AccessAlly vs. ClickFunnels: a comparison

In this article, you’ll find the major differences between AccessAlly vs. ClickFunnels when it comes to the overall functionality, course builders, e-commerce features, progress tracking, affiliate management tools, bulk course enrollment, and more.

We’re the creators of AccessAlly, an LMS WordPress plugin with the ability to run membership sites and online programs. From the most simple site setups to an advanced learning management system, AccessAlly has features to support it all.

We have thousands of clients using our software to run successful online businesses. We also realize that AccessAlly isn’t the best fit for everyone.

We want you to make the most informed decision for your business, even if that’s not AccessAlly. Let’s face it, choosing a software or platform for your membership site and online courses is a big deal!

So, we continue to research the marketplace and offer comparisons so you can find the best long-term fit for your business.

What is AccessAlly?

AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to sell courses, memberships, and digital products on your website. With AccessAlly, you have access to powerful features like deep CRM integrations, accepting payments, bulk course enrollment, learning reinforcement features such as gamification, quizzes, tests, assignments, and more.

With AccessAlly you can achieve a highly complex setup, or keep it real simple. It’s easy enough to set up yourself, or hire an expert if you’d rather leave it to the pros.

What is ClickFunnels?

ClickFunnels is a lead generation platform with its primary focus on sales funnels. Its main objective is to capture and introduce an offer through templated funnels. ClickFunnels offers a membership funnel that allows you to capture leads, introduce an offer, and deliver it on its platform as a membership. They offer the most basic membership necessities with no extra features to really build your member’s area.

ClickFunnels is meant for a simple, singular membership setup with no frills. If you’re looking to get your membership site up as quickly and basic as possible, and have no plans to offer multiple products, ClickFunnels may be a good choice for you.

How are AccessAlly and ClickFunnels different?

We’re really comparing apples to oranges here because AccessAlly and ClickFunnels have different philosophies. AccessAlly is built to support your entire membership site and/or online courses, from simple, stand-alone courses to robust stage-released, or dripped courses lasting months or even years.

Here are the main differences between ClickFunnels and AccessAlly

    • Setup: ClickFunnels can be quicker because it’s a basic platform. AccessAlly can require more time to set up your plugin, especially if you’re building a robust site.
    • Learning Curve: ClickFunnels may have less of a learning curve because again, it’s a basic platform. AccessAlly requires a basic understanding of WordPress, and like any new software, has a learning curve.
    • Features: ClickFunnels offers a bare-bones membership site. AccessAlly offers features to support membership sites, programs, courses, and digital products. There’s no limit to what you can achieve using AccessAlly.
    • LMS: ClickFunnels doesn’t include a learning management system (LMS) features like a drag-and-drop course builder, progress tracking, video & audio bookmarks, quizzes, homework assignments, and more. AccessAlly offers these features and more.
    • Design: Everything inside of ClickFunnels is created from a template, there’s no custom design allowed. With AccessAlly, you can use templates to make setup even easier, or you can customize templates, or build from scratch.

AccessAlly is built for marketers and course creators to sell their memberships, courses, programs, or digital content. It’s a long-term solution to grow into a mature membership site that is the backbone of your business.

ClickFunnels’ membership funnel is not its primary focus, and won’t be the backbone of your business. If you’re already set up on ClickFunnels and want to offer a membership as a test or trial to see how it will land with your audience, then ClickFunnels may be a good fit for you.

But if you’re looking to build a robust, thriving membership site, you’ll quickly outgrow ClickFunnels and be faced with a time-consuming, tedious, and potentially frustrating migration. Not to mention having to worry about payment migrations for your customers, and faced with learning a new system.

Course Builder Comparison: AccessAlly vs. ClickFunnels

The Course Builder is an essential feature for any online course creator. You’ll be coming here every time you build a new course, make changes to current programs, build a membership, add content to an ongoing membership, or release a new digital product of any kind.

You want to be able to pop into your course builder and easily add new content or make changes. The last thing you want is to be fumbling around trying to find what you’re looking for. The real focus should be on delivering incredible content to your users.

ClickFunnels course builder

ClickFunnels course builder

Its course builder has a similar look and feel to its funnel builder. All ClickFunnels memberships are connected to a funnel, so that’s where you’ll start building. The membership area is connected to the product sale, so it does present a challenge if you want to offer a free challenge, course, or program.

When it comes to building your membership, you select a template. They have many templates to choose from, so be sure to block out time to flip through all of them and imagine your own design with the templates.

This is one reason you can get up and running quickly with ClickFunnels. You don’t have design options outside of the templates. If you have a custom design, you likely won’t find an exact template of your design on their platform. You’ll have to be flexible with your design ideas in order to work with the available templates.

There are two pages you can use on your membership funnel: the access page and the membership page. Again, while this allows you to get things set up quickly, it’s bare-bones and quite limiting.

Once you have your two pages, you can add lessons with content, such as audio, video, PDF, and/or copy for your students.

Lessons and lesson sections can help you keep a lot of content organized on one page. You’re able to restrict access based on products purchased. You can also release lessons all at one time, on a specific date, or dripped with a certain amount of time between lessons.

These are nice features to have, and just a step above the bare-necessities of running a membership site.

To summarize ClickFunnels’ course builder, you’ll be working with a very similar builder as you see for their funnel builder. You’ll see a few membership specific options. You have to choose from the templates and can only have two pages. You’ll use lessons and lesson sections to organize your content, and select the timing of its delivery.

AccessAlly course builder

When you set up a course on AccessAlly, you’ll use the Offerings Wizard.

There’s no limitation to how many courses, programs, memberships, or digital products you can create. We have clients that have hundreds of offerings built on their AccessAlly membership site.

You can create free offerings connected to a lead magnet, or paid offerings. And of course, you can release your content all at once, at a specific time, dripped at various intervals, or completion-based.

The Offerings Wizard will get everything setup for you or you can choose to build from scratch. You can build the entire structure and permission tags all from this one screen. There’s no limit on your content. Use as many pages, posts, lessons, or modules as you’d like, in whatever structure and format you want.

When it comes to design, it’s entirely up to you. We have templates you can use to get started. You can use those right out of the box, or customize them to your heart’s content. This is advantageous because it means that you can get up and running quickly with these pre-built pages, or you can make it just as you envisioned by customizing or building your pages from scratch. It’s entirely up to you.

To summarize AccessAlly’s Offerings Wizard: You’ll use the Offerings Wizard to build new courses, programs, memberships, or digital products.

You’ll also come here to add new content, change existing programs, duplicate existing content.

All your permission tags and pages will be created here, or you can use existing ones.

You can use the templates we’ve created for the quickest setup, customize them, or build from scratch, your choice!

There’s no limit to the number of pages, posts, modules, lessons, or any other kind of limit on your content or structure.

course wizard

Looking for an Option with less restrictions?

Have full control of your content, members, and their experience on your site.

Spend your time doing what you do best, not struggling with frustrating platform restrictions.

With AccessAlly, you’ve got all of the power and flexibility of WordPress, and there are no limits on your business’ growth potential either.

Get a Free AccessAlly Demo

One client's story about finding a ClickFunnels alternative...

Adam Henley photo

I gotta say, it has gone incredibly smooth.

 

“I just switched from ClickFunnels to AccessAlly, and today I officially moved my traffic over and launched my AccessAlly funnel.

I gotta say, it has gone incredibly smooth. Between the course wizard, your knowledge base pages, and support from Naomi, I was able to get the entire funnel set up over the last week, and even though I’m still adding courses and offers, I went ahead and launched my low-ticket product funnel today. I’ve already gotten 6 customers without any issues.

It feels great coming from ClickFunnels where everything was supposed to just “work” in the background but leaving me in the dark on most of the process. I had several issues that were unexplainable, plus their conversion tracking was a joke.

With everything being hosted on my own site, now I can use Google Analytics for tracking and Google Optimize for split testing, and now I feel like I’m in control.

I’m still figuring a few things out with AccessAlly, but I’m confident I’ll get all my questions answered with your awesome support system.

Well done on an amazing membership platform, keep up the good work!”

– Adam Henley, Adam Henley Woodworking

E-Commerce

Ease of payment for your users is essential in boosting sales. You want a seamless, familiar checkout process for your users to go through. It may be the first time they get to experience your business. You want it to be easy and intuitive on the frontend, and integrated and seamless on the backend.

The last thing you want is for your users to experience a hiccup in their checkout, losing trust in your business, and maybe even losing a sale.

There’s a fundamental difference between ClickFunnels and AccessAlly when it comes to the payment experience. With ClickFunnels, everything is set up and managed in your payment gateway, it’s connected through an API, but it’s not integrated. With AccessAlly, your payment gateway is integrated, so everything is managed through your WordPress dashboard with the AccessAlly plugin.

Payments on ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels E-Commerce Features

ClickFunnels has a number of supported APIs including ApplePay, Android Pay, Authorize.net, PayPal, and Stripe, among others. Again, since these are connected through an API, it allows you to collect payment through your sales funnels, but all the order information is stored on your payment gateway.

So if you use Stripe, for example, you’ll be logging in there to manage orders, check sales, or otherwise find any order information. If you run any kind of promotion or discount, that’s set up through your payment gateway, not through ClickFunnels.

Setting up your products is a detail-oriented process. You want to focus your attention on creating the best user experience for your customers. The last thing you want is to be worried you’re setting it up incorrectly, or get lost between the two systems and find yourself unsure where to reach out for support.

ClickFunnels lacks powerful e-commerce features like the ability to charge VAT, use multiple currencies, or offer coupons, promotions, or discounts natively. Depending on your payment gateway, you may be able to set up discounts or trial periods there, instead of in ClickFunnels.

When you use ClickFunnels, your payment gateway also determines if (and how) you can charge for your products. Either with one-time payments, payment plans, down payments with different installments, or a subscription.

AccessAlly E-commerce features

With AccessAlly order forms, you’ll have a much different experience. First off, once you integrate Stripe or PayPal you don’t need any other tools to start taking payments.

You’ll be able to create an unlimited number of products and recurring subscriptions. You can combine offers, create 1-click upsells, downsells, or order bumps. You’ll have the ability to offer trial periods, either paid or free, along with basic and advanced coupon functionality.

There’s no coding necessary to get your order forms up and running. With AccessAlly, you’ll find in-depth tutorials to guide you through the setup, from the most basic to the advanced.

Once you’ve made sales, you can see the payments and manage them from your AccessAlly dashboard, as well as create an account page for your users, so they can see and manage their payments as well.

AccessAlly also offers the power to pause and resume recurring subscriptions, give full or partial refunds, enable failed payment follow up, and abandoned cart follow up, among other features.

When you use AccessAlly order forms you unlock powerful features to again, create a unique experience for your users, and offer promotions and incentives that increase your sales.

Note that if you’re already using a shopping cart connected to your CRM, like SamCart, ThriveCart, or WooCommerce, and don’t want to switch, AccessAlly works with those options too through your CRM integration.

screenshots of payment gateway websites

LMS Features

As we’ve said, ClickFunnels offers the bare-bones of what you’d find on a membership site. There’s not a lot of extras to improve your user experience, but it does work for delivering protected content.

Below you’ll find some of the most popular features among online course creators. We’ll compare AccessAlly vs. ClickFunnels in game-changing features like progress tracking, quizzes, tests, homework assignments, private notes, gamification, affiliate program management, bulk course enrollment, and member directories.

Cellphone and computer with progress indicators

Progress tracking

ClickFunnels offers a version of progress tracking, and this is one of the only “extras” they provide. Its progress tracking feature is based on the time someone spends on a lesson in seconds. You can add a required time of completion, and once that time obligation has been met, it’s marked as fulfilled.

It’s not true progress tracking, because we have no idea what they were doing during that time on the page, but nonetheless, it is a progress tracking feature that ClickFunnels offers.

AccessAlly Pro comes with built-in progress tracking feature that allows you to create progress bars and pie charts, and track the user’s journey through your online courses. It’s all based on checklists on a page, post, module, or lesson. A user can check these off themselves, or you can require certain criteria to be met before they checkoff. You can choose the most basic setup here by creating a simple checklist, or a more advanced one with homework assignments and video bookmarks. It’s entirely up to you!

Quizzes, tests, homework, and private notes

These are all valuable features that ClickFunnels is lacking. Even in simple membership site setups, having a quiz or test at the end of a section is extremely valuable to create accountability among your users, test their learning retention, or even get feedback on your content.

Taking this extra step of collecting homework, providing a journaling section, or testing knowledge shows your users you care, and that you’re serious about them getting the most from your content. Students and users certainly notice when you’ve gone the extra mile here.

Laptop with screenshot of AccessAlly Custom Operations Feature - WordPress Gamification Plugin

Gamification

Gamification is a set of techniques that borrow the best aspects of playing games to make learning more fun and engaging. Some of the core concepts of gamification include point scoring, social motivations, and storytelling.

Again, ClickFunnels lacks this valuable functionality. AccessAlly offers powerful gamification features that allow you to award badges, offer points or credit system, create leaderboards, offer prizes, and measure performance among other things.

Offering effective gamification features takes a well-thought-out gamification strategy, and once you’ve designed yours, you can use AccessAlly’s powerful features to implement it.

Affiliate programs, bulk course enrollment, and member directories

ClickFunnels lacks these valuable features that can rocket your business to the next level. Even if you’re not at this point right now, when you’re ready to launch an affiliate program, offer your courses to corporations or communities, or create a directory, the last thing you want to do is have to postpone the big implementation for months because you have to migrate to a new system to support this.

AccessAlly gives you the opportunity to start small and grow when you’re ready, without the need to purchase additional add-ons, change systems, or integrate entire new systems.

Clients Share Their Experience With AccessAlly

Jen Levitz

A Tool For Those Who Want To Delegate Or Do It Themselves

“Most of my clients are non-techie… they want tools that they can wrap their heads around so they can confidently delegate the tasks to a VA to execute.

I feel that you have done an EXCELLENT job of creating a tool that is accessible for that level, while still being robust enough that the techie users can ‘play’.

Needless to say… I talk up AccessAlly when I can.”

– Jen Levitz, SpellBindingBusinessSchool.com

Cindy

Until AccessAlly, I Didn't Have A Good Way To Organize My Private Clients' Access...

“One of my favorite ways of using AccessAlly is with private clients. For each private client, I create a special page for them with all the recordings, my calendar, notes, bonus training, etc.

Until I had AccessAlly, I didn’t realize how valuable this would be – for both me and my clients.”

– Cindy Schulson, MarketingFromWithin.com

Looking for something that integrates both ways?

Marketing automation tools are here to stay.

Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration.

It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.

Get a Free AccessAlly Demo
Email marketing envelope

your workflow on AccessAlly vs. ClickFunnels:

AccessAlly Logo
  1. Set up your WordPress site with your favorite customizable theme
  2. Install the AccessAlly plugin on your WordPress membership site
  3. Run through the AccessAlly onboarding wizard to integrate with your CRM and select payment settings
  4. Create your first offering with the Offerings Wizard and add your content
  5. Create emails in your CRM or in AccessAlly
Click Funnels logo
  1. Sign up for ClickFunnels with a 14-day trial and choose your plan
  2. Connect your payment gateway
  3. Add your CRM
  4. Choose your funnels and start building the flow
  5. Make edits to templates to match your brand look and feel
  6. Create a membership funnel and add your content to protected pages
  7. Add integration with an LMS software or platform or compromise on these features
  8. Add your funnels to your websites, sales pages, landing pages, or other platforms

See How AccessAlly and ClickFunnels Features Compare

We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed AccessAlly to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package.

Software Feature
Protected course content Included checkmark Included checkmark
Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments Included checkmark Included checkmark
Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics Included checkmark
Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus Included checkmark
Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip Included checkmark
Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps Included checkmark
Cart abandonment automation Included checkmark
Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content Included checkmark
Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion Included checkmark
Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts Included checkmark
Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles Included checkmark
Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking Included checkmark
Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes Included checkmark
Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells Included checkmark
Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting Included checkmark Included checkmark

The true cost of ClickFunnels

The true cost of ClickFunnels is the fact that it’s a bare-bones system that will support only the most basic membership site setup. It’s not meant to support anything above a simple protected content model.

So because of this limitation, the true cost comes into play when you’ve set up your simple offering, but now you’ve outgrown it. You’ll have to migrate to a new system and setup, learn a new software or platform, and potentially lose existing users and new sales during the migration.

Should I use ClickFunnels or AccessAlly?

ClickFunnels might be right for you if...

    • You only need a simple content delivery system to make your content available to your customers.
    • You’re not picky about the look-and-feel of your course
    • You’re already using ClickFunnels as your funnel builder and don’t need any learning management system features such as progress tracking, quizzes, gamification, or member directories.

AccessAlly might be right for you if...

    • You know the value of your time, and you want a tool that will handle set up for you based on your instructions
    • You want everything to work seamlessly from one end to the other (payments, courses, and memberships) with as few plugins as possible
    • You’re looking to create an amazing customer experience, that’s functional, profitable, and helps you stand out in the marketplace
    • You like to geeky or you have advanced marketing needs and need lots of flexibility in your course platform

Marketers all over the world are loving AccessAlly

Jane Copeland

Truly the best platform out there

“I moved to AccessAlly after being frustrated and experiencing many issues with the platform and membership management plugin my programs were hosted on before.

Moving to Access Ally has not only been a joy but also hiccup free!

When choosing which membership site to move to, I wanted to give my students a high end quality learning experience and this is exactly what I now have. Thank you for creating such a beautiful and easy to use product. I simply adore it!”

– Jane Copeland, CopingWithJane.com

Petri Goldman

my clients absolutely love it and i do too!

I’ve tried a TON of different membership softwares and AccessAlly is by far and away the best-looking, most functional and most strategic one.

I was so fed up with my last membership site because the user-interface was terrible for my clients (and it didn’t look good, which bothered my over-achieving perfectionist self).

Now, I’ve gotten an unbelievable amount of customer feedback from my clients telling me how much they absolutely love it… and I do too!

– Amanda Goldman-Petri, MarketLikeANerd.com

Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we're here to help!

If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, we can help you sort out all of the different options.

We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too. Not sure what AccessAlly is? Watch the video to find out now, then book a call to discuss further:

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