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Teachable Review 2020 – Should You Use It To Sell Your Course?

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Teachable is an online platform for course creators. If you’ve ever wanted to create a course and sell it online, you can do it through Teachable. Teachable handles everything for you including hosting (no need for hosting your own website on your own domain), the course creation itself (through Teachable you can add any kind of content to your course easily) and payment processing. This makes it an appealing service for course creators who want to put something out there easily without all the annoying tasks that come with trying to do everything yourself.

As one of the biggest online course platforms, Teachable is well established and has a strong track record. Here are some of their numbers:

  • Over 100 employees
  • Established in 2013
  • Over $500,000,000 in sales made by course creators on the Teachable platform (crazy to think about, isn’t it?)

How easy is it to get started with Teachable?

It is easy to get started on the website – just go to teachable.com and enter your email. You’ll be taken to this form:

Then you enter the name of your “school”:

They’ll also ask you some questions “to help us get to know you better”:

Then you’re taken to the Teachable dashboard:

From within this dashboard, you have the following sections:

  • Users (containing lists of the students, owners, authors and affiliates of your course(s))
  • Site (here you can customize the logo and background, the font, domain(s), navigation, bios and pages of the site that will market your course)
  • Sales (showing transactions, statements, a breakdown and upsells, if any)
  • Emails (allows you to email students of your course – this requires the basic plan or more)
  • Settings (info about yourself and your course, payment info, taxes, notifications, your plan and so on)

Here’s an example of me putting together an example course – you can add different sections, and upload course content (text, video or anything else):

Then Teachable will create a subdomain on your site for your course, like https://katie-holmes-s-school.teachable.com. If you want to use your own domain (as you absolutely should), then you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. Also, the free plan only allows 10 students, so if you’re doing anything beyond just playing around you will need to spend some money at Teachable.

What kind of courses are sold on Teachable?

All kinds of informational products in all kinds of niches can be sold on Teachable. You’d be surprised by the variety of courses and information that people are willing to pay for online, in niches you may have never even known existed. There are courses on the following, for example:

  • how to bake cakes
  • using Photoshop
  • sketching
  • creating virtual reality games
  • doing magic
  • becoming a blacksmith
  • freediving
  • yoga

To the best of my knowledge, Teachable does not verify the quality and claims made by courses and course creators. They’re simply a platform for course creators who can host any legal family-friendly content they want. Therefore, there may be courses hosted on Teachable that are of subpar quality, though there are definitely plenty of good ones too.

What sort of fees does Teachable charge?

As mentioned above, if you’re going to be selling to any more than 10 people and want to have your course on your own domain name, you’ll need to join a paid plan at Teachable – the free plan is really only for playing around with the platform to see if you’d like to use it. Here are the different plans for Teachable (taken from teachable.com/pricing):

My advice? For the vast majority of Teachable users, the Basic or Professional plans make the most sense. If your course does over $1,000/month in sales on average, you should definitely go with the Professional plan, since for that one there are no transaction fees, unlike the Basic plan that charges 5%. It’s also important that the Professional plan allows you to remove the Teachable branding and gives much better analytics. So if you’re unwilling to fork out money and have a course that will do $0 or perhaps only a few hundred dollars a month in sales, you can go with the Basic plan — otherwise, you should absolutely use the Professional plan.

I do not see the Business plan as necessary other than for a very, very small subset of users.

What kind of support does Teachable offer?

Teachable’s support is very good — you can create a ticket at Teachable about anything and they’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a helpful response. Before creating a ticket, you should have a browse through their knowledge base (https://support.teachable.com/hc/en-us).

What alternatives are there to Teachable?

Online courses have boomed over the past few years, so as you’d expect, there are other course platforms out there. The 3 I’ve identified as being the ones you should consider the most along with Teachable are these:

  • Thinkific
  • Udemy
  • Kajabi

The closest service to Teachable is Thinkific. Udemy and Kajabi are in the same space as a course platform, but have 1 very fundamental difference. Let’s go through these.

Teachable vs Thinkific

Thinkific started in 2012 and is slightly smaller than Teachable, with between 50 and 100 employees and $200,000,000+ in sales from its course creators (clearly still a very well established and reputable company).

Teachable advantages vs Thinkific

  • Easier to make courses with its course builder
  • Fantastic analytics and course reporting
  • Can handle EU Digital Goods VAT tax
  • Nice checkout process
  • Has Apple Pay and Google Pay support
Thinkific advantages vs Teachable

  • More direct integrations with business tools like AWeber, ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit
  • Free plan allows unlimited students and zero transaction fees
  • Has some nice course templates
  • More pricing options for your course(s)
  • Can include assignments and surveys in your course(s)
  • Allows social logins for students and automated emails to be sent to them

Teachable vs Udemy

Udemy is massive and if you’re interested in Teachable, you’ve almost certainly already heard of them. They were established in 2010 and have some very impressive metrics: as of March 2020, they have had over 50 million students, over 295 million course enrollments, and there are over 150,000 courses on Udemy. It’s easily the biggest online course platform. So how does Teachable stack up against it?

Teachable advantages vs Udemy

  • You can use your own domain
  • Ability to customize the theme and style of your courses
  • Any pricing on your course (Udemy only allows $20-$200 courses)
  • See all the info on your students
Udemy advantages vs Teachable

  • Promotes your course to its audience (though it’ll take a 50% cut on those)

The difference between Teachable and Udemy is quite straightforward: the advantage of Udemy is that it’ll help to promote your course, so you may get some sales without doing any marketing yourself. That’s a huge help to new course sellers who haven’t built up an audience yet. However, it’s clearly far more restrictive than Teachable, so if you already have an audience and want to have more control over your course, you’d probably do better going with Teachable.

Teachable vs Kajabi

Kajabi was established in 2009 and its course creators have made over $600,000,000 on its platform.

Teachable advantages vs Kajabi

  • Superior course reporting and analytics
  • Can handle EU Digital Goods VAT tax
  • Has Apple Pay and Google Pay support
  • Lower pricing (for Basic and Professional plans)
Kajabi advantages vs Teachable

  • A complete, all-in-one platform to handle everything regarding your course, including its marketing
  • Integrates with email marketing tools like Aweber, ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit
  • A lot of themes and course customization options

If you really want everything under the one platform, then Kabaji is the service for you. Teachable is only a platform to create and host your course, then the marketing is up to you. With Kajabi everything you need is under the one roof.

Are there any Teachable coupon codes?

No – Teachable does not offer coupon codes. This may confuse you, as it did me, as in searching for “Teachable coupon codes” on Google I found a lot of rubbish coupon sites claiming 50% off Teachable or something similar. However, when you clicked the link to get the coupon it’d just be an ordinary affiliate link to teachable.com. The only way to get a discount on Teachable is to sign up to an annual plan with them, as opposed to monthly. That will save you 25%.

Note that if you create a course with Teachable, it’s possible to create coupon codes for it, so that’s a nice feature they offer. That’s of course completely different to coupon codes for Teachable’s plans themselves.

The bottom line

I quite like Teachable, and strongly recommend considering them if you’re putting a course out there. Just have a quick read through how they compare to their competitors (as listed above) to make sure they’re the best fit for you.

What do others say about Teachable?

I reached out to a few course creators using Teachable, and got some great replies in response that I’ve listed below. All of these people have used Teachable extensively and many have very successful courses. Their input is very much worth reading:

I used Teachable in its early days when it was called Usefedora. I really enjoyed its convenience and easiness to build courses without needing to code or hire coders.

To start right into building and selling online courses, this platform was a gift, but when you become more professional, you need to cut some costs and you want to prevent rising costs, a self hosted course platform becomes more necessary.

That’s why I switched from Teachable to my own system on WordPress. I bought Thrive Apprentice from Thrivethemes.com, set up a Sendowl account and I was ready to sell my own hosted courses via Wordpress.

This solution is what I would recommend to anybody who already owns a WordPress website / blog and loves building online courses.

--Keno Hellmann, Sticktricks.de

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#keno

Paige here from paigebrunton.com. I’ve done over $1 million in online sales, $800k of which were through Teachable.

Here’s some positives and negatives of using Teachable! Hope they help you in your article.

Positives about Teachable:

Set up and course tech couldn’t be easier: When you’re building an online course, there’s a LOT of things to think about and create; the content of your course, your marketing plan, creating a sales page with fabulous content, etc.

Launching a course and getting all the moving pieces working is an intense job. (I spent 3 months working 7 days a week to get my first course launched!)

The LAST thing you want when you go to launch your course? A fight with your tech systems.

A lot of budget-conscious entrepreneurs who are launching their first course are hesitant of paying for a course hosting platform like Teachable.

But from my experience, I would highly recommend hosting your course on a platform meant for course hosting, instead of hacking together a membership area on, say, your current site! There are SO many features you get in a course hosting platform that would take you ages and a lot of grey hairs to recreate on your own website.

It’s a familiar system for students:

Because Teachable is one of the biggest course hosting platforms out there, it’s a very familiar system for your students. Your students likely already have an account with Teachable and are familiar with the layout and organization of a course in the platform, leading to less confused student questions in your customer service inbox.

You can create your sales pages NOT on Teachable:

Teachable has a built-in sales page creator, which gets the job done, but thankfully Teachable also allows you to create your sales pages on any page builder. As a course creator who teaches Squarespace, I use my sales page as a demonstration of my Squarespace skills. Not to mention, there’s a lot more freedom and flexibility in page layout and design in a webpage builder as opposed to the Teachable sales page builder. Also for SEO purposes, having your sales page on your own website can be beneficial. So I’m really pleased that when using Teachable, you’re not just stuck to using their sales page builder.

Negatives about Teachable:

Getting payouts can be tough if you’re working while abroad: A friend was living the digital nomad life in Bali and was using Teachable as her course hosting platform. Because Teachable noticed she was abroad but her payment processor was Canadian, they wouldn’t send her course funds to her payment processor and her course sales got stuck in limbo, not able to be paid out for over 6 months.

--Paige Brunton, paigebrunton.com

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#paige

I've been using Teachable for four years for my courses. I find the platform to be well designed and fully-integrated. I think it's a good interface and easy to navigate but it's a bit costly for those just starting out. I think the platform could be a little more affordable for those course creators just starting out.

--Kristin Marquet, FemFounder

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#kristin

I have used several course platforms and none are as user friendly as Teachable. Currently, I host my own course on dropshipping using Teachable. There are 10 students enrolled in my course since I opened the doors last month.

I would highly recommend Teachable to other course creators. I'm also a User Experience designer so I know a great user interface when I see one. Teachable has awesome usability on mobile as well. I enjoy taking courses using my phone if they are on Teachable.

Most people use their phones to browse the internet so you need to make sure your course looks great on that platform. I've used other course sites like Podia and Thinkific and the mobile view is unstable. Content would get stuck from scrolling up on the mobile view on Thinkific, for instance.

The only drawback is that Teachable charges more fees. I will gladly pay more fees if my students get a great user experience, however. If they don't, then they won't use your course and eventually want a refund.

--Becky Beach, Mom Beach LLC

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#becky

We used teachable to offer eLearning video training for instructional designers. We LOVED the simplicity and the ability to set up your own site. We didn't have to use our web development team to set up the course landing page or eCommerce set up. We ended up switching platforms because we needed a more robust elearning tool with more enterprise-level functionality - but this tool is fantastic for just starting.

--Erick Prospero, Ninja Tropic eLearning

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#erick

Our company used Teachable to create an online course called BlogWinners — it showed people how to create their own websites. We primarily use the course now as training videos for writers we onboard.

We made the switch from a custom WordPress online course to Teachable for a couple reasons, and I'd like to talk about those below:

I highly recommend Teachable to anyone creating an online course. Teachable is easy-to-use and doesn't cost very much to get started.

When our company created its first online course, we tried using a custom WordPress set-up. It proved to be too complicated. You have to find, test, and purchase a variety of plugins that do things already built into Teachable. After spending weeks trying to create a custom WordPress website for our course, we switched to Teachable and had it set up in a couple days..

Another reason to consider Teachable is its blog. You can write and publish blog posts directly from your Teachable course. These blog posts can rank in Google, which will drive warm, organic traffic to your online course and hopefully increase conversions.

--David Lynch, UpPhone

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#david

Teachable is a pretty good school platform. One unique feature it has that other school platforms don't currently have is what they call Teachable Gateway.

For course creators like myself who live in countries where Paypal isn't available, this arrangement is a life saver. Basically, teachable collects payments on your behalf and sends to you once a month.

Apart from the high transaction fees on the free, and lower end paid plans, it's been a great ride.

--Lily Ugbaja, FindingBalance.Mom

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#lily

I've been creating custom training courses for companies for 15+ years now and have had my own Teachable course for 2 years, helping clients generate over $1,500,000 in sales from our lead generation techniques.

In reference to your query on what the experience with Teachable is like:

Selling a course on Teachable is 95% marketing, and 5% course creation.

That's the number one thing I wish I knew when I first started using it. As a course creator of 15 years, I thought it would be easy to launch a course through Teachable. Don't get me wrong, it is actually easy to create a course on Teachable. Their software is built by course creators for course creators, so the workflow for creating your product is excellent. Features like curriculums, comments, drip content, and certificates make the learning experience high quality. Management tools like pricing, bundling, and reporting make administration a breeze. But that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to launching a successful course.

To launch a profitable course, you need to build an audience, which is really hard. You don't have an audience unless you can email them, so you need to be sending out regular content. Good content. Valuable content. This takes time and energy to do consistently well. Teachable provides a wealth of resources and training to support you in building your audience, so full credit to them, but it is worth knowing before you start: you're going to need serious marketing chops to make your course a success.

Would I recommend Teachable to others? Absolutely. It has just the right amount of bells and whistles to not be overwhelming and distracting from your core focus: creating a high quality learning experience. Just be realistic about where the biggest effort lies - building your tribe.

--Andrew Barry, Curious Lion

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#andrew

I currently use teachable for online learning for my business, Boston NAPS. My company provides parenting and birth classes and postpartum consulting and education for new and experienced parents. Many of our offerings are virtual, and many of those are offered through teachable. I am new to the platform, but have had a wonderful experience using it thus far. I think the major pros are cost, it is very affordable for what I consider to be a very professional and sophisticated system. In addition to that, I really like the way that the courses are set up into chapters, so that the learner has the ability to control their learning experience. It is very user friendly for the consumer.

The one major downside I have found, which is very specific to my niche, is that there is not way to move people from one course to the next using a drip campaign that is based on a date that the consumer enters. Meaning that if the consumer enters their child's birth date as January 1st, there is no way for teachable to know to move that person from the 0-3 month content that is relevant to them from 1/1/-3/31, into the next 3-6 month segment starting on 4/1. So we have had to get creative with figuring out how to offer different bundles on the back end, so get around this glitch, which again is very specific to the services we offer. I also wish there was a community discussion feature where all users could post questions that I can respond to, as opposed to the only option being questions/comments posed on each video individually.

--Jamie O'Day, Boston NAPS, LLC

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#jamie

Teachable came recommended by many of my peers in the online space, and it made things very easy for me when I was ready to launch my online course. In fact, even as a first-time user I successfully uploaded and formatted all of the content for my crochet course in a single evening. Even after taking a second look at my options recently, I have chosen to stick with Teachable for additional courses and launches due to the reliable support, user experience, and because of how easy it makes things for me as a small business owner.

--Amelia Servis, Amelia Makes

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#amelia

I use Teachable for my ‘Train the Trainer Course’ as a teacher and I tried a few online teaching platforms before deciding on Teachable. I started off with Teachable, using it first for my hobby site on belly dance (I also teach belly dance in addition to being a university lecturer and business woman). From the start I found Teachable very easy to use and what I love about it is that the design of the course pages is very clean. What I didn’t enjoy though was the cost of using teachable as a platform, and this led me to spending a couple of months seeking out alternatives. After looking at several platforms, including Zenler and Thinkific, I signed up and started trialling Thinkific. I found Thinkific very hard to use in terms of usability and just generally finding things and given that Teachable (and most platforms that offer the same services) are all roughly the same price, I returned to Teachable. I accepted that for the cost, if you want a nice looking online teaching platform that has all of the functionality you need and that looks good then teachable is about as good as you get. The one problem I did have though with Teachable is understanding how VAT (sales tax in U.S) on sales work. Given that Teachable is a U.S. service, they add sales taxes on because ultimately they are the ones selling your course and so in effect, you are working for them when it comes to how you charges VAT (sales tax). That can be confusing when you first set your course prices. Overall though I love teachable and it is now my chosen platform for any online courses I provide.

--Dr Valeria Lo Iacono, Symonds Research and Training

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#valeria

We have been selling a course through Teachable for the past two years and have overall had a good experience. Below are our answers to your questions and feel free to reach out for clarification. Also, let me know when the article goes live and we'd be happy to share it with our large audience!

What was the experience like - Positives

Very easy to setup - Getting the course up and running was fairly quick and easy. There were good how-to guides to leverage as well as instructions as you go. For people who are not overly tech-savvy it's a great option.

Good support - The support from Teachable was great. There were several times where we had questions about how to do things or how payments worked and they were very fast to respond. There are also a lot of guides available that help you figure things out on your own quickly.

Set it and forget it - Once we had everything set up there is very little ongoing work that's needed. There are certainly opportunities to optimize things and add new videos but it runs very well on its own. One less thing to worry about!

The videos look good - We have only heard good things from our customers about the quality and reliability of the videos themselves. It's great to feel confident that your course provider is stable and consistent.

What was the experience like - Negatives

Lack of customization for pages - The landing page and course pages are not very customizable. It's great if you just want a basic page for the course but it's limiting if you have a particular idea of what you want.

Difficult to test different landing pages - There isn't any ability to A/B test different landing pages or course pages. Unless you're hosting the pages yourself on your site optimizing your conversions is going to be very challenging.

Can get expensive - Teachable is a great option for those who aren't selling a large volume of courses. Once you start seeing a significant volume of sales there are other options out there that are significantly cheaper for you that offer reasonably similar functionality. For new courses, or those with smaller volumes, it's a great option.

Would we recommend Teachable to others?

We would! Teachable has been a great option for us and one we don't expect to stop using any time soon. It's reasonably priced for the volume of courses we sell, is reliable, and don't require much in the way of additional work from us. A great option for beginners especially.

--James Anderson, Beyond Ages

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#james

We spend a lot of time reviewing and using software to sell our own online courses. There are several categories of apps that claim to make it easy for you to sell courses on your site, from Wordpress plugins, to all-in-one apps, to stand alone apps that just focus on giving you tools to sell courses.

Teachable is in this last category, and in our opinion, it’s at the top of that category in the #1 spot. And with Teachable having over 22,000 current customers who are using it around the world to sell online courses, we’re not alone in that opinion.

What this means is that if you already have a website for your homepage, about page, sales pages, and blog or podcast, Teachable is the best stand alone platform to integrate with your existing website so that you can start selling courses quickly and easily.

For example, if you already have a website that you like on Wordpress or Squarespace where you have your basic pages and things like free offers for list building, and if you just need a professional, easy-to-use platform to give your members a place to login and learn from multimedia content in your courses, Teachable is our favorite platform to fill this need in a tech stack (meaning, the combination of aps you use to run your online business.)

Setting up a course in Teachable is a breeze. They have one of the best user interfaces both for you, as a course admin, and your members, as learners.

Teachable’s user interface for learners, meaning, what they see when they’re logged in and going through your courses, is one of the best in the industry. It’s so easy to use that other platforms have copied their style of navigation and course content layout.

Teachable comes with space for unlimited courses, unlimited numbers of students, and unlimited video content. (And it’s great to keep in mind that their integrated video platform is Wistia, which is the best video streaming platform on the planet.)

It’s also super easy to add quizzes, use your own custom domain name for your Teachable school, drip content out to your members on a preset schedule, and automatically give members certificates of completion when they’ve finished a course or passed a quiz at the end of a course.

If you’re thinking of using Teachable as the platform for selling and running your online courses, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll still need other software for things like your main marketing/blog website (like Wordpress or Squarspace), as well as software for your email marketing needs (such as Convert Kit or Mailchimp), which you’ll need to send out broadcast emails and autoresponder emails.

As with any platform that’s available for selling online courses, Teachable has a few downsides.

A couple that stand out are that 1) the member area and stand alone page appearance editor is limited in terms of giving you tools to design and customize your pages. They will look clean and professional, but there’s not much room to make your member area or stand alone pages (like thank you pages or sales pages for a course) very unique.

And 2), there is no space within Teachable for you to create a private online community discussion area for your members. If you want to offer a space like that, you’d need to use an app like Mighty Networks, which is dedicated to creating private social networks spaces for your members, or Kajabi, which also allows you to sell online courses but which has an online community space you can offer to your members that’s built right into the platform.

There’s a lot more amazing things about Teachable than what I’ve mentioned here, so if you’re interested in getting the full scoop, have a read of our full, in-depth Teachable review at our site: https://claritylab.co/teachable-review.

--Forest Linden, Clarity Lab

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#forest

This is the only platform I've used for creating an online course, and it might well be the best. But I expected more. I found it hard to navigate and find what I was looking for, but this is okay, partly because they offer such an incredible amount of functionality and plenty of customisations.

What initially disappointed me was the course creation user interface. There are two options for editing text blocks, the old tool, and the beta tool. The old tool is by far the best, giving you the ability to format your content with a lot of flexibility. You can even switch to HTML to add tables or other more complex things. But before I discovered this I struggled with the beta version of the text-block editor. It is rather basic.

A really simple tool might be exactly what you want though. If you don’t need to indent bullets to different levels, format text is specific ways, or include anything more complex than your basic markup and heading levels.

I know it is impossible to please everyone, and it is probably a good choice to keep things simple because that will cover the majority. And Teachable does a great job of keeping it simple. Despite this, the outcome delivers a very usable experience for your students. And they are responsive and helpful to deal with. I was going to bring up another issue with their platform, but they’ve already fixed it. They want to be the best and I believe that if they aren’t already, they’re going to be the best one day. They’ve got the right attitude.

--Tim Marsh, NotionSetup.com

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/teachable-review#tim

Katie Holmes

I am the lead editor of OutwitTrade and an accomplished writer and internet marketer. These days I spend a lot of my time organizing community discussions here, writing content, and outreaching to different people.

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