It’s one thing to build a membership website. It’s another to build a membership website that also includes the ability to offer online courses.
Building an online course doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with all the software tools available today. And when it comes to planning, structuring and delivery your online course, our guide to creating your first online course will set you up for success. Once you have your course plan ready to execute, it’s time to decide on the best software for your needs.
Let’s look at 4 popular membership website builders and how they stack up as course builders – SubHub, Wild Apricot, and Kajabi.
And we’ll examine their course building functions on 3 fronts: functionality, pricing, and ease of use.
This membership website builder is extremely popular for groups and associations wishing to strengthen their communities. It offers multiple membership levels and a few different payment processing options besides Stripe and PayPal, including their own payment processor. Other functionality that is ideal for group or organization memberships are a member directory and event registration.
Wild Apricot does not offer any specific functionality for course building, focusing primarily on community-building for non-profits and associations. Pricing is based on the number of members in your site, starting at $48/mo for 100 contacts and going up to $720/mo USD for 50,000 contacts.
This platform boasts something for everyone – communities, memberships, and online courses. The course creator has a similar look and feel as SubHub’s course creation tool and it seems fairly easy to set up. Much of the functionality is the same in both, just in a slightly different package, for example, Kajabi’s “offer” area replaces SubHub’s course plan tool. Kajabi also offers a suite of marketing tools for campaigns and funnels to help Admins promote their products. All this functionality comes with a higher price tag than most builders, with Kajabi’s starter package at $149/month USD, which allows 3 products. If you have multiple courses and products for sale, you’ll need the $399/month plan.
Ease of use and fantastic support are SubHub’s most notable features. The course builder somehow manages to look great to users, but requires a minimum of input from you as the Admin to set up. Simply create a pricing plan for your course, create lessons, and the built-in course creator does the rest.
The Course pricing plan creator has two unique features: 1) you can assign a member group to your course, meaning that in addition to being able to access the course itself, your students can be allowed access to membership content as well. This can be in the form of articles, videos, or documents, and is the perfect way to provide your students with specific supplementary material, access to coaching or special events that apply only to those members. Your payment plan can be recurring or a one-time payment, and if using PayPal, you can offer payment via instalments. In the case of a non-recurring payment plan, you have the option of giving your students lifetime access to your course or not.
Next you’ll create lessons to be part of your course, and the last step is to assign those lessons to the appropriate course
In terms of marketing help, SubHub’s landing page builder is a live editor which can be used for ad campaigns, social media marketing campaigns, or as a stand-alone public web page within your site.
Pricing starts at $47/mo for up to 500 members, and goes up to $147/mo for unlimited members.
WordPress is an extremely versatile platform with millions of websites worldwide. WordPress itself as a native application offers limited functionality; most of its features are provided by various plugins and themes. In the case of course components, there are many plugins available such as Learn Dash, Learn Dash + Woocommerce, Memberium and more. The sheer number of alternatives can be a little daunting, so prepare to spend significant time researching your best options. For a fairly simple setup, look to a plugin like WPcourseware.com. Learn Dash and Memberium provide membership and course features, while using Woocommerce with Learn Dash offers a storefront-style purchase process. WPCourseware.com appears to be quite user-friendly for a new business owner just getting into online training. If you fall into that category, Learn Dash configurations may be too complicated a setup, requiring expert help.
Wild Apricot is a great membership solution for non-profits and associations, and is reasonably priced.
Kajabi offers membership communities as well as a course builder that would work both for organizations and for-profit entrepreneurs. They also offer a suite of marketing tools. Their pricing is steeper than most.
WordPress is a versatile program and you can find plugins to fill your course requirements. However, there could be a steep learning curve once you dive into the setup. Various levels of support are available from plugin developers, but you will be relying on forums and support communities for help with WordPress.
SubHub is ideal for small businesses, coaches, trainers and experts in their field who are looking for a way to monetize their expertise. Membership levels and courses can be built easily and support staff is always available to help. Pricing levels are reasonable for the industry, and admins can offer as many subscriptions, courses, and membership levels as desired with no limit.
Since you’re here, why not open a free SubHub trial today and see how easy course building can be:
Not ready to dive in? Try this 2-minute video: