The Ultimate Guide to Circle.so and the Best Alternatives for Your Community

Have you considered using Circle.so to build a strong online community around your product, service or content? While there are a couple of features that do make Circle.so a community platform worth considering, you should beware of its disadvantages, too.  

We are here to tell you all you need to know about Circle.so before you trust it with your most valuable asset — your loyal community. And if you realize that this is not the best option for you, there’s no need to despair. We will also point you to some of the best Circle.so alternatives and competitors.  The perfect community platform is out there, waiting for you.

What Is Circle.so?

Circle.so is a community platform designed for creators who want to gather their community members around their content, engage them in discussions and turn them into paying members. In addition to discussions, members can communicate via direct messaging, too.

With Circle.so, creators have a chance to build different types of communities. These include membership, course, product, and coaching communities. The platform also allows for newsletter and podcast communities. 

When it comes to discussions, it is possible to organize them in public or private spaces, depending on their nature. 

Whenever you create a space, you can choose different settings to customize it the way you want. For instance, you get to choose whether you allow community members to create spaces, too, or not. When you create private spaces, you can decide whether you’re going to hide them from non-space members. To name a few options.   

What Are the Most Common Use Cases for Circle.so?

Are you still wondering whether Circle.so is the best solution out there for you? There is no single answer to that question. It depends on what exactly it is that you do and what you expect from a community platform.  

Here are some of the most common use cases for Circle.so. Learning more about them should help you decide whether you should stick around or not. If this is not the right community platform for you, it’s time to move on to explore Circle.so alternatives and competitors. Let’s dig in:

  • You want your community members to be in touch with each other via direct messaging or take part in various discussions.
  • You’re planning to build coaching communities or mastermind groups.
  • You are an influencer or a blogger who wants to connect with the audience and help them connect with each other.
  • Your primary goal is to promote your product or a brand and gather your community around it.

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What Are the Top Features of Circle.so?

Using Circle.so to build your community can be a good decision. That is if you take into consideration some of its best features. These primarily include the following:

  • Integration with your own website — Do you already have a website? If so, you’ll find it convenient to simply integrate your community into your existing site. The Circle platform makes this possible. 
  • Integration with online course platforms — You’re using online course platforms such as Kajabi or Teachable? Circle.so makes it possible to share your content created there with your Circle community.   
  • Customization to match your branding —  You choose your brand colors and add a custom domain. Your community members don’t even have to notice that they’re on Circle.so and not your own platform. 
  • You can own your community members — Perhaps one of the best things about the Circle platform is that it allows you to own your community. This saves you from elbowing your way to your audience. All you need to do is make your content worth sticking around.   

How Much Does Circle.so Cost?

When deciding what community platform to choose, one of the big questions to address is, of course, the price of it. So, if you’re still considering the Circle platform, you should also take into account its pricing scheme. 

For those who just want to try it out, Circle.so offers a free trial period of 14 days. However, when that period expires, you have to pay to use this community platform — there is no free plan. Here are your options:

  1. The most affordable option is the Basic plan, which costs $39 a month. This plan provides you with the essentials needed to get started with your community. You can have just 1,000 monthly active members and 10 spaces. This plan also allows for a custom domain and Zapier integration.
  2. Those looking for more features should be ready to pay more. The Professional plan is $79 a month, with a 20% early bird discount. This one allows 10,000 monthly active members and 100 spaces. It also includes API access and custom CSS and JavaScript. 
  3. The Enterprise plan is for large businesses and it amounts to $199 a month. It leaves room for 100,000 monthly active members and 1,000 spaces. Creators also find it useful because it allows for three communities and custom SSO via OAuth, among other benefits.

Choose GroupApp as the Best Community Platform to Use Instead of Circle.so 

Even though the Circle platform does have some good features, there are still rather significant downsides. These could affect the way you run your community and, ultimately, your business. Wouldn’t it be better to have one community platform that can cover all your needs under one roof? 

Keeping everything under one roof is just one of the many advantages of using GroupApp as your community platform. Here’s what makes GroupApp stand out compared to the Circle platform and other Circle.so alternatives and competitors: 

A Unified Place for Your Online Courses and Community

The possibility to integrate your Course platform with online course platforms does sound convenient. But it’s even more convenient to have your community and your courses in one place. And this is exactly what GroupApp allows you to do.

You Can Monetize Through Membership Subscriptions and Online Course Sales

Membership site platforms are an excellent way to earn money for your hard work. That’s why GroupApp gives you a chance to monetize through membership subscriptions (monthly or annual). To make things even better, it also allows you to sell your online courses, which makes another great source of revenue.

Let’s do the math. If you have 250 subscribers, each of whom pays a subscription fee of $15, you can earn $3,750 a month just from subscriptions. Then, if each of those subscribers (or any other 250 people for that matter) buys a course that costs $25, you get another $6,250 per course.

A Familiar and Easy-to-Use Platform

GroupApp is designed to look similar to Facebook groups, which means that there is no relearning required. Your community members will find the platform easy to navigate and comfortable to use due to the feeling of familiarity. All that without the many disadvantages that make businesses move away from Facebook groups

No File Upload Limits

GroupApp doesn’t limit you in terms of controlling your community — you’re completely in charge. The same goes for file uploads. You don’t have to worry about any limitations because there aren’t any — you get to upload as much content as you want and deem necessary.

Affordable Pricing

Unlike Circle.so, GroupApp does have a free plan for those on a tight budget. Even when you decide to upgrade, you won’t have to worry about exorbitant prices. The Pro plan costs $49 a month, while the Premium tier amounts to $140 a month.

Other Circle.so Alternatives and Competitors  

In addition to GroupApp as the ultimate choice, there are a few other Circle.so alternatives and competitors that you should be familiar with. Each of them comes with its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. 

It’s up to you to weigh all the pros and cons and determine what suits you best depending on your particular requirements. Let’s start with Vanilla Forums. 

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums is one of the best forum software solutions out there. It made its way to the top mostly due to the wide array of features that it offers to its users. 

In addition to flexible customization, Vanilla Forums is often praised for gamification and reputation system, API, integrations, spam prevention, etc. It is primarily designed for mid-sized companies and enterprises

There are many reasons why Vanilla Forums might look like the perfect solution, but there is also a major drawback that you need to beware of — this is a rather pricey solution. It’s enough to say that the starting price is usually close to $700. You need to request a quote if you want to get a precise number, which will be based on the set of features that you choose.  

Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks is another popular community platform, and for a good reason. Among various advantages, this platform is among the rare ones that allow you to own your community. You are not limited by someone else’s terms and regulations — you’re in control.

Unlike Circle.so, Mighty Networks does offer an option to host and sell your online courses, alongside charging membership subscriptions. This is much more convenient than having to integrate your community with another platform to be able to monetize.

What can be problematic about Mighty Networks is that it is limited when it comes to customization and third-party payment platforms. Another potential problem is that there’s a learning curve that can be a big turn-off for some users.

Tribe

This cloud-based platform is considered one of the best Mighty Networks alternatives and competitors. The features that make Tribe a community platform worth considering are primarily desirable among large companies. For instance, it allows an unlimited number of members and unlimited content, all under your custom domain.

Community members can enjoy a variety of useful functionalities. For a start, they can start discussions or engage in the existing ones. They also get to share content, take part in polls, start polls, follow other members, organize events, etc.

The main disadvantage of this community platform is that it doesn’t allow you to include your online courses. There’s no option to go live, either.

Hivebrite

Hivebrite is mostly known as a highly customizable community platform. So, if what you need is a platform that can be tailored to all your needs, this may be a good place to start. Another feature that makes this community management platform a popular choice is its detailed analytics.

Hivebrite is an all-in-one platform, so you can rely on it to cover everything you need as an online creator. However, you should know that this comes at a rather high price. To get the exact price, you need to contact Hivebrite and ask for a custom quote, but you shouldn’t be surprised if they set a price of $500 a month.

The Final Verdict

Whether you’re just starting out and learning about community building or you’re looking for a new community platform, you can see that Circle.so is a good choice in only several cases

To have a more versatile solution, you need to turn to some of the best Circle.so alternatives and competitors, like those listed here. If you want everything covered, the best option out there is GroupApp, the all-in-one platform that helps you build and grow your community and earn money at the same time. 

Why would you host your courses on one platform and have your community on another one when you can keep them together? Why choose a platform that’s tricky to navigate when your community members can have a familiar-looking and easy-to-use platform and enjoy every second spent using it? 

Running a business as an online creator can be challenging enough. Do yourself a favor and make it run seamlessly by relying on a community platform such as GroupApp.