Thinkific is one of the leading platforms through which online creators host and deliver digital courses, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that you’re interested in using it for your business.
For this reason, we created this Thinkific tutorial to demonstrate the step-by-step process of creating an online course on the platform.
This guide will cover everything, from creating your account to setting up your course and starting to sell it. In the end, we’ll also share some bonus tips to help you make the most of Thinkific’s features.
Without further ado, let’s start.
1. Create a Thinkific Account
The first step in building a course on Thinkific is creating an account on the website.
To create an account, go to Thinkific.com, and you’ll see a page like the one below. This page offers a special deal for a 30-day free trial of Thinkific’s Start plan.
Click the Start Your Free Trial button to enter your email address and create an account.
The platform will then ask you to enter your school’s name and some additional details about your experience with online teaching and the goals of your Thinkific school.
Afterward, Thinkific asks you to enter the details for your first online course. This includes things like course name, brand colors, etc. Of course, you can change all these details later, so don’t worry too much about it now.
Lastly, you’ll need to create your instructor profile and specify your business details.
After that, Thinkfic will take you to your school’s home page, where you can create a structure for your course and upload the course materials—a process we’ll cover in the next part of this tutorial.
2. Create Your Course Curriculum
Before adding content to your course, you need to define the structure for your course, which will become the backbone for anything you do afterward.
To do so, click Manage Learning Products in the main menu on the top left of your screen and select Courses.
You’ll see the draft of the course you already created, but we’ll show you how to create a new course.
To do that, click New Course in the top-right corner of the screen.
Thinkific will ask you to select a course template. These are nothing but predefined structures for your course, and we recommend that you work with the blank template.
Next, you need to enter your course name and click on Create Course.
Thinkific will now take you to the course builder, where you can define the structure and add content. A course in Thinkific has two levels: Chapters and Lessons.
A Chapter is an organizational unit and doesn’t hold any content. The actual content is added to a Lesson.
To add a chapter, click the Add Chapter button at the bottom left of your screen. Then, enter the chapter name and click Save.
Now, it’s time to add lessons to your chapter.
To do that, click the Add Lesson button in your chapter and select the lesson type. Thinkific offers eight different types of lessons for delivering your content and four lesson types for assessing students.
The most commonly used lesson type is Video. Thinkific’s video lessons allow you to host and play the video content directly on the platform.
Selecting that will open the lesson builder, where you can upload your video file. All the videos you upload to the platform are also added to a video library, so you can reuse them in other lessons and courses.
In addition, you can add text content and downloadable files to your video lesson.
When you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see a few settings for your lesson, which include:
- Allowing free preview
- Making the lesson a prerequisite
- Enabling discussions
- Allow video downloading
- Choosing lesson icon and label
You can also upload your videos in bulk rather than individually adding content to your course lessons.
To do this, click Bulk Importer in the course menu. You can bulk-upload multiple files into specific chapters; for each file, a new lesson will be created automatically, and you can rearrange your lessons by dragging and dropping.
This is a much quicker way to upload your content and create lessons, and we really love Thinkific’s Bulk Importer feature.
For assessing your student’s progress, Thinkific offers several tools, and the most popular one is quizzes.
To create one, add a new lesson and select the Quiz lesson type.
You can then add questions to your quiz. Thinkific supports two question types: single answer and multiple answers.
Moreover, it supports a rich text editor for writing questions and answers to add images, videos, links, files, etc., to them.
Rather than adding questions one by one, you can also import questions in bulk using a .xlsx file, which is a huge plus.
Finally, you’ll see some settings for your quiz at the bottom. Important ones include:
- Passing Grade – You can automatically grade the quiz and set a passing score.
- Randomized question bank – You can randomly select a set number of questions from your question bank.
- Prerequisite – If you make a quiz lesson a prerequisite, your students won’t be able to move forward unless they pass the quiz successfully.
In this section, we showed you how to create a course and incorporate different kinds of lessons into it. If you follow the steps above, you can easily create a full-blown curriculum like this:
Now, let’s walk you through some other course settings and tools in Thinkific.
3. Manage Course Settings
Thinkific offers many features to manage and deliver your courses how you want. Here’s a list of some of the most valuable settings you can use when creating a course on Thinkific.
Set a Drip Schedule
The drip feature lets you release course content based on a predefined schedule.
To create a drip schedule, select Drip in the main course menu and click Create Drip Schedule.
Here, you can select the drip type and specify when your course lessons will become available to students.
Once done, click the Save button, and your course will now drip accordingly.
Create a Certificate
Offering certificates to those who complete your online courses can significantly enhance student participation and engagement. Fortunately, Thinkific has a certificate feature.
You can create a course certificate by clicking Settings in the course menu and selecting Course progress & completion.
Click the Create Certificate button to access the Certificates feature. You can also access it by selecting the Support Your Students section in the main menu and clicking Certificates.
Here you’ll be able to create your certificate design. The platform provides a selection of certificate templates, but you are free to personalize the text, colors, fonts, background image, and logo.
After you’ve created your design, scroll up and click Save at the top right corner of the screen.
Then scroll to the bottom and select the course the certificate is intended for. And, if you wish, set an expiration date. After this, every student finishing the chosen course will receive a completion certificate.
Course Player Settings
Course player is a critical part of every online course, and the default Thinkific course player is well-designed from an end-user experience perspective.
Plus, Thinkific offers some additional settings for modifying its appearance. To do that, go to Course Settings -> Course Player Appearance.
In this section, you can choose the theme and style of your course player. For instance, you can choose between a light or a dark theme, change your style, colors, and fonts, and even customize the lesson-type icons and your course player logo.
Apart from these features, there are a few other general settings Thinkific lets you do for your course. These include course name and description, instructor, SEO settings, security settings, etc.
4. Set Up Course Pricing
Now that you have done your course setup, it’s time to set a price. Thinkific offers flexible course pricing options, and you can offer a free or paid course.
To charge for your course, you’ll first need to integrate your payment gateway from Settings -> Payments. Thinkific supports Stripe and PayPal gateways; you can easily integrate them by following the instructions on this page.
Once you’ve integrated your gateway, go back to your course and select the Pricing option.
Thinkific supports multiple payment models—one-time pricing, monthly payment plans, and recurring subscriptions.
One-time pricing is straightforward; you just need to specify the amount here. The default currency is USD, but you can change that under Settings.
If you opt for the subscription model, you can choose the payment frequency, free trial period, and a custom first payment. With the monthly payment plan, you can split the price of your online course into multiple installments.
Finally, you can have more than one pricing option for your course. You can set up additional product pricing options at the bottom of the Pricing page.
Additional pricing can be a one-time payment, a payment plan, or a subscription.
Thinkific has a couple of other features related to course pricing. The first is After-Purchase Flow which allows you to create 1-click upsells for your online course.
So, instead of having your customers land on a default thank you page, you can offer another product as an upsell on your thank you page, and your customers can add this upsell to their purchase in a single click.
You can create one by clicking After Purchase in the course menu. Next, click the Add Flow button and select the pricing option for which you’re creating the flow.
Another important pricing feature is Coupons. Thinkific lets you create discount codes for your course to offer special prices.
To create a coupon, go to Market & Sell -> Coupons in the main menu.
Here you can create coupon codes for a single course or all your products. You can also set an expiry date and limit the number of people allowed to use the code.
Now that your course has pricing and a purchase flow, it’s time to build your sales page.
5. Build Your Course Sales Page
Your sales page is where your students can find all the information about your program and sign up for the same. So, you’ll need a sales page to start selling your course.
In Thinkific, each course gets a sales page by default, and you can customize it to your liking using the drag-n-drop page builder.
To customize the sales page, go to the course builder and click Build Landing Page in the top right corner.
Alternatively, you can access the landing page from Design Your Site -> Site Pages in the main admin menu.
The course landing page comes out of the box with a few page sections—header, banner, curriculum, call to action and footer.
To edit a page section, you need to click on the section name in the left panel. This will show all the blocks inside that section, and you can modify them individually.
For example, when you click on the Banner section, you can edit the headings and the background, include an image or a video, and customize content and media alignment.
Similarly, in the Curriculum section, you can modify the headings, the course card, and other details. So that you know, Curriculum is a dynamic section, meaning it can automatically pull information from your course.
To add a new page section, click the Add Section button on the left panel. This will open a popup where you’ll see the different section types supported by Thinikific.
Thinkific offers plenty of page section templates, including:
- Additional products
- Course categories
- All pricing options
- Bonus material
- Countdown timer
- Frequently asked questions
- And much more
Click on a specific section type to add it to your page, and then you can customize it as we showed you earlier.
It may take some time to familiarize yourself with the page builder and build your sales page the way you want. However, Thinkific’s page builder is pretty easy to use and provides enough customization capabilities.
6. Final Settings and Course Publishing
With the course and the sales page are done, it’s time to move on to the finishing touches. Here are some final settings to check out before publishing your course.
Integrate a Custom Domain
If you have one of Thinkific’s paid plans, you can use a custom domain for your Thinkific site.
By default, your course website is on a Thinkific subdomain, but you can replace it with your branded domain.
To add a custom domain, go to your admin dashboard and click on Settings. Under the Site tab, select Site URL and click on the Add Custom URL button.
You will then see the New Custom URL field where you can put your custom domain.
There are some additional CNAME settings that you’ll need to do at your domain registrar. For that, please follow the instructions on this page.
Apart from setting up a custom domain, Thinkific offers a few other white-labeling options that you can read about in this guide.
Enable the Mobile App
Allowing your students to consume course content on the go is one of the easiest ways to elevate their engagement levels. And with Thinkific’s free mobile apps, you can do that.
To let your students access your course via the app, go to Settings -> Mobile App and click on the toggle button to activate the mobile app.
Once you activate the app, Thinkific will automatically generate a QR code and a dynamic link, which you should share with your students.
Integrate Your Email Marketing Tool
Email marketing is a vital aspect of running any business, and you should pass your course purchase information to your email service provider.
To integrate Thinkific with your email marketing platform, go to the Apps section in the main menu and click on Visit App Store.
Thinkific has quite a few apps that deal exclusively with email marketing:
- ActiveCampaign (Read Thinkific-ActiveCampaign Guide)
- ConvertKit (Read Thinkific-ConvertKit guide)
- Constant Contact
Install the app for your email provider, and then you’ll be able to integrate it with Thinkific.
If you can’t find an app for your provider, you can use Thinkific’s Zapier integration to create an integration.
Install Google Analytics
With Google Analytics, you can track visitor activity on your site pages and course player. It is the most essential analytics tool, and you must integrate it with your website.
To do that, visit the Thinkific App Store and install the Google Analytics app. Then, copy your tracking ID from your Google Analytics account and add it to the app settings.
That’s it, and you can now easily track your website visits and student activity. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Analytics, check out this guide.
Make a Test Purchase and Check the Flow
Finally, you should make a test purchase and check the entire customer flow to ensure everything works fine.
If your product isn’t free, we suggest you create a coupon to discount the course price to $1 and then use this coupon to make a test purchase.
Make sure you check the sales page, the checkout page, the thank you page, and the course player.
If everything looks good, you can go ahead and publish your course. To do that, go to the Publish section under your course menu, select the Publish option, and click Save.
Now, grab your sales page URL from the Settings menu and start sharing your course with your potential customers.
Bonus Tips to Enhance Your Thinkific Course
The processes and steps described above are sufficient for delivering a solid course experience for your students. However, Thinkific course creators often utilize various platform features to take their course creation to the next level.
We’ll discuss some of them in this section.
Create a Thinkific Community to Drive Engagement
Communities are a powerful tool for engaging students in your online course. Fortunately, Thinkific offers a native community feature that you can use to provide a social learning experience for your students.
By creating one, you’ll create a dedicated space where your students will feel encouraged to converse with each other and be more likely to complete the course.
Check out our in-depth Thinkific Communities guide if you’re interested in building one for your online school.
Use Live Lessons to Make Your Course More Interactive
Live lessons are one of the most effective ways to make your course more engaging. Fortunately, Thinkific supports live lesson creation as part of their course builder.
It is available as a lesson type; you can add one as you do with other lesson types.
However, when selecting the Live lesson option, you must first integrate your Zoom account. You can then schedule your live session from inside Thinkific, and your students will be able to attend the live class from inside the course player.
Use Groups to Manage Student Cohorts
Thinkific’s Groups feature allows you to create cohorts and manage students in these cohorts easily. This feature will be handy if you use the platform for cohort courses or sell to organizations.
With Groups, you can create unique sign-up links that add students automatically to a group. Or, you can manually add students as well.
Additionally, you can track the progress of different cohorts separately, making analyzing the student progress for large groups easier.
Sell Course Bundles and Memberships
Thinkific’s Memberships and Bundles features allow you to group two or more of your products and sell them at a higher price.
Your bundles and memberships can include access to multiple courses and even a community. And you can sell your membership using a one-time price model or as a recurring subscription.
If you plan on building a membership site on Thinkific, you’ll find this feature useful.
Extend Functionality With Thinkific Apps
The most stand-out Thinkific feature is its app store. The app store has dozens of apps for integrating with third-party applications, including apps for integrating with other learning tools, email providers, sales and marketing tools, etc.
Thinkific is one of the best online course builders in the market, but if something is missing, you can use a third-party app to add that functionality to your course website.
For example, Thinkific doesn’t have an interactive workbook builder. However, you can add this capability using the Wobo app.
Similarly, Thinkific doesn’t have a built-in blogging tool, but you can add the same using the DropInblog app.
In short, the Thinkific app store allows creators to expand and improve the platform’s capabilities by easily integrating third-party software with the platform.
This Thinkific tutorial covered step-by-step how to create an online course. You learned how to create a course structure, add video and quiz lessons, set pricing, and build a sales page. We also shared some tips to take your Thinkific course to the next level.
Thinkific is a versatile platform that offers everything you need as a course creator to build an engaging, impactful online course. Moreover, creating a course on Thinkific is an easy, intuitive process, especially if you follow the steps outlined in this tutorial.
If you aren’t using Thinkific yet, sign up for a free trial to create your online course.
We hope this guide helped you learn how to create a course on Thinkific. Do you have any questions? Please share them in the comments below!