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A step-by-step guide to choose the best platform for your signature course

A Step-by-Step Guide to Choose the Best Platform for Your Signature Online Course

I know how exciting creating and launching your first online course or membership can be, but the number of options and strategies available can be overwhelming. I know all about it because I went through the same thing when I launched my first online course years ago. I'm here to save you the late nights of research rabbit holes by providing this overview of choosing the right platform for your online course.

Let's get started by giving you some well-deserved credit.

You are one intelligent business boss to launch an online course. As we are seeing, the online course industry is exponentially growing and is estimated to reach $300 billion by 2026. My last course build resulted in a 6-figure course launch. When done right, there are endless possibilities to achieve the freedom and finances you desire with your course while positively impacting massively more people with your teachings through an online portal.

There is no better time to create your online course than now!

If you are anything like my Signature Program Incubator clients, you might be:

  • An expert in your industry ready to reach a larger audience through online education
  • A 1-1 service provider who is fully booked out and ready to create a membership or course to expand their business (and finally get some time off!)
  • A coach or passion-driven entrepreneur ready to reach more people and make a more significant impact through curated content delivery
  • A leader, author, or speaker with a large audience but not a streamlined product or system to walk your clients through
  • A health or wellness professional desiring to bring your certified expertise to the online environment so you can gain the freedom of remote work
  • A traditional teacher or professor that desires to bring their knowledge to a less formal, more accessible education paradigm than four-year schools

Let's dive in!

Your course platform is an essential decision because there are consequences to ending up on the wrong platform, such as:

  • Overpaying for features, you don't need
  • Realizing too late that the features you need are not available on the platform you chose
  • Poor marketing features make it hard to sell your course
  • Technical issues or lack of platform support causing functional problems
  • Tons of time wasted or money spent to move your platform once you've built it, not to mention the hassle of confusing your students

So, let's set you up on the right platform from the start.

This will help you save time and money, as you will only have to set up your marketing funnel and course content ONCE, knowing that your chosen platform will support you well into the future.

Here are the critical areas for you to consider while choosing your online platform:

  • Core website and sales page builders
  • Marketing features (email sequencing, on-site SEO, tracking ability, automation, etc.)
  • A course delivery system that creates an excellent experience for your students
  • Pricing that suits your budget for the long term
  • Ways to manage your audience include
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM), tagging, segmentation, etc.

Are you a true business boss and brand advocate like us?

My clients and I are the type of entrepreneurs and CEOs that want to manage our brand strategy, content, marketing, pricing, and discounts. If you are similar and want complete control of your online platform to reach the audience, finances, and impact you desire, then an all-in-one course platform solution is perfect.

All-in-one course platforms include the essential tools you need to succeed through your own brand and signature course exposure:

  • Course build and delivery features
  • Sales and marketing tools
  • Audience management
  • No-code sales funnel creation ability

This is important because you already have a million things to do as a CEO and entrepreneur… the last thing you need to do is waste your precious time trying to connect 100 different tech tools. I've sadly been there, and it has been some dark nights of my tech soul… and time I will never get back.

Thank God for technological developments, with my favorite advancement being no-code website tools that work for us without the hassle of needing to write code. This allows you to stay in your zone of genius and get your marketing materials published just that much quicker without the added cost of a developer. Sounds pretty great, eh!?

I get this question regularly:

Do I have to have a different platform to host my complete website?

The answer: When you choose the right course platform: NO!

This means you are utilizing your course platform to host BOTH your entire website and online course. This brings you even more return on investment (ROI) for your all-in-one course platform… but it also heightens the need for the right platform choice because you are putting all your eggs in one online basket.

The downfall of NON-all-in-one platforms

Let me rant about what platforms NOT to choose if you're serious about growing your brand. Non-all-in-one Elearning platforms, such as Udemy and Skillshare, can be significant in their ways. Still, they each take a percentage of your revenue. You will face competition in their ecosystem because your course stands beside other courses in your niche with little differentiation.

These platforms might market your course to their audience but limit your customization ability and brand cohesiveness, which is risky business, when trying to build a recognizable brand. These platforms can make executive decisions, such as discounting your course or dictating where/how they showcase it.

The only times I recommend a non-all-in-one platform to my clients is with a particular strategy in mind that still requires pushing students to an all-in-one platform build that hosts their advanced courses.

Long story short: You still need an all-in-one course platform

Do you already have a course hosted on a non-all-in-one platform, or are you interested in learning more about my low-ticket course strategy? Give me a shout to learn how to use non-all-in-one platforms effectively.

Your signature course should build your brand equity through an all-in-one platform

100% of my clients are focused on building their business, a recognizable brand, and signature course utilizing an all-in-one solution so they can focus on their overarching business strategies instead of being forced into the paradigm of a specific platform.

Business is about making money, and your course should bring you the financial abundance you desire, so I've ensured that my top course platform choices do not take your hard-earned revenue. You will be responsible for your platform subscription cost and the typical 3%(ish) fee for payments through Stripe or Paypal integrated into your course platform.

Here are my top picks for all-in-one course platforms:


I walk my talk and personally use Kajabi. I simply love it. As a professional graphic and web designer, I've found Kajabi to allow me to create beautiful sales funnels, website pages, and course materials designed to convert.

Sales and Marketing Features:

We've already heard me rant about this, but it's essential that the platform you choose has effective and powerful marketing tools:

  • Ability to create your complete website and sales funnels
  • No-code platform (you don't need to be tech-savvy) Funnel, landing page, and copy templates
  • Email automation, tagging, and sequencing
  • Built-in CRM interface
  • User-friendly with the ability to create new content, campaigns, and funnels in minutes
  • Ability to use analytics and metrics to inform updates
  • On-site SEO, meta titles, meta tags
  • Framework for marketing outlets such as a blog, podcast, coaching, etc
  • You can customize the platform with your code if needed, but it's definitely not required!

Listen, I get the course delivery interface (where your students log in) needs to be clear, compelling, and on brand, but your marketing materials will get students into your course in the first place and money into your bank account.

I've been fortunate to attend a webinar with a success coach and best-selling author, Brendon Burchard, who personally uses Kajabi and recommends their native email marketing tools even for hundreds of thousands of subscribers. That's a good proof of concept in my book!

Course Build and Delivery System

  • Numerous course templates to choose from
  • The ability to customize your course interface fully with your brand materials
  • Video editor tool
  • Upload videos, PDF, mp3, and descriptions to your lessons
  • Course outline
  • AI guidance
  • Community Feature to support course completion, gamification of your course, and general student camaraderie
  • Content bulk and cloud import functionality

Support & Community

  • Responsive chat support (it has NEVER taken them more than a few hours to get back to me)
  • Kajabi has a growing Facebook group for users that supports your understanding of the tools and marketing strategies people use
  • Kajabi offers ongoing education, webinars, and events to support users
  • Kajabi has limited downtime and always communicates it in advance
  • Kajabi has a great library of tutorials and helpful materials
  • Kajabi constantly updates its features and has recently added communities, a live delivery interface, completion certifications, calendar bookings, and more


  • $149/month or $1,428/year for the basic package (I used this package for the first five years of my course before needing to upgrade)
  • 0% revenue fees
  • Get a 30-day Kajabi trial HERE


Like Kajabi, Kartra allows you to build and launch your website but was conceptualized primarily as a marketing platform, with the course hosting features almost as an afterthought. The beauty of how Kajabi is designed is to support your online course delivery while also serving as your marketing machine. Having this complete balance is essential, as you will be spending time and energy ensuring your students' progress, success, and fulfillment of your course delivery. Any issues with your course delivery will exponentially compound as you grow your platform and reach.

Another differentiating factor is that Kajabi allows you to run your blog from their interface, while Kartra does not have this feature. Karta's main feature over Kajabi is a live chat feature, but you can install an integration in Kajabi if you need this feature.

Lastly, Kajabi has a sales pipeline builder that makes your sales process creation a breeze in one builder window. Kartra, on the other hand, requires you to build these aspects separately, which will tack on manual time and potentially create confusion in your funnel process.


  • $99 a month limits you to 2,500 leads
  • You would need the $199/month plan to be more comparable to Kajabi's basic plan
  • 0% revenue fees


Thinkific is a leading course platform but lacks an essential tool: Native tools for email marketing. You still need to utilize another email marketing tool and integrate that into your Thinkific platform. To me, this defeats a prominent aspect of the "all-in-one" concept and will send you down the continued rabbit hole of integrations, email tools, and wasting time on additional set-up. The price difference between Thinkific and Kajabi needs to be more substantial to validate this lack of feature, as you will also have a cost for your outside email platform.


  • Basic plan starts at $99/month
  • 0% transaction fees


Teachable can be sufficient for more superficial course structures, but if you want to build your brand and provide rich course content with a higher level of organization, Kajabi takes the cake.

Regarding platform choice, you don't want to "start small" and plan on moving your content when you get larger because you will lose a significant amount of time and money doing this. I always recommend choosing the platform you can grow into over the next decade or more.

Teachable shines similarly to Kajabi with the course delivery interface but is limited in the front-end marketing aspects. I see a lot of Teachable courses paired with websites and landing pages created on other platforms. This seems to defeat the "all-in-one" concept and adds unneeded complexity to your journey to marketing your course. Kajbai allows further flexibility to serve your audience with products, courses, and memberships than Teachable, and hands-down blows Teachable's website builder out of the water.

As a designer, I would use something other than Teachable due to their massive website builder limitations. Kajabi has many built-in features that support your brand representation and marketing outreach without needing to touch code. It's a no-brainer!

Lastly, Teachable takes a part of your revenue. As an entrepreneur, I don't want to pay more when making more. I prefer the flat rate concept to demonstrate my success in my bank account, not someone else's. Teachable caters to those starting out and with low budgets but does not support your future growth and success like some other platforms do.


  • Basic plan is $39/month
  • 5% transaction fee on sales


Clickfunnels is a decent marketing machine, but from a brand perspective, if you choose this platform, you REALLY want to be on board with their way of doing things. I can instantly recognize any website or course built on Clickfunnels due to the low-quality design and branding representation, with instead a nod toward the "bro-marketing" look and feel, which always focuses on the "sale first" with little to no care on long-term relationship building.

Author Martin J. Williams says, "Bro-Marketing can be summed up simply as: Aspiration marketing using inflated imagery or statements to present a desirable future or unmissable value."

In the evolution of marketing, we can see a shift toward genuine connection-building over overt sales tactics. We are a much more sophisticated online community than years ago, and we no longer desire or need the same sales strategies.

Here's a quick example summarizing numerous experiences I have had on Clickfunnel platforms: I am drawn to either a free product or a low-cost product and go to sign up. Upon sign-up, I'm directed to upsell after upsell, so I get exhausted to even follow through on the initial purchase/sign-up I wanted. So, I leave. I wanted to give my money, and their platform kept pushing me for more instead of fulfilling the need I was immediately after. Seems silly if you ask me.

Clickfunnels not only uses "bro-marketing" but actively encourages it in the set-up of the platform. My clients are purpose-driven and focused on finding aligned clients and building relationships for a repeat customer base, not pushing someone toward a sale. Yes, we want to follow up and remind with retargeting, but that doesn't mean we need to constantly shout at our audience through our materials.

If you are similar, I recommend you avoid Clickfunnels, as it's tough for a non-designer to make their platform feel less bro-marketing focused. Additionally, I don't find ClickFunnels as intuitive, easy to use, or straightforward as other options… especially for the non-technical course builders.


  • Basic plan is $97/month
  • 0% transaction fees


I'm including Podia in this guide because it's one of the lowest-cost "all-in-one" course solutions. One of the significant differences I see between Podia and Kajabi is that Podia offers a limited number of valuable templates that Kajabi provides, whether that's a course template, email sequence template, landing page template, or other. Kajabi has a focus on helping make sure that your marketing materials convert with proven templates and support.

When you are starting, let me just tell you that starting from Podia's blank canvas will be hard without some guidance. Podia provides a simple interface to build your course and marketing materials but does not offer the marketing and template support that Kajabi is known for and lacks the depth of a platform for you to grow into.

Podia is limited in its tracking and metrics overview. You can get some information on student progress and other KPIs, but I don't find it robust enough to inform future decisions about my platform.

Like Teachable, Podia's front-end website and sales page builder could be much more robust. If you are brand-focused, you want your materials to exude the professionalism you provide through your course content and expertise. This will take a lot of work to achieve with Podia's website builder. If you are looking for a powerful website builder that is fully customizable, Kajabi remains your top choice for all-in-one course platforms.


  • Basic plan is $33/month
  • 0% transaction fees


I hope this guide has helped you choose the best platform for your signature online course. While there are several good options, Kajabi remains the top choice for its user-friendly interface, all-in-one features, and reliable support. With Kajabi, you can create, market, and sell your course all in one place without additional third-party tools. So what are you waiting for? Start building your dream course today with Kajabi and take your business to the next level!

Grab your Kajabi FREE 30-day trail HERE


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