Building an online community is one of the “next big things” for coaches, consultants, trainers, and therapists. These communities need a well-functioning software platform to be effective. In the past, Mighty Networks was often the default choice. However, a number of factors have increased competition, including growing demand and perceived flaws and limitations in Mighty Networks’ features and processes.
This article will detail the pros and cons of using Mighty Networks, followed by examining the most popular alternatives.
PROs of Mighty Networks
Founded in 2017, Mighty Networks set out to bring together businesses and consumers into online communities. For many users, it still handles these functions very well. Founder of Link Tracker Pro Israel Gaudette explains that “it is my go-to resource. It helps bring my visions to life, and I love that I can create a private space for my members where they can discuss things under my brand.”
Another perceived strength of Mighty Networks is that it is known for being mobile-friendly and facilitates peer-to-peer conversations across platforms. CEO of Software Pundit Bruce Hogan particularly values its “fantastic in-platform discussion tool that drives significant student engagement, including having one of the best mobile apps for students.” One valuable feature of the software in this regard is that it allows for customizable categories to be set up to facilitate organized interactions between members.
Another pro of Mighty Networks is that it offers flexible pricing, including low-cost options. Marketing Director Caroline Lee of CocoSign finds it to be a “force to be reckoned with when it comes to online communities and courses, with pricing starting at just $16 per month.”
CONs of Mighty Networks
While Mighty Networks is popular, it does have shortfalls. One of the significant drawbacks is that it can require considerable effort to integrate it with other tools instead of being part of an all-in-one platform. Len Markidan, CMO of Podia, explains:
As a standalone tool, Mighty Networks requires a creator to manage and pay for multiple other tools to run their business, including email marketing tools, website hosting tools, and more. As creators move toward all-in-one platforms, they're leaving behind the need to use Zapier and “digital duct tape,” as many refer to it, to make several different tools work together, streamlining their business and lowering their expenses in the process.
Another drawback that users have found is that Mighty Networks does not allow display ads, which is one way for businesses to monetize websites and platforms. Founder and CEO of Travel For All Dale Reardon explains that “Mighty Networks doesn’t like ads in forums, but it should not be their decision or concern as to how you monetize your community. We want to include ads to our other services and parts of our own business, but it’s just not possible with Mighty Networks.”
International Speaker and founder of Business Tech Ninjas Melodie Moore has also found limitations within the features one can customize within Mighty Networks. She notes that “Mighty Networks is a platform-based solution which means you have to follow their way of doing things. My clients moved off of it because they wanted to create a customized experience for their members and not be beholden to Mighty Networks' limitations.” In particular, users have criticized Mighty Networks for perceived limitations and inflexibility in terms of e-courses that it supports.
Alternatives to Mighty Networks
As noted above, several exciting alternatives to Mighty Networks now exist and are gaining significant traction in the marketplace. Most of these have perceived benefits over Mighty Networks in terms of features, flexibility and customization, and/or being part of an all-in-one platform instead of relying on complicated, time-consuming, and unreliable integrations.
The well-known website builder is popular in part because of its extensive developer community, which supports a large number of apps. Many of these can be combined to create an online community experience, which functions as an alternative to Mighty Networks. Co-founder of Digital Access Pass Ravi Jayagopal highlights WordPress’s “thousands of incredible plugins to choose from; having your own platform on your own domain, powered by WordPress, gives you maximum flexibility and control. There’s a plugin for everything. You are in charge.” The long-term benefits of not being locked into an inflexible platform subject to the whims of another company’s developers are obvious.
Unlike Mighty Networks, awarenow focuses on providing an all-in-one solution for professional service providers (coaches, consultants, therapists, and trainers).
You get all the tools you need to organize, provide and expand your services: scheduling & booking, forms & journaling, Client management (CRM), Programs & curricula, Secure video calls & messaging, Branded client portals, and more.
Alina Trigubenko, the founder of awarenow, highlights “Besides offering great community building and membership features, awarenow shines in helping you organize all your bookings end-to-end, easily impress clients with engaging experiences, and increase revenue.”
Podia is another all-in-one platform that provides an alternative to Mighty Networks. Some of the features that users particularly value include its online course functionality, video hosting, and 24/7 support. Head of Marketing for WellPCB Abby Abby also values that it “allows affiliate marketing campaigns and charges zero transaction fees.”
WebinarGeek is, as one might expect from the name, very focused on the webinar and e-course aspects of online communities. It is especially well-known for making it easy to create courses and provide useful user engagement data for webinars and course creators. However, it does not yet offer a standalone community space outside of the webinars themselves. WebinarGeek marketer Sanne de Groot explains that this “webinar software allows you to add multiple content types to your courses, including the option to invite experts via the co-presenter feature. The best part, though, is that it’s browser-based, so it requires no downloads for both attendees and organizers.”
While the above alternatives to Mighty Networks were the most commonly mentioned, Udemy, Skillshare, and Kijabi are also options to consider when choosing the right platform for your needs.
While Mighty Networks has clear value, there are alternatives to choose from. Mighty Networks makes it easy to set up a community platform for your business and/or brand, offering low-cost options and tools that drive engagement. However, there are drawbacks, such as relying heavily on user-driven integrations, some limited or inflexible features, and restrictions on users’ ability to monetize their own traffic. Many of the prominent alternatives to Mighty Networks, such as WordPress apps, awarenow.io, Podia, and WebinarGeek, resolve some or all of these challenges. As always, users are best off doing their due diligence; when it comes to choosing a software platform for the long-term, it’s often best to follow the old “carpenter’s advice”: measure twice, cut once.