7 Best Online Community Platforms in 2023 (Free to Premium)
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Behind every successful brand is a dedicated community. Whether you’re an online business owner, content creator, digital marketer, or any other party that necessitates an online presence, developing a community is one of the best things you can do to attract customers.
Unfortunately, building a community isn’t easy. It’s time-consuming and takes quite a bit of trial and error. Moreover, resources are often limited for smaller groups, and much of the time gets allocated elsewhere.
Don’t let this deter you, though! With a little bit of outsourcing and professional help, you can effortlessly develop a thriving community that drives sales and spreads brand awareness.
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, here are the seven best online community platforms in 2023.
What Are the Best Online Community Platforms?
There’s no cut-and-dried answer to this question. As a business owner, you’ll have to decide which option is the best online community platform for your needs.
Nonetheless, I’ve compiled some of the best options on this list, and they are – Mighty Networks, Thinkific, and Podia.
These are all-in-one platforms that are pretty versatile in function, though if you’re looking for something a bit more online course-oriented, you’ll want to opt for Circle or Passion.
Among the best platforms for online community engagement, Tribe and Buddy Boss reign supreme and offer quite a bit in terms of making a reputable business. Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and what you’re trying to accomplish with your brand.
Here’s a small insight into some of the best online community platforms around the web:
Mighty Networks is a versatile, all-in-one community builder with every possible feature you could possibly need. It’s perfect if you run a business reliant on a membership platform, and even if you don’t, you’ll find the design to be quite intuitive.
Whether you’re looking to build some introductory online courses, add a live event feed to your website, or develop a community chat, Mighty Networks is a highly-rated option for creating and managing your digital following.
Chat system – Mighty Networks allows you to develop a real-time community chat feed with private messaging features so your customers can connect regularly.
Dynamic connectivity – there are numerous options to add gifs, images, and emotes within the chat, making it a more dynamic experience.
Courses as resources – the content courses you create can be developed on a need-to-know basis as you start and grow your online community.
Live streaming is a cinch – Members are quickly notified whenever you live stream and can easily access your feed.
Subscription system – another great thing about this platform is its subscription options. You can create inclusive subscriber bubbles and separate them based on your needs.
Referrals – making sharing your content easier with numerous connection builder tools both internally and externally of your community.
There are three price points available on Mighty Networks:
Community plan: 33$ a month
Business plan: $99 a month
Mighty Pro: [price varies]
The Bottom Line
Mighty Networks is most suited for brands trying to make a name for themselves in the digital community. In particular, they’re great for small business owners, personal brands, bloggers, instructors, and SaaS companies, though basically, any market can benefit from them.
Overall they offer reasonable price points and a multitude of features and can help jumpstart your community builder campaign, even if you’re going in without a following.
One of the best online community platforms for marketing is Thinkific. They offer numerous subscription monetization options and help promote your growing community through clever sales tactics.
Sales tactics include offering promotions (discounts, coupons, etc.), formatting your landing page to be aesthetically pleasing, and raking in more sales. The features are similar to Mighty Networks, except this platform is more centric on the marketing aspect of community building.
Email marketing automation – Thinkific offers a stellar email automation plan which allows you to consistently send promotional emails to your customers.
Custom coupons – you can design and customize digital coupons, which synergizes pretty well with the email automation feature.
Promotional Bundles – similar to digital coupons, you can create promotional subscription bundles with ease.
Course creation – this platform allows you to create monetized courses and helps you design them to convert to sales.
Analytics – receive various insights on your community statistics to help steer the direction of your digital strategy.
Customize web pages – there are also tools to design your website and make it more attractive to new community members.
There are four price points available on Thinkific:
Free: 0$ a month
Basic: 36$ a month
Start: $74 a month
Grow: 149 a month
The Bottom Line
Thinkific is heavily focused on monetization and subscription-based sales, making it an excellent option for brands who wish to sell courses and subscription bundles. It’s also a good choice since they have a free plan, which, while it doesn’t offer much, gives you a taste to see if you like it before you buy.
If you’re looking to engage with customers, build brand trust, and make a good impression for your brand voice, then Tribe is the platform for you. While they’re pretty effective for bringing in business, this service shines when working with media-based brands such as influencers, content creators, and small businesses.
Intuitive community structure – Tribe works wonders for your site with its community space organizer, tags, and collections option.
Customizability – from your site design to the apps you incorporate on WordPress, everything you could want when creating a personalized experience is at your fingertips.
Membership management – you can easily direct and manage your members.
Means of engagement – there are various tools you can use to increase engagement, such as buttons, community feeds, chats, and reactions.
Accessible login functions – with social media login options and SSO, creating memberships and logging in is easy and intuitive for your users.
Custom profiles – make your members feel like they’re part of the community and let them create their custom profiles, including a description, user name, and profile pic.
There are two price points available for Tribe:
Advanced: $599 a month
Enterprise: [price varies]
The Bottom Line
While Tribe is one of the more expensive options, it’s pretty effective if you already have a community to go off of. Furthermore, the access to various apps, social media platforms, and community management platform tools makes this builder one of the best online community platforms if you’re trying to snowball your brand into something more significant.
Are you looking for limitless possibilities? Buddy Boss doesn’t put a cap on how much you can grow, as they allow you to have unlimited members, courses, events, and more at your disposal. They’re pretty free-form in their business model and offer full creative authority.
The beauty of Buddy Boss is that they can fit any business model and offer a fluid experience in how you design products and your website. The main strength of this one is how unrestrained it is when it comes time to show off your ingenuity.
Unlimited tools – the unlimited courses and membership features allow you to be a powerful course creator for all your educational needs.
Manage multiple sites – the highest plan lets you manage up to 10 websites.
Translations – make your business global-friendly with the platform’s page translator tool.
Create posts, feeds, and comment sections – you can develop an engaging community to go along with your content as the platform includes an on-point member builder.
App friendly – this platform is also incredible if your brand has an app, as you can convert web pages and manage your mobile socials much easier.
In-app purchases – users can easily purchase your products or services from within your app.
Unlimited admins – you’re running a bigger business or corporation, the unlimited admin’s feature allows you to have better control over your community.
There are three price points available for Buddy Boss:
1 Site: 228$ a year
5 Sites: 288$ a year
10 Sites: $388 a year
The Bottom Line
Similar to Tribe, Buddy Boss is a fantastic option for creators and social media influencers, but at a much more affordable price point. Even larger corporations can benefit from this service with the multiple site management feature and unlimited reign over every aspect of your brand.
Podia isn’t just about building a community; this platform can walk you through every step of the way.
If you’re just starting, you’ll focus on building your website and let the community building come later. Or, if you already have dynamic community features, you work towards growing and creating excellent courses. No matter where you are on your brand creation journey, you’ll always find some use in Podia.
Simple website creation – design and publish your website with little to no coding experience.
Sell e-products – if you’re focused on selling e-books, courses, seminars, or other digital goods, Podia’s product builder is top-notch.
Multimedia conversions – you can interact with your community, and it can interact with itself through a variety of chats, forums, and multimedia functions.
Free account – you can create a free website and have access to some of their features to get a feel for the platform.
Proven track record – the website has numerous examples of success using its platform.
There are four price points available for Podia:
Free: $0 a month
Mover: $33 a month
Shaker: 75$ a month
Earthquaker: 166$ a month
The Bottom Line
Podia offers a pretty stellar website and community builder even without going into their paid options. This makes them great for starters who don’t have much experience and want to grow their brand without high risk. And if your site does see some success, you’ll find numerous options to snowball your business and make even more sales.
The circle is the best of the best community platforms when it comes to creating and selling online courses. Managing members is straightforward, and you can easily design your content from within the platform, so you don’t have to constantly switch between services.
Optimize for various communities – you can create communities based on your needs, including communities for coaching, teaching, customers, and members.
Engaged community options – Circle includes every community engagement option, from group chat rooms to live stream feeds.
Monetization options – making money off of the content you create is simple and drives recurring subscriptions.
Promotional content – offer bundles, subscription packages, special deals, and coupons to market your goods.
Analytics and data-gathering – gather insights based on your communities activity to make important business decisions and tailor your content for your target audience.
Weekly workshops – learn powerful tips and tricks to grow your brand using Circle.
There are three price points available for Circle:
Basic: $49 a month
Professional: $99 a month
Enterprise: $399 a month
The Bottom Line
The circle is oriented around course creation and sales, making it ideal if you’re an educator, coach, organization, club, or any other member-based teaching brand. Furthermore, you have tons of tools at your disposal to start building a community from scratch at a reasonably low price point and a rich content creation tool if you’re new to course building.
The final entry on this list is none other than Passion, your go-to platform for mobile community building and app optimization.
Online courses are typically a great source of revenue, but they don’t convert well to mobile devices. Passion solves this problem by allowing you to create a user experience tailored towards the average mobile user, who sees much more daily use than someone working from a computer.
Push notifications – send alerts and notifications directly to your users’ phone feeds and gain a much higher engagement rate as people will have access to your brand on the go.
Interactive communities – you can create interactive communities through a vast mobile network on Passion.
Offline sync – make and sell downloadable content so that your services/products are available even when users don’t have service.
Tracking and scheduling features – let your members track their progress for your digital courses and schedule appointments directly to your calendar.
Automated challenges – depending on the nature of your classes, you can create automated community challenges in which your members can partake and engage.
Unlockable content – this feature allows you to design your courses so that as your members progress, they can unlock more content as they go.
There are three price points available for Passion:
Pro: 79$ a month or $216 annually
Ultimate: 239$ a month or 696$ annually
UltimatePLUS: price on an application basis
The Bottom Line
Passion is the number one mobile-based course builder and promotional tool you have at your disposal. It doesn’t matter if you’re a music instructor, chef, dancer, or trainer; if you have something to teach and want your services to be accessible from the phone, Passion is the platform for you.
What Are Online Community Platforms?
Online community platforms are services that allow you to create, manage, and promote digital communities. While each platform’s specific services can vary, their functionality remains the same and focuses on helping brands gain their target following and maintain them through online communities.
Well, there you have it! These are the best online community platforms on the market. You won’t find any other deals as good as the online community software platforms listed above, nor will you find any services that work quite as well.
If you’re looking for more information about digital marketing or online sales strategies, be sure to visit WalterVoronovic.com for more helpful information.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you decide to purchase a paid plan or program by using the links provided on this page, I may receive a commission for that purchase at no additional cost to you.
Walter Voronovic shares accurate, honest & pragmatic information on how to use the internet to build profitable digital business assets.
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