What is Thinkific?
Thinkific is a course hosting platform, providing the basics of what you need to host, deliver and sell your online courses.
It can also be used as a basic site builder for people just getting started!
Thinkific has built great interest and is one of the most used online course platform with over 50,000 active users.
Features: What Can You Do With Thinkific?
Thinkific, depending on your plan, will allow for almost anything you might need as a course creator, including:
Thinkific has a slightly more advanced set of features than most of its direct competitors like Teachable. (see our comparison here).
It's still at its core a course hosting platform but also includes some features of an all-in-one platform.
Let's break down these core tools:
Although somewhat limited, the page-builder has the basic page blocks and customization that should allow you to build a decent sales page.
You'll start by choosing a theme (similar to what you might on a WordPress site), and then start building individual pages.
The Page builder itself is pretty straightforward and easy to use, choose from a range of pre-made blocks and add them to your layout.
These are somewhat malleable but can be a little "block-y" at time and not allow to adjust to exactly the kind of design you're looking for.
Again, Thinkific is not a fully fledge website builder and if wanted something special, you may want to add a funnel builder on top of Thinkific.
You will appreciate however, the possibility to use global elements (Header & Footer) throughout your site or to re-use section from one page to another.
Checkout & Affiliate System
In terms of setting up payments and enabling an affiliate program, Thinkific does fairly well.
It integrates with both Stripe and Paypal and, depending on which plan you're on (see in the Pricing section) will allow for flexibility of pricing.
Free or paid trial, recurring subscriptions or split payments can be offered to sell you courses.
The checkout itself is also something you can fully design using the page builder tools.
With the Pro plan, you can offer different pricing options on the same checkout, which can be a good way to nudge your students to switch to a yearly plan from a monthly plan for example!
A really cool tool Thinkific offers to make it easier to sell your courses is a Sales Widget.
This enables you to embed a checkout in another site on any platform
Let's briefly touch on Thinkific's affiliate program you can setup to allow partners to promote your online programs.
It's a pretty standard tool, where you can assign a User as an affiliate which will then give them access to their affiliate dashboard.
There, they'll be able to find their unique affiliate link and see their stats: clicks, conversions.etc.
Note that, the affiliate commission window is 30 days and you will have to do the payout manually.
Comparing to most other online course platforms, Thinkific does fairly well with this feature here but note that you will need to be on the Pro plan to set up an affiliate program.
Let's now take a look at probably the main feature Thinkific has to offer which is your ability to host and deliver online programs.
You will be able to organize your course content in the backend and set up different parameter for your course:
In terms of the actual type of content you can upload, Thinkific supports a large range of options: Video, Text, Audio, Quizzes, Presentations, Live,...
It's probably one of the most advanced online course platform in terms of learning tools at your disposal:
You can also easily copy a lesson from one course to another, make any specific lesson free for preview or set it as a pre-requisite to unlocking further content.
Thinkific also makes it easy to organize your content by providing a Video Library where you can categorize your videos and re-use them later.
The only downside of the platform is that you can't really change much of the front-end design of your course compared to other competitors like Kajabi which allow for different layouts.
You'll also get useful reporting data like student progress in your program
Drip scheduling is available for you to automate how your course is released over a period of time.
Thinkific also has a Community builder that you can add to your Thinkific site.That will allow you to build a private community feed, similar to a social media feed, for your different memberships or private online course communities. It serves as an alternative option to a Facebook group.
Although somewhat limited, this feature will please many course creators to add interactivity natively in their course platform.
Lastly, be careful about the plan you pick, as features will substantially vary.
You won't have much flexibility on the type of payments (payment plan, subscription, etc.) on the Basic plan. That may be a limitation for memberships just getting started.
Thinkific App Store
In order to help people integrate external tools easily, Thinkific created their own App Store!
This is a new section of your dashboard where you manage different apps and also get inspiration for taking your courses to the next level
Here are some examples of apps you can connect and what they could help with:
- Email Marketing: Thinkific does not offer an integrated emailing system but makes it very easy to connect to the most popular tools out there
- Ecommerce: if you want to sell physical product on top of your online programs, you could use the Shopify app to make this happen seamlessly!
- Student Experience: these are apps that can improve the learning experience for your students like creating a reward program or making things more interactive.
- Sales tools: with apps like Poptin, you can add popups to your Thinkific site and capture more leads.
User Experience: Is Thinkific Easy To Use?
Thinkific has a very sleek and intuitive feel and user interface.
It’s easy to use the back-end and the guided tutorials will show you around any parts of the settings easily.
The page builder is not a drag and drop per se, but it is an easy-to-use section builder.
On the student's side, things will look simple and it’s easy to follow along the course.
And with a well-adjusted set of customization, such as theme design, you can influence the end-user experience too!
Overall Thinkific user experience for both you and the end user (aka the student) is very satisfying and sleek!
Pricing: How Much Is Thinkific?
Thinkific’s free and basic plans are very affordable. But, if you want all the features, you will need the pro plan, which is a bit more expensive.
Thinkific is one of the only online course platforms that offer a free plan with no transaction fees!
Which is why we've ranked it #1 for On-A-Budget
On the other hand, the gap to the first paid plan is steep.
Thinkific is competitively priced, but with the basic package at $39/mo. you are limited on the payment plan pricing.In short, if you want all the features Thinkific has to offer, you'll need the pro plan at $79/mo., which makes the investment a little more than something like Teachable.
That said, Thinkific is not quite an all-in-one platform like Kajabi but still more than an almost-too-basic online course hosting platform like Teachable.
How is the Support & Community for Thinkific?
Thinkific support is just what you need: helpful, quick, and easy to reach.
You can also find an extensive tutorial knowledge bank to answer questions you may have, plus in-platform videos to guide you.
On top of that, you can also join the Thinkific Facebook group and get answers from a large community (32k+) of fellow users.
This community is well moderated with Thinkific team members and experts helping everyone out, so you’re bound to get a helpful answer.
Thinkific’s thriving Facebook group is proof that they care about their customers and will meet you where you already are (since most people already have Facebook) to answer questions.
At least you know you won't be alone in your online course journey if you choose Thinkific to host your course!
Our Overall Rate: 4
Community & Support Rating:
Thinkific is a great online course platform for some of the basics of what you need.
The pricing structure is different from most of their competitors, but Thinkific has everything you're looking for if ease of use and simplicity are important to you.
Thinkific is among the rare online course platform to offer a free plan
People use Thinkific to host and sell their online courses and memberships with basic tools like a page builder, checkout and course design.
Yes, Thinkific has a basic site and page builder. Don't expect anything fancy though!