Searching for the best online community platforms? This post is for you.
The need for an active and engaged user base is essential to any business or personal platform.
Still, there are so many options available that it can be challenging to decide which one will work best with your needs.
With all these different online community platforms claiming they’re “the one,” how do you know if their site offers what’s necessary?
Well, fret no more because we put together this article detailing each community platform’s features, pricing, and who they are best for.
After reading this article, you will know exactly which online community platform is right for you.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What are the best online community platforms?
Here are my picks of the best community platforms you should consider using.
Thinkific is an online learning community platform that enables anyone to create, share, and sell online courses.
With Thinkific, you can create a course in minutes and embed quizzes, polls, and discussion forums to engage your students. You can also track student progress and performance with detailed reports.
With the Thinkific App Store launch, it’s even easier to build professional-looking content with templates for teachers who want their classes or lessons delivered without clunky software installations on student devices.
Thinkific is not just for online courses. Many individuals and businesses use it to create online communities.
It’s perfect for entrepreneurs looking to build a following, creatives who want to share their work with the world, coaches and consultants who need to provide online support, and experts in any field who wish to share their knowledge with the world.
Thinkific boasts award-winning customer support. The support team is available 24/7 to help you get the most out of your account, and they’re always working to make their products even easier to use.
Key features of Thinkific:
- Unlimited hosting for videos: Thinkific allows you to host an unlimited number of videos, so you can create as many courses as you want.
- Website builder: Build a professional-looking website for your online courses with Thinkific’s built-in website builder.
- Role-Based author Templates: Select from various templates designed for different types of online courses.
- Course Builder: Use the course builder to easily create and manage your online courses.
- Content delivery and tracking: Thinkific’s content delivery and tracking features make it easy to keep track of your student’s progress.
- Assessments and Practice: With Thinkific’s assessments and practice tools, you can evaluate your student’s understanding of the material and provide extra practice if needed.
- Content creation: Thinkific’s content creation tools make it easy to create engaging online courses.
- Payment processing: Thinkific offers a variety of payment options so that you can accept payments from students worldwide.
- A community forum for each course: Each course has a community forum, where students can ask questions and interact with each other.
- A built-in blog: Use the built-in blog to share news and announcements about your online courses.
Thinkific has various pricing plans, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
- Basic plan: $79 per month. (get 20% off if you pay monthly)
- Pro plan: $149 per month. (20% off on Annual Plans)
- Premier package: $399 per month. (20% off annual plans) with the first 100 free, then + $0.10 / student with at least one active enrollment
- Plus: Contact Thinkific for pricing; (White Glove Service, SSO, Advanced Customization).
It’s the perfect online community platform with all the features you need to communicate and get work done.
Described as “IRC on steroids,” Slack makes time-consuming IT tasks fast, hassle-free, and simple by automating them. Join channels, broadcast messages per channel or user, or create a private message group. You can also search for past messages and easily find what you’re looking for.
Plus, you can stay connected even while on the go with Slack’s mobile apps. So whether you’re in the office or out and about, you’ll never miss a beat.
Slack integrates with many handy bots and apps, making it an even more robust online community platform in 2022. Some of the most popular integrations include:
- Google Drive
Key features of Slack:
- File sharing: Slack makes sharing files within your online community easy. Just drag and drop the file into the Slack window, and you’re good to go.
- Notification: With Slack, you can set up notifications when someone in your online community mentions you or when a specific keyword is used. That way, you’ll never miss an important conversation.
- Mobile application: Stay connected to your online community on the go with Slack’s mobile apps.
- Audio conferencing: You can easily set up audio conference calls with Slack’s built-in audio conferencing tool.
- Video conferencing: Slack also supports video calls to see your online community members’ faces as you chat.
- Web application: Slack can be accessed from any web browser, making it a cross-platform online community platform.
- Personalization of visuals: With Slack, you can customize your online community’s look and feel to match your brand, including the colors, logo, and font.
- Share screen: Do you need to share your screen with someone in your online community? No problem! Slack makes it easy to do just that.
Slack offers 4 main pricing plans:
- The free plan: $0
- Standard: $6.67 per user a month.
- Plus: $ 12.50 per user a month).
- Enterprise Grid: $15.00 per user a month.
Discourse is a web application that lets you build online communities for your team, organization, or project. It makes it easy for you to share ideas and collaborate with others.
Discourse offers engaging metrics around user activity to help community managers better understand how users interact with the platform. This data can improve the user experience and ensure that the community meets its goals.
In addition, Discourse is open-source community management and moderation product. This means anyone can contribute to software development, making it an excellent choice for organizations that want control over their online community.
Discourse is a super-easy way for members to have online discussions. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. This makes it an excellent choice for online communities that want to have a lot of interaction between members.
Key features of Discourse:
- Customer intelligence and engagement: Discourse makes it easy for you to share ideas and collaborate with others by offering engaging metrics around user activity to help community managers better understand how users are interacting with the platform.
- Contact sync: Easily keep your online community up-to-date by syncing contact information between Discourse and your other online communities.
- Qualitative Solutions: Qualitative research tools help you gather rich and detailed data, providing insights that are impossible with quantitative research.
- Survey Customization: Customize surveys to collect the data you need to make informed decisions about your online community.
- Multilingual Surveys: Create surveys in multiple languages to reach a wider audience.
- Social Network and email Integration: Discourse integrates with popular social networks and email platforms, making it easy for you to connect with members of your online community.
- Easy to administer and moderate discussions: Discourse is easy to administer and moderate, making it an excellent choice for online communities that want interaction between members.
- Customizability: Discourse is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor the platform to your specific needs.
- Versatility: Discourse is versatile, making it a great choice for online communities of all sizes.
Discourse offers three main pricing plans:
- Standard: $100 per month.
- Business: $300 per month.
- Enterprise: contact Discourse for pricing.
4. Mighty Networks.
Mighty Networks is an online community platform that enables people to come together and build relationships around shared interests. Mighty Networks makes it easy for anyone to create a network around any topic, interest, or passion.
It is the only community platform that allows you to run your community and online courses, content, video, events, memberships, and digital subscriptions together in one place.
Mighty Networks is available on the web, iOS, and Android apps. This means it can be accessed on different devices depending on the app’s operating system.
For example, if someone uses an iPhone or iPad, they can access Mighty Networks through the App Store.
Lastly, Mighty Networks has a unique combination of structured features, like courses, with more spontaneous ones, like live streaming and group chat. This allows for a more dynamic online experience that can tailor to the needs of any online community.
Key features of Mighty Networks:
- All-in-one dashboard: The Mighty Networks dashboard is the nerve center for your online community. It’s where you can see everything happening, track progress, and manage your settings.
- Advanced Portal Features: Powerful features to help you grow and manage your online community. These include custom welcome emails, member profiles, group chat, etc.
- Downloadable Reports: Get detailed reports on your online community’s activity, including member growth, engagement, and retention.
- Email Integration: Send emails to your members directly from Mighty Networks.
- ROI: Mighty Networks is the only community platform that allows you to run your community and online courses, content, video, events, memberships, and digital subscriptions together in one place.
Mighty Networks Pricing:
Mighty Networks has various pricing options depending on the online community’s needs.
- The community plan: $33.00 per month.
- The business plan: $99.00 per month
- Might pro on request.
Tribe is an online platform that allows the building of online communities. These online communities can be used for various purposes, such as marketing, networking, and collaboration.
The platform is fully customizable to the needs of the online community. It offers a variety of features to connect, engage and retain customers.
Tribe is famous for its customizability, the ability to integrate into products deeply, direct integrations with third-party tools, and a collection of digital interactions that help online communities connect and engage.
Tribe online communities also help businesses find solutions from a robust knowledge base, collect feedback, participate in ideation, and keep customers updated with your company.
Premium features of Tribe online community platforms include unlimited community members and a custom URL.
Key features of Tribe:
- Commenting system: Online community members to leave comments on posts and discussions.
- Creating private groups: Enables the creation of groups that are only accessible to certain online community members for collaboration or networking purposes.
- Tracking active users, and reputation score: Helps online communities track who is active and how reputable they are within the online community. This is useful for gauging participation and helping members find others with similar interests.
- Unlimited community members: This allows online communities to have unlimited members.
- Social aspects: The platform includes social features that allow online community members to connect.
- Theme customization: Online communities can customize the look and feel of their platform to match their brand or style.
- Discussions: Members of the online community to start discussions on various topics.
- SSO and social login: Members can log in using their social media accounts. This is useful for simplifying the login process and allowing members to log in with their existing social media accounts.
Tribe online community platforms have a free plan and three premium plans, namely:
- Free plan: $0
- Plus: $49.00 per month.
- Premium: $199.00 per month.
- Enterprise: contact Tribe for pricing.
Khoros is a social media platform that helps businesses connect with their customers. It allows customers to provide feedback and share ideas about the products or services they’ve used.
The platform offers businesses the most robust customer interaction styles, tools to empower employees to interact and moderate at scale, and a platform built for enterprise integration.
This ensures that businesses can connect with their customers in various ways, that employees have the tools to engage with customers, and that the platform is designed for companies to integrate into their operations.
Khoros also offers a dedicated services organization that can help businesses with community management, resolution, and other needs, focusing on their core operations while providing excellent customer service.
In addition, Khoros delivers expert community management to businesses of all sizes. It allows customers to provide feedback and share ideas about the products or services they’ve used, which helps them get better so that companies can improve operations and reduce costs.
Key features of Khoros:
- Khoros forums: Let customers interact with each other and the company on various topics, product ideas, and feedback.
- Native mobile support: Keep customers engaged on the go with native iOS and Android apps.
- Notifications and personalization: Send targeted notifications to keep customers coming back.
- Enhanced moderation tools: give moderators the power to keep the community clean and safe.
- Knowledge bases: let customers find answers to their questions fast.
- Content syndication: make it easy for customers to share your content
- Support for multiple languages: reach a global audience with support for over 20 languages.
- Khoros’pricing is quote based: Contact Khoros for pricing.
7. Vanilla forums.
Vanilla forums is a web-based platform that allows users to create and participate in online discussions. It is one of the oldest and most popular forums software.
Some features of Vanilla forums include user registration, profile creation, the ability to create and participate in discussion threads, vote on polls, and private messaging.
Vanilla forums is one of the best online community platforms because it is easy to use and have a wide range of features that cater to different needs. It is also one of the most popular forum software, with a large user base and a lot of support.
You can build loyalty, grow sales, and improve customer service with easy-to-use and quick-to-get-started online community software.
With Vanilla forums’ online community software, you can build loyalty and trust with your customers. They will be able to communicate with each other and share their experiences with your products and services. This will help to grow sales and improve customer service.
Vanilla Forums is one of the best online community platforms because it offers a sleek user experience, deep integration with existing tools, and flexible customization to fit your branding. It also scales well for larger communities and has features like gamification, ideation, QnA, etc.
Key features of Vanilla forums:
- Gamification and reputation system: With Vanilla, you can add points, badges, and ranking to your community to encourage participation.
- Native mobile support: The platform is responsive and optimized for mobile devices.
- Fully customizable theme: You can customize the look and feel of your community to match your brand.
- Integrations: Vanilla integrates with popular tools like Salesforce, WordPress, Mailchimp, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- Spam prevention: Vanilla has robust spam-prevention features to keep your community clean.
- Security and scalability: The platform is secure and can scale to support large communities.
Vanilla forums Pricing:
Vanilla offers four main plans, namely:
- Enterprise Plus
Contact Vanilla forums for pricing.
What is a community platform?
An online community platform is a web-based service that enables groups of people with common interests to connect, interact, and collaborate.
These platforms typically provide users with various features and tools that promote social interaction and collaboration, such as forums, chat rooms, messaging systems, and file-sharing capabilities.
Community platforms can be used for various purposes, such as professional networking, crowdsourcing, and knowledge sharing.
In recent years, the popularity of online community platforms has exploded, with dozens of different options now available to choose from.
While each platform has unique features and functionality, they all share the goal of bringing people together online.
Why use an online community platform?
There are many reasons why you should use a community platform. Some benefits include networking opportunities, business development, and marketing and branding efforts. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.
Business development and networking.
Connecting with the right people is one of life’s great joys.
Community platforms allow you to do just that while networking and building relationships on platforms where your content will be seen by many more than if it were posted on social media sites or blogs without such features as commenting sections for discussion purposes – which can lead to potential customers down their rabbit hole!
Improve Your Brand and visibility online.
If your goal is building up a brand or increasing exposure, then reaching out through these platforms can go quite far.
Many people don’t realize that posting content on one of these sites with an engaged following will help increase how well known (and trusted) they seem compared to other companies who might not be partaking as much activity online.
Generating leads and customers.
With a community platform, you can generate leads and customers by sharing relevant content with your audience.
You’ll want to build trust with them through engagement at various levels: From commenting on posts or leaving kind words under articles to liking particular pages where they advertise things like freebies offered in exchange for an email address.
Stay up-to-date on industry news and trends.
Joining communities is one of the most effective ways to stay on top of industry trends and news.
By joining groups, you can converse with other professionals about what’s happening within your field.
Whether it be new products or services that are coming out soon; How certain companies have changed their pricing strategy over time (e.g., Uber); What skills will be needed at work next year?
These discussions help improve your knowledge base, so we’re better prepared when opportunity knocks.
Collaborations and partnerships.
Collaborating with other professionals in your industry or niche is a great way to grow yourself and your company.
You can get expert feedback on what works, allowing for more efficient ways of doing things- not just when it comes time crunch but also throughout all aspects of running an organization successfully!
Collaboration makes sense because business success depends upon collaborating With others.
It can be sharing knowledge across departments at enterprise level businesses or partnering up within specific silos such as marketing and sales.
How to Choose the right online community platform.
Now that you know what an online community platform is and why you should use one, it’s time to look at what you should do when choosing the right platform for you and your business.
Purpose of the platform
You use community platforms for a variety of purposes.
For example, you could use it to build your brand and generate leads or customers by creating content that connects with other users on the app.
No matter what goals you have when using a community service- whether you’re looking to make connections between people to accomplish tasks more effectively; or increase lead generation through providing information about products/services offered online – there is a community platform on this list to help meet those needs efficiently.
Community is the building block of any healthy social network.
The type and size will vary based on your needs, but it should not be overlooked as an essential aspect in choosing which online platform to use for your project.
To make sure you are getting what’s best suited, take some time to think about these questions:
- What kind of community do I want?
- How big can my desired community get before being too numerous/smaller than necessary with members who care deeply about each other?
- Do I value diversity over Unity?
Features are an essential part of any community platform. For example, if you want your members to be able to share their work with others and receive feedback on it, then a blog or group feature will help them do just that!
Platforms come equipped with certain features as well. Still, they also offer other options like forums where users can talk about topics relevant to the industry/ field without fear of being judged by someone else’s opinion – which is good because everyone has their taste, after all.
Choose a community platform that fits your budget, and you’re good to go!
How do I know whether an online space is worth spending time on?
Many factors are involved, but one significant factor might be how much they charge for their services or products.
Community Platforms have several different pricing plans – some may offer everything at no cost, while others ask customers to pay monthly subscriptions ranging anywhere from ten dollars per month (for basic access) up to hundreds depending upon what features a particular user desires most out this type provider.
Ease of use
When choosing an online community platform, ease of use should be one of your top priorities.
You want a platform that is easy to navigate and understand so you can spend more time connecting with other people in the group rather than figuring out how things work on their own.
An excellent way to find this type of software would be by asking around or looking at what helpful reviews others have posted about specific platforms when researching which ones might suit you best or your needs are as described.
The best way to find an online community that will work for you is by considering what type and level of customer support they offer.
You want one where their team can answer questions or solve problems quickly, so your experience on the site isn’t frustrating!
So there you have it – our top 7 picks for the best online community platforms.
If you want to create a thriving online community, any of these platforms should do the trick.
But if we had to choose just one, we would recommend Thinkific as the best all-around platform for businesses of all sizes.
Its easy-to-use interface and wide range of features make it perfect for anyone looking to build a thriving online community.
No matter which platform you pick, you should consider a content moderation service to ensure your brand isn’t harmed by user generated content.
Have you tried out any of these platforms? Let us know in the comments below!