Thinkific is a popular online course platform that you can use to create and sell courses and also membership sites.
Thinkific is used by over 36,000-course creators and It is also accessed by more than 16 million students in over 164 countries.
Over the years, this company has generated more than $200 million in sales. It is, therefore, one of the best online course platforms.
Creating and selling online courses is one of the simplest ways to progressively build a sizeable passive income stream.
If you have a great idea that might make a lucrative course, why not spend time, and money to bring it to life? It is easy too. Platforms like Thinkific help you do exactly this.
What is Thinkific?
It is a cloud-based learning management system that allows users to create, market and sell online courses. It is a revolutionary way through which people learn, and earn online by handing them the tools required to turn expertise into a sustainable business.
Using this platform, users can create multimedia courses and embed audio, video, voice-over slide presentations, PDF content and downloadable attachments.
They offer their users custom domains and brandable sites where users can edit CSS and HTML on their own if they choose.
To make these courses, users can quickly and easily drag and drop their content into Thinkific’s course builder.
Their courses include in-course discussions where teachers can monitor students’ progress and reward them with certificates of completion.
All the users are required to publish a sales page with all their branding to collect payments and give access to the course.
At the backend, users can publish a curriculum( like a Table of Contents) for students to navigate between sections of the courses, take quizzes, and get awarded with certificates for completing courses.
Features That Make Thinkific The Best Online Course Platform 2021
1. Unique Free Plan
Thinkific is the only free platform that has a viable, long-term free option to sell courses. Other online course providers either run 14-day free trials or “free” plans that require you to pay transaction fees.
The free plan also has no transaction fees and comes loaded with lots of premium features. This plan allows you to set up 3 different courses, customize your branding, ask for payments, and give quizzes.
Whenever you’ll be ready to add more than three courses and take advantage of extra features, you can upgrade to their reasonably priced paid plans.
2. Flexibility and Customizability
Compared to other platforms, Thinkific has much more customization options by a lot. You have your storefront and courses to look just like your website, offer surveys, quizzes, prerequisite lessons, student discussions, completion certificates and so on.
Customization is intuitively easy especially if you are an everyday user. Thnkific also grants you full access to work with CSS and HTML as well.
Thinkific also has many third-party integrations for anything that is not built into the system. These third-party integrations include MailChimp, Brillium Exams, Infusionsoft and many more.
The system also has prebuilt “zaps” you can use through Zapier integration allowing you to easily connect to any third-party platforms you wish to use.
Thinkific Prices and Plans
Thinkific has 4 plans: Free, Basic plan($49/month), Pro plan($99/month), and Premier plan($499/month)
The free plan is a good starter option for relatively new course instructors having less than 3 courses. The premium plans allow you to do an unlimited number of courses. They also offer additional flexibility to customize your course.
Out of all other online course providers, Thinkific has the most pricing tiers. This gives you more freedom to choose a plan with features that will meet your needs.
Other providers charge transaction fees or offer immensely short terms on their free plans. In this respect Thinkific is different. The free plan on Thinkific is free and it doesn’t have time caps either. This is enough to get you started.
However, it only allows you to create three courses. To make more than three courses or get access to more features like using a custom domain name with no co-branding or starting an affiliate program of your own, you’ll soon have to upgrade.
Thinkific’s Basic plan($49/month) has slightly more features than the free plan. For example, you get unlimited courses and also the option to integrate with an email provider of your choice or any other third-party programs through Zapier.
The Pro plan($99/month) introduces advanced pricing like payment plans and subscriptions.
Pro features include priority phone support(no other platform offers this) and affiliate tools allowing you to have a team of marketers selling your course. This plan also comes with completion certificates from Accredible(much more costly if you had to subscribe to Accredible outside the platform).
The Premier plan($499/month) is their top-tier plan. It has all Pro features and more.
For instance, it has features like Single sign-on(SSO), onboarding package(call+training), Brillium exams integration and so on. You also get to remove Thinkific branding from your courses and have 5 Site admin & 50-course author accounts.
Why Thinkific is the best online course platform 2021: Pros and Cons
- It is the only platform with a free option and no transaction fees. Their free option is really good compared to other platforms. They allow you to start with a maximum of 3 courses free of charge. This is, however, the main limitation too – three courses are just too little.
- Phone support. All their paid plans offer phone support. Thinkific is the only platform to offer this kind of customer support option. Their higher plans also offer priority phone support.
- Great customizability. You can make your website look and feel the way you like it.
- Custom domain. Thinkific hosts your course but allows you to set the domain to appear as part of your website.
- Voice-over PowerPoint presentation tool. This makes video production easier.
- Monthly payment plans. You can charge students this way for the more expensive courses.
- Monthly recurring subscriptions. You can offer this for ongoing access to a course through a membership model.
Are these enough to earn Thinkific the title, “best online course platform 2021?” Let’s look at some of its drawbacks first.
- No course marketplace. There is nowhere to market your course on the platform.
- No integrated email marketing. On the bright side, you can use third-party email providers like Aweber and MailChimp.
- No integrated sales funnel builder. However, you can use third-party sales funnel builders like Clickfunnels and LeadPages.
- No chat support.
A Word of Advice
Take your time to learn the ropes.
There is no denying that creating and selling online courses has become one of the easiest and fastest ways to start building a large income stream.
If you’ve got some great ideas, you may be tempted to rush headfirst into course creation and spend lots of time and money on content creation, video production and platform fees. I know it is exciting to start making money from your creations.
However, if you are new to the industry, take your time to test the waters to see if there is a market for the course you want to sell.
Before you go out and start spending tons of time and money on a course, try Thinkific’s free plan and try setting up a mini-course in your niche. You can pick one chapter or topic in your master course and use it for your mini-course. Try offering it for free or a nominal fee.
You can use your social media followers or paid ads to find students for your course.
At the end of this mini-course, add a survey to ask students what could be improved and their topics of interest. This way you can learn what your audience responds to. You can then tailor the course’s topics and sub-topics to what the students want to learn about.
Be sure to collect email addresses so you can notify your students when your course will be released so that you can hit the ground running with sales.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions
Is Thinkific Legit?
Yes, Thinkific is 100% legit. It was founded in 2012 and has more than 100 employees. The company now serves over 36000 course creators.
Is Thinkific mobile friendly?
Yes. Thinkific courses are fully mobile-optimized to give the user a fast and responsive experience. The platform renders well on any smartphone, tablet or computer.
Who is the Thinkific target?
Thinkific is made for course creators and learners from all over the globe. This platform is used by tens of thousands of course creators as well as tech companies like Samsung.
Is Thinkific free?
Thinkific is one of the few course providers having truly free plans with no transaction fees. Thinkific’s free plan is, however, limited to offering three courses.
Is Thinkific better than Teachable?
Both Thinkific and Teachable are providers of learning management system software(LMS). However, the main difference between the two is that Thinkific has more customization tools and slightly better-priced plans for course creators.
Does Thinkific charge Transaction fees?
No, they do not. Thinkific doesn’t have transaction fees whatsoever., even on their entry-level free plan.
Is Thinkific the best online course platform 2021? In my opinion, it is one of the best online course providers in some respects.
For instance, they have a beginner-friendly free plan that charges no transaction fees. They also have many customizable features that other platforms won’t get you. Their pricing is also quite reasonable.
However, there are some drawbacks to this online course creation website. For example, it doesn’t have an integrated sales funnel builder and email marketing. On the bright side, this online course platform allows you to easily add these features through Zapier integration.
All in all, I would recommend Thinkific for your course creation. I would even go further to say that it is among (if not) the best online course platforms 2021. However, there are also other options to consider.