Kajabi calls itself an “all-in-one online membership and course platform.” It’s one of the most complex software platforms available today for marketing and running paid online courses.
But before you go all-in on Kajabi, it’s good practice to look at its strengths and weaknesses and understand the alternatives available to make sure you’re choosing the right platform for your goals.
The last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours setting up your online courses on Kajabi only to realize it’s not the right fit.
In this article, we’ll cover what Kajabi does well and where it falls short. Then, we’ll give you the top 6 alternatives to Kajabi and show the advantages and disadvantages to each.
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In this article...
What Kajabi does well
There are people running their courses on Kajabi and making millions of dollars each year. It’s a stable, savvy platform for running paid memberships and online courses.
When Kajabi talks about being an “all-in-one” platform, they are specifically talking about all things course-related: marketing online courses, selling online courses, and delivering online courses.
Courses are their bread and butter. And while there are limitations to some of their companion features (e.g. the community-building possibilities), it seems that the reason you pay so much for Kajabi is because they’ve gone all-in on delivering courses and a complex marketing infrastructure to support this.
Kajabi’s features include:
- The ability to set up and run online courses with text, files, and photos. You can also embed videos that you upload to a 3rd party video hosting service called Wistia
- The ability to choose different ways to deliver an online course, from making everything available at one time to dripping in course content by date to requiring students to take the lessons in sequence
- The ability to engage students with quizzes and polls
But where Kajabi really makes its mark is on how it lets instructors market and sell their courses:
- Robust marketing tools to deliver email campaigns, welcome flows, weekly updates, and more
- Effective marketing landing pages to create email waitlists or sell exclusive “windows” for purchase
- Checkout and payments that support multiple currencies around the world
Where Kajabi Falls Short
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that membership sites and online courses are only growing in popularity. It seems every day there’s a new podcaster, author, influencer, or coach announcing their latest online course or launching a new monthly membership.
Creativity and innovation are increasingly becoming the name of the online course game. What works today increasingly leaves Kajabi behind scrambling to catch up.
The 3 most commonly mentioned shortcomings of Kajabi are:
While Kajabi says it offers “a community,” it’s an extremely limited forum feature. It’s web-only and isn’t even as robust as a basic Facebook Group, which is why so many Kajabi instructors start a separate Facebook Group in addition to using Kajabi.
With all the canned, impersonal online courses out there, people are looking for online communities to go with their courses to keep themselves accountable, to meet like-minded people on the same journey, or to be able to build a relationship with the course instructor.
Kajabi doesn’t do this well.
This means that Kajabi is great for building and marketing a course, but not so great for engaging and building the community to go with your course and support your students. And that’s a problem.
Extremely Limited Mobile Apps
One of Kajabi’s strengths is the way people can brand their marketing pages and courses on the platform as their own. Think about Kajabi as a private label service similar to Shopify but for digital as opposed to physical products. So when it launched its first native mobile app in late 2019, it was a surprisingly limited Kajabi app with no option for instructors to offer their courses on their own private label mobile apps.
At a time when most people only use native mobile apps on their phones, the lack of mobile access and community features on Kajabi are striking.
Kajabi is the most expensive platform in the market. Its strength in marketing online courses and building pipelines has been the reason for charging instructors a lot of money for its platform.
But it costs literally twice as much as other course platforms on the market that do pretty much everything that Kajabi does and more. So it’s worth asking, is paying twice as much getting you twice as much value? And unless you want extremely complicated marketing funnels with your course, the answer is no. Especially since it’s missing the community function we mentioned above–which is what makes courses really successful.
The 6 Best Kajabi Alternatives
We’ve researched a dozen different alternatives to Kajabi for this analysis. After kicking out custom development either on WordPress or a homegrown online course website or native mobile combination, we’ve narrowed down the list to the top six.
Depending on whether you’re simply looking for a different course platform than Kajabi or you’re ready to bring your online courses and community together in the same place under your brand, you have options.
Teachable has all the features you need to create courses, enroll students, and collect payments. It doesn’t have integrated email nor does it offer the same kinds of complex marketing features Kajabi is known for. And like Kajabi, it doesn’t have a good option for creating an online community. But it is a common alternative.
Now, it should be said that a lot of instructors start off on Teachable for their early online courses and tend to upgrade to Kajabi once they are successful. This is because Teachable isn’t as comprehensive.
Teachable also only has an iOS app, which is a huge disadvantage for getting your courses to your users, and it lacks the marketing and email functions–which you’d have to pay for elsewhere.
Choosing Teachable means managing more services in different places, but it’s still cheaper and simpler to use than Kajabi. However, it’s definitely not the best of the alternatives.
Another alternative to Kajabi to consider if you’re looking to create online courses is Thinkific. On Thinkific’s platform, they tried to build an all-in-one solution for entrepreneurs to build websites to host all of their digital products, from online courses to digital memberships.
Creators and entrepreneurs can create a wide range of content types for their online courses including quizzes, multimedia-based articles, videos, surveys, webinars, and more. Additionally, Thinkific has some automation tools which make onboarding students and sending mass emails much easier.
Other features that make Thinkific a great Kajabi alternative are that it’s cheaper to get started. Kajabi offers a 14-day trial to get started, but their platform has a steep learning curve. When you build an online course through Thinkfic, you’ll be able to start for free, learn the basics, and then start paying when you’re ready to get your courses in gear.
Thinkific doesn’t provide native email support, however, and they rely on using many integrations instead of native features which can be costly in the long run.
Mighty Networks is an all-in-one, white-label community platform that brings online courses, community, and events all under your own brand and domain name, instantly available both on the web and on elegant iOS and Android apps.
As far as course functionality, Mighty Networks does everything Kajabi does and more, adding live streaming and vibrant community functions that lets you create subgroups that you can even charge for. With a Mighty Network, you can even start simple and scale to bundles of online courses, paid memberships, groups, events, and more.
While a Mighty Network doesn’t have the same level of complex marketing flows of Kajabi, the power of the community and native mobile apps drive better results, faster growth, and deeper engagement. They more than make up for what’s lost with Kajabi’s more-complex marketing features.
And did we mention that Mighty Networks is way cheaper? Since it does all the same things and more for a much lower price, it’s the best alternative out there.
But why is community so important? When your business is powered by community, you’ll spend less time endlessly churning out content and more time fostering strong bonds with and between your members. When you have that, your members will continue the conversation around your brand, so you don’t have to.
Here are some of the options you have with a Mighty Network.
- Intuitive online course creation that includes video lessons, engagement tools, Q&A forums, and more.
- Live streaming is built in. Go live to every platform and even teach your course live if you want.
- Live, robust, and branded mobile app /or web access (iOS & Android)
- Post videos, images, audio, and polls to build engaging discussion boards.
- Direct & group messages between community & subgroup members.
- Easily create branded subgroups that can either be free for members or monetized independently as an upsell.
- 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.
In a lot of ways, Skillshare has become the cool kid on the block for online learning. They’re an interesting alternative to Kajabi because they’ve built a marketplace for creators and entrepreneurs to sell their courses.
Their platform has become popular in part because they’ve been able to attract a wide range of creators to build content, from podcasters to marketers, and painters to programmers. This is enticing for people wanting to learn new skills and an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs to tap into.
On Skillshare, you can create online courses, promote them, and grow your audience thanks to the platform’s large pre-existing user base. For some, the pre-recorded nature of Skillshare courses will be more approachable than having to teach “live,” but it’s also less-dynamic experience for your students that way.
The marketplace format is a double-edged sword for creators and entrepreneurs. For some people, the platform will bring traffic and viewers. But a huge course base also means that you’re competing, and many courses are forgotten because of how competitive the platform is. You’re also totally at their mercy. If they change the algorithm, your course could lose all its traffic.
It’s tough to get the numbers of viewers to make money on the platform. You need to have minimum watch time before you can get paid. And even if you monetize, only a few creators will ever earn what their course would be worth on their own platform.
Udemy is another good platform to use if you’re looking to build an online course for your business. They offer many of the same great features that we’ve discussed above but also have made it easier for creators and entrepreneurs to sell multiple courses under one roof.
On the Udemy platform, your online courses will live within their bustling marketplace which could attract many new customers (although it can also be negative and bury your work). On top of that, your supporters can leave reviews and ratings which can increase your course’s visibility, and the software is very easy to navigate.
Additionally, you can build different kinds of content on Udemy, so you’re not stuck only creating videos. Some good options we’ve found are the ability to create audio lectures for people on the go, text-based lectures, quizzes, and Q&As.
Unfortunately, Udemy still runs into some similar problems as some of the other Kajabi alternatives. For one, Udemy relies heavily on the use of third-party integrations. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s great to be able to use your pre-existing systems on a new platform, but it becomes very costly as your business grows.
And another knock against Udemy is that their mobile app experience is largely only useful for your students. On the instructor side of things, you’ll be left having to use the mobile web version to make changes to your course on the go.
Podia is an interesting alternative to Kajabi because they’ve built a platform that allows for online courses, memberships, and digital projects. It has some similarities to the all-in-one model of Mighty Networks, but they rely heavily on integrations for their platform instead of native features.
On Podia, you can create different kinds of content and offer it all in one digital storefront, so it’s easy to navigate and add new products. Some examples of what you can create are: online courses, digital memberships, one-off webinars, and digital downloads. They also offer solid 24/7 support to help you through your issues as they arise.
One key issue that Podia faces is its limited community features. While they do offer community building features, they are largely relegated to your individual products. That means that you won’t be able to create a true community feeling, just sub-communities for your individual offerings.
So you could have a group coaching membership site and the people who enroll can chat with you and each other, but this is a fairly small-scale endeavor. Creating a unique community around your individual products is a bit harder on Podia compared to some of the other alternatives to Kajabi.
The Winner: Mighty Networks
When you start a Mighty Network, you’re choosing a much more powerful platform that gets more valuable to everyone in your course with each new person who joins and contributes. Compared to swapping out Kajabi for Teachable and then needing to augment it with other services, the decision to use a Mighty Network is pretty clear.
The best part of a Mighty Network? It’s instantly available to your members or students on every platform–web, iOS, and Android. Over 65% of Mighty’s rapidly growing engagement happens on its native mobile apps. And when you’re ready, you can upgrade to offer your entire package of courses, community, and memberships on your own native mobile apps available directly in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
Between all of the Kajabi alternatives we’ve listed, you have many great options for running your online courses and memberships. Whether your emphasis is on aggressive marketing tactics, a course-only alternative, or you’re ready to scale faster by bringing your courses and community together in one place, there’s a platform for you.
Ready to start building your online course?