Teachable Review 2020

Teachable Logo

Our verdict

4/5

Teachable is a reliable online learning platform where those who want to focus on content and not think about tech will find a lot of value.

Teachable is a good Learning Management System.

It’s got a seamless interface, powerful tools, and great support.

Sure, it may fall short at times. If you’ve got a complex course, the workflow can be broken up due to some design choices.

But it’s still a great choice for most people.

You’ll be able to sell online courses, review your students’ progress, access decent marketing features and it won’t be a struggle for your credit card to keep up with the expenses.

Read this Teachable review if you want to find out why it’s a good online course platform.

Teachable Review: Getting Started

After you sign-up, fill your name, email address and school title, you’ll have to fill a short questionnaire.

Teachable Signup Form

After the questionnaire, you’re thrown into the action.

There’s no interactive or quick video to get you up to speed.

However, you’re not just left to wonder.

In the main dashboard, there are 4 tutorials.

Perhaps the most important – the free webinar.

It’s enough to hit the ground running, but it’s a big time investment. It’d definitely help to make the content more concise and include it in a starter’s guide.

Besides the webinar, you’ve got three other tutorials on the main dashboard.

Teachable Dashboard

Create a course shows you how to use the course builder.

Teachable Course Templates

You can skip it and start working on a course immediately. They’ve got templates and the interface is easy to navigate if you’re familiar with online software.

We’ll get into the specifics of course creation below, just know that we recommend going through the tutorial first.

It teaches you a lot that you might overlook, like how to do course compliance or how to embed content into your course.

Besides that, you have tutorials on theme and design.

You can also skip the tutorial and start editing your platform’s look. Compared to course creation, you don’t really need this one.

It’s helpful if you’re a complete newbie in the online world.

But other than that, you’d get more help from a general design course – just to know which colors fit where.

Lastly, you set up the domain of your academy. It’s the easiest thing to do out of all of them and you definitely don’t need the tutorial.

Besides the tutorials, there’s a pull-down on top titled “How do I?”

Teachable School

Clicking it will pull down a set of FAQs that lead to helpful knowledge base guides.

Don’t overlook this feature if you’re stuck.

It may be faster than searching for a tutorial online.

All in all, getting started with Teachable is fairly easy.

A breeze for anyone that’s been around the web.

However, you’re not guided through the whole process. You’re much more “independent” when compared to other online tools.

While great for webmasters, this might be problematic for non-techies.

It’s an easy solve too – a quick tutorial based on the content of the webinar will solve this issue.

Or, if you want to take into your own hands, just browse their knowledge base before getting started.

Course Creation

The flow of course building is great. Everything is streamlined and if you follow the structure of this dashboard top to bottom you’ll have everything covered for a successful launch.

The Information tab is like a secondary “courses” dashboard.

You can quickly navigate between preview, branding and course settings.

Teachable Information Tab

It doesn’t give you a decent overview of the course itself.

There should be more information for that, such as sales, a quick structure overview, and an analytics window.

But it’s good to start with.

You’ll be spending most of your time in Curriculum.

This is where you can access all course chapters and lectures.

All of your new lessons are set as drafts, so you’ll have to publish them. This means that you run a lower risk of releasing unwanted info to your students.

Up top, you can preview, publish or upload content in bulk.

This is helpful when you get started with a course. You can upload all of your content and structure it later.

But it’s not perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get the job done.

But whenever you try to do something more complex, like adding a lesson, previewing a chapter or uploading content, you’ll be taken to a different screen.

It’s not a big hurdle, you can still create a killer course.

But it’d be more efficient to have two windows on the same screen – one with the course structure, one where you see the element you’re working on at the moment.

This would make it easier to keep track of the big picture.

For the moment, the process goes like this:

When you add a new lesson, you can choose between adding a file, adding text boxes, quizzes, code examples or custom code for embedding external content.

Teachable Curriculum Tab

Compared to other teaching platforms, it’s a bit thin.

Usually, there’s more variety in terms of lesson types.

But you can still make it work.

Uploading a file means you can choose any type of content for your lesson, and adding custom code means you can embed any type of content from your own platforms.

That’s a double-edged sword.

On one hand, it gives you the flexibility to use any type of file you want.

On the other hand, it may seem like a cop-out.

It’s easier for Teachable if you host your own lessons and embed more complex files than integrating said files into the platform.

So take it however you want, a Teachable review can’t judge if that’s good or bad.

For pricing a course, you can create any type of plan you’d like.

Teachable Pricing Tab

Your options are:

  • Giving it away for free
  • Subscription
  • One time payment
  • Payment plan

As soon as you choose a payment plan, you get a sales link that you can put anywhere.

A widget would be helpful, giving your CTAs a uniform look all over the web.

On the other hand, only being able to use a link means you’ll edit the element on every platform you post, so you can have it fit anywhere.

Besides these features, the free plan also has:

  • A comments tab, where you can check any queries from your students.
  • A students tab, which will take you to the Users screen
  • The ability to bundle courses together.

Upgrade to a paid plan and you also get access to:

  • Drip, so you can choose to release lessons on a predefined timetable
  • Coupons, to spice your offers and promotions
  • Custom reports, for better analytics
  • Certificates, native or branded by Teachable.

All in all, course creation is easy with Teachable.

It’s not hard to get started, and you have a lot of tools to retouch finished courses.

There is room for improvement.

But there’s nothing that will really hinder your processes if you’re focused on what you’re doing.

So let’s say you have a course ready.

What now?

Site Builder

Marketing and selling your course are just as important as the course itself.

So let’s tackle site-building in this Teachable review.

If you already have a strong online presence, definitely count on your main website. Even when it comes to landing pages, you don’t have a lot of flexibility with Teachable’s site builder.

Don’t count on it.

If you’re new on the block, you could give it a try.

At least for a landing page.

Other than that, it won’t serve you well.

To get started, you click on sites in the left panel, which will lead you to the theme settings of your academy website.

Teachable Theme Settings

You can edit general details of your website, add a logo, change fonts and colors.

Most site builders have you start with a template or a blank canvas to drag and drop blocks on.

If you ever used a site builder, that’s the process you’re familiar with.

This layout is unorthodox.

It makes it easier to create a singular identity for your site. After all, you’ve got all the design choices in one place.

But you can’t preview the changes in real-time.

That’s why you’ll probably be coming back here to change stuff further down the line.

But colors are where it really gets confusing.

You can change the design of body text, heading text, video play buttons, and many others, so it’s hard to envision how everything will look.

Teachable Theme Colors Customization

It’d be better to see what you’re editing.

This is a recurring problem for Teachable’s Site builder.

Even on this screen, they do have a preview button above, which will open a new screen with your changes.

But it’s not real-time, so you either check it rarely and don’t realize if what you’re doing looks good.

Or you check it often and your whole process is broken up.

The navigation tab has the same problem. It’s where you edit the header, menu, and footer.

They’re easy to modify, but again – you don’t know how everything looks in real-time, with each individual change.

A means of real-time preview could fix both of these tabs.

Or, you could fix it yourself.

Even if this is where you start the editing when you click on sites, just ignore these tabs.

Go straight to pages, do your work, and then only come back to do global changes when you know exactly what you want.

Speaking of pages – this is where you have more wiggle room.

Teachable Site Page Options

In this screen you’ll be able to see all of your pages, duplicate them, delete them or start editing them.

If you choose the latter, your page will open on the right, making it easy to see if your editing works.

Something similar could work for the theme and navigation tabs.

And it’s not uncommon. That’s basically WordPress’s theme settings.

Teachable Site Page Settings

In pages, you can edit the design of each element, which almost mitigates the no preview problem from earlier.

But it’s not perfect either.

The block templates for the free version are not awe-inspiring.

Teachable Block Templates

Scratch that. They’re very far from awe-inspiring.

You can only add text, images, buttons, videos, and custom code. And you can’t drag and drop them anywhere you want on the page.

But it’s enough for a (very) basic landing page or presentation website unless you’re good to code.

Especially since you can work with only one column, so there’s little flexibility in customizing your pages.

Other budget site builders might be content with a lack of variety in block templates.

But Teachable made sure to counter that somehow because you can code some elements in.

Even if you’re using the free version, you can code CSS snippets for further use.

Teachable Code Snippets

If you know your way around CSS, this opens up a lot of creative opportunities for your landing page or academy website.

Upgrade and you also get to use the power editor.

This gives you access to the source code of your website. Even if you’re not a developer, you can hire someone to make some changes to your website and make it more presentable.

Then the site builder is worth it, somehow.

But in any other scenario, don’t count on it.

Even in that scenario, you’d still be better off using another builder like Wix or Squarespace.

Lastly, you also get a tab for Bios. According to the number of admins you authorized, you can create bios for later use on any page.

It’s not a big deal.

But it’s an extra that makes it easier to inspire authority.

Which is great for selling online courses.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough. It’s clear that Teachable is bound to help its users, so we may see updates in the future if their customers ask for them.

However, at the moment, only count on the Site Builder if you have no alternatives.

Users

The users tab lets you manage your team and your students.

For the free version, it’s pretty thin. It doesn’t feature much in terms of analytics, you can’t make use of all the features, but it’s still where you’ll be doing a lot of management.

The Students tab lets you manage all enrolled students.

Teachable Students Tab

It’s not a lot, you just get basic data on everyone you teach, but it’s good if you need to quickly check up on someone.

The Owners tab only features admins.

This is where you can check up on when they’ve last been online.

Now for the cooler stuff: The Authors tab lets you manage all instructors that are working for you.

This is just the people that teach courses, and if you upgrade to a business plan you can separate them in specific positions.

The Affiliates tab allows you to open up your courses for affiliate marketing. Teachable doesn’t provide any network of affiliates, so you’ll need to find your own promoters.

But it’s easy to add them on your platform and you’ll see how they’re performing on this screen.

Just watch out – if you have affiliates selling a course that requires multiple installments, they’ll get a share from each payment.

Yes, including a monthly subscription.

So make sure you take that into account when doing the math on affiliates.

Lastly, besides custom roles, the paid plans also open up more roles and slots for owners and authors.

While this is great, it’s only helpful to big organizations, not necessarily successful platforms.

Make sure you take that into account before upgrading.

All in all, the Users screen is helpful to check back on how your students or collaborators are doing.

It could be improved with better UI – a few graphs, more ways to segment data – but even in its current form, it’s enough to lay out some basic information.

Sales

Selling courses online is not necessarily Teachable’s forte.

Even with a paid version, you don’t get a lot of marketing tools and features that can help you sell more courses.

You’ll count on integrations to take your customer acquisition further since there are not a lot of in-house functionalities you can count on.

But even if it’s not a complex screen, it helps you keep track of everything you’re earning.

You can check transactions, statements and a Breakdown showing daily and monthly transactions.

Teachable Transaction Breakdown

In all fairness, this is not a fully fleshed breakdown and users could have a better chance with more analytics tools.

But it’s enough to get a pulse on your efforts.

If you upgrade to the Professional plan, you’ll also be able to check on upsells, which is helpful for customer retention.

But yet again, it doesn’t feature any tools that help you sell more.

However, it’s not just the sales tab working for you on this.

The email screen serves a similar purpose.

This is basically a discount email marketing software, and it’s available if you go for the paid plans.

It features nice templates and it’s great that you have this in-house.

If you’re not running a complex email marketing campaign, it’ll be enough to welcome users and let your customers know about any updates.

However, if you’re looking to up your email service, you’ll need to integrate with Mailchimp.

Speaking of which…

Integrations are readily available in the settings tab.

If you’re using the free version of Teachable, you’ll be able to integrate with Segment, Google Analytics, and Sumo.

This is great since there’s no in-house tool to measure how you’re doing and draw informed conclusions about your audience.

More importantly, it’s great that they’re available for the free version.

This provides exhaustive software for the newcomer that just wants to see how they’d do in the world of online courses.

However, Teachable integrations shine from the basic plan upwards.

Spending some money on the tool means you’ll have access to a full toolset.

Mailchimp, Zapier, Salesforce, Hubspot and other integrations help entrepreneurs grow their online presence.

You’ll probably not set up base in Teachable.

And if you need all of these tools, chances are you also have a different website as a home base.

And that’s expected.

Teachable is, before anything else, an online learning platform.

You need it for course hosting and interacting with students.

But if courses are not your only source of income (which is highly likely for a complex online business) it’s great to have a place where you only track and make changes related to that income stream.

Sales is not a Teachable forte.

And if you want to sell tons of courses, you’ll also need to use other tools.

But that’s ok since Teachable is not a one-stop-shop.

When it comes to sales enablement, it does what it can.

Pricing

Teachable pricing is very similar to its competitors.

In fact, the price points are identical to that of Thinkific.

But there are caveats.

Teachable Pricing

As stated, you get a lot for the free version.

While they do have transaction fees: 10% of everything you make, it’s obvious that they don’t want you to commit to a plan until you know Teachable can work for you.

If you’re migrating and already have a customer base, definitely go for a paid plan.

If you have a good affiliate network for your products, upgrade to any one of the paid plans.

The Basic plan costs $39/month or $348 if you pay for a full year.

The problem with this plan is that it still has 5% transaction fees on any transaction.

But you do get a lot. You’ll have access to coupons, affiliate marketing, third party integrations, your own domain, unlimited students and the drip feature.

In terms of structure and functionalities, any solopreneur will like this plan

It’s enough to take advantage of mostly everything Teachable has to offer.

And it’s not expensive

The Professional plan jumps up to $99/ month and $948/year.

They cut all fees, they give you priority support, access to advanced quiz creation, advanced reports, an unbranded website, and native certificates.

On top, you can add up to 5 collaborators, while the basic plan limits you to only two.

The advanced reporting is a gem for this otherwise statistics-free tool.

But other than that, benefits are situational.

Most people will choose between Basic and Professional.

First of all, that choice depends on your branding and how much you’d want to be associated with Teachable.

If you want to brand yourself as a strong, independent organization, you’ll need the Professional plan.

But that’s not the only thing to take into account.

The choice is also about math.

Maybe you don’t need any of the features in the Professional plan, but you should still run the numbers and consider it.

If you’re losing too much on the 5% transaction fees, upgrading to the Professional plan might actually be cheaper.

Lastly, consider the time-bound numbers you’re seeing.

If you’ve had some success in the past few months, but you’re unsure if this is an upward trend or a simple peak, don’t purchase a yearly subscription of the Professional plan.

Maybe just upgrade for the monthly cost and see if the sales keep coming in.

The Business plan will set you back $499 each month, or $4788 if you pay for a whole year.

At a glance, it doesn’t seem to add a lot.

It’s just bulk student management, custom roles and up to 180 roles in your team.

But this is really good for migrating clients.

Bulk student management means you can quickly enroll your already existing clients into the new platform.

However, this plan is really suited for big organizations, that need a clear separation between each person’s role.

On top, while Professional also has priority support, you’re likely to get special attention if you’re migrating to a Business plan from a different platform.

Don’t rush for this one just because you can afford it.

Do consider upgrading if you’re working with a lot of people though.

Or if you plan on bringing a lot of students to the platform.

Support

Support for Teachable is well rounded.

You get access to TeachableU for any paid plans, which will teach you things related to the business side of managing online courses.

They don’t advertise it a lot, but student reviews claimed it helped.

On top, Teachable features a blog, a podcast and a free ebook to help you get started selling online courses.

If you actually run into any problems, you can get in touch with a support agent, or check their knowledge base.

Teachable Support Knowledge Base

Which is well organized.

It’s all pretty much self-explanatory, you get tutorials on how to sell your course, how to use their site builder, managing account and billing and a lot of the problems you might encounter while using the tool.

The articles are concise and helpful.

But they could do with some more images, especially when we’re talking about enabling services like the BackOffice.

Teachable Backoffice Service

That doesn’t mean it’s hard to understand what they’re explaining.

If you have any experience using online tools, it’ll be enough.

If that doesn’t help, you can always submit a ticket with the free version. You’ll have access to live chat support starting from the Professional Plan, but this one is enough too.

They work during regular business hours (including the weekend) in EST.

They’re fast and helpful.

In fact, I submitted a ticket on Christmas Eve and they got back in a few hours.

The response was well crafted, easy to understand, and the agent actually offered to guide me through the whole process of downgrading from a paid plan.

Teachable Support Answer

Not to hold it against them if they took longer to respond – it was the Holidays after all.

But the fact that they did get back so quickly shows that Teachable is dedicated to helping you succeed.

So you might not need to live chat after all. What they offer is still good for most entrepreneurs.

Teachable Review: Conclusion

Teachable is a great choice if you’re either:

  • An aspiring course creator
  • Running a fairly successful online business and prospecting the course selling industry
  • Trying to migrate from your current learning management system to something more user-friendly
  • Or a course creator with some success that needs a strong platform

It’s not a tool without fault, so it doesn’t have a perfect rating.

Your workflow can be broken up at times, because of switching between screens.

They could provide more help with selling courses.

And the site builder is subpar when compared to market alternatives.

But that doesn’t mean it’s bad software.

It’s user-friendly, it’s got affordable, fair pricing, a lot of powerful tools and great support.

If you’re not hellbent on any other tool, you could give it a try. Just don’t take everything in stride and make sure you’re checking it to see if it’s right for you.

Was our Teachable review fair? Did you have a different experience with it?

Let us know down below!

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