What platform is the best to create and sell online courses?

I’ve made lots of courses in the last few years. During that time I have used all the major LMS systems (Thinkific, KajabiLearndash + Memberium, etc).

All have their pluses and minuses. The right choice for you depends on the skills you or your team have going into the project and the goals you have for your course/group coaching.

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Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

My pick for highly-skilled and technical teams is Learndash.

Learndash is the gold-standard WordPress membership site plug-in for most internet marketers.

It gives you:

  • A ton of options for integration into marketing automation platforms
  • Lots of variety in how you drip, present, or gate your content,
  • Decent ease of use if you understand WordPress.

It does have it’s drawbacks, though…

If you or your team are BLACK BELT marketing automation users, you’ll have to also pick up the Memberium plugin.

Memberium is a premium plug-in that better integrates Infusionsoft and WordPress/Learndash.

This is a MUST if you want to run a full business around your online courses/programs.

CAVEAT:

  • If you’re not a super competent WordPress user
  • If you find WP in general too intimidating
  • If you don’t have an internal tech team
  • If you don’t use dark arts marketing automation wizardry platforms like Infusionsoft

Then I would shy away from here and look to more friendly and easy-to-use platforms that more or less “do-it-all”.

Learndash Pros:

  • Lives on WP which runs the entire internet at this point
  • Deep integrations if you run Memberium (A separate plug-in that also has annual fees)

Learndash Cons:

  • Most average users are still not confident on WordPress
  • Making Learn Dash’s pages look good takes a really solid page building plug-in and even after that.
  • You’ll need someone who can code in CSS to make the buttons and breadcrumbs look and feel modern.
  • Needs lots of additional expenses and plug-ins to run a high quality program. For example, Learndash, Memberium, a page builder, CSS coding freelancer, premium themes, etc.
  • No really solid tutorial to follow at the moment. You are more or less left to your own devices to figure it all out — and they are NOT super easy to just learn on the spot. The same can be said of Memberium, at the moment. Micah Mitchell, the founder of Memberium personally flew into San Francisco to help us figure the platform out. He gave us insider contacts for the support team to make sure we didn’t screw it up the first time we used Learndash/Memberium combo. No, you don’t NEED that level of help to figure these out. We were super blessed that he wanted to do that for us. Yet, I struggled to use the Learndash/Memberium combo — But I do believe the juice WILL be worth the squeeze!

So where does that leave the average person that doesn’t have the time, knowledge, or team to easily run Learndash/Memberium?

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My pick of the “Do-it-all” platforms is always Kajabi.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Having worked in Thinkific, Coursera, and Kajabi I can tell you that hands down it is the most functional, attractive, and easy to use platform dollar for dollar.

Anyone off the street use Kajabi. It’s also got a fantastic step by step tutorial when you make your first program that teaches you everything that you’d need to get it right the first time (Want to see exactly how PROVEN course creators build courses? Check this article out).

This is HUGE. There can be so many little things that you miss when you take your first crack at an online course. Not having your logo on some pages, for example… I definitely made that embarrassing mistake in the beginning.

Not a dark arts marketing wizard wielding Infusionsoft like a magic wand to enrapture your prospective buyers?

Great. Kajabi will allow you to cover your bases from a marketing point of view.

Right in Kajabi you can…

  • Run announcements
  • Run simple automation campaigns
  • Build an email list
  • Create new offers and promos

Does the mere sight of the WordPress Dashboard have you quaking in your boots, and searching for the nearest fire exit? Build your website inside of Kajabi for a simple site that looks and feels great.

Kajabi Pros

  • World Class online marketer and all-around good guy Andy Jenkins and his team are behind Kajabi. They put their knowledge and expertise into building an awesome platform. They know the problems that course creators face every day. They also even took in a ton of feedback and requests for features from folks like me and you. In the few years that I have been using it, since 2014, it has 10x’d its features.
  • Kajabi is currently being used by a lot of the world’s biggest course creators, including Brendon Burchard, Craig Ballantyne, TeachToScale.com, Bo Eason, ChooseMuse.com, Jeff Walker (The Icon Behind Product Launch Formula ), Mike Filsaime (AffiliateDotCom) and Andy’s own Video Boss launch. Also, literally millions of others including all those created by yours truly.

Kajabi Cons:

  • With any templatized “follow-these-steps” platforms, you run the risk of beginning to look a little bit cookie cutter. Kajabi, comes with some great templates, but over time it could be like Clickfunnels where people can right off the bat sense you’re using Kajabi and maybe that hurts your brand image. This is a stick used to beat the Kajabis and Clickfunnels of the world with, and I don’t think this is going to be an issue. Why? Because Kajabi is VERY MUCH 100% customizable. If you’re lazy, you can choose a template and throw it up there. Yes, it may look like someone else’s layout but you can tweak things to make them your own in a few minutes.
  • Depth of integration matters more for those Dark Artists and Wizards we talked about earlier. The API for Kajabi is becoming more robust, but its integration with Infusionsoft is not THAT deep yet. Certainly not to the extent that Learndash + Memberium can afford you. If that is important to you, then you’ll need to integrate something like Zapier or If This Then That to make sure that you get some more depth and functionality our of your Dark Arts tool kit (Infusionsoft namely).

So that’s my pick:

For the average user who wants to get a course up that can bring in 6 figures a year or even in the 7s, I would take Kajabi any day of the week.

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