What are the top 5 creator-friendly platforms for running your online business?
Creator-friendly platforms empower their users to build thriving businesses. Here are the top five creator-friendly tools, according to the Creator Friendliness Index.
In the early days of his music marketing business, Adrian Dalsus of Despegue Musical was stuck using unreliable, confusing, and expensive software.
"Knowing that the websites and landing pages of my business and clients could stop working at any time, despite how expensive it becomes to hire all the necessary tools to have a professional site, is outrageous," he remembers .
Adrian knew he needed to make a change, so he searched for alternatives that were easy to use and had his best interests at the forefront. When he switched to a creator-friendly platform, he was awash with relief.
"I know everything is going to be okay. It's wonderful," Adrian shares.
Creator-friendly platforms prioritize creators' needs, treat them fairly, and support their growth. They give users control over how they run their businesses and offer resources, pricing structures, and policies that empower creators to earn an income.
We've all experienced companies that aren't creator-friendly. They may operate with questionable policies, lack transparency, or impose confusing fees. They don't have creators' backs, and we think that's wrong.
That's why we built the Creator Friendliness Index — a resource to help entrepreneurs and small business owners like you pick out which platforms and tools put creators first.
Let's examine what factors make a platform creator-friendly and which companies received the highest scores.
What characteristics make a platform friendly to creators?
The Creator Friendliness Index uses an objective ranking system to evaluate platforms across the creator economy.
(You won't be surprised to find that Podia does well in these rankings — creator friendliness is one of our founding principles .)
To keep things objective, we included the full details of our methodology along with links to sources of information for each company, so you can easily judge for yourself!
The 20 ranking factors reflect the following principles:
Creator-friendly platforms give creators control over how they run their businesses. Creators can connect their preferred payment processors, integrate with other tools in their technology stack, handle taxes, and price their products however they like.
Creator-friendly platforms make platform decisions that prioritize creator needs over their own success or the success of third parties. Plans are affordable with minimal or no transaction fees, and there aren't arbitrary plan limits that restrict creator growth.
Creator-friendly platforms give creators the resources, help, and support they need to grow their creator businesses. It's easy to contact support within a reasonable time frame, and there are helpful supplemental materials like videos, tutorials, and communities.
Creator-friendly platforms welcome all creators, regardless of income level or geographic location. Creators can use the tool with their preferred language and currency. Free plans and reasonably priced paid plans are inclusive to creators with smaller budgets.
Creator-friendly platforms let creators leave and take their audience with them whenever they want. Users can easily import and export their customer list and can cancel if the platform no longer suits them.
Using these characteristics as a guide, we evaluated 28 popular creator platforms to determine which are the most friendly to their users. These are the top five companies.
Top 5 creator-friendly platforms
Podia at a glance:
Creator friendliness score: 90.91%
About: Podia is an all-in-one creator platform that lets users build a website, sell courses and digital products, and host communities.
Scoring overview: Podia ranks well across friendliness factors, with a free plan, ways to remove transaction fees, and multiple currencies and integrations. Podia loses points because of the inability to migrate subscription payments.
Podia has a free forever plan that includes a website, one digital download, one coaching product, and an online community. Paid plans range from $39 to $199 per month.
Paid plans don't have any transaction fees, and you can sell unlimited products to unlimited students. Content hosting is also included on all paid plans, so you don't have to pay extra to store your files.
Podia receives excellent scores for customer support . Creators can get help via live chat or email. There's help documentation , a resource center , and an active Creator Community . You can also check out the Podia YouTube channel and blog for more guidance.
See Podia's full creator friendliness rankings and sources here .
Thinkific at a glance:
Creator friendliness score: 87.01%
About: Thinkific is an online course platform that lets creators offer free and paid courses to unlimited students. Community features are available on higher-tiered plans.
Scoring overview: Thinkific earns points for its free plan and lack of transaction fees. Thinkific loses points for the inability to migrate subscription payments and the lack of migration services.
Thinkific offers a free forever plan with three online courses and a website. Paid plans range from $49 to $499 per month, and Thinkific doesn't charge any transaction fees. Paid plan participants can create as many courses as they want with content hosting and unlimited students.
Users can select from 39 languages and over 100 currencies. For more features, it's possible to integrate with different apps and tools through the Thinkific App center. While there's no native way to handle taxes, you can use integrations to achieve this outcome.
Thinkific users can import their customer lists by creating and uploading a special spreadsheet. Exporting your customer list is also possible, but this feature is only available on paid plans.
Thinkific offers email, live chat, and phone support if you get stuck. There's also a help center, training courses, and a Facebook community where you can get additional assistance.
See Thinkific's full creator friendliness rankings and sources here .
Wix at a glance:
Creator friendliness score: 79.22%
About: Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder that lets users create websites and mobile sites. Ecommerce features are available on more expensive plans.
Scoring overview: Wix earns points for its free plan and the low cost of its paid plans. Wix loses points for artificially limiting the number of products a creator can sell by plan tier and restricting the amount of storage and video hosting on most plans.
Wix offers a free forever plan that allows you to build a website, but you can't sell products or remove Wix branding until you upgrade. Basic website plans start at $16 per month, and business plans (required for selling) start at $27 per month. Wix doesn't charge transaction fees on paid plans.
You can sell unlimited products on business and ecommerce plans, but beware that some plans have storage, video, and bandwidth limits. There are 19 languages and over 50 currencies to choose from, and it's possible to set up manual or automatic tax collection.
Wix allows you to export all your contacts or just certain contact groups. Likewise, you can import products and customers, but you can only have up to 200,000 total contacts per site.
On the support side, you can get help through live chat or request a call back by phone. There are also help docs, a blog, and training courses through Wix Learn.
See Wix's full creator friendliness rankings and sources here .
Teachable at a glance:
Creator friendliness score: 77.92%
About: Teachable is a platform dedicated to selling online courses and coaching. Creators can sell ebooks and services as course add-ons and set up workshops and conferences.
Scoring overview: Teachable earns points for its free plans, support documentation, and creator education resources. Teachable loses points for the inability to migrate subscription payments and the inclusion of transaction fees on paid plans.
Teachable provides a free forever plan where you can sell one course and set up a sales page. Paid plans range from $39 to $299 per month, but students face an unfavorable transaction fee structure. Free plan users pay 10% + $1 per sale, and Basic plan users pay a 5% transaction fee in addition to their monthly rate.
On the plus side, paid plan users can create and sell unlimited courses and coaching products with complete content hosting. Teachable also provides tax handling and eight built-in integrations, including Zapier.
Teachable supports over 120 currencies, but there's no native language feature. Instead, you'll need to manually change text into your preferred language using the custom text feature. If you'd like to export your audience, you can do so only if you're on a paid plan. You can also import your customers manually or through a CSV.
In addition to email and live chat customer support, Teachable provides a knowledge base and support docs. Paid plan members get access to a community and TeachableU.
See Teachable's full creator friendliness rankings and sources here .
LearnWorlds at a glance:
Creator friendliness score: 76.62%
About: LearnWorlds is an online course platform aimed at professional trainers and educators with unlimited courses and the option to create custom mobile apps.
Scoring overview: LearnWorlds earns points for providing helpful resources and multiple support channels. LearnWorlds loses points for the lack of a free plan, the limitations for creators on lower-tiered paid plans, and the existence of transaction fees on paid plans.
Unlike the other high-scoring platforms, LearnWorlds does not offer a free plan. Instead, creators can sign up for a free trial. Paid plans cost between $29 and $299 per month. The lowest-tiered plan has a $5 fee per course sale, and you can't sell free courses, which isn't ideal for many creators.
With LearnWorlds, you can create unlimited (paid) courses with full video and content hosting on all plans. Ten languages are supported, and it's possible to change your currency. You can export a list of users and bulk import your customers into your school, but this is only available on more expensive plans.
LearnWorlds integrates with email marketing, analytics, and customer service platforms. For sales tax and VAT handling, LearnWorlds has an integration with Quaderno.
Should you need help, email, phone, and live chat support are available. You can also explore additional resources like the blog, help center, and daily webinars.
See LearnWorlds's full creator friendliness rankings and sources here .
Why choose a creator-friendly platform?
Creator-friendly platforms have policies and features that set you up for success today and in the future. According to RadReads founder and Podia creator Khe Hy , creator-friendly tools provide for the next stages of growth in the creator journey.
“Creator-friendly means that a product appreciates and anticipates the needs of a creator.”
— Khe Hy, RadReads
Running an online business is an adventure, and using software that places your needs at the forefront feels good. The right tools keep things running smoothly and provide valuable peace of mind, freeing you to focus on what you do best.
Want to see for yourself? Try Podia, the #1 most creator-friendly platform, for free today.