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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!
Important Affiliate Disclaimer: I am a Kartra affiliate, and if you join using my link, I’ll receive a commission on the sale – at no extra cost to you! This post reflects my own honest opinion, based on my experience as an online course designer and strategist.
If you’ve researched which online course software is the right one for you, you’ve probably come across a debate between two popular options entrepreneurs use to create and market their online courses: Kartra vs. Kajabi! I’ve worked a TON on both platforms over the last few years and seen the good and the bad of both.
Honestly, there’s no online course software that is 100% perfect! All of them will have tech glitches or features that you wished existed. Things will go wrong at times no matter what you choose, and that’s ok!
Kartra and Kajabi are both powerful software services that have definitely earned their spots as some of the most recommended online course builders, and I think you can create a great online course using either one. In many ways, they’re very similar. However, their differences can make one stand out over the other and bring it to the top of the list as the best choice for YOUR business. Since so many of my clients and online course creators find themselves choosing between these two companies, let’s talk more about Kartra vs. Kajabi!
In this post, I’ll compare Kartra vs. Kajabi to see how they stack up in three areas that matter the most to online course creators – and I’ll also let you know which one comes out on top for me after working extensively with both.
We’ll talk about Kartra vs. Kajabi, and how they stack up in:
Essentially, Kartra and Kajabi are very similar software services that do the same thing. They’re each used by course creators for building online courses and supporting marketing funnels to bring students into the course. To help support product sales, both offer many similar marketing tools to create email campaigns, landing and sales pages, and nurture leads into students (and students into continuing students)!
Obviously, for online course creators, one of the most appealing features of these software services are their capabilities to create and set up online memberships and courses. Whichever software you choose to use, it’s necessary to have something that’s pretty easy to understand and work with as you set up your course.
If the course creation process is confusing or challenging to work with, it can get very frustrating, very fast! Kartra and Kajabi can both be used to create online courses and can support the key features you’ll need, like video hosting and membership creation. So, if they offer so many of the same things, what makes them different from each other? Mainly, they’re set apart by their overall user experience and how easily people can figure out customization options.
In my opinion, Kartra is the more straightforward platform for just about anyone to learn and use, which makes it an ideal choice for DIY course creators or people who are just starting and don’t have the resources to bring on an expert. Adding new course modules, creating content sections, and organizing posts for students is a simple and easy process using Kartra’s course builder. I find the course-building tools really intuitive and super easy to use, even if you’re not a very tech-oriented person.
One of the things that makes Kartra one of the best online course software options is how customizable it is. To begin adding and organizing course content, you can choose a pre-made template from Kartra’s massive library. If something about the template doesn’t suit your needs, you can fully customize it to fit whatever you have in mind. On any given course module, you can change everything from the appearance to student access levels.
In fact, Kartra has extensive customization options that make it possible to modify basically every single section of your course, whether it’s a controlled content drip feed or the type of student interaction allowed on an individual post. For example, if you’d like to control access to modules or content depending on a student’s membership level or enable access to premium content for a limited time, Kartra can do that!
Kartra supports up to four student membership levels. In practice, that means you can build a catalog of progressive course offerings, nurture students from one course to the next, or promote add-on membership levels to your main course. So, once a student takes one course, Kartra can accommodate another course offering, as well as automation and prompts to encourage students to unlock progressive course tiers or buy the next course.
Kajabi’s course builder is unique because there are several base options for creating a digital course. To begin building, you can choose from mini, online, and drip course formats, as well as coaching programs and membership opportunities. Kajabi also has pre-made templates, which you can tweak according to your preferences to add more content areas, edit sections, and choose from available themes.
Even with all the choices for course format and the help of an expert, Kajabi still can’t match up to Kartra’s customization opportunities. Especially if you’re not already an experienced Kajabi user or tech expert, it can be confusing and just plain harder to build and customize a course in Kajabi vs. Kartra. If you’re determined to stick with Kajabi, you might need to outsource at least part of the work to an expert – or at least be prepared to do a lot of your own troubleshooting!
Like Kartra, Kajabi also permits moderating content access for students based on previously completed modules or membership tier. You also have the option to add comments, quizzes, and automation to encourage student feedback, engagement, and progress through the course. For example, in Kajabi, you can set up section-specific automation to send an email or offer once a person finishes a particular module.
Kajabi supports three membership levels (so, one fewer level than Kartra). Depending on how many courses you plan to offer and how you’re thinking of organizing the content, three levels could be more than enough to build out your course offerings. Like with Kartra, automation features are a handy way to promote additional classes or premium content.
Kartra and Kajabi are all-in-one course creation and marketing funnel platforms, so they’re perfect for streamlining the process of building your course AND selling it! Once you’ve made your course using one of these software services, you can use the same program to create custom course pages (think sales and landing pages), membership logins, and checkout pages. Aside from being convenient, starting with a proven marketing template can be more beneficial and time-saving, and money-saving than trying to create the same material yourself from scratch or on a different platform. Plus, when all marketing materials live in one software system, identifying user response trends and sales funnel successes becomes an integrated process that’s simpler to track.
After creators have built their courses, they all need marketing pages to promote their product, drive enrollment, and support the customer’s experience. Page builders included in course creation software can make creating marketing pages so much easier with solid templates and user-friendly tools. While both Kartra and Kajabi have built-in, highly functional drag-and-drop page builders, Kartra has more starter template options, and I think their page builder is easier to use.
Just as they offer a wealth of course-creation templates, Kartra has loads of template options for any marketing page you might need to promote your course or manage student relationships. If there’s something about a template that you want to tweak, Kartra’s page editing tools are just as user-friendly and intuitive as their drag-and-drop course builder.
Kartra’s drag-and-drop editor also works very well for adding and editing all the significant elements you’d want to have on sales and landing pages, like a hero section, primary content areas, testimonials, and call-to-action blocks. You can also personalize your design with buttons, additional columns, images, popups, and custom footer bars.
All of Kartra’s page are designed to be responsive on mobile and tablet by default, but it’s easy to make some custom display adjustments for each individual device. If you’d like to test out a few different marketing materials, Kartra supports A/B split testing of up to four pages simultaneously and will monitor conversions in real-time.
Kajabi’s page builder can also help you build many of the same marketing, sales, and customer management pages as Kartra, but there are fewer templates to get you started. While their drag-and-drop builder is pretty easy to use, it pales in comparison to Kartra’s ease of use. Changing the layout of a Kajabi template that you’d like to tweak is possible, but the editing process is a lot more confusing than modifying a template in Kartra.
I mentioned earlier that it could be frustrating to build a course in Kajabi without extra tech help, and trying to use the page builder is no exception. Even though having a Kajabi expert on board can help you nail the page design you’d like to achieve, if you’re trying to create pages on your own, you’re probably going to end up confused and frustrated – unless you’re willing to stick with the design on their templates and just change out the language.
All pages built in Kajabi are mobile-responsive by default, so your pages will automatically be optimized for phones, tablets, and desktop computers without any extra effort on your part. If you want more control over the mobile appearance of a particular page, Kajabi gives you the choice to make simple adjustments, like adding or hiding certain elements based on the device being used to view the page.
Your budget is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an online course software, and that definitely applies to the Kartra vs. Kajabi debate! These two software services have drastically different membership tiers and pricing. The good news is that before you commit to one or the other, they each have a free 14-day trial period, so you can check them out and see if they’re a good fit for your business.
Once you’ve decided to sign up with Kartra or Kajabi, they each have a big price break for creators who pay for a whole year at once. But even considering an annual subscription discount, Kartra comes out as the more affordable option. Not only is Kajabi more expensive, but its pricing plans are heavily segmented and hold back more desirable features behind higher-ticket subscription plans.
After the free trial period ends, Kartra’s plan tiers for course creators start at $99 per month. If you commit to an annual plan, you’ll get up to a 25% discount, depending on which membership tier you choose. As part of Kajabi’s starter plan, you’ll get the following benefits:
Even the entry-level Kartra plan has plenty of features that are perfect for course creators just starting out. As momentum for your course grows, you can upgrade to the next tier for $149, which bumps you up to 12,500 leads, three custom domains, and unlimited space for everything else. The silver level tier expands capacity to 25,000 leads, five custom domains, and agency capability for $249 per month. Kartra’s pricing tops out at $379 per month, which includes 50,000 leads and ten custom domains, on top of all the other benefits.
After Kajabi’s trial period ends, their lowest-tier monthly plan price is $149 – that’s $50 more expensive than Kartra’s. However, if you sign up for a whole year at once, you’ll get a 20% discount. On the basic plan, you’ll get:
While you do get unlimited landing pages and emails, only having space for 1,000 active members at one time could quickly become limiting as more students enroll in your course. For $199 per month, you can upgrade to Kajabi’s next tier, which allows 15 products, 15 funnels, 10,000 active members, and ten admins. But if you want to go “pro” – with access to 100 products and funnels, 20,000 active members, and 25 admins – you’ll have to pay $399 per month.
Overall, Kartra and Kajabi are both excellent choices for anyone building an online course. But for me personally, Kartra comes out on top, especially if you’re getting started as an online course creator. You really can’t beat Kartra’s drag-and-drop course and page editing tools for a user-friendly design that will help you create the course your ideas deserve! The final straw is that Kartra costs significantly less than Kajabi, which meets the budget of more online course creators. Once you’re a more established creator with a larger budget, Kajabi can be a great choice if you’ve outgrown Kartra’s active user capacity and marketing tools. However, for most course creators, Kartra is the way to go!
If you’re ready to get started with Kartra, you can use my link to sign up for a free 14-day trial – and be sure to grab my free Kartra landing page template that you can completely customize to YOUR business!