Creating recurring revenue for your business is key to growth and one of the best ways to do that is with an online course. This means you can constantly offer the course while also helping people solve a problem. That’s why the e-learning industry has grown so much. One of the top platforms to host a course is Teachable but what does it do and are there Teachable alternatives to consider?
One of the big growth areas in the last decade has been the world of online learning and digital courses. In 2015, the e-learning market was worth around $165 billion, and it is expected to be worth $240 billion by 2023. This also comes at a time when college education costs are increasing, making it harder for people to be able to afford to go to college.
And the brilliant thing about creating an e-course is that you don’t need to be a qualified teacher to be able to create one. People have created courses on anything from watercolor painting to affiliate marketing or even how to use a bespoke piece of software utilized within a business. That means if you have knowledge that other people want, there’s no reason that you can’t make a course. What you do need is an online course platform.
When we talk about Teachable and Teachable alternatives, we are talking about online course platforms. These are specialist types of software that host your course and allow you to collect payments by connecting with payment processors such as PayPal and Stripe.
There are some features you want to look for when you are comparing the different platforms. First you want it to be private and secure so that students need to log into their account to access the content they have paid for. Showing progress through the course and having an outline is useful and the ability for students to leave comments on each lesson that the course owner can view and respond to is also helpful.
If you research online course platforms, you will quickly run into Teachable. It is currently one of the top platforms for people to host their courses. Teachable lets you host video files as well as add text, process payments and even create sales pages for your course. The platform was launched in 2014 and there are over 15 million students currently enrolled in courses on it. Creators using it have made over $259 million in sales.
Teachable is a course platform with some extra features but it doesn’t handle things like hosting your website or email marketing. So, it is a specialist online course platform. You don’t need to know how to code to use it or even have a website if you don’t want one.
Teachable has a variety of different cost levels depending on the features that you want. The three basic tiers are:
- Basic – $29 a month
- Professional – $79 a month
- Business – $399 a month
However, this isn’t the only cost involved. If you take the basic plan, there is also a 5% transaction fee on every payment. There are no transaction fees on the other two levels. So, if you are selling a higher priced course, it might be worth opting for the middle tier – for example, $1000 course with 5% transaction fee would be $50 plus the monthly cost of $29 equaling $79. If you sell more than one course, the fees would mean that the Professional tier would work out best.
One of the reasons that many people opt for Teachable to host their online course is because it is very easy to use. There’s no need to learn to code, no need for a website of your own and once you have set up an account, it is easy to upload your content. This means once you have done the preparation work to create your content, you can get things into action in no time – and start making money.
Another benefit to Teachable (and also the Teachable alternatives we will discuss next) is that you can bundle up your products. So if you have two courses, an eBook and a free mini course, you can put them all on the same platform. Users can login, buy more items and easily see everything you do.
The third benefit is that the platform has built-in analytics that allows you to monitor what is happening. You can see things like a lecture breakdown, video engagement and even quiz scores if you include quizzes in your lessons. This helps to see if people are using the content and what is the most popular way of consuming it if you have options available.
One of the biggest issues is that Teachable suffers from its own success. Like many mega platforms, they have issues with downtime and caching problems. This can mean that customers cannot access their courses and increase complaints to you, which you are largely powerless to do anything about.
Another factor that some users don’t like is that there are only so many options when it comes to designing how your school on Teachable looks. This means that you can easily end up with a platform that looks like everyone else which can be a little confusing for students.
Finally, while the basic plan is a good feature, the additional fees for each transaction eat into the profit you make from your course. So you either have to increase your prices to cover this or take a slight hit in your profit margins. While this might not be too much of an issue for bigger companies, for solopreneurs and smaller companies, this could be a pain.
Pros & Cons Highlights for Teachable
So that’s Teachable, currently one of the most popular online course platforms. But they are not the only option available if you want to create an online course. Let’s look at the top 5 Teachable alternatives for 2019.
Thinkific is actually older than Teachable by two years but has been overtaken by the newer platform in terms of the number of people using it and talking about it. However, when you look at Teachable alternatives, it is one of the most often mentioned and for good reason.
Thinkific has a range of different pricing options with different features included:
- Free – $0 a month, limited to 3 products
- Basic – $49 a month, no limits
- Pro – $99 a month, no limits + 2 site admin accounts
- Premier – $499 a month, no limits + 5 admin accounts
There is also a transaction fee for the use of Stripe or PayPal which is normally 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction but this can vary between different countries.
Thinkific is very similar in terms of the features offered to Teachable and the course is hosted entirely on their platform, so you don’t have to have your own website. It is also easy to use and there is an extensive knowledge base to help you make the most of the features.
Zippy Courses has gained a name as a Teachable alternative if you are looking for a professional classroom environment that you can customize courses to suit your needs. It is an all-in-one tool that covers both the selling and teaching of online courses.
It has a simpler pricing structure with a higher cost than Thinkific and Teachable. There is a Standard Plan that is $99 a month and a Professional plan at $199 a month. Neither have any transaction fees or limits to the number of courses and the lower has 1 admin account while the higher plan has 10 admin accounts. Plans do have different file storage and email limits per month.
They do also offer a $1 seven-day trial so you can see the different features in action.
If you want to do more than sell courses, such as move into membership sites or offer digital downloads, then Podia is worth considering. It has a simple interface and is much easier to use than other multi-purpose platforms so if you are new to the world of e-learning, it is easy to master.
The pricing structure for Podia is listed as ‘starts from’ and this is $39 a month. There are no transaction fees and no free plan but there is a free 14-day trial.
Teachery is another Teachable alternative that offers similar features to the similarly named competitor. This platform is ideal if you don’t like the constant shifting from one plan to another, figuring out transaction fees and commissions.
Their pricing structure is very simple – $49 a month or if you want to pay annually, the cost is $470 a year, saving 20% on the monthly figure. This is for unlimited courses and students as well as an affiliate program and integrations with email providers. The biggest selling point is that there are no transaction fees.
Everlesson may be one of the newer online course platforms but already has over one million students enrolled, and 12,000 courses created – making course creators some $10 million. It works a little differently from the other platforms by offering features such as setting up goals for students to help them engage and succeed. It also offers the ability to create different types of courses such as a one-time course as well as your standard style of ongoing lessons.
There are three tiers available and none of them have any transaction fees:
- Starter – $67 a month, 10 sites
- Advanced – $97 a month, 15 sites
- Ultimate – $127 a month, 30 sites
There is also a completely free 7-day trial where you can test out the system, make sure it works for you then select the right plan to continue using it.
When you first start making courses, keeping costs down is always a big factor. And while the benefits of the best online course platforms make them hands down the best place to host your course, people still look for something cheaper.
There are platforms that you can add your course to that don’t have the monthly fees that online course platforms have – Udemy and Skillshare are two of the best known. However, the biggest issue with them is that they limit the price you can charge for your course, usually to no more than $50 and they take an administrative fee from this. So if you have a course you want to retail for more than $50, these might not be the right options.
We all love to get something for nothing but when it comes to online course platforms, there are no Teachable Alternatives that are entirely free. Obviously, they offer a wide range of products and services and have to make some money!
That said, there are some good ways to test the different platforms without paying anything. Everlesson have a 7-day free trial where you can test all of the platforms features to see if they are what you need without paying anything. If you happened to decide against it, you can simply stop after the trial. Likewise, Zippy Courses offer a $1 7-day trial and some platforms offer a 14-day money back guarantee so you can change your mind in the first two weeks and get any payment back.
Finding the right platform is all about what works best for your business. If you have a single course and don’t mind paying some transaction fees, then the free plan from Teachery might be worth considering. However, most course creators will want to have more than one product and that’s why other options work better.
Everlesson is one of the newer platforms available but the addition of elements such as goal setting make it a strong candidate as a Teachable alternative. It has a range of plans to accommodate your needs and plenty of integrations – plus all the complicated backend stuff if you like to fine tune your platform. And while Teachable remains top of the popularity contest, this platform is one of the top alternatives with none of those transaction fees involved.
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