning LearnWorlds!
- Certificates of completion
- Memberships & Subscriptions
- Custom Mobile App: get a native app on iOS and Android. They take care of publishing your app on the app stores for you. Available on the Learning Center plan.
- Analytics Platform: optimize your sales and track your student's progress.
- Community & Built-in Social Networks: Get your own private social network designed for professionals, where users can post comments and like each other's posts. Keep your students excited and connected!
- Integrations: you can connect your LearnWorlds school to many external tools with native integrations: MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, ConvertKit, Zapier, and more.
- Pricing: The Starter plan allows you to create only 3 pages with the Site Builder and 2 popups with the Popup Builder. To get interactive video features or the optional native mobile app for your students, you need the premium Learning Center plan. You will also pay an extra $119 to $199/mo for this mobile app service.
- Marketing Automation: you don't have built-in automation features like automated sales funnels and email sequences. However, it integrates with external services like Zapier, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and more.
- Support: only email support, no live chat or phone support. However, LearnWorlds offers 24/7 support (not the weekend in the Starter plan).
LearnWorlds is an excellent online course platform that is user-friendly and offers a great learning experience for your students. It helps you create a fully branded website to display and promote your online academy as an online course creator.
The only downside is that getting the interactive features is a bit pricey. However, the price includes access to their online course software, marketing stack, and support from their team. You can also add on their mobile app builder for an additional cost.
You can enhance the learning experience by creating engaging content.
Whether you're new to online courses or a seasoned pro, LearnWorlds has everything you need to build a successful online academy.
Sign up for a free 30-day trial of LearnWorlds and start building your course business today.
All-in-One Course Platform, Simple and Intuitive Interface ($33/month)
I think Podia is one of the best online course platforms for beginners. People who want an easy-to-use solution to sell online courses, coaching, webinars, and other digital products or services will like Podia. The interface is super clean and simple to use. You have everything you need to run your knowledge business. Podia has 50,000 customers, constantly growing.
Best For Everyone
Price Free – $166/month (Mover at $33/month)
Yearly Discount Yes, Save 17%
Promotion Claim Your Free Plan
Podia is an all-in-one online course platform you can use to sell online courses, digital downloads, coaching sessions, webinars, memberships, and bundles.
The user interface is super clean and simple, so it's easy to navigate. Create your course website and sales pages, add a community, do email marketing and build sales funnels with automated email sequences.
In my opinion, Podia is one of the most user-friendly online course platforms while offering a wide range of key features.
You can also sell digital downloads like e-books, templates, video and audio files, spreadsheets, and more.
Here are some things you can do by creating your courses on Podia:
- Clean course builder that lets you add video lessons, various types of files, and quizzes. They host the videos via Wistia, but you can also use Youtube live videos.
- Standalone courses using video and audio files, links, quizzes, PDFs, and other files.
- Drip courses: deliver your course content to students section-by-section on a schedule that works for you.
- Bundles: Package and sell similar courses as a bundle.
- Cohort-based courses: your students are concurrently taking the course at a later start date.
- Pre-sell courses to get paid before you create your course.
- Pre-launch: collect emails and validate your ideas before creating your course.
- Add a community to your academy.
In addition to ease of use with a beautiful dashboard, Podia stands out for its features, making it an all-in-one course platform.
I like the community aspect, where you can create posts with text and video content to keep your students updated about your business and course materials. They can like your posts and leave comments, facilitating interactions and community spirit to keep your students engaged.
The email marketing feature is also a big plus, with the possibility of sending broadcast emails and automated email sequences. Not all online course platforms offer email automation capabilities.
Allow your biggest fans to sell your course for you with Podia's affiliate program feature. Keeping track of your affiliates has never been easier. You can keep everything in one place, including detailed reports on how well they perform for you, and even set their commission rate!
They get support 7 days a week via live chat and email during business hours.
If you want to get a feel for Podia before making the switch, sign up for their free plan. You can try out the platform without any commitments, and when it's time, switch to a paid plan to sell your course or webinar.
Other course creation platforms may have limitations, such as only allowing to sell 1 course in the free plan versus unlimited drafts with Podia. Also, you can already sell 1 coaching product in Podia's free plan.
- All-in-one platform: you don't need to log into different services to run your business because you have everything in one place.
- Email Marketing: you can have unlimited email subscribers in your email list on Podia. Send broadcast emails or campaigns with automated email sequences. Track link clicks and sales.
- Payment Gateways: Stripe and PayPal.
- Drip Courses: keep your students engaged by releasing your course content over time, incentivizing them to return regularly.
- Pre-sell and pre-launch courses. Sell courses in advance and ensure they're only available for enrollment during a specific time frame.
- Integrations with third-party tools like Zapier, Zoom, and popular email marketing services.
Creating your own course is easy, intuitive, and fun with Podia. Indeed, the interface is straightforward to use.
They guide you by the hand with video tutorials and steps to follow.
When you create your account, Podia asks you the goals you want to achieve:
You can create your website quickly and customize your design in a few clicks.
Choose a type of product to create: digital downloads, online courses, coaching sessions, or webinars.
Add a product and update it via the menu. Add lessons and related files. Include audio, texts, or videos.
You can also create your online community from the main menu. Use emails, create coupons, see your audience, manage your affiliates and see your sales.
- Free ($0/month): sell 1 digital download and 1 coaching product and build your email list. Explore the platform and create drafts of courses and webinars.
- Mover ($33/month): Unlimited courses, downloads, coaching, and no Podia transaction fees. Send 5K broadcast emails and unlimited emails in automated email campaigns.
- Shaker ($75/month): All in Mover, plus unlimited webinars, affiliate program, and 15K broadcast emails.
- Earthquaker ($166/month): All in Shaker, plus 50K broadcast emails sent monthly, priority support, and onboarding calls.
Pros and Cons
- All-in-one platform, including email marketing, community/membership site.
- Ease of use: clean interface, simplistic, well organized, straightforward to navigate, and create products. It's super easy to have everything set up. Your students can walk through your lessons step by step with an optimized course viewer with a clean design.
- Pricing: excellent value for money on most plans, compared to other course platforms.
- Unlimited courses, coaching, webinar, and downloads, depending on your plan.
- Email Marketing: send broadcast emails to your students or automated email sequences directly via Podia.
- No transaction fees on sales by Podia, but your Stripe or PayPal payment gateways will charge you.
- Community feature to keep your students engaged.
- Affiliates: create your own affiliate program and let your customers sell your courses for you in exchange for commissions!
- Live Chat: your potential customers can contact you via live chat before buying.
- Support: very responsive and friendly support team active via live chat and emails during business hours.
- Features requests: They quickly implement new feature requests from customers.
- Unlimited video hosting via Wistia.
- Integrations: built-in integrations with external services you love: Zoom, Zapier, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Drip, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, MailerLite.
- Limited Free Plan: you can't sell courses and webinars in the free plan, but you can sell 1 coaching product. However, you can create as many draft courses/webinars and switch to a paid plan when you're ready to sell them.
- Support: no phone support. 7-days a week support during business hours but not 24/7.
- Customizations: It would be great if they had better customization options for sales pages and the website builder. You can create your pages quickly, but you are limited in what you can do with their pre-created template. You don't have the same flexibility as with ClickFunnels.
- Email Marketing: it could be more robust, but you can connect Podia to the most popular email marketing services like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, or ActiveCampaign(via Integrations in your settings).
- Team: only 1 admin unless you take the most expensive plan with 5 team members. Add an additional team member for $20/month on all plans.
- Branding: you can turn off Podia branding only in the Shaker plan at $75/month. Otherwise, they put a very prominent “powered by Podia | Get your free website” in your site footer.
- No App Store, but they have built-in integrations with Zapier, Zoom (for webinars), and the most popular email marketing services.
Podia is a user-friendly all-in-one course platform to try out. It has easy-to-use features and affordable pricing that makes it perfect for beginners, plus a powerful community feature with the ability to increase your sales through affiliates!
Sign up for their free plan if you want to see for yourself and try it out today.
6. Mighty Networks
Best For Building Communities
Mighty Networks differentiates itself from the competition by its community aspect. Instead of just passing on knowledge, it's focused on the community first. You can build a Mighty Networks community accessible with a free or paid membership and sell courses to your members.
Best For Building Communities
Annual Discount Yes, Get 2 Months Free
Promotion 14-Day Free Trial
Mighty Networks launched in 2017 after raising $50M from investors, and thousands of course creators and brands use it to run their businesses.
The platform appeals to the “enthusiasm economy” rooted in the idea of community. Indeed, a community is a resource for which people are ready to pay a premium price.
Build your Mighty Networks community first with a free or paid membership. Post helpful content regularly to keep your members engaged with your membership site. You can then offer digital products to your community, such as online courses.
Over time, you will notice that your members will interact more in your community, helping each other so you won't have to post fresh content all the time.
Think of Mighty Networks as a community you own where you can sell your digital products to your engaged audience.
Indeed, people are distracted by ads and other posts in Facebook groups and other social networks. More and more people are also opting out of Facebook. In addition, the algorithms do not show your posts to all your members. At any time, the social network can close your group.
On the contrary, with Mighty Networks, your community is only focused on your business. Also, all your members see your posts. Also, they can send each other private messages and access your community via a dedicated app on their mobile phone.
Mighty Networks is also accessible to you if you're not an expert as soon as you can build a community. It's not centered on you, on just passing on knowledge, but it's focused on community first.
With Mighty Networks, build your courses and community on the same platform.
- Community: Send messages to your community. Interact with articles, videos, and chat. Create groups and courses. Each community member has a personalized feed that includes the main community activity and any courses or groups they've belonged to or paid to. Share media, events, and other material. Everyone sees their activity as well as what you've shared. You can also engage your members by asking them questions and adding polls to their feeds.
- Livestreams: Members can watch you live directly from their feed and interact via live chat. Livestreams are a game-changer feature.
- Events: offer meetups, conferences, or high-ticket masterminds to your community. Use native live streams or Zoom calls.
- Groups: create various groups your community members can join depending on their interests.
- Create and Sell online courses and memberships.
- Courses: cohort-based, content-only, or community-based courses with activities, events, and member challenges instead of just focusing on course content.
- Bundles: Offer your courses and memberships together as either one-time or subscription purchases. Offer free trials.
- Landing page builder: create beautiful course landing pages.
- Mobile App: All plans include Mighty Networks mobile apps. Get your own branded native app on iOS or Android for an additional fee.
- Payments: support for hundreds of local currencies.
- Analytics: see how your active members use your community, learn and iterate.
- Integrations: you can use Mighty Networks alone or connect it to external services you love, such as Mailchimp, WordPress, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, ThriveCart, Zapier, and more.
Mighty Networks is one of the most user-friendly online course platforms with an interface that makes it easy to find all the necessary tools.
Whether a community member or administrator, Mighty's intuitive design will make navigating easy and quick!
Mighty Networks Pricing
There are 3 pricing plans to choose from:
- The Community Plan ($33/mo): Native Livestreaming & Video, Chat & Messaging, Events & Zoom Integration, Paid Memberships.
- The Business Plan ($99/mo): All in Community, plus Online Courses, Live Cohort Course Creation, Analytics & Member Data, Zapier APIs & Workflows.
- Mighty Pro: Custom pricing. Get your own native mobile app on iOS and Android. It can get expensive if you're just getting started. You have to contact their sales team for a quote.
Pros and Cons
- Strong Community
- Unlimited members: you can build a huge community, and you won't pay extra for that!
- Customizations: your students will feel at home with your custom branding and personal feeds.
- Mobile App: members can access the community and courses on their smartphones via an app.
- “Flipping” your funnel: You cannot offer a course separately from the membership, so people have to buy both unless you offer a free membership. The sales funnel looks like this: A) Networking -> B) Offering other products within your Mighty Network community.
- Plans & Access: you cannot charge by the duration of access to your products.
- Native video & live streaming: you cannot change the playback speed. Also, you can't use live streaming in a group; it's not built-in (you must send a Youtube link). They may introduce these key features soon.
Choose Mighty Networks if you want user-friendly online course software with a strong community focus.
Get started today with Mighty Networks.
The Best Online Course LMS for WordPress
LearnDash is the most popular online course platform for self-hosted WordPress users. It's a premium LMS (Learning Management System) with drip-feed content, video courses, and quizzes.
It's much more technical to set up than other course platforms reviewed, so you'll like it if you have the technical skills and want to host your courses yourself.
Best For Self-hosted WordPress users
Price $199/year for 1 site or $29/month
Discount No, but 15-day Money Back Guarantee
Get Started Try LearnDash
LearnDash organizes courses into sections, lessons, and topics. You can include assignments, quizzes, and certificates to maximize your student's engagement and increase the completion rates.
- LearnDash plugin: $199/yr for 1 site, $399/yr for 10 sites, unlimited sites for $799/yr.
- LearnDash cloud: $29/month.
- Pricing Models: one-time sales, memberships, subscriptions, bundles, and more.
- Payment Gateways: use PayPal, Stripe, or other gateways with WooCommerce.
- Drip Content with drip-feed lessons and manage user navigation through coursework.
- Focus mode: to help your students learn in a distraction-free environment.
- Engagement Triggers
- Drag & Drop Course Builder to create your course curriculum.
Udemy is the world's largest online learning platform, with over 54M students in 180+ countries and 70,000 instructors teaching 200,000+ courses in more than 75 languages, with 741M+ enrollments. [source: Udemy]
Top-performing instructors on Udemy earn over $100,000 per year teaching web development, graphic design, online business, and more.
Since its inception in 2009, this online course marketplace‘s mission has been to provide a place where anyone can teach or learn anything. The course platform allows you to create high-quality online courses and skills development needed for success.
I host a free course on Udemy to help people decide between Shopify and WooCommerce.
How much does Udemy cost?
Udemy is free to use as an instructor. Students either pay for each course they buy, or they can subscribe to the Personal Plan to access thousands of top courses for a monthly or yearly fee.
How much can you make on Udemy?
Most students on Udemy wait for the sitewide promotions with huge discounts on prices. Therefore, you should expect a few dollars for each course sale.
Udemy is a great online course marketplace if you want to reach a large audience and don't mind lower prices for your courses.
Here is the revenue-sharing model of Udemy:
- Regular Udemy Marketplace course: if you are a premium instructor, you get 37% of the revenue each time a student buys a course. You get 97% if coming from your referral link or using your coupon. A premium instructor is anyone that sells courses, as free courses don't count.
- Personal Plan course: Udemy takes 75% of the Personal Plan revenue and allocates 25% to its instructors. Your share depends on how many minutes your students spend on your course.
- Business Plan course: same as for the Personal Plan courses, you get a share of the 25% depending on learner engagement.
- Visibility: access to a large user base of 54M+ students.
- Free: you get free course hosting as an instructor.
- Udemy's promotions: if you join the Udemy Deals Program, you let Udemy sell your courses at a large discount (price no lower than $9.99). If your course is doing well, they may include it in Udemy's promotions. They will place your course in their marketing emails, paid ads, or affiliate marketing efforts.
- Reliable and optimized platform hosted in the cloud. The course builder is intuitive; I didn't encounter any issues.
- Training to help you launch your first course.
- Intense Competition: Udemy is like Amazon but for selling online courses. With thousands of instructors and courses, it's hard to be seen and reach the first page of results. Udemy's algorithms decide which course to highlight. Competing with other instructors regarding specific popular topics might be challenging if you're new to the platform.
- Low revenue per course sale: to make money on Udemy, you must sell lots of courses. As you'll only earn a few dollars per course sale (most often, less than $10), you should create many courses and update them regularly. An alternative to Udemy is to choose an online course platform like Thinkific, Kajabi, or Teachable and set your own prices if you can market yourself.
- Refund Policy: Students can ask Udemy for a refund within 30 days after purchasing your course, putting income at risk.
How to get started on Udemy?
Go to Udemy and sign up to become a Udemy instructor. You will receive guidance from them on creating your first course on Udemy with their intuitive editor.
I followed this process to create my course. I then sent it for validation to the quality control team, who quickly accepted it.
Since then, over 1000 students have joined my free course, so I can say that Udemy is an excellent way to reach potential students.
If you want to earn good money with Udemy, create lots of courses of exceptional quality, promote them on social media, and hope for the best.
Udemy Review: Verdict
Udemy is a paradise for millions of students who want to learn new skills at an affordable price. I recommend you use this online learning platform as an instructor to reach this large audience and learn how to launch your first course from Udemy's video tutorials and course creation processes.
You will get helpful feedback from their validation team, and you can still market your course elsewhere in the future if you want.
Skillshare is an online course marketplace like Udemy. Yet they focus on creative education: animation, design, illustration, lifestyle, photo & film, writing, business, web development, and more.
Since its launch in 2010, over 12 million students have learned from over 35,000 courses created by 8000+ teachers on the platform. Teachers who earn the most money make over $100,000 annually.
Most Skillshare classes consist of 20-60 minutes of video content split into a series of short videos (2-5 min). They come with projects and a student community discussion forum to engage with other students.
Students can interact in open discussion sessions on your creative topics and get help from other premium members. Premium members can benefit from their assistance with course planning and production.
How much does Skillshare cost?
Like Udemy, Skillshare hosts your courses for free on the platform.
How much can you make on Skillshare?
Skillshare teachers earn income through royalties and referral revenue, meaning you can earn recurring revenue.
Indeed, you will receive monthly payments for every person who views your classes. It depends on the number of minutes Skillshare students watch and how they feel engaged with your content.
You can learn more about their Teacher Payment Model from the help center.
- Visibility: Skillshare is a great platform to get noticed if you're offering creative content. They have a large audience of millions of students you can reach. Lessons on graphic design, photography, and creative writing are popular among Skillshare subscribers who want more of those types of learning opportunities!
- Free: You can make online courses for free: if you want to create an online course but don't want to spend any money, Skillshare is worth considering.
- Classes Quality: they feature high-quality courses and can help you with course planning and production.
- Intense Competition: like with Udemy, you compete with thousands of other teachers and courses. Indeed, there's much competition on Skillshare since it's free to create online courses. Your course might get lost in the shuffle, and you'll have to work extra hard to market it on this online learning platform.
- Royalties: Your revenue depends on the number of minutes watched by members on the platform. Because of this, it is challenging for new instructors to make much money when they start teaching. Also, students who watch at twice the normal speed only contribute half the minutes to the royalty pool.
How to get started on Skillshare?
- Create a Skillshare account
- Apply to join Skillshare's Teacher Programs (Teach Challenge or Teach Lab Residency).
- Create your first class
- Grow your audience
- Earn Money
Skillshare Review: Verdict
Skillshare is a great online learning platform for teaching creative courses since it's one of the largest online learning platforms.
I recommend you start with Udemy to maximize your revenue and expand your audience later by uploading your creative courses on Skillshare.
Start your free 7 days of unlimited Skillshare classes:
FAQ – Selling Online Courses
What Are Online Course Platforms?
When it comes to online courses, there are a few different pathways that you can take.
- To maximize your earnings potential, you can also find online course platforms that will host your content for you, such as Thinkific, Kajabi, Teachable, and Podia.
- If you're tech-savvy, you can also create and host your own website and sell your courses via an LMS (Learning Management System).
- You can use an online course learning platform such as Udemy and the Skillshare marketplace.
The best online course platforms will include all the tools you need to launch and sell your courses. This can include key features such as a course builder, website builder, automated sales funnels, email marketing, community, and more.
Whichever route you decide to take, make sure you do your research on each of the online course platforms before committing.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Online Course Platform?
There are many benefits to using an online course platform:
- Ease of Use: One of the biggest benefits is that online course platforms are easy to use. You don't need any coding skills or experience with website design to create a beautiful and professional-looking course website.
- Help with Course Creation: all the online course platforms guide you in the course creation process, even if you're a beginner. It's one of the major advantages of using an online course platform.
- Learning Experience: You can create interactive and engaging courses for your students.
- Analytics: You can track student progress and ensure they meet your course objectives.
- Support: You can provide support to your students through online discussion forums, private messaging, and communities.
- Certifications: You can offer certification or badges upon completion of your course
- Personal Branding: Creating an online course with a course platform is a great way to build your brand and reputation as an expert in your field.
By investing little-to-no money upfront, you can create an online course business that will provide you with a consistent stream of passive income for months or even years.
What are the different types of Online Course Platforms?
The first thing you should do when selecting the best online course platform is to choose the type of platform you need:
- SaaS (Software as a Service): you pay to use the platform as a subscription service. You don't have to host it yourself or manage technical issues. It's perfect if you're not tech-savvy and want to focus on growing your business while getting access to customer support from this software company. SaaS software is hosted in the cloud with high availability – often 99.99% – so your business is always up and running. The downside is that you have to trust the SaaS company as you rent their software. You don't own it. They can shut you down in theory, but in practice, they are not likely to do that if you follow the law and keep paying your bills. Examples of course creation SaaS include Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi, LearnWorlds, Podia, and Mighty Networks.
- Self-Hosted Learning Management System: you host the online course platform, so you have to pay for hosting, manage security, and all the technical aspects. LMS is affordable, but you need to have some technical ability or hire someone who does. The good news is that you own your website, and nobody can shut you down. This kind of self-hosted platform is a learning management system or LMS. If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, I recommend you use LearnDash LMS. I use it myself, and it's a powerful learning management system to sell your online courses on WordPress.
- Marketplaces: they are like Amazon but for selling online courses. Hundreds of millions of people can potentially find your course on popular online teaching platforms like Udemy or Skillshare. However, they have significant drawbacks: you're like a fish in the ocean, so you'll have to create lots of courses to get some visibility. You get only a few dollars per course sale; you still have to promote your courses, comply with the changing marketplace rules, and don't have your customer data.
Choose a SaaS online course platform or a self-hosted learning management system (LMS) if you want to earn the most money from your courses. You should be ready to create an audience of raving fans via Youtube, Google search, or social media.
You should learn to create a personal brand as you have to do your marketing. These online course platforms and LMS are also suitable for companies wanting to train their staff.
However, if you don't want to do your marketing and build an audience, go with a marketplace like Udemy or Skillshare.
For example, I host a free course for Ecombridges on Udemy to help people choose between Shopify and WooCommerce while benefiting the large audience of this marketplace.
How to Choose the Right Online Course Platform?
There is no such concept as the right online course platform for everyone. Selecting the best online course platform for you depends on your needs.
All of the platforms reviewed are good enough to help you succeed. Most online course platforms have all the sales and marketing tools you need.
The determining success factor is YOU!
Indeed, your marketing strategy, content quality, and willingness to not give up will determine your success or failure.
Here are my top recommendations for the best online course platforms to use as a content creator:
- Thinkific: Best Overall All-in-One Online Course Platform
- Kajabi: Best High-End All-in-One Online Course Platform
- Teachable: Best for Beginners
- LearnWorlds: Best for Interactivity
- Podia: Simple and Intuitive Interface for Beginners
- Mighty Networks: Best for Communities
- LearnDash: Best WordPress LMS
- Udemy: Best course marketplace
- Skillshare: Marketplace for creatives
How to Create and Sell Online Courses?
Have you ever wanted to sell online courses but felt overwhelmed by the process? Or maybe you've been selling courses but want to simplify and streamline your workflow.
Either way, selling online courses doesn't have to be complicated. You will get proper guidance from these course platforms via video tutorials, articles, webinars, and more if you use all-in-one platforms. And it's possible to sell online courses within 1 month, even starting from scratch.
So if you're ready to take the plunge and learn how to sell online courses, read on for a step-by-step guide.
- The first step is to choose a niche for your course depending on your expertise or other factors, including market trends and customer needs.
- Once you've chosen a niche, it's time to create your course content. Include videos, written lectures, quizzes, and more. You can even think of doing a pre-sale to your audience. If you create a course, get people interested in it early by getting their email addresses beforehand. This will allow them to give valuable feedback on what they want. You can pre-sell them your course even before creating it!
- Once you have all of your content ready to go, it's time to launch your course on an online platform. I recommend using a platform that specializes in selling online courses since they will provide you with all the tools and resources you need to succeed.
- After your course is live, it's time to start marketing it to potential students. You can do this through social media, Youtube, paid advertising, or by reaching out to influencers in your niche. And that's it!
You can create courses and sell them as quickly as possible by following these simple steps.
What Are the Best Online Learning Platforms?
Now, from the student's perspective.
You will either buy individual courses or have a subscription to these online learning platforms.
If you only have to choose one learning platform, go with Udemy.
And from the course creator's perspective:
As a course creator, you can sell your courses on these online learning platforms to reach a large audience and grow your online course business.
However, at best, you will only earn a few dollars from each course sale. Therefore, to succeed on these very competitive online learning platforms, you must create many high-quality courses and promote them actively. And don't forget to answer the mountain of questions you get from your students. Indeed, even if they pay a few dollars for your course, they expect to receive premium support service.
This way, even if you make $3 per sale, if 100,000 students buy your course, you will have earned a significant sum, $300,000 in this example. Only a few top-rated instructors manage to get so many students.
You'll make a lot more money without creating and maintaining as many courses as you should on an online learning platform like Udemy.
With SaaS online course platforms like Thinkific, you'll probably charge your course a few hundred dollars, up to $1000.
Remember, you can become a millionaire with an online course platform if you teach only 1000 students and charge your course $997.
I think Thinkific is the best online course platform for its value for money.
Alternative platforms not covered in this guide: Academy of Mine, Ruzuku, WizIQ.
Now that you know the differences between all the top online course platforms reviewed, it's time to decide which one is best for you as a course creator.
When choosing an online course platform, pay attention to ease of use, good student and instructor experience, marketing tools, and pricing.
All the best online course platforms in this guide allow you to upload your course content, provide training for students and generate sales. You can deliver an excellent learning experience to your students with all these best online course platforms.
Whatever course platform you choose, success in selling courses lies in YOU.
To be a successful course creator in this market, you must put your full efforts into creating high-quality content and marketing it.
To support you in the best possible way, I recommend these all-in-one course creation platforms:
- Thinkific: Best Overall Online Course Platform (Free Plan)
- Kajabi: Best High-End Online Course Platform (Free Trial)
- Teachable & Podia: Best for Beginners (Free Plan)
- LearnWorlds: Best for Interactive Learning (Free Trial)
- Mighty Networks: Best for Communities (Free Trial)
Best Online Course Platform
Thinkific is the clear overall winner when you need a high-quality, feature-rich, all-in-one online course platform that's also affordable.
When you're ready to start, I suggest you try Thinkific if you want to easily create and sell your online courses with the best online course platform.