Do you want to create and sell online courses? Are you looking for the best online course platform to do that?
Not too long ago you would need to code a website or hire a developer to create an online course website. But that’s not the case anymore. It’s much easier to use a tool or platform to upload your course material. You’ll also get access to cool features like drip content, subscriptions, online payments, and more.
In this guide, we’ll compare the best online course platforms along with their highlights and pricing so that you can pick the one that’s best for you.
Before we get started, we should mention that if you’re looking for a simple way to sell a digital product like videos, PDFs, eBooks, music, and photos, then Easy Digital Downloads is the best option. See this step-by-step guide: How to Sell Digital Downloads on WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)
Now let’s see what you would need in an online course platform.
What to Look For in an Online Course Platform?
There are quite a few platforms that let you create and sell courses online. Each one differs in features and pricing. Plus, the level of difficulty in using the platform’s interface will also vary. So it’s important to know what to look for when choosing a platform.
Below are the top features you will need from your online course platform:
1. Easy course builder: The platform should make it easy to create/upload course videos along with study material, exams, quizzes, and so on. You should also have options to easily set user persmissions so that only eligible students can access courses as they progress.
2. Student experience: Your students should have their own account where they can view their progress and schedule. They should be able to sign up for new courses and access them easily when they want. Plus, you’ll want to make sure the platform offers good user experience when it comes to browsing through available courses, taking exams, getting their grades and certifications, etc.
3. Secure payment solutions: Make sure the platform allows students to use their preferred payment method such as credit card, debit card, net banking, online wallets, and more. You’ll also want to check if there are any fees attached to receiving payments from your students.
4. Third-party integrations: To grow your online course business, you’ll need to connect to apps that allow you to track analytics, start email marketing, and automate admin tasks, to name a few.
5. Tech support: Whenever you’re signing up for any online tool or service, always check their support options. At some point, you’ll face technical issues that can only be fixed from their end. A good support team will also guide you with anything you need to make your online course business successful.
Now that you know what to look for in a good online course platform, let’s dive into our top 8 list.
Best Platforms to Create and Sell Online Courses
Thinkific lets you create, market and sell your expertise and you get total control of your brand and business.
It comes with a ready-to-use templates and a user-friendly course builder so you can create professional learning products in no time. All you have to do is drag and drop elements in place and publish your content.
- Live lessions
- Quizzes and assignements
- Drip schedule
- Online communities
You control the pricing of your courses and you keep all your revenue. Thinkific doesn’t levy any hidden fees or commission charges.
Pricing: There’s a free version to test out the platform. Paid plans start at $39 per month.
MemberPress is a popular WordPress LMS plugin and let’s you set up more than just an online course site.
You can create membership plans that grant students exclusive access to more features such as restricted blog content, premium networks, digital downloads, and more.
MemberPress seamlessly integrates with email marketing services like Constant Contact, Aweber, Mailchimp and Active Campaign.
You can also add a discussion forum using bbPress to boost engagement. If you want to allow users to refer others, you can connect to AffiliateWP, the best WordPress plugin to grow your business with a full-featured affiliate program.
- Paywall and Content Dripping
- Members-Only Dashboard
- Diverse payment gateways
- Corporate Memberships
- Reliable support
Pricing: Starts at $179 per year. This comes up to about $15 per month. So you’ll get a more flexible and feature-rich platform at a much cheaper price than Thinkific.
To get started with MemberPress, you’ll need a WordPress website. See our guide: How to Start a WordPress Website (Step by Step).
This means you’ll need to buy a domain name and hosting plan. We recommend Bluehost. You can get everything you need for WordPress starting at just $2.75 per month.
LearnDash is an LMS (Learning Management System) that’s built for WordPress sites. It’s created and maintained by e-learning experts so the platform is designed to deliver exactly what you and your students need to succeed.
You can create a learning experience with your courses that will make you stand out from the crowd. You also get the option to offer scheduled content. This helps lower the rate of refund requests and cancellations.
The platform gives you a robust management system to oversee learners, multi-level membership plans, and control course access.
- Engagement triggers
- Drip-feed content
- Microcourses and gamification
- Supports PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, and 300+ others with WooCommerce
- Responsive help desk and detailed documentation
You’re free to create pricing models based on one-time sales, subscriptions, memberships, bundles, and more. You can also set up automated renewal reminders to make sure you don’t lose out on users who accidentally forget to renew their subscription.
Pricing: Starts at $159 annually.
Teachable makes it easy for you to set up your online course business in a matter of minutes.
What’s more is that there are built-in customization tools so you can curate and personalize your content. This helps you make the content unique to your brand.
Teachable takes care of payouts, taxes, affiliates, and authors so that you can focus on growing your online business.
- Self-paced and cohort-based courses
- Live coaching
- Drag and drop builder
- Student-side features like comments, quizzes, and certifications
- Integrations with MailChimp, Zapier, ConvertKit, Google Analytics, Segment, and more
- Excellent support and knowledge base
Pricing: Starts at $29 per month ($348 per year).
Podia is a free platform you can use to build websites, sell courses and digital products, and host communities.
There’s so much you can sell including coaching sessions, webinars, eBooks, workshops, and just about any digital product.
As you grow, you can expand your business with the right tools at every step of the way.
Podia lets you set up your website in under 10 minutes and start selling right away. It takes care of checkout and sales so you don’t have to worry about the technical stuff.
There’s really no coding or design skills needed even when you need to add call to action buttons, new sections, and new pages.
- Webinars and workshops
- Digital downloads
- Email marketing features
- Tiered plans with different rewards
- Live support 7 days a week
Pricing: Forever-free plan. Their paid plans – Mover, Shaker, and Earthquaker – cost $33, $75 and $166 per month respectively.
Passion.io is an app builder to create online courses that students can access from their smartphones on the go!
You can create your app in minutes using smart templates and a drag and drop builder. Your app design is automatically responsive so it’ll look good on TV, deskptop, phone, and tablet.
It also lets you set up push notifications to nudge students to stay motivated and on track during their course.
The Passion platform works for all kinds of creators, trainers, instructors, business owners, influencers, and more.
- On demand and live streaming
- Automated challenges
- Communities and group-based challenges
- Drip content
- Interactive experiences
Pricing: Starts at $79 per month.
Udemy is a flexible online course platform that lets you publish your content the way you want. You get full control over your own content while you earn money on your expertise.
The platform offers plenty of resources on how to create your first course. Plus, the dashboard is structured in a way to keep your courses and curriculum organized.
Udemy’s support team is great! They even provide you feedback on test videos to help you get it right.
- Access to 16,000+ courses
- Advanced group management
- No sign up fees for instructors
- Course insights
- Custom coupon tool to incentivize students
- Instructor support team and Teaching Center
Pricing: Free. There is no fee to be an instructor on Udemy. Instructors are paid according to a revenue share model.
Kajabi lets you create and showcase your content in the best way for students to learn. You can create online courses, coaching programs, podcasts, memberships, and more.
Plus you’ll get access to a full suite of marketing tools and templates. This lets you create new content, campaigns, and funnels in minutes.
Next, you can manage and grow your site with built-in CRM, collect payments with Stripe and Paypal integrations, and you’ll love the analytics section that helps you get insights to improve your business.
- Ready to use templates
- Unlimited landing pages
- Unlimited marketing emails
- Advanced automations
- Kajabi university
- Chat support
Kajabi is one of the most expensive platforms to start an online course business. Most users won’t need the unlimited features it offers so it doesn’t make sense to invest such a huge amount to sell online. You can get a much better deal using WordPress + MemberPress.
Pricing: Free trial. Plans start at $119 per month.
That’s our list of the top online course platforms that you can use to start selling your courses right away. If you’re still wondering which one to choose, we give you our top pick next.
Verdict: Which is the Best Online Course Platform?
MemberPress is the best online course platform for WordPress. Most website’s are builder on WordPress and MemberPress is the perfect pairing. It’s feature rich and flexible so you get full control over your content and you can create something unique.
We’ve also summed up other great choices according to what you may need:
LearnDash is a robust platform at an affordable rate for WordPress sites.
And finally, if you want to give this a try without any investment, then Udemy is the free online course platform for you.
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