If you are looking to build a course to sell online, finding a learning management system (LMS) or platform that works for you is essential. In this guide, we will compare several platforms and show Teachable vs. Kajabi vs. Thinkific, and Ontraport course platforms.
- $67,970 in Course Sales
- Personal Experience
- Side By Side Comparision
- Affiliate Programs
- Course Creation Limits
- Multiple Instructors
- Transaction fees
- Number of Students
- WordPress LMS Plugins
- Course Marketplaces
$67,970 in Course Sales
Last year, I earned $67, 970 selling online courses. My focus in teaching was software, blogging, affiliate marketing, and Lead Generation (including the real estate industry).
If you can teach it, you can probably put it in a course. The Self Help “How-To” industry is massive.
Cooking Lessons, Software tutorials, How to play an instrument, speaking another language, how to become a blogger, you name it.
Keep in mind that nobody can tell you how much you might make. Everyone’s results will be unique.
I’ve only worked on Kajabi and Teachable so far out these choices. I chose Teachable over Kajabi for the affiliate program, to be honest. It had the most aggressive payouts and as a 6-figure earner in affiliate marketing, this mattered.
I build my courses inside Ballen Academy on Teachable.
One of the popular features that make Kajabi stand out is its ability to offer evergreen webinars. At this point, it’s the only of the three: Kajabi, Thinkific, and Teachable that offers that built-in component.
Kajabi also offers marketing automation in the form of pipelines. Teachable and thinkific are courses that come in after you’ve generated the sale where Kajabi helps to integrate the Lead Generation in the form of funnels.
Ontraport is the most in-depth with pipelines and funnels if you are looking for an all in one CRM solution.
If you need a funnel builder, check out Click Funnels. It’s top in that niche.
Side By Side Comparision
For this section, we are comparing Teachable, Thinkific, and Podia as they are very similar. They are independent websites that offer unlimited courses, drag and drop builders and affiliate programs for your students.
Without much difference between these, it’s going to come down to the one element one has or doesn’t have or how my you like the look and feel of the courses.
Teachable and Thinkific both have free memberships to start so you can sign up for both and play with them to decide which you prefer. Podia doesn’t have a free course, but it does offer a 14-day free trial.
The features could be offered in any plan. You may have to upgrade your plan to unlock certain features.
Mobile Users, turn phone to the horizontal position to see full chart.
|$0 – $249 mo.||$0-$499 mo.||$39-$79|
|Custom URL||Custom URL||Custom URL|
|Drip Content||Drip Content||Drip Content|
|Installment Plans||Installment Plans||Installment Plans|
|Pre-sell Launch||Pre-sell Launch||Pre-sell Launch|
|Student Affiliate Program||Student Affiliate Program||Student Affiliate Program|
|Course Bundles||Course Bundles||Course Bundles|
|Price Plan Variations||Price Plan Variations||Price Plan Variations|
|Affiliate Program||Affiliate Program||Affiliate Program|
|Cross Sell Products||Cross Sell Products||Cross Sell Products|
|Unlimited Courses||Unlimited Courses||Unlimited Courses|
|Drag & Drop Builder||Drag and Drop Builder||Drag and Drop Builder|
|Send Emails||Send Emails||Send Emails|
|Progress Reports||Progress Reports||Progress Reports|
|Mulitple Instructors||Multiple Instructors|
|Completion Certificates||Completion Certificates|
|Multiple Instructors||Multiple Instructors||Multiple Instructors|
|Time Limited Courses||Time Limited Courses||Time Limited Courses|
|Bulk Import Students||Bulk Import Students||They Do it For You|
|Bulk Import Courses||Bulk Import Courses||They Do it For You|
|Live Chat Integration|
|Unlimited Students||Unlimited Students||Unlimited Students|
|Multiple Admins||Multiple Admins||$20 Each|
|SSL Certificate||SSL Certificate||SSL Certificate|
|Hidden Courses||Hidden Courses||Hidden Courses|
|Themes and Colors||Themes and Colors||Themes and Colors|
All 3-course builders offer a free trial and discounts when you pay your monthly fees in one annual payment in advance (about 20%). Kajabi’s premier plan is the least expensive of the 3.
Teachable is the winner in overall pricing options. That being said, Kajabi has more bells and whistles.
Teachable offers 3 plans which are each available in a monthly billing cycle or discounted for annual purchases. You can also launch your school for free before determining which paid tier you want.
- Basic: $39.00 per month or $29.00 in the annual plan
- Professional: $99.00 per month or $79.00 annually
- Business: $499.00 monthly or $399.00 paid up-front each year.
Kajabi offers 3 plans which are each available in a monthly billing cycle or discounted for annual purchases.
There is a 14-day free trial but you are required to submit a credit card at that time.
- Basic: $149.00 Per Month ($119.00 mo. with Annual Pay Discount)
- Growth: $199.00 Per Month ($159.00 mo. with Annual Pay Discount)
- Pro: $399.00 Per Month ($319.00 with Annual Pay Discount
Thinkific also has 3 plans which include annual discounts. They also offer a free trial to explore.
- Basic: $49.00 per month or $39.00 per month Annually
- Pro: $99.00 per month or $79.00 per month paid up-front each year
- Premier: $499.00 per month or $399.00 per month annually
➡️ Try Thinkific
Ontraport offers the most program choices with 4 various plans. They do have a free trial option.
Ontraport, however, isn’t a course builder specifically. It’s more of a CRM and marketing platform that offers membership sites as part of its suite of services.
If you are looking for a complete e-mail, CRM, landing pages, course, e-commerce solution then Ontraport might be for you.
It’s reported that the $297.00 per month is their most popular plan.
You can’t get the membership site in the basic plan, so you’d be starting with the $147.00 per month or up plan.
- Basic: $79.00 per month
- Plus: $147.00 per month
- Pro: $297.00 per month
- Enterprise $497.00 per month
- Mover: $39.00 per month
- Shaker $79.00 per month
- 14-day Trial
The first is how you earn as an affiliate, and the second how you can benefit from others promoting your course affiliate program.Teachable has an affiliate program that it offers through its own platform vs. a 3rd party affiliate network.
- 30% Commission Recurring Forever
- 90-day cookie
- Monthly Payments
They offer a paid service to manage your affiliate payouts.
Kajabi’s affiliate program is only offered to those that are paying for the course. Personally, I feel this is one of the drawbacks of their programs. I like to promote software even after the time comes that I may not use it anymore.
I also find the recurring commission disappointing in that it only offers the first-year commission.
- 15% Commission paid only the first year.
- 30 Day Cookie
- Assets for Promotion
Kajabi does have a school affiliate program as well. It’s manual which means you will have to handle paying out your own affiliates.
- 20% Commission Recurring Forever
- Bonus on Annual Plans ( $25, $75, or $150)
- 90-Day Cookie
- Pays Monthly
- Assets for Promotion
Payouts are manual. This means you are responsible for manually submitting the payouts.
Ontraport offers an affiliate program.
- 25% Recurring Forever
- Pays Weekly
- A suite of Assets for Promotion
They also offer an affiliate program which you can run and manage for your students to promote your courses.
Course Creation Limits
If you are going to be creating more than one course, you may care about how many products you can create in each platform.
Having a vision for how you might scale your school is important so that you choose a platform that can grow with you.
Teachable again is the clear winner in the unlimited course options.
- Unlimited Courses
- Basic: 3
- Growth: 15
- Pro: 100
- Basic Plan and Above: Unlimited
Unlike our previous categories, Teachable comes in last on this one with 1-10% transaction fees on the free plan and 5% on the basic plan while the others have no transaction fees.
As long as you are using professional or above with Teachable, they would all be 0% at that level.
- 1-10% on the Free Plan
- 5% on the Basic Plan
- 0% (new signups after 10/18) on additional plans
- 0% Transaction Fees on All Plans
- 0% Transaction Fees on All Plans
- No Transaction Fees
Number of Students
- Unlimited on all Plans
- 1000 Active
- 10,000 Active
- 20,000 Active
WordPress LMS Plugins
- Recurring Subscriptions
- Bulk Course Enrollment
- Affiliate Program Builder
- Ambassador Program
- Membership Management
- Various pricing models
- Drip-Feed Content
- Reward Your Learners
- Deliver certificates, points, and badges to encourage learners.
- Engagement Triggers
- Mobile Compatible
- Multisite Enabled
- Detailed Reporting
- Bundle Courses
- Dynamic forums
Udemy and Skillshare are course marketplaces. They differ from the other course builders in that you are using someone else’s public domain to upload and sell courses inside their marketplace.
- No Upfront Costs
- No Websites Required
- Payment Processing
- Existing Audience
- The customers truly belong to the network
- Their branding and educational format
- No personal upsells or cross sells to off network products
- Must abide by their rules