Right now is a great time to choose a software platform and build an online community. Thousands of thriving communities exist online, dedicated to everything from organic gardening to heavy metal to digital marketing. If you can think of something you want to talk about and learn, there’s a good chance a community does or could exist for that thing.
Online communities are amazing. They help us come together in a digital space to do the most human thing of all: connect us to other people. But add in the fact that paid communities produce recurring revenue for the Hosts, and an online community becomes the BEST way to grow your brand, monetize an audience, or launch a side hustle. And when you add in things like courses and live events, you can bring even more value.
The hardest thing for any potential community owner is figuring out which platform is the right place to host. There are a lot of all-in-one community platforms out there. So in this article, we’re going to compare two: Mighty Networks vs. Circle. We’ll show you what each has to offer, comparing features and value to help you decide which one will help you not only launch, but GROW the community of your dreams!
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In this article...
1. What is an online community platform?
An online community platform is a service that gives you robust tools to design and build a website for a group of people around a theme, topic, or idea.
Online communities are just like physical ones in that they are a group of like-minded people who have come together to achieve a common goal.
But online communities have a number of benefits that physical ones don’t. They’re more accessible to a wider range of people. And they are much easier to grow since the digital element lets you bring more people in and deliver value at scale – you can leverage the technology to serve more people.
2. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Who are they?
Mighty Networks is an all-in-one, white-label community platform and online course builder that harnesses the power of cultural software. Ranked the #1 community management platform by G2, Mighty lets you bring your community, courses, commerce, and content together, under your own brand and domain name, instantly available both on the web and on elegant iOS and Android apps.
Mighty unlocks a new era for independent communities creating and mastering something interesting or important together. Not only does a Mighty Network let you create engaging content and host important conversations in the main community, but it also lets you divide your content into relevant Spaces, easily customizing the options for each space to add discussions, courses, events, live streaming, and more.
Circle is a community platform that was designed to add a community component to your existing tech stack. It includes the option to create spaces for discussions, courses, events, or content. You can add text and video content to spaces. Since Circle was created as a way to add community to Teachable, the course component was a recent addition, launched in the fall of 2022. This new feature makes Circle a potential standalone course and community platform.
3. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Comparison chart
Branded Live Streaming
Chat & Messaging
1-Click Zoom Integration
Number of Currencies Supported
Built in Polls & Questions
MN- iOS & Android
Circle - iOS Only
4. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Judgment criteria
- Customization and a robust feature set. We’ll compare these two platforms based on the features set each one gives you to run your community, looking at things like online course creation, paid memberships, discussion boards, polls, Q&As, member profiles, live streaming, video uploads, and more.
- Monetization options. Community is more than just engagement features. Many Hosts are looking to build businesses with a community, either by adding it to courses or by monetizing the community itself. We’ll compare what these platforms give you for running your business.
- Mobile Apps. The best online community platforms will make your content available in as many ways as possible. If your members can access the community or course from a variety of places they will be more invested. Online community platforms that can be built for and across the web, iOS, and Android are a must.
- Price. Make sure you’re thinking about future-proofing a growing community. Does the platform allow for unlimited members, moderators, and courses? A good community platform should grow with you for a reasonable price.
5. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Customization and features
One of the first things you’re looking for if you’re building a community is the features. That is to say, what can you do with this thing? And with so many community platforms out there vying for your attention, it’s hard to know what to look for. Let’s talk about some of the most important things.
Mighty Networks has a set of features and customization options that earned it G2’s coveted #1 spot. It blends an all-in-one, easy-to-use interface with a powerful content engine that lets you create just about anything you could imagine, short posts, video, long-form blogs, questions and polls, live streaming, courses, and events.
Mighty’s member interface also lets you see who’s in your community, including who’s near you, and members can customize their profiles. It also makes chat ridiculously easy, from chatting 1:1 to all-member.
Mighty offers you a big-tent community platform, but you can also divide your content up into Spaces. Each Space works like a container where you can custom-build experiences using any of the features above. The Space can be built around a course, an event, or a topic or subset of your wider community – and yes, you get unlimited spaces with every Mighty Network (for a limited time). Basically, you can customize the features you want to include for each space.
Mighty is also a robust course builder, letting you create pre-recorded or live courses (that’s asynchronous vs. synchronous). This means you can deliver your course content and charge for it in pretty much any dang way you please, which we’ll talk about next.
And your brand… Mighty blows Circle out of the water when it comes to being able to customize and manage the branding of your community. You get a community that looks and feels how you want it to. And, for established brands and companies, Mighty Pro will build you an amazing branded app completely under your brand. We’ll talk more about this below.
In short, Mighty is redefining what cultural software is and giving you the tools to build pretty much any type of community you can imagine. Here are some of the best features Mighty has:
- Live, robust, and branded mobile app /or web access (iOS & Android)
- Live streaming capabilities. Go live directly across web and mobile apps & download the recording after.
- Engaging and exciting discussion boards that bring members together. Create polls, quizzes, and surveys.
- Spaces that let you sell content, courses, or events separately from your main group, each with its own Discovery section and chat.
- Upload directly and post pre-recorded videos, images, and audio clips within your Mighty Network.
- Direct & group messages between community & subgroup members.
- Intuitive online course creation for engaging teaching that includes video lessons, engagement tools, Q&A forum functionality, and more!
- An “activity feed” feature makes it easy for members to keep track of all the awesome content you’re providing.
- Add paywalls and different membership tiers that are either community-wide or dedicated to a specific group or course.
Circle’s feature set is primarily geared toward hosting discussion groups. It lets you create spaces that work to divide your conversation up, although they recently added a feature that lets you create an event space and a course-building space (beta).
When you integrate your online community with Circle, you get a clean-looking community space that will be familiar to people who’ve used popular social media sites. While it’s simple and has fewer features than Mighty Networks, it was designed this way. That’s because Circle was initially created to add a simple community option for creators and entrepreneurs who host their courses and content elsewhere, and its simplicity and minimal features still reflect that original vision.
While Mighty’s Spaces are containers that you can add just about anything to, Circle makes you choose whether your space will be a post, event, chat, or course. This is a major difference between the two platforms. So, for example, a course Space in a Mighty Network could include chats, events, and discussions along with the course – all in one Space. With Circle, these would need to live in different spaces. Members of a course space would have to go to a different space to find a course discussion. It’s a huge difference in UX that makes Circle way harder to navigate.
Here are some of the main features of Circle:
- You can create private spaces within the community made for either a post, an event, a chat, or a course & sell or bundle access to these.
- Members can create their own profiles & browse a directory of other members.
- You can integrate existing content easily into your community space.
- Members can access the community through an app (iOS only).
- Integrates with other online course platforms like Teachable
Summary -- Customization and features
- Mighty Networks is all-in-one cultural software that lets you build and monetize your community, courses, and events on one platform. The Spaces are more versatile, and you can customize the features you want in each one.
- Mighty Networks has everything you need to maximize engagement, live streaming, apps for every phone, and beautiful and intuitive interfaces.
- Circle is a great solution for those who only need to add a community function to a course that already exists on another platform, especially Teachable, or who prefer to keep their course and community on two separate platforms.
6. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Monetization options
Choosing a community platform isn’t just about the community features. It’s also about finding the place to launch and scale your business effectively. So it’s REALLY important to think about monetization options too.
When you create an online community and Spaces with Mighty, you can make them free or charge a membership fee (either monthly, yearly, or one-time) – this means you can charge for community access, access to certain Spaces, or both. So, for example, you could charge for access to your Mighty Network, but also create a paid mastermind within your Mighty Network. It’s easy to create and modify plans, see which users are subscribed to which plan, and show/hide the options to purchase.
You can offer the same plan in 135 local currencies so you can better reach a global audience. OR you can choose to charge with crypto instead of cash – Mighty’s new token-gating feature lets you connect your digital wallet and charge that way. You’ve got a TON of flexibility in creating and charging for your community.
But when it comes to monetization, you can charge for more than just community. You can build and sell online courses for members to purchase, either by selling a pre-made course or pre-selling a cohort course you’ll teach live. OR sell an event. OR – as always – you can bundle any or all of these things.
Monetization on Mighty is super flexible and you’ve got a ton of options to work with… enough said.
Circle has a paywalls feature for its communities, meaning that you can create plans and charge for access. This could include adding a paywall to the community itself, or else choosing specific spaces to add it to. They’ve also recently launched a beta version of courses, which gives some of the functionality of a full LMS. You have the option to create course content, build an outline, and drag-and-drop course blocks. So you can turn on gating for a course space and monetize a course this way. However, the course feature doesn’t yet have things like dripping course content or adding downloads – which Mighty does.
There are still some limitations to your monetization options with Circle. It’s missing the amount of multi-currency options – it lets you charge in only 6 currencies compared to Mighty’s 135. It also has no crypto or NFT payment options, which Mighty does. . All this means that Circle works well for basic monetization, but is missing some of the more advanced monetization features.
7. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Mobile app options
In this day and age, people are increasingly interacting with content and communities through their phones and mobile devices. The best online community platforms allow you to build a space that is available where your members are.
Mighty Networks has developed powerful tools to make your online community available whenever, wherever.
When you use a Mighty Network, your users will be able to access your branded community wherever they are across the web and via the Mighty Network app available on Android and iOS. When you upgrade to Mighty Pro, you can even have your own branded app in the Apple app store and Google Play store!
This means that your members can interact with each other and your content whenever, in whatever way works for them. And you can add a custom domain, as well, to make sure it feels like your home.
Circle offers a clean and easy-to-navigate design for your online community website, the web app works well. Circle’s mobile accessibility has been an issue for a long time, for years they had only an iOS app. But with their latest release (Fall 2022) they’ve launched a test version of an Android app – so this means there will be some Android access too.
One thing Circle doesn’t offer is totally white-label apps, which Mighty Pro builds. This means that there are no branded apps – if your community is a success and you wanted to move to a branded app with features like branded live-streaming, you’d need to switch platforms. With Mighty, you can grow into a branded app.
8. Mighty Networks vs. Circle: Price
The biggest difference between Mighty Networks and Circle might be the price. Circle has a ton of limits and extra charges on things that are included with a Mighty Network. Here’s a quick summary chart to compare how much add-ons will cost you.
Unlimited on All Plans
Limit of 100 (Basic Plan), 10,000 (Pro Plan) + $20/mo for extra
Unlimited on All Plans
Limit of 1 (Basic Plan), 3 (Pro Plan) + $10/mo per extra
Unlimited on All Plans
Limit of 1 (Basic Plan), 10 (Pro Plan) + $20/mo per extra
Unlimited on All Plans
Limit of 10 (Basic Plan), 20 (Pro Plan) + $20/mo per extra
Mighty Networks doesn’t charge more as you scale—you can add unlimited members and moderators and Hosts on even the basic plan. Circle charges you more to add extra members, moderators, or admin ($10-$20 extra monthly for each).
These are the community basics you’ll need to pay extra for as you grow. But with no live streaming on Circle’s basic plan, which is already more expensive than Mighty Network’s, Mighty is a better deal pretty much any way you look at it.
Want to try Mighty Networks... Free?
At the end of the day, Mighty gives you more features than Circle does, for less money. And everything that’s unlimited on Mighty – members, Hosts, moderators – costs more on Circle. That makes Mighty an awesome choice for building a powerful community.
Better yet, all of our features work across the web, iOS, and Android which gives your members more flexibility and accessibility to how they interact with each other and your content.
And you can try Mighty absolutely free for 14 days, with no credit card required.