Would you like to compare with me Teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific, Podia and LearnDash because this will be very useful if you want to self host your online courses?
Teachable vs Kajabi vs Thinkific vs Podia vs LearnDash -- Part 2
What we’ll do next is cover these three: Teachable, Thinkific and Podia.
You may want to read the first part of this blog post here.
Each of these platforms is great for just hosting online courses, but not so good for actually replacing a website.
As I said before, because it’s so important, it’s ideal as I’ve learned through a lot of experience to have everything all in one place, a sub domain, even like I used to have my courses hosted on Teachable and Thinkific at u.Jerrybanfield.com and for Google, that’s not the same thing as Jerrybanfield.com.
You want to have the highest amount of search engine optimization, all the backlinks, everything all in on the same domain, and that’s why I’m giving you these three options next.
I’ll show you a very important reason why being able to customize your own website makes such a big difference.
First, let’s look at Teachable.
Teachable is the most popular option. I started using Teachable in around 2015 and I actually deleted my entire Teachable school because I got so frustrated with it and wanted to start fresh.
From Teachable, I moved over to Thinkific, which has some advantages over Teachable, although the two of these platforms are very similar in how they work.
Finally, you’ve got Podia, which I just found out about by looking around. This seems to also be very similar to Teachable and to Thinkific.
One of the big differences with this is it does at least have an integrated blog, whereas for some reason Teachable and Thinkific are not doing a great job with giving you a blog.
With Teachable, the pricing is $29, and Podia is a little more expensive, $39 a month and on the Shaker plan, $79 a month, you get to have a blog and being able to have a blog is very important if you want to sell online courses.
I’ve got a thousand plus blog posts on my website. I’ve got new blog posts coming out every day and guess what happens?
People find a video or a post on my blog. They find that post, then they end up looking around, “Oh, he’s got online courses. Oh, let’s take a look at this. Wait, this is cool. Let me go ahead and buy this course,” and I get sales from people coming in on my blog. Even things like my partner membership and lifetime coaching for thousands of dollars, people come straight in off my blog to buy these things through Google search for free.
You want to have a blog and it’s nice that Podia sets it up so that you can have a blog.
Technically on Teachable and Thinkific, you can go through and have a blog. However, it is a bit annoying to execute.
In Thinkific for sure and Teachable as far as I know it, I don’t know how much it’s changed since I used it, but it doesn’t seem to have a very good setup for a blog either.
The advantage of Teachable, Thinkific and Podia is these are very focused on just hosting online courses. If they are very effective and they’re focused on it, that can make things easier to sell.
They’re both very good at uploading courses and getting the videos up and making the courses easy to sell. I’ve sold about a hundred plus thousand dollars on Teachable and Thinkific combined.
These are both really good platforms to sell online courses.
Then a lot of other people in businesses use these as well, and Podia seems pretty popular too, so I’m guessing the same thing.
Let’s look in a little more detail at Teachable.
Teachable has features where you can do a lots of different image formats. You can build a website, you can have a blog if you want to on Teachable and on Thinkific.
Teachable is great and Thinkific, both of these were good on mobile devices to watch the courses. I’ve watched a Teachable course by someone else recently on a mobile device and I make sure my own Thinkific courses work as well.
You can connect your domain, you can have it and you prefer having it something like that where it’s just yourschool.com, you can even modify the language in Teachable which is cool.
There’s course completion certificates, course compliance, feedback reviews and there are lots of integrations, and when you use Zapier you can integrate with almost anything.
There are coupons, pricing options, an affiliate program, and if you look at these features, this is very similar to Thinkific.
If you go over on Thinkific, these are almost the exact same features that Thinkific has got, and the pricing is very close.
Thinkific does have a free plan where you can put some courses up and I’m thinking like the basic plan is $49 a month, which is nice. That’s not an annual rate, that is the actual regular rate and what you might really want on Thinkific is the $99 a month plan because you can have Zapier triggers here and some email integrations. I use the $99 a month plan because what’s nice to have is a site administrator, someone else who has full control over all the courses.
This can be one of the issues, if you’re trying to have multiple instructors, something like LearnDash can be much easier for it and perhaps Kajabi can be easier for it as well.
Although there’s 10 admin users you can have, which means Kajabi might be a bit easier for doing this.
On Teachable and Thinkific, it is a bit of an issue with what site admins can do versus what individual courses can do well.
What you do need on Thinkific, you need it at the level where you can do memberships and bundles at the $99 a month because these tend to sell really well.
You also get some advanced customization and that’s helpful.
What the issue is with using some of these platforms on their own is how fast a website loads and the user experience.
With all of these except LearnDash you can’t customize very well. You’re stuck with whatever the platform, however it’s set up. If you want to speed up your page load, there’s not much you can do if you’re on Teachable or Thinkific, and as far as I can see with Kajabi or Podia.
Whereas when you’re using something like WordPress, there’s lots you can do.
I’ll show you some examples of these.
This is what a Thinkific school looks like on Uthena.com, which is a Private Label Rights marketplace as a primary thing that we’re doing. We’ve got 500 plus courses on Uthena, many of which are available for Private Label Rights.
This is hosted with Thinkific, which I’ll show you the inside of in a little bit.
As you can see, this page was pretty easy to make for the homepage.
I chose Thinkific because it looked a lot better and Teachable is just for some reason kind of ugly to me, and I like how Thinkific works a bit better than Teachable.
Here’s an example of a video school online by Phil Ebner. This is hosted with Teachable.
Teachable is a bit easier to use than Thinkific in some ways and the way the course, the individual pages are laid out, I actually liked the way Teachable does the individual course pages better.
If you compare this with Thinkific, the individual course pages do not look quite as good as Teachable. However, it is easier to make something like a nice homepage on Thinkific.
One of the keys you want to consider is how fast are these going to load?
Google has become obsessed with page speed, which means how fast does your website load both on mobile devices and on desktop.
I tested the page load speeds out of Teachable, Thinkific versus my website.
I use videoschoolonline.com, Phil’s website to test that out.
Let’s look at the results.
This is on the Google Developer Tools, the PageSpeed Insights.
You can just google “page speed insights” to get to this.
You notice the homepage of videoschoolonline.com, while it does look beautiful, it looks absolutely great, if you actually check how fast it loads, it loads really slow: 5.6 seconds on mobile.
You’ve got to 1.3 seconds on desktop, that’s pretty slow page load time and the limitation with using anything such as Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi or Podia, you’re not going to be able to do much about this.
This can make a big difference for user experience, getting free search traffic, and when you’re sending people over from things like paid ads or YouTube video and your website loads super slow, often people will just leave and you won’t even realize why you’re converting so low.
Let’s check it for Uthena.com, which is hosted with Thinkific.
Thinkific is loading up significantly faster, especially on mobile, which are very important stats, how fast your website’s loading.
If you’ve got something that loads super slow, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
On desktop Uthena.com is up to 82 and 59 on mobile.
Let’s take a look at my website on WordPress,
My website, because I’ve applied speed optimizations and I’ve done a whole entire setup, it is dedicated to loading fast, which I’ve got all of that in my course that is called “The Complete WordPress E-commerce Course.”
I show exactly how I did all this.
The downside is this is a lot of work compared to just signing up for a school on Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi or Podia.
However, this helps me convert users a lot better. This helps me keep people on the website. This helps me get more search traffic from Google.
If you look, I have a hundred page score on desktop on the homepage which loads very fast and 97 on mobile.
Now let’s look at some individual course pages and you’ll notice this is one of the challenges that often happens using Teachable or Thinkific, when you put your courses on a sub domain.
Phil’s actually got this set up on a sub domain, which is awful for search engine optimization and backlinks.
You want your courses on the exact same main domain as your website and Phil’s got it set up differently, and this loads even slower at a 10 mobile and a 70 desktop.
Let’s look how Uthena with Thinkific loads on an individual course landing page.
I checked home pages before, now let’s check individual course landing pages.
Now you can with Teachable have them all on the main URL as well. Phil doesn’t have his set up that way probably because the default Teachable pages are kind of ugly and he wanted a custom website.
When people go to videoschoolonline.com, and then actually buy the courses, you have to go off to the real Teachable website.
With Uthena here’s an actual course that’s loading 50 mobile and 94 on desktop.
Thinkific is faster than Teachable from the testing I’ve done and using it itself in terms of the user experience, which is very good.
When you compare my website on a specific LearnDash page, I’ve got a 90 on desktop and the nice thing is we’re going to fix this up.
We’re going to get this sped up to a hundred and I’m working on how to do that now, but still 84 page load time when I’m going straight to my website on the LearnDash landing page on mobile.
When you compare that mobile speed on Teachable 10, the mobile speed on Thinkific 50, and mobile 84 on my website, that’s a lot faster loading time.
Therefore, key consideration.
How fast do these websites load?
If I had a Kajabi example from somebody I knew use Kajabi, I could have taken 10 minutes to figure that out before the video, I would have done that.
If you know somebody uses Kajabi, you can just put PageSpeed Insights in there and test their website.
Now let’s take a look at how the insides of these platforms actually look.
They’re fairly similar.
For example, here is a course I’ve got on Teachable with Stacks Skills, that uses Teachable to host thousands of online courses.
An advantage, if you use Teachable, you can copy your Teachable courses over to any other Teachable school, which is great.
If you want to put courses on StackSkills and make more sales there, which I’ve made a hundred and almost $200,000 on StackSkills. If you’ve got your course on Teachable, you can copy directly to StackSkills.
Once you have a new course you just email Teachable saying you’re making a copy straight into StackSkills. Then you email the StackCommerce vendor manager and you can get your course into bundles that way. That is a big advantage.
The big downside with Teachable is you’re limited in what you can customize and the user experience.
They have specific sales page, checkout page and thank you page. Now this can be great if you want something simple that you can actually go through and do versus something like WordPress that can be more challenging.
The courses are very quick and easy to upload to Teachable, which is what StackCommerce uses. You could just click on bulk upload, drag a whole bunch of your videos over and upload it that way. You can also upload through Dropbox.
The Teachable interface is significantly better than Thinkific for uploading videos faster. In fact, Teachable is the fastest I’ve used.
If you’ve got a whole lot of courses, you can probably get them on Teachable and ready to sell faster than on any other platform.
Thinkific takes significantly longer than uploading to Teachable.
LearnDash takes a comparable time as Teachable, although there’s the added step where you have to actually create the lecture first, then you need to go through and edit it and pull the Vimeo URL here.
You also need to set the privacy settings on the Vimeo videos so that someone just doesn’t go to your Vimeo account and watch all the videos you have for your online courses there.
You can set it up so that people have to have the private link to watch the videos.
However, that is not nearly as fast as Teachable, just bulk uploading, dragging, publishing, Teachable is super fast to take your videos and stick them on there, and get them up into an online course.
Teachable also has different settings, you can have your author Bio.
Teachable is a great option if you have a lot of different instructors that you want them all to publish to Teachable and that’s probably why StackSkills uses it.
Thinkific has worked for us on Uthena.com, we have about 80 instructors and it has been very good for building that out.
Again, same as Teachable, what you can do with the interface is fairly limited.
I think by now we’ve done a great job of comprehensively looking over these five different platforms and options to host your online courses.
My purpose in filming this much depth to the video has been to give you an insight into picking which one of these is uniquely best for you because the decision to make which one of these to host with, that is one of the most important decisions you’ll make because as I found just quickly into something like Teachable, and then I get frustrated with the interface.
I don’t want to use it anymore. It’s slow, there’s lack of customization, and then I ended up deleting my whole school and starting over on Thinkific.
Then I ended up starting over again on Jerrybanfield.com with LearnDash.
As you can imagine, all of that is very time consuming and I hope this has helped you pick out which one of these you can start with and stick with.
That’s the most important element here, can you start with and stick with one of these indefinitely?
My favorite two options are either to use LearnDash if you want that full customization and have WordPress, or Kajabi looks like a really good one to start with and stick with.
Although I don’t know how fast it actually is compared to something like a WordPress setup or compared to something like Teachable and Thinkific, which are good if you want to make it really easy to just get your courses out and for sale, and you don’t care as much about what the landing pages look like.
With a basic Teachable layout, you have a nice button, watch promo, social sharing, enroll in the course, you can just write your description, put your instructor profile.
If you want a bit more customization and you don’t care about having a blog, and you want a faster website, you can use my link and get a one month free of that $99 a month plan for Thinkific.
However, for me, I’ve finally got a solution I’m doing indefinitely with WordPress directly on my website.
I am very grateful for all the time you spent reading this and I hope it’s been helpful to look at and figure out which of these platforms is the best solution for you to host your online courses going forward.
I love you.
I appreciate the chance to serve you today and I will see you again soon.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard.