If you are planning to launch an online course but are struggling to find the best solution, you’ve come to the right place.
The online course industry is now estimated at well over $250 billion and growing every day. This means that there’s never been a better time to start your own profitable knowledge business.
This article discusses two industry-leading online course platforms, Thinkific and Graphy.
We’ll look at all the different aspects of each, including their features, pricing, support, security, and more, to help you determine which platform is best for you as an edupreneur.
Graphy and Thinkific are both SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms designed for building, marketing, and when you sell online courses.
Both platforms are ideal for individuals and small businesses to big ones and will provide you with all the tools you need to create a beautiful online course (or school website), market it online, and collect payments globally.
However, the two platforms do have some unique differences, making one better than the other for certain segments of users.
My team and I have spent eight hours researching and comparing the two platforms to give you a better understanding of which one is best for instructors by looking at various factors.
1. Course Creation
A reliable LMS (learning management system) will help you create engaging courses quickly and easily, even with zero technical knowledge.
To get a better idea of what each platform has to offer in that regard, take a quick look at these videos on how to create a course on each platform.
Thinkific is a popular course creation platform for many reasons. First, it allows you to build custom courses with no coding knowledge.
It provides options for instructors to market and sell their courses with features such as live courses, group training, bundles, membership sites, and more.
Here are some of the impressive features you’ll find on Thinkific:
- Drag-and-drop course editor
- Live video session with Zoom integration
- Group training with multiple instructors
- Student tracking to stay on top of your learners’ progress
- Content security to prevent unauthorized access to your course content
- Thinkific App Store for additional 3rd-party integrations
…and much more.
Graphy, like its competitor, has everything you need to build stunning online courses under one roof. You can create a custom course, build a branded website, and launch your own app from one convenient place.
And the best part is that none of it requires any coding knowledge or skill when creating online courses. On the contrary, the Graphy platform is preferred by many users for its custom online course creation tools and wide range of templates designed for users in all types of industries.
Here are some of its core features:
- Easy to use, drag-and-drop course builder
- Zoom integration for live webinars and courses
- Instructor-led courses accessible with higher security
- White-labeling features for developing your brand
- No-code course websites with a custom domain
- Student community options are available
- Mobile applications for your course
Graphy vs. Thinkific in Course Creation: There’s no denying that both platforms offer a robust course creation experience. However, Graphy offers a more powerful multimedia course option which makes it the winner in this regard.
Choosing the right elements for your online academy can be a difficult decision. And while you should not base it entirely on price, this is still an important factor to consider before making your choice.
Let’s take a quick look at the pricing model and structure and affordability of each of these two platforms to help you make a cost-effective method and tax-related decisions.
Thinkific has four pricing plans for their monthly subscriptions:
- Free ($0/month): Great to test out the platform and understand how everything works. Accessibility to 1 course, 1 community, 1 administrator, 1000 students, 0% transaction fee, fully integrated e-commerce, quizzes/surveys, and email/chat support.
- Start ($99/month): Great for those with a growing online school. This plan includes all Free plan features with accessibility to 10 courses, 1 community, 1 administrator, 2,500 students.
- Grow ($199/month): Great for those with a medium-sized online school. This plan includes all Start plan features with accessibility to 25 courses, 3 communities, 2 administrators, 5,000 students, and phone/email support.
- Expand ($399/month): Great for those with a large-sized online school. This plan includes all Grow plan features with accessibility to 75 courses, 10 communities, 5 administrators, 10,000 students, and priority phone support.
*Note: Thinkific offers a discount of 20% on annual subscriptions, and there are no transaction fees.
Graphy has made its pricing structure very simple to understand.
- $999 onboarding fee to help you get your online school properly setup on the platform with the help of their staff.
- 10% commission per course sold on Graphy
The plan provides you with all functionality and there is no need to upgrade/downgrade based on needed features.
Thinkific offers a free plan that Graphy doesn’t. That said, Thinkific takes this as a clear winner in the pricing category, especially for beginners.
3. School and Course Marketing
The better your marketing strategies, the better chance for you to sell courses. Both platforms understand this, so they offer powerful marketing and promotion tools to attract more customers to your content.
Thinkific believes that your knowledge is a business and the world of your customers. The platform makes it extremely simple for you to transform your expertise into beautiful online courses that your students will love, with features such as:
- Thinkific Apps Store
- Growth add-ons to promote online courses ease
- asdf marketing services for lead generation
- Automated and integrated email marketing campaigns
- Customizable landing page templates
- Expertly designed lead capture forms
- Promotional offers to create free trials
- Membership sites, bundles, discounts, etc. for higher conversions
With this platform, you get easy distribution of your courses, promote the experiences and skills visitors and students can learn. Your content won’t be all over the place, and you’ll be able to present a very organized version of your online course and distribute it solely through a URL.
Your knowledge is power, and with this platform, you’ll be able to use your knowledge to impact the world.
Here are some online school and course marketing features you’ll find on Graphy:
- Readymade templates for creating landing pages
- Easy to use drag-and-drop landing page editor
- Custom domain with blog templates
- SEO optimization features to generate more traffic
- Offers, promo codes, and discounts to boost sales
- SMS, email, and Push notifications to promote courses
- Conversion tracking to refine your campaigns
These features are offered on all plans, which means you get access to all of this and more even on the basic plan.
Graphy vs. Thinkific in School and Course Marketing: Graphy offers multiple payment gateways, whereas Thinkific does not. Also, you get unlimited memberships on all plans, which makes it easy to scale your online knowledge business without incurring additional costs – in this review Graphy vs. Thinkific.
There’s also a built-in affiliate marketing program on all of Graphy’s plans, but Thinkific only offers this feature in the higher plans. Furthermore, Graphy provides country-specific course pricing on all plans, which you won’t get on Thinkific.
4. Instructor Support
As an online instructor, you will likely face some technical glitches or other issues during the process of building, promoting or selling your course. Therefore, you need a platform to help you whenever you need it.
Let’s see how Thinkific and Graphy compare in this regard.
Thinkific offers support in a variety of ways, including:
- They provide priority phone help
- Email support
- Live Chat
- Help Center
- Vast Community
- Knowledge Base
However, it’s important to note that the type of support you receive differs according to your plan.
Basic Plan users do not get support on priority, which means that in case of any emergency, you either have to wait for someone to respond to you, or you might have to rely solely on the platform’s knowledge base.
Users on the highest plan can call support and get instant answers.
Graphy offers 24/7 support on multiple channels, and it’s the same for users on all plans. You can get support via:
- Knowledge Base
- Live Chat Support
Graphy also offers free customer support to help you with the migration of your courses, landing pages, data, written agreement for your site, operations, etc.
You need to create a Graphy schedule and create a demo, and one of the platform’s subject matter experts will get back to you to start the process.
Graphy vs. Thinkific in Instructor Support: Thinkific wins this one by providing the most diverse ways to receive support on the only platform and because it has a vast Thinkific community and a more in-depth Help Center with better resources and documentation.
5. School and Course Customization
Your ability to customize your course will have a huge impact on how successful it is in the end. You need to pick up a platform that allows you to fully customize your entire student experience so your course can stand out from the rest and attract your target learners.
On Thinkific, you’ll get excellent customization options. For example, the platform lets you choose whether you want to offer all your content at once or create a drip schedule, so students get lessons at predetermined times.
There are also features construct for easy integration with membership websites, which help you attract more learners to your platform and provide you with a source of recurring income.
A prerequisite learning feature also allows students to request lessons or curses in advance.
Here are a few additional Thinkific features that you’ll find helpful:
- Completion certificates for students
- Multiple themes to showcase content
- Private or hidden courses options
- Easy integration with membership websites
- Drip schedule content feature
- Prerequisite lesson feature
Graphy offers a range of impressive features for customizing your online course. For example, you can create a rich multimedia course with a wide range of content, such as videos, webinars, eBooks, PDFs, exams, quizzes, etc.
You can also award certificates that are fully customizable to match your brand. For example, you can add passing criteria, and the certificates will be automatically sent upon course completion.
Graphy vs. Thinkific on School and Course customization: Graphy provides mobile apps on all its plans, which you won’t get on Thinkific.
However, Thinkific does offer unmatched learning in-depth experience years from you – that allows you to bring your vision to life thanks to flexible content, including unlimited video, live lessons, communities, assessments, etc.
You’ll also have assessments and certificates, progress tracking, communities and memberships, and various other tools to help you deliver a truly unique and customized experience for your students.
6. Student Experience and Retention Tools
Yet another important feature to consider when choosing the best online course platform is the student experience that you will be able to create with the software.
Unless you can provide an exceptional experience where your students enjoy your course and can retain the information taught in it, you’ll find it hard to build a successful knowledge business.
So, let’s see what Graphy and Thinkific have to offer in terms of student experience and retention features.
Thinkific has many amazing features to help you create an unforgettable learner experience.
For instance, you get discussion boards, quizzes, student reviews, completion certificates, group training, drip-scheduled classes, and various other tools designed to help you develop the best student experience possible.
You’ll also get better student engagement results through gamification and various other built-in systems for developing high levels of engagement with your community.
Like Thinkific, Graphy also has robust student experience and engagement and experience features.
You’ll find tools to build quizzes, assignments, private communications, SMS and email notifications, push notifications, open and private communications, niche-based communities, and much more.
The platform also has unlimited videos, audio, and multimedia file storage which allows you to build any type of course, you want with no limitations to provide a consistent learning experience for your students.
Graphy vs. Thinkific in Student Experience and Retention Tools: It’s hard to pick a winner because both platforms have impressive features for creating a great student experience.
7. Data Analytics
You want to choose an online course platform that provides you with easy tracking and reporting functionality to stay on top of your students’ progress tracking and determine the areas where your learners are getting stuck.
Fortunately, both platforms make it easy for you to review your content and find opportunities for improvement to stay ahead of the competition.
Thinkific offers features for student tracking, sales tracking, and course tracking. You can easily get actionable insights on ways to maximize your sales with the user-friendly reporting dashboard that allows even complete beginners to make sense of user data generated through your course marketing campaigns and digital marketing.
You get the right types of analytical tools to provide you with all the information you need to make data-driven decisions to grow your knowledge business.
Furthermore, the platform provides you with automated progress emails, reminder emails, email support, and more so you can easily communicate with your students to encourage them as they learn.
Graphy offers built-in tracking and reporting tools. However, they are somewhat limited. In addition, you can integrate a variety of third-party apps (and mobile apps) to help you gather insightful information.
For instance, you can integrate with Google Analytics for real-time reporting and up-to-the-minute reports to help you make better-informed decisions and know the circumstances prior to deciding – to grow your online knowledge business.
Graphy vs. Thinkific in Data Analysis tools: Thinkific wins this because it has built-in tools to help you get detailed reports on your course content, students, sales, and more. If you need more in-depth analytics, you can integrate third-party analytics tools such as Google Analytics.
However, Thinkific doesn’t offer this on the basic plan. You only get Zapier on the higher-priced plans. On Graphy, however, you get Zapier integrations on all plans (including the free plan). The platform comes with a range of built-in integrations for your convenience.
8. Advanced Tools and Developer Features
Depending on your skill level, you may require an online course platform that gives you access to the HTML/CSS editing environment.
If that’s the case, this will be a significant determining factor as to whether or not you choose either of these platforms.
Thinkific gives you access to a robust API designed for developers. You also have access to a theme importer and SSO.
The platform’s theme import/export feature allows you to conduct advanced customization. For example, you modify your website theme across different sites to include a wide range of assets, such as forms, images, etc.
Unlike Thinkific, Graphy doesn’t offer developer features. However, it’s easy to use, with a simple yet powerful drag-and-drop course builder to allow creators to build websites and easily launch their own white-labeled apps, even with zero coding knowledge.
If required, Graphy has a team of experts who can help you build a personalized website or mobile app to fit your needs.
Graphy offers no development features whatsoever. Thinkific, on the other hand, lets you dive into the weeds if you choose to, with access to the platform’s HTML, CSS, and other editing languages.
The security of your online course platform is yet another important consideration. With cybersecurity threats on the rise, you need a platform that has robust security measures in place to help protect your content, student data, payment information, etc.
The good news is that both platforms have adequate security measures to ensure the security of your online data and financial transactions.
Thinkific offers PayPal integration and Stripe payment processors, which come with secure SSL payment pages.
If you want to, you can send payment links via SMS. The payment processors also help you process employee payouts, affiliate payouts, etc. You (as the site admin) can easily track all transactions on your dashboard.
Thinkific also has secure cloud hosting and 24/7 monitoring to maintain full security for your data.
Like Thinkific, Graphy also offers PayPal and Stripe processors and local payment gateways like CCavenue, Razorpay, PayU, Paytm, and more.
You get secure, SSL-protected payment checkout pages with flexible options, such as installments, subscriptions, and one-time payments, to help attract learners to your content. You can also accept payment from many different countries around the world.
Thinkific’s videos are not secured, but Graphy’s are fully encrypted. Also, Graphy has multi-layer content security, whereas Thinkific has none.
Final Thoughts for the Best Online Course Platform
Knowledge sharing is no longer limited to where you are or how loud you can shout.
With course platforms like Thinkific and Graphy, you can now attract customers worldwide, which makes now the best time ever to become a knowledge entrepreneur.
Graphy is touted by many users as a more affordable alternative to Thinkific. I hope this guide has helped you determine which of these two platforms is ideal for you as an instructor to help you land in the correct location and comprehensive set of features you need for your business and site.
So what is the best platform to create and sell online courses?
As a quick recap, Thinkific provides you with robust course creation, promotion, and selling tools.
However, the platform charges a 5% transaction fee. In contrast, Graphy doesn’t charge anything to sell your courses on the platform to build a commercially successful enterprise. Create your own brand and business by selling courses.
Also, Thinkific’s basic plan doesn’t come with any advanced features, and there are no direct third-party integrations available, including Zoom integration.
With Graphy, you get your own white-labeled course website, mobile apps, integrated live class, and webinar platform. You also have unlimited learners on all plans, and you can offer country-specific pricing with local payment gateways.
Moreover, each account comes with a dedicated account manager (with your country-specific pricing) with onboarding support and has to constitute professional advice for your business and create a professional-client relationship that will last for years!
Even on the basic plan, you get premium value. You’ll have access to features that you’d have to pay additional fees for on Thinkific, such as Zoom license, Zapier integration, removal of Graphy branding, and more.