Unlock limitless community growth in 2023! Join us as we explore 5 Best Circle.so alternatives to propel content creators & brands to create engaging communities
By Joanna Taylor • Updated 20 September 2023
A robust online community platform is crucial to your success as a content creator or brand-led business. The right platform will give you the tools to attract, engage, and grow your audience effortlessly.
There are many platforms on the market for building online communities, and Circle.so is one of the most popular.
More than 8,000 content creators and businesses are currently using the platform to build a community.
It is a versatile platform with the features you need to create online courses,podcast communities, discussion forums, coaching groups, and live events.
Yet, a tool that does everything and isn’t the best at any specific task won’t be the right solution for everyone’s needs.
In this article, we will explore the platform’s capabilities and provide you with Circle.so alternatives that may be more suitable for your community-building needs.
Circle is the brainchild of former Teachable employees. They built their community platform as a place to host the online audience of Teachable’s courses.
Circle has evolved since its initial August 2020 launch, and it’s now a viable platform for any content creator who wants to build a community in an environment free of distractions like ads, spam, and censorship.
The Basic plan costs $49/month with a free 14-day trial. The company also offers a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee.
If you've looked at Circle.so and are thinking it might not be for you, we've done extensive research to find 5 Circle alternatives that you might like to consider. Let's dig into them...
Best for: White labelled communities
An all-in-one community platform like Circle that works a bit differently.
When you create a Space (online channel) on Mighty, it includes the whole gamut of community discussion, group chat, live streaming, event management, and course creation features, unlike Circle, which separates them.
Mighty is an excellent platform for creators and brands looking to build recognition. It lets you create branded communities on the web, iOS, and Android.
Pricing starts at $33/month with a 14-day free trial period. If you sign up for the annual subscription plan, the free period is extended to two months.
It is superior to Circle, with more tools and monetization options. Many essential features used to create and moderate content (spaces, courses, hosts, admins, moderators) are unlimited.
In contrast, Circle.so costs more, and still limits such features. You must pay add-on fees to get more.
Best for: Custom native apps
The core of this highly flexible platform is a block-based builder that lets you create online channels that fit your unique requirements using customizable, pre-made templates.
There is also the Developer portal. It provides programmers the tools to build custom apps that add new functionalities to the community-building platform. Apps can be published on the Bettermode app store and sold to other users.
Pricing starts at $599/month, the most expensive starter plan on this list, and the option of a free trial period is subject to the discretion of the company’s sales staff.
It is a good choice for people looking to build dynamic, brand-led communities with features that aren’t available on Circle, which is a more closed-off platform. The app store, integrations, and custom native apps equip you to build a community that meets your needs.
Best for: Informal chat groups
A platform optimized for a non-commercial audience. Discord is primarily designed for people with similar interests who want to make new friends and hang out together.
It was originally built for gamers as a place to interact with each other via voice and video messaging. Members also use it to stream games and share media files. Both gamers and non-gamers can create Servers (discussion forum) around topics on the platform.
It is free to use, and if you want more advanced features, you can subscribe to Discord Nitro for $9.99/month.
It is a perfect option for content creators and small businesses who want to build an intimate community without spending much on setup costs.
The basic platform is free, unlike Circle which has an $89/month Pro plan, which is the subscription you must pay for if you want features readily available on Discord.
Best for: Online courses
This advanced course creation platform sets itself apart with in-built marketing features that let users aggressively promote and sell their course product.
Kajabi will provide a sales funnel package that includes landing pages, email marketing tools, optimized checkout pages, and features for upselling to your audience. It is still a membership site like the others on this list, but it lacks robust community-building features.
Also, the platform is not limited to courses; you can create Podcasts and coaching programs.
Pricing starts at $119/month (billed annually), with a 14-day free trial period.
It is best for individuals and businesses looking for a course creation platform that prioritizes the marketing and sales of digital products.
It is not for people who want to build a fully engaged online community, though its community-building features are adequate for a basic membership site.
Best for: Networking and social communities
Facebook Groups is a good free option for creators and businesses looking to take the easiest route to set up an online community.
Facebook lets you create Private and Public groups. New members must be invited to a Private group, while anyone can join a Public group.
The definitive advantage of using Facebook Groups as a communications tool is access to Facebook’s 3 billion monthly active users.
The platform’s algorithm ensures fellow Facebook users with relevant interests can find your page via the search bar, and you won’t have to expend too many resources promoting your community.
Facebook Groups are free to use - you only require a Facebook account.
It is the perfect option for beginners looking to test their community-building chops on a free platform before migrating to a paid alternative like Circle when they scale up.
Circle.so and the five alternatives covered in this guide are all robust community-building platforms. Each has its strengths, and the best option for you is the tool with all the features needed to build the type of community you envision.
For example, if you want to build an integrated course and membership site, Kajabi would be the ideal solution.
In contrast, if you're a brand looking to create a thriving and fully engaged online community, you're more likely to be focusing on Mighty Networks or Circle.
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