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.
If you’re not sure about using Thinkific as your course platform, first read this Thinkific review.
To create an account, go to Thinkific.com, and you’ll see a page like the one below. On this page, you’ll see a special offer for a 30-day free trial of Thinkific’s Pro plan. Enter your email address and click on the Claim Offer button.
Then, the platform will ask you to create an account and enter your school’s name and some additional details about your experiences 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 at this point.
Lastly, you’ll have 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’ll be to 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.
When you select that, it will open the lesson builder, where you’ll be able to upload your video file. All the videos you upload to the platform are added to a video library, and you can select a video file from the library for use in your lesson.
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
Rather than adding videos to your course one by one, you can also upload your content in bulk.
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 so that you can 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.
- Randomised 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.
Suggested Reading: Thinkific Courses and Websites to Inspire You
3. Manage Course Settings
Thinkific offers many features to manage your courses and deliver them the way 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’ll be able to select the drip type and specify when your course lessons will become available to students.
Once done, click on the Save button, and your course will now drip accordingly.
Create a Certificate
Offering certificates to those who complete your online courses can greatly enhance student participation and involvement. Fortunately, Thinkific has a certificate feature.
You can create a course certificate by clicking on Settings in the course menu and selecting Course progress and completion.
Click on 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 selected 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 Your Course Pricing
Now that you have your course setup done, it’s time to set a price for it. Thinkific offers flexible course pricing options, and you can either offer a free course or a paid one.
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 pricing options for your products 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 one 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 the thank you page, and your customers will be able to 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 that apply to a single course or to 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 screen’s 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.
If you want to add a new section to your page, 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 gives you enough customization capabilities.
6. Final Settings and Course Publishing
With the course and the sales page 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 with a custom domain, 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.
Integrate Your Email Marketing Tool
Email marketing is a vital aspect of running any business, and you need to make sure that your course purchase information is being passed on 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:
- 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 the 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 is working 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 on Save.
Now, you can grab your sales page URL from the Settings menu and start sharing your course with your potential customers.
Bonus Tips to Take Your Thinkific Course to the Next Level
The processes and steps described above are sufficient for creating and delivering a solid online course experience for your students. However, you can incorporate other Thinkific features and take your course to the next level.
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 have conversations with each other and be more likely to complete the course as well.
You can create a community by going to Manage Learning Products -> Communities.
Use Live Lessons to Make Your Course More Interactive
Live lessons are one of the most effective ways to make your course more interactive. Fortunately, Thinkific supports live lesson creation as part of their course builder.
It is available as a lesson type, and you can add one as you do with other lesson types.
However, when selecting the Live lesson option, you’ll first need to 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 plan to create cohort-based 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
Thinkific’s Memberships & Bundles feature allows you to group two or more of your products and sell them at a higher price.
Your bundle can include access to multiple courses and even a community. And you can sell your bundle using a one-time price model or as a recurring subscription.
If you’re planning on building a membership site on Thinkific, you’ll find this feature useful.
Suggested Reading: How to Build a Thinkific Membership Site Step-By-Step
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 a native note-taking feature for students. However, you can add this capability using the Beastnotes 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.
Suggested Reading: Top Thinkific Apps to Level Up Your Online School
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 online course platform that offers everything a course creator may need to build an engaging, impactful online course.
Moreover, course creation on Thinkific is an easy, intuitive process, especially if you follow the steps outlined in this tutorial.
If you are not 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!