As a sales funnel software, ClickFunnels does a great job of creating marketing funnels to capture leads. But if your plan is to create a membership site, I can’t recommend using this platform with so many better options in the 2021 market.
Let’s discuss why using a ClickFunnels Membership Site to publish a membership site isn’t the best option and some modern alternatives instead.
7 Reasons to Not Use the ClickFunnels Membership Site Platform
Check out our full ClickFunnels review if you’d like to know more about its strengths, as in this article, we’re covering one of its main weaknesses: the ClickFunnels membership site.
But for now, here are some of the reasons why you should consider other platforms to build a membership site for your online business.
1. ClickFunnels Offers No Built-In Video or Audio Hosting
One of the most significant downsides to using the ClickFunnels Membership Site is that it doesn’t let users host audio or video files. The membership site platform even caps smaller file types like Word documents or PDFs at 3 megabytes.
There is a workaround to video hosting, but it involves paying for subscriptions from Vimeo, Wistia, or Amazon S3.
Even when you use subscription services to add video or audio to ClickFunnels, the process isn’t easy. You still have the hassle of logging into another platform, copying the URL, making sure the videos are in the correct privacy mode, and then paste that unique video URL to the specific part of your ClickFunnels membership site.
Compared to other platforms, the ClickFunnels Membership Site platform makes it hard to share info using media content. Other alternatives have video and audio sharing capabilities.
Thinkific Video Library
2. ClickFunnels Isn’t Ideal if You Want to Offer Multiple Courses
People will have a hard time accessing multiple courses if you build them using ClickFunnels. The problem is that the ClickFunnels platform does not compile courses on a single dashboard. That means users will have to register and log in through separate portal pages per course.
To make matters worse, ClickFunnels does not store credit card information. While this might sound like a good thing, this results in a terrible user experience since people have to enter their details every time they want to register for a course (or upsell).
By comparison, other membership site platforms let customers register all of their information (including credit card details) once.
3. Poor End-User Experience
ClickFunnels made membership registration and payment a two-page process. That alone isn’t very pleasant. But it’s made worse if users enter different email addresses to register and pay. They’d have trouble accessing the course they signed up for.
Other membership site providers manage to streamline the process to keep the user experience positive from start to finish.
But that’s not the end of it, unfortunately.
When users end their session and want to resume, they’d have to scan the lesson to find where they left off manually. You can’t link to specific lessons or modules as well. That means you can’t link to brand new content when making your announcements.
The problems are more noticeable when you switch to the mobile version of ClickFunnels. The mobile membership area is a hassle as each time you want to select a new lesson/module from the navigation of the membership site; you have to scroll down past the page content!
I think it’s fair to say that it’s far from being user-friendly.
4. No Student Engagement Features Like Quizzes or Discussions
You can’t assess your students without features like quizzes and discussions. Unfortunately, ClickFunnels does not have anything of the sort. You don’t have any means of testing your students’ comprehension of your lessons or be able to talk to them about it in a group setting.
Teachable Quiz Feature
If your students want to talk to each other or want to talk with you or one of your instructors, you might have to resort to using third-party tools, offsite forums, or social media channels.
5. Members Cannot Update Their Subscription Payment Details
This is one of the biggest problems with using ClickFunnels. The company does not allow subscribers to cancel membership access to your content. If I were a subscriber, I’d have to email you to cancel my membership. You would then have to cancel the subscription through Stripe.
So the burden falls on you. You’d have to make sure that all requests are honored.
Podia Payment Plan
But what if your users want to update or change their payment details? Well, they can’t do that too. You’ll need access to a third-party tool to add that functionality.
It’s a bad time all-around for everyone involved.
6. Inability to Track User Progress
It’s only normal for you to want to track the progress of your users. How else would you know how effective your online course really is?
Sadly, this is yet another feature that ClickFunnels lack. You can’t track user progress using this platform.
You won’t know if your students’ completion rate. And you can’t send completion certificates or congratulatory emails. There are also no options for sending reminders for students to finish their courses either.
There are no solutions available for business owners to encourage their customers to push through with their training.
7. ClickFunnels Hasn’t Updated Their Membership Site In Years!
And if you think all of the issues we mentioned will get fixed anytime soon, don’t hold your breath. As far as the ClickFunnels Membership Site goes, it doesn’t look like it will be updated at all.
The last time ClickFunnels released an update was years ago — and that was for their sales funnel builder. It feels as if ClickFunnels is done with innovating their product.
Other membership access sites continue to release updates and patches, making them worth the investment. Sadly, this is not the case with ClickFunnels.
This is a major roadblock, especially for people looking to build up their membership site offerings.
ClickFunnels lacks audio and video hosting features; you can’t use ClickFunnels to track user progress or promote a new lesson, it has shopping cart hassles, customers have to deal with a bad mobile user interface, and you can’t create quizzes or interact with members.
And to top it off, ClickFunnels has not seen updates in years.
There’s no question about it: The ClickFunnels Membership Site platform is not worth considering in 2021. At least not for creating lessons and selling them through building membership sites.
ClickFunnels Membership Site Alternatives
So if not ClickFunnels, what other membership site options are there?
There are plenty of online course platforms and membership site software to choose from. But here are some of what I feel are the best ones that you should consider.
Kajabi is a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to create and sell online courses and/or create a membership site. Unlike ClickFunnels, Kajabi lets you easily add audio and video content to your pages.
Not only that, but you also get modern page designs and student assessment features. You can get student feedback using surveys. The Community features can help you connect with your users without relying on social media.
With Kajabi, there’s no need for coding. You can get up and running in minutes if you need to. And you can rest assured that mobile versions of your pages will work without a hitch.
And just like ClickFunnels, you can make sales pages through Kajabi. There’s also an email marketing feature available. You can also use this platform to launch a blog.
There are already solutions in place for processing payments. Students can pay you using Stripe and PayPal. And best of all, there’s built-in analytics that’ll give you all the numbers you need to see your current progress.
It’s everything you need in one package.
Kajabi has three plans available: Basic ($119/month), Growth ($159/month), and Pro ($319/month). Kajabi does offer a 14-day free trial so that you could see if this platform is right for you.
If you want to learn more about what we think about Kajabi, check out our full review.
Teachable is a platform that’s specifically made for online course creation & distribution. Additionally, it aims to make creating membership sites as painless as possible.
You can customize your site based on what you need. You can connect your own domain, add media content, engage students through coaching sessions, and integrate third-party tools that Teachable supports.
This platform also has great analytics features. You can see your sales and student insights using the Teachable dashboard.
If you work with a team, you can add them to projects and set their permissions and roles. Teachable will help you support them. And if your team or contributors need to be paid, Teachable can handle the transactions.
And did I mention that you get unlimited video bandwidth when you sign up for an account?
You can create as many courses as you need and enroll an unlimited number of students no matter what Teachable plan you end up subscribing to.
With Teachable, you can talk to students live, schedule and host bookings, publish success stories, and get student feedback.
Teachable’s Basic plan costs $29/month. The Pro plan is $99/month, while the Business plan is $249/month. It’s worth noting that with the Basic plan, Teachable gets a 5% transaction fee.
See our Teachable review if you want to learn more about everything else that it can do for you.
Thinkific focuses on the basics of online course creation. So don’t expect to find features like blogging, sales funnels, email marketing, or anything of the sort.
But for what it is, Thinkific is amazing, especially when you compare it to ClickFunnels.
It lets you create courses from scratch and customize it to fit your branding. It has a drag-and-drop interface that lets you design your lessons without the need for coding. And yes, it does support videos, quizzes, surveys, downloads, discussions, and other features that you won’t find on ClickFunnels.
It also works with Google Docs, Typeform, and Captivate.
You can have private and hidden courses and prerequisite lessons. You can collaborate with multiple instructors to deliver content. You can schedule drip content.
And once you’re done with your courses, you can just as easily design your landing pages. There are themes available that you could use as your base and edit as you see fit. Those who know how to use HTML and CSS are welcome to tweak their pages as needed.
There is an option to use your own domain name.
Students have more flexibility on how they want to pay. You can set up membership sites straight-up or do subscription courses. You can package your course however you want. There’s even an option to boost your sales using coupons.
You can easily do upsells, free trials, offer payment plans, and customize the first-month payments.
Thinkific has four plans available: Free, Basic ($39/month), Pro ($79/month), and Premier ($399/month). All plans (except Free) give you unlimited courses and students.
We have a full Thinkific review where we discuss all of its pros and cons if you’re interested.
Like the rest of my recommendations, Podia is designed to help people create online courses and membership sites as hassle-free as possible.
With Podia, you can get a membership site up and running in five simple steps: setup your website, customize it, add your products, market it to your audience, and start selling.
The nice thing about Podia is that it allows you to migrate from another web host. That means if you already have a site that’s hosted elsewhere, you can still move it over to Podia. Plans come with unlimited hosting, and third-party integration is available.
You can even choose from 11 languages and 22 currencies, which is useful for those with an international audience.
It’s easy to add media content like videos and images. The layouts are flexible. You can see all the changes you’re making to your site in real-time. And you can add your logo and customize colors to fit your branding.
Podia makes your site responsive across all devices.
When it comes to selling products, you can do drip content, modify payment plans, pre-sell your courses, and introduce quizzes.
You can do upsells, file uploads, and bundle products too.
When it comes to memberships, you’re able to create unlimited membership plans with varying perks, content, and pricing. You can publish members-only content. And unlike ClickFunnels, you can engage customers easily.
Podia simplifies its pricing structure by only offering two plans. First, you have Mover, which is $39/month. Then there’s Shaker, which is $79/month. This is cheaper than some of the other plans in our list of recommendations.
If you want the membership site features, you’d have to go for the Shaker plan.
We have a full review of Podia where we talk about what you get with each plan.
Conclusions and Recommendations
I’m not saying that ClickFunnels is a bad service provider. My team and I use it for our companies, for goodness sake. But when it comes to membership sites, it pales in comparison to its competitors.
It’s too hard to ignore all of its limitations. You can’t even use it to host video and audio content, which is a big deal in 2021.
So which membership site platform should you go with instead?
I’d highly recommend Kajabi if you want the total package. It has all the tools you’ll need to launch a membership site from scratch. It’s straightforward to use; even beginners can use it to create a membership site. It can process online payments well and can handle multiple courses.
But if you already have a ClickFunnels account and wish to continue using it for sales funnel purposes, then you could subscribe to Podia, Thinkific, or Teachable and use these platforms to host your site and courses.
Podia, in particular, is becoming very popular for membership sites these days.
Honestly, I think you can’t go wrong with any of the four alternatives I mentioned, especially when you compare it to ClickFunnels’s Membership Site. There’s nowhere else to go but up when you make the switch. Sorry ClickFunnels, but membership site-building is not your forte.