2 Stupid-simple course hosting platforms for your next course

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So, you’re a course creator looking for a platform where you can host your course material like videos, pdfs, quizzes and whatnot.

Well, the good news is that there are plenty of such platforms available in the market. The bad news is it’s difficult for a new course creator to select the right platform. 

And selecting the platform that doesn’t fit your requirements or your market can drive up your costs, and you may lose out on the potential business. 

Just as an example, if you are using ConvertKit for email marketing and if your course hosting platform doesn’t integrate with ConvertKit, then that’s going to be a problem. 

And, we as Indian course creators have to select the platform very carefully as some features are very critical. So, I am going to go ahead, keeping in mind the Indian course creators.

Various factors determine the selection of the platform.

  1. How many courses can you create?
  2. How much storage space do you need?
  3. What’s the bandwidth?
  4. How many students can access your platform?
  5. What are the different currencies accepted?
  6. What are the different payment gateways available?
  7. Does the course hosting platform take some commission from your sale?
  8. Is drip feature available?
  9. Does it integrate with other tools like Mailchimp, ConvertKit or Zapier?

As you can see, there are various points which you need to deliberate upon and then select the right platform.

A plethora of course hosting platforms are available.

As I said earlier, choices are aplenty. So, I will just list down some of the popular course hosting platforms, and then I will tell you in detail about the two-course platforms that are perfect for your online coaching venture.

What are the different course hosting platforms available?

  1. Teachable
  2. Thinkific
  3. Kajabi
  4. Podia
  5. Learnworlds
  6. CourseCraft
  7. Ruzuku
  8. New Zenler
  9. Invanto
  10. Learnyst

Some are more popular than others. Teachable, Thinkfic, Kajabi and Podia are some of the platforms that are quite popular.

So, the two excellent tools, in my opinion, are Podia and Thinkific.

Let’s look at them one by one.

Podia

Podia is a steal for the price. For just $39 a month, you get the ability to create as many courses as you want to create. Not only that, but each course can also have as many lessons as you wish to add.

It just doesn’t end there. You get a pretty robust email marketing tool built into the system. So, you can create a mail campaign, or you can create a sequence of emails for nurturing the audience.

The landing page builder even though it is a bit limited as far as features and customizations are concerned, but the landing pages created with them are of very high quality. Most importantly, they get the job done.

The most significant advantage with Podia is you get Zapier actions and triggers with all the plans. And as an Indian course creator, you will be using either Instamojo or Razorpay to collect the payment.

And the platform you will select must provide an ability to pull students who have made payment using Instamojo or Razorpay.

Tools like Teachable, Thinkific and Kajabi do provide this ability. But you will have to shell out $99 in case of Teachable and Thinkific, and for Kajabi your wallet will be lighter by $149 every month.

You get this at just $39 with Podia. The only downside with Podia is they don’t offer any free plan, but you get 14 days free trial.

The goodness of Podia doesn’t end here. You can even host webinars using Podia. They provide a simple way to integrate your YouTube lives with their platform giving you an ability to host webinars.

And if you are willing to upgrade to the next pricing plan, you can host Zoom webinars too.

podia course hosting platforms pricing

I have used almost every course hosting platform available. But Podia is among the simple to use platforms. Platforms like Kajabi can become easily daunting for the new course creators. Particularly the non-technical ones.

But, you will get running with Podia with minimum efforts.

The support that Podia support team provides is incredible. They are friendly and will solve your query to your fullest satisfaction.

So, let’s summarise the feature of Podia.

Features of Podia

  1. Can create unlimited courses
  2. No limit on the bandwidth
  3. Unlimited storage space
  4. No transaction fees
  5. Provides Zapier actions and triggers with the basic plan so that you can connect Instamojo
  6. Out of box integration with ConvertKit and Mailchimp
  7. Multiple currencies including INR available
  8. Stripe and PayPal integration
  9. Ability to host webinars.
  10. Ability to connect a custom domain
Check out Podia

Now, let’s look at the other platform.

Thinkific

Thinkific is another excellent platform for hosting your courses. Unlike Podia, which comes in just two flavours, Thinkific offers four different plans. And these plans can get confusing.

But apart from the confusing pricing plans, nothing is confusing about Thinkific.

It’s one of the best platforms available in the market that offers a free plan. So, if you want to taste the coaching business waters or if you’re going to see whether the platform is a good fit for you or not, then you can avail their free plan.

In the free plan, you can host three courses and can have unlimited students.

But, of course, it has significant limitations imposed on it. Like you cannot connect the custom domain, or cannot create coupons or connect with Zapier.

The other plans are Basic, Pro, Pro + Growth and Premier. 

For the Basic plan, you will have to pay $49 a month. But with the basic plan, you get Zapier triggers and not actions.

thinkific course hosting platforms pricing

What does that mean?

It means Thinkfic can send data to other tools but will not accept the data from other tools. And this becomes a significant issue if you are an Indian course creator because you cannot then accept payment through Instamojo and then push the student to the course in Thinkific.

If you want to have complete Zapier integration, you will have to go to Pro and above plans.

Even though Thinkific is relatively costly, the features it provides are fantastic. One of such features is the Video Library.

You can directly upload videos on the video library or connect it with Google Drive and then get the videos from your drive in a matter of seconds.

Another advantage is that you can reuse one video across multiple courses. Let’s say you have an introductory video which is typical for all courses; then you have to upload it just once. And not every time in each course.

This is something that’s not available in Podia. And it saves a lot of time.

Once you create the account, you can create a complete portal in just a couple of hours even if you’re non-technical.

User experience from the student’s perspective is also quite good.

Not to mention the quality customer support they provide.

So, let’s sum up the features of Thinkific.

Features of Thinkific

  1. Can create unlimited courses
  2. No limit on the bandwidth
  3. Unlimited storage space
  4. No transaction fees
  5. Provides Zapier actions and triggers with the Pro plan so that you can connect Instamojo
  6. Out of box integration with ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Aweber and Constant Contact.
  7. Multiple currencies including INR available
  8. Stripe and PayPal integration
  9. Can connect a custom domain
  10. Can create communities in the Pro plan
  11. Provide completion certificate

These are the course hosting platforms which are very powerful, easy to use, easy for your students to navigate and provides a good learning experience.

Check out Thinkific

Closing thoughts

If you want to use the most straightforward course hosting platform, then go with Podia. It provides bang for the buck. And if you’re going to start with a free tool, then you can go ahead with the free plan of Thinkific and then upgrade as required.

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