Teachable Review: Is it the Best Online Course Software in 2018?

Summary

This Teachable review covers this top online course creation platform in depth. Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out if Teachable lives up to the hype.

Teachable is pretty close to an all-in-one solution for setting up and selling your course. You can create web pages, host your content (including videos), allow students to register automatically in your course, and take payments all through the Teachable platform.

There are 3 plans plus a free plan for you to choose from. The paid plans range from $39 to $499 a month so a Teachable plan can fit any budget. The free plan is great for trying the Teachable platform out and getting your course set-up. From there you can easily upgrade to a paid plan if you need it.

This review will walk you through my experience using the Teachable online course platform.

Table of Contents

Why Trust This Teachable Review?

I spent well over 50 hours working with and testing out Teachable. During this time, I created a course within it, tried out every feature I had access to on the Basic plan, and went through the process of testing it out as a user would. In addition, I integrated it with an email marketing tool (which is a must have) and I consulted with the customer support people to see how they responded as well as to get a few questions answered.

I put together a Teachable tutorial that walks you through each and every feature they offer. So I’m not writing this review based on other reviews or just by clicking around and reading the Teachable website. I completely invested myself in the Teachable product; I’ve tried it out and then some.

What is Teachable?

Teachable is a top online course platform that allows you to create, manage, and sell your own online courses.

Why Use Teachable?

There are a lot of learning management systems and online course platforms available on the market. If you want less tech headaches and would rather spend more of your time marketing and creating your courses, then Teachable is the way to go.

I can’t tell you everything will be a walk in the park, even with an easy to use tool like Teachable.

You will still have to piece a few things together such as integrating your email marketing automation tool with your Teachable account.

In addition, you’ll have to figure out the Teachable course and site builder. But even that’s easier than a lot of site builders and it definitely cuts down on the tech. There’s no way to get around some tech with an online course, but with Teachable you can get it down to a bare minimum.

The nice thing is, once you have your course set-up, you should not have to do any more tech or maintenance. Teachable should do the rest. This is a stark contrast to using WordPress LMS plugins or membership site plugins and the ongoing maintenance involved with those platforms.

Who is Teachable Best For?

Teachable is best for those with little to no experience setting up hosting, creating webpages, using a content management system, or plugging in eCommerce capabilities with another system. Even if you do have experience with all this, you may not want the tech headaches that come with it when it comes to your online course.

If you don’t want to piece together a variety of systems, configure a WordPress LMS plugin, then an online course platform like Teachable will be well worth the money. Teachable will host your course and all your course content (including videos) and makes it easy for you to get started.

This platform is best for those who want the benefits of an affiliate program, but don’t want to manage it. They offer a payment solution within their course platform and can even pay out affiliates for you.

You can accept payments from students all within a Teachable account and you’ll be paid out every 30 days. Or you can integrate your Teachable account with PayPal or Stripe (on upgraded plans) and get paid out faster.

If you want to run a business offering online courses with an easy to use software then Teachable is a great choice.

Type of LMS/Deployment

Teachable is a cloud LMS (learning management system) platform. What that basically means for you is that it’s a reliable, hosted solution. With Teachable, you will not need to host your course, your course sales pages, or the course content. Teachable will host it all for you.

You also don’t need to install software on your computer to get it up and running. Everything is accessible online at the Teachable.com platform. You simply sign up for a plan and login anytime you want to work on your course or manage your learners. It’s an LMS offered as a service.

Customer Support

Teachable offers in-depth tutorials which will work well for most of the support questions you may have.

Their primary mode of support is through email. If the customer support staff can answer your question by sending you a link to one of their tutorials, then that’s what they’ll do.

You can email them and they typically email back within a day. The people replying are professional and seemed knowledgeable with most of the support questions I asked until I got to a question dealing with integrations.

They were often a bit clueless when it got to that level and sent me to tutorials that didn’t help with what I needed. A few tried to send me ideas, but it was clear they really didn’t understand how to fully integrate with the tool I was asking about.

With the more basic questions, I didn’t have to go back and forth with them multiple times to get the issue sorted out. They usually answered the question to the degree I needed the first time.

There is no customer support phone number and no live chat for customers of Teachable. Support is offered through email and a Facebook group you can request to join. The Facebook group is active and you’ll see a lot of questions and helpful advice from other Teachable users there.

Level of Tech Knowledge Required

You don’t need any previous tech knowledge to get your Teachable platform set-up.

That’s not to say there’s no technical ability involved with setting up your course business through Teachable though.

You’ll need to be willing to play around with the Teachable platform to get your course and your sales pages created. But they’ve done a good job making it intuitive, providing you with detailed tutorials to help you through it.

I put together a Teachable tutorial that walks you through the entire platform and will short-cut your time to using it. It may also help you figure out if it’s the right platform for you.

Teachable sales pages can take some time to create as far as figuring out which headlines will wind up where, but that’s not too frustrating. It’s just a little trial and error; the rest of the course builder and the site builder is really just a drag and drop process.

Since Teachable has so many features you probably won’t need to integrate it with too many other solutions.

This is great because as I found, the integrations can cause problems and you’ll have to sort these out.

You should definitely take the time to set up an integration with an email marketing tool. Teachable offers a few email marketing integrations right within their platform, but you may need to use Zapier in conjunction with the regular integration.

Zapier can come with an additional monthly fee and it’s kind of technical. I had some trouble getting ConvertKit fully integrated with Teachable and outline that in this Zapier tutorial.

Recommendations with Teachable

I recommend a few other components in addition to your Teachable account. You should plan on getting the following tools to fully run your online course business:

  • Domain name
  • Hosting with most of your front-end pages on it (this can be negotiable when you first start out)
  • Email marketing automation tool

What I Like/Which Features Stand Out

Easy to Use Course Builder

I really loved how easy it was to put my course together with Teachable. I had all the content ready to go so it was very simple to upload and get it organized just the way I wanted. The end result looked great too. Here’s how it looked:

Teachable course area

The course builder and site builder work on a drag and drop process which is very intuitive. There’s no coding experience required.

Native Commenting System

The Teachable comments feature also makes adding discussions to your course a breeze. It’s all kept within their system so it looks really professional. You can even add comments to each lesson to take full advantage of discussions on each component of your course.

Teachable comments

Mixed Media on a Single Lesson

In addition, with Teachable you have the ability to add a video as well as text and comments all on one page within your course. This is a very nice feature because your learners won’t just be hit with a video or a PDF file, you can introduce them to it with some text before they see it. Even just a couple of sentences can help give them perspective on the main content as shown below:

Teachable mixed media screenshot

I really like the look of Teachable courses. It’s obvious they put a lot of time into developing the sleek and professional look.

Create Your Own Blog

Another feature I like is the ability to set-up a blog right within your Teachable admin. I didn’t use this feature for my site (since I already run WordPress on it), but if you’re brand new to an online business I can see how this would be very helpful.

Basically, you can build out your entire site with Teachable and never touch any other site building tool. Again, I do suggest getting your own domain name instead of using the Teachable subdomain. That is easy enough to do and comes at a very minimal cost.

Powerful Sales Features

Teachable has its own in-platform payment option so you don’t have to pay affiliates or even sign-up for a payment processor. One thing to point out is that Teachable will take a percentage of your earnings for doing this. However, this feature helps Teachable stand-apart from other online course platforms and makes it a nearly all-in-one-solution.

Teachable offers special tax settings. For instance, if you live in the EU, you can turn on tax compliance (VAT) which is also a helpful feature.

High Converting Single Check Out Page

Teachable’s checkout page looks awesome. It’s a bit long, so I’ve had to break it up into a couple of screenshots. Here is the top to the checkout page:

Teachable checkout page - top half

As you can see, it’s got a summary of the order at the top so students know exactly what they’re buying and the cost. Then it asks them to enter their account information. This includes an email address and name. Then they have the option of clicking off the check box for instructional and promotional emails.

The order will go through whether that box it marked off or not. You do want to make sure you are filtering students out if they did not mark that box as that means they just want your course and not your promotional emails.

The sales page is very professionally designed. It’s all in one column so you can also add in custom information on the right. I added in testimonials, bullet points on what’s featured in the course, and a money back guarantee. All this was very easy to do and will greatly help with your sales conversions.

I did notice that if you don’t include any marketing information on your check out page, you’ll have a lot of blank space on the right. So you’ll want to be sure to put something there. Although you can add content to the check out page, the testimonials, bullet points, and money back guarantee cannot be moved around.

The next part of the checkout page looks like this:

Teachable checkout page - payment information

It also looks awesome. It will display in the same 2 column format, but my second column didn’t reach far enough down. The student can choose their payment option and enter in their details. Then they also have to agree to all the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies for both Teachable and your company. Then they click ‘Enroll in Course’ to finish placing the order.

It’s simple, streamlined and looks great.

Thank You Pages Can Easily Include Upsells

You can customize Teachable thank-you pages. By default, they will include a thank-you note as well as a link for students to access their course.

Teachable thank you page

In addition, you can also include your upsells here on this page which is the perfect place for an upsell. You can customize your thank-you page from within the Teachable admin area to include upsells like shown here:

Teachable admin thank you page

You can also add in a video embed that thanks the students, helps them get started, or includes more information on your upsell offer.

There are also settings to include your navigation bar on your thank-you page or take it off along with a few other customizations you can make.

Teachable offers a very stream-lined sales flow. It’s very professional looking and will help your conversions, which if you’re selling a course, you definitely want!

Concerns About Using Teachable

Long Payout Times

Payouts are at least 30 days out if you use the Teachable payment system. However, if you’re running an affiliate program, they’ll take care of paying your affiliates. As long as you know you’re going to have to wait to get your payouts then this should be OK. If you don’t like the waiting, then you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan and hook up your Teachable account to Stripe or PayPal.

High Transaction Fees

Transaction fees are high on the free and low-end plans. If you get your course up and running with the free plan, then Teachable will take a 10% transaction fee.

The next plan over is their Basic plan. On this plan, Teachable will take a 5% transaction fee.

If you sign-up for their most popular plan, which is the Professional plan, Teachable will not take a transaction fee when you integrate with PayPal or Stripe.  Both these payment processors take a their own fees (everyone likes to take fees).

According to the Teachable website, PayPal or Stripe will take 2.9% + 30 cents for each transaction. This is a pretty typical transaction fee for processing credit cards.

If you’re on the Professional plan and you still want to use the Teachable payment processor then they only charge a 2% transaction fee. You might actually save money on that plan using Teachable’s payment processor. The downside is that you’ll only get paid every 30 days. They’ll also payout your affiliates which is nice.

If you use PayPal or Stripe for your payment processor (which is only possible on the Professional plan or up), then you’ll get paid out instantly. They say instantly, but it can take 1-2 days to get the money into your bank account.

If you choose to stay with the Teachable payment processor, then you’ll get paid out every 30 days. It’s important to look closely at the payouts and transaction fees so you know exactly how it’s going to work for the plan you decide on.

100% White Labeling is Not Possible

White labeling just means can you make the course look like it’s running on your own platform. The alternative to white labeling is that it looks like your course is hosted on Teachable or some other platform.

You cannot entirely White label Teachable. There will be pages that have a Teachable.com URL in them even if you use your own domain name.

Teachable url

As shown above, the sign up and sign in pages will always display a sso.teachable.com URL that cannot be changed.

The logo cannot be configured to go to your home page. So when a user clicks on my BusinessBolts logo as shown above, they’ll go to my Teachable school page and not my homepage. That page displays all my Teachable courses.

As an example, if I were using a Teachable subdomain, clicking on the logo above or any Teachable created page will take the user to businessbolts.teachable.com. If I’m using my own domain (available on upgraded plans), then clicking on the logo will take the user to courses.businessbolts.com. I think that’ll confuse users and wish I could make that logo link back to my main home page.

Cannot Customize Most of Your Course

Although the Teachable course area looks great, you can’t customize most of it, so your course will look like a Teachable course to those who’ve used this platform before.

Your sales pages will also look like they’re running off Teachable to those who can spot it. In reality, this really may not be much of a problem. The speed of getting a very user friendly online course up and running is worth it. I’m not sure anyone cares if you’re using Teachable. They are reputable so it shouldn’t be a problem. If you want your course to look unique, Teachable probably isn’t for you.

Site Builder is Only Average

The site builder that you’ll use to build out your sales page and course pages is OK. It’s definitely easy to use which is great. However, your course page will look fairly generic. If you want something that will stand out, you’ll need to be on an upgraded plan (they offer a Power Editor in the Professional plan). You’ll also need to be willing to spend some time on it and/or possibly hire a web designer skilled with HTML/CSS.

Integrations with Email Marketing Tools are Challenging

Teachable doesn’t have many integrations and the one’s they do offer are challenging.

The ConvertKit integration is not 100%. Unfortunately, I did not see any mention of this which made me feel a little weird (OK, not just weird, but misled).

The problem is the check box is on the sign up page (for both free or paid courses). It doesn’t work even when ConvertKit is integrated properly through the Teachable admin. It’s that first check box in the screenshot below:

Teachable sign up page screenshot

The part of the screenshot above that causes the problem is this:

Teachable instructional and promotional email screenshot

Only people who mark off that box should be added to your list. Since it doesn’t work everyone will be added to your ConvertKit list. It doesn’t matter if they marked it off or not.

To get this box to work you’ll have to use Zapier. It also adds another monthly fee to your expenses. To get this box to work and actually filter people out of your autoresponder, you’ll have to use an upgraded plan on Zapier. It’s a 3-step zap (if that means anything to you) which means you’ll at least need Zapier’s lowest paid plan or higher. I’ve got a tutorial put together to help you fully integrate ConvertKit and Teachable with Zapier.

I really wish Teachable would let you customize this box. It’s a good idea to have it, but the language used is so bland I think it’ll keep a lot of people from marking it off. If they don’t mark it off then if will prevent you from sending them emails (or it should if you set it up correctly).

It would also be great if integrating with ConvertKit actually worked completely right from the Teachable admin. Then you wouldn’t need to use Zapier and you wouldn’t have to pay an extra fee. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll solve the problem by using a different email marketing service. I’m not sure any of the email marketing tools work properly with the addition of that check box, but you’ll have to give it a try. I only used ConvertKit.

No Advanced Quiz Features

The quizzes offered by Teachable are very simple. But if you’re offering modules and want your students to take simple quizzes that covers the information in the modules, they’ll work well enough. Here’s a screenshot of a sample quiz question:

Teachable quiz screenshot

The score display looks like this:

Teachable quiz score page

So it’s simple.  If you need to offer more extensive quizzes, assessments, or tests you may be able to embed code from a quiz created with other software into your Teachable page. You’ll need to test that out and see if your embed code works.

Costs/Pricing

Teachable has a big range of prices in their plans which makes it a good option for beginners and advanced users alike.

Free Plan

The free plan is great for trying Teachable out before you buy.

You’ll be able to try out virtually everything you need to offer a free or paid course and can always upgrade to one of the paid plans later. With the Free plan you’ll have a 10% Teachable fee on any course sales you make plus a credit card fee of 2.9% of the course price + 30 cents.

Basic Plan

The Basic plan is currently $39 a month which is a very reasonable price to get everything offered through the Teachable online course platform (unlimited students, unlimited videos, automated sign-ups, etc …).

The Teachable transaction fees on that plan are 5% plus you have credit card processing fee of 2.9% of the course price + 30 cents. Your total fees will be 7.9% + 30 cents on the Basic plan. Once you hit a certain income amount (you’ll have to do the math), you might be better off signing up to the Professional plan at $99 a month.

Now again though, you’re going to need Zapier to fully integrate ConvertKit and that’s an extra monthly fee. You can probably get away with using Zapier’s $25 a month plan, but that’s a recurring cost each month. I don’t see how you can use Teachable and not also pay for Zapier’s cheapest plan at this time unless you can code yourself a better solution for full integration.

Professional Plan

The Professional plan includes everything in Basic. Plus you can integrate with Stripe or PayPal and get instant payouts. On this plan if you’re using the Stripe or PayPal integrations then you won’t incur any Teachable fees (however, you will have to pay Stripe and PayPal transaction fees).

Alternately, you can use the Teachable payment processor and they’ll charge you a 2% Teachable fee plus you will have a credit card processing fee of 2.9% of the course price + 30 cents. So on the professional plan you will have a 4.9% + 30 cent fee if you’re using the Teachable payment processor.

The Professional plan also allows you to have more owners/authors, graded quizzes, advanced theme customizations, advanced reports, an unbranded website, and course completion certificates.

Teachable pricing plans

Business Plan

The Business plan jumps up to $499 a month. You don’t need that unless you’re building a course platform that’s massively big with lots of different course authors or you’re making a lot of sales and want to use the Teachable payment processor. With the Business plan, Teachable will not take any transaction fees.

Demo

Teachable does better than just offer you a demo, you can actually start using it with their Free plan. You can build a fully functional course and even offer it for sale (if you’re willing to pay the fees).

If you’re not sure your course will sell, you can put your course together with the free plan and wait to see if you make sales. When you start making sales, upgrade so your fees are lower.

Alternatives to Teachable

Teachable is a great online course platform. If you like to shop around, then Thinkific is another great platform to look into. I put together a detailed Thinkific review for you based on my experience using it. In addition, I also have a Teachable vs Thinkific review so you can compare the two head-to-head.

Teachable Features Plan-by-Plan

This table shows you the specific features for each Teachable plan. See which one makes the most sense for you.

FeaturesFree $0Basic $39Professional $99Business $499
Secure cloud hosting
Unlimited courses
Unlimited students
Unlimited site hosting
Unlimited video hosting
Subdomain included
Basic quizzes
Student management
Discussion forums
Multiple authors125100
Email support
SSL certificate
Mobile iOS app
Blog platform
VAT tax
Student course preview
Conversion pixels support
In-platform transaction fees (if using Teachable payment processor)10% Teachable fees + 2.9% + 30 cents credit card processing fees5% Teachable fees + 2.9% + 30 cents credit card processing fees2% Teachable fees + 2.9% + 30 cents credit card processing fees0% Teachable fees + 2.9% + 30 cents credit card processing fees
In-platform payment processor
Custom domain support
Drip course content
Zapier integrations
Third-party integrations
Coupons
Integrated affiliate marketing
Recurring payments
Payment plan
Course bundles
Email students
Accept Stripe/PayPal payments
Instant payouts w/PayPal & Stripe & no Teachable transaction fees
Graded quizzes
Completion certificates
Advanced theme customization
Advanced reports
White labeling (not URL)
Chat support
Course upsells
Priority support

Teachable Review: Overall Grade

'At a Glance' Teachable Review

8.5

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Course Design & Engagement

9.0/10

Marketing & Sales Features

8.0/10

Pricing

8.5/10

Customer Support

8.0/10

Positives

  • Create a Beautiful Online Course
  • In-House Payment Processor
  • Unlimited Students & Content
  • 1-Page Checkout
  • Mix Media w/in Course
  • Native Comments

Negatives

  • White Labeling Not Possible
  • Integrations Challenging
  • Sales Pages Not as Sleek
  • Long Payouts with the Teachable Payment Processor
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