Choosing Your Marketing Funnel Platform - Miles Beckler

Choosing Your Marketing Funnel Platform

One important choice for you in growing your business online is choosing a funnel platform that fits your needs, your budget and allows you the ability to grow in the direction and to the scale you ultimately desire.

In my professional opinion, you have two choices. First, there is ClickFunnels and second, there is a WordPress based funnel which is the best Clickfunnels Alternative.

This quick post will look at these options from a few angels. Specifically focusing on the real cost of each, the time requirements for each and the additional benefits and detriments that don't fall into the financial or time-related categories.

Ready? Good... Let's begin!

First, let's start with the $$$ numbers! Now, I'm all about the 'lean startup' concept and am proud that I have bootstrapped my business online for a little more than a couple hundred dollars and a ton of effort.

With that said, when I started my business online I was flat broke and had no other choice!

But really, I don't think anyone enjoys paying thousands of dollars more than necessary, even if they have that kind of money laying around.

First, we will look at ClickFunnels... Their pricing is simple.

You have two options, first $97/mo for no email service and up to 20,000 visits per month.

Second is $297/mo with an email service and unlimited visits per month.

That equates to either $1164 per year without email or $3564 per year with email...

A quick note about the email side of Clickfunnnels.

You still have to integrate, configure and pay for a SMTP email provider to physically send the mail.

Clickfunnels only offers the interface so there are other fees depending on how much mail you send, but they are small.

Next, let's look at the cost of creating a marketing funnel on WordPress.

Now, this process requires hosting, a theme and an email provider which all work together seamlessly.

You will need web hosting with an SSL (this is the green lock and allows you to have a 'secure' website where you can accept credit cards) and a dedicated IP.

For one full year, this is $100.86 with A2 hosting's WordPress hosting package.

You can get the same package for $31.33 up front and $13.99 per month thereafter if you are super-budget conscious.

Best part?

They install WordPress for you and 'secure' the installation from hackers and this package could handle 200,000 visits per month or more!

Then, you need a 'Theme' that includes a funnel building system. For this, I recommend the Thrive Themes Membership which you can get by clicking here.

Thrive Themes Membership is $228 per year. If you would prefer to pay quarterly, it is $75 per quarter.

Installing the theme takes about 5 minutes and they show you how in their tutorials here.

Installing their content builder plugin takes another 5 minutes as shown here.

With these two items installed you can build your first funnel on WordPress and they show you how to do that here.

Now, let's add up the totals real quick and see what the difference is.

WordPress + Hosting + Thrive (200,000+ visits/mo) = $328 per year
Clickfunnels up to 20,000 visits/mo = $1164 per year
Clickfunnels over 20,000 visits/mo = $3564 per year

On WordPress if you want to sell your own products, you will need a shopping cart, too.

I personally use and recommend ThriveCart.

Then you will need an email service...

For you, starting out... I recommend (and personally use) Aweber.

Aweber costs $19/mo after their 30-day free trial for up to 500 subscribers.

As your list grows, you do pay more and the next step is $29/mo for up to 2500 subscribers.

If you average $29/mo in Aweber fees, that brings your total costs to:

WordPress based: $676 per year
Clickfunnels based: $1512 per year up to $3564 per year.

Why is Clickfunnels so expensive?

To be honest, it is because they pay out 40% per month in recurring revenue to affiliates...

This means if you sign up for ClickFunnels through my affiliate link here (and yes, these links in this post are indeed affiliate links) over the course of the year, you would pay $1164 and they would pay me $465+ in commissions.

If you fall for their 'Full Suite' upsell which is $297/mo or $3564 per year, that would put $1425+ in my pocket every year...

For making the recommendation.

This is why... #1 - So many people claim ClickFunnels is the "BEST EVER"

...They are saying that out of self-interest trying to make commissions.

...And #2 it must be more than twice as expensive because they have to pay for their staff, their services, and the affiliates.

Now let's talk about time... Can ClickFunnels save you time in creating funnels?

Time is money, right? And if it saves you enough time, it's worth it, right?

Honestly, yes... Clickfunnels can save you time.

You can probably save a few hours in the initial setup and maybe an hour per month...

But as you learn how to use Thrive Themes' system, you will easily become as efficient (or more efficient) than using ClickFunnels.

The only people I recommend using Clickfunnels is people who make six figures per year or more who spend 10 hours/day at their real job and have a burning desire to build an online business.

If you are not in the top 10% of income earners right now and you want to grow into that through an online business, WordPress is without a doubt, the way to go.

And realize... I am potentially giving up on hundreds, even thousands of dollars in making this recommendation.

The additional benefits of WordPress are noteworthy, too.

The first additional benefit is the SEO potential on WordPress.

My main WordPress site that we have added a ton of blog content to receives over 725,000 visits per month, every month, from organic traffic.

Clickfunnels will never be as efficient in the eyes of the search engines for SEO purposes.

The second benefit is the fact that you will be learning a skill...

Once you have basic WordPress skills, you can begin sellin WordPress site creation services to friends, family members, local business owners, etc.

For me, this was one of the first real, true, honest online businesses I succeeded with...

And I wasn't great at it...

I outsourced all the work to people in other countries.

The third benefit is that WordPress open source and is the most popular platform online with nearly 30% of websites running on it.

This means you have an army of smart nerds updating the core of WordPress and building cool functionalities on top of it...

So it is infinitely customizable.

this also means you can hire people in the Philippines, India or Eastern Europe for a fraction of what developers make in the USA (usually between $5 and $15 per hour) do all of the 'WordPress work' for you.

Did this give you enough info to make an educated decision for yourself?

Which platform are you going to build your marketing funnel on?

Leave me a comment below and let me know!

69 thoughts on “Choosing Your Marketing Funnel Platform”

  1. Hey Miles, I have really been enjoying your Youtube videos, thanks a lot for the value you are providing! I see you are (or have been) in our home country NZ (I grew up in Rotorua, I actually played some rugby with/against Ben Smith who I saw in your video the other day!). My wife B and I have been travelling for the past 4 years (currently in Spain) running our personal growth website as we go, she's the public side of things and I am the website/brand/analytics/tech guy. I can't help but see the similarities between you guys and us, although we are probably a good few years behind where you are at! We have been running live online 6 week programs + paid coaching services and are now looking to setup more evergreen and membership based products, plus get into the paid advertising and setup our funnels. So it's a great for me to help upskill myself with your knowledge and experience at this time so appreciate that. Apart from connecting and saying thanks, I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction of membership plugin/solution for wordpress. We are onboard with Thrivecart but need to find an suitable membership plugin that works well with thrivecart. If you have a recommendation, happy for you to flick me an aff link to purchase it. Thanks mate.

  2. Hi Miles im new to the network marketing world. I know its possible to do all the things you have mentioned in all your videos and im just learning and trying to build myself throught the internet

    1. Absolutely... The best way to build a NM business is to brand you as the leader and grow an email list around you and your brand. This positions you in a way that no matter what happens in the future, you can take your audience with you!

  3. Hey Miles!

    I just went through your post and found it really informative.

    I currently use clickfunnels and I am now seriously considering changing to wordpress.

    I have a question.

    Is it possible to do split testing and to run multiple funnels from 1 domain?

    Thanks in advance bro!

    1. It is... I use google's experiments to run my split tests and you simply tell Google... Here is page a, here is page b, here is the destination a successful conversion reaches... Google gives you a snippet to put on page a... and it is done.

      You can set up as many experiments on one domain as you want, so every 'content upgrade' or funnel entrance can have its own test.

      1. This is awesome information, thanks a lot Miles! On YouTube I was overwhelmed by the tons of videos you had that's difficult to navigate. But here you've got everything organized, laser-focused actually. It's so easy to get the full picture here. Google experiments is another thing that I haven't heard of before and will be very useful. Thank you Miles!

        1. Glad you like it! YouTube's organization tools are quite poor, so I do my best to lay everything out here on the blog! Glad you find that is working for you too!

  4. Thank you, this is really helpful. What would you recommend for promoting affiliate products across different niches? I'm interested in the Thrive theme because I want to have a blog in the main niche I want to focus on, but I also want to test other niches at the same time. All I really need is a blog and to be able to create landing and thank you pages. ClickFunnels just seems overpriced for what I need.

    If I create landing pages for other niches would they be under the same domain as my blog site? Also, would I be able to install Thrive on multiple domains or just one?

    Thanks for any recommendation you can give. I really appreciate your content.

    1. Hey Zach... I'm all about the 'authority site' model too... one big WordPress site that gets all my energy and efforts to grow it, so it gets lots of traffic over time. It totally works.

      You can setup multiple funnels on one site with Thrive, but if they aren't relevant to the topic, you can also setup a niche site that is just a funnel... With the Thrive themes membership, you can put Thrive on as many sites as you'd like that you own. With their 'agency' membership you can use the themes for client sites too...

      But if you own the sites, you would be fine with just their main membership level with all the themes and plugins.

      For the niches/funnels... Let the relevance of them be your guide... If relevant, sure go for it on one domain!

      1. Hi Miles,
        You've answered the question I was curious about. I'm still on the 2 week trial membership with Leadpages. I want to try selling different affiliate products in different niches and now I know that I don't have to pay for landing pages for each site!

  5. Hi Miles, I started using ClickFunnels and it seemed like a great concept and it might be for some people, but for me, it is pretty confusing once the integration begins. I really like how you laid out the pricing comparisons between CF and WP. I have always been interested in the Arbitrage concept along with Affiliate Marketing and I thing that your videos are AWESOME! I would like some advice and discuss in a PM if possible.
    Thanks for all that you do!

  6. So, 1st thankful that I have also found your info. Currently have been working on a regular website through Wealthy Affiliates, but I am also looking to do specific Affiliate connections/funnels. In WA they say that we can create "funnels" but somehow this seems easier. Your 2 cents would be appreciated - truly tired of all the shiny objects.

    1. One question for you... What are you going to be promoting with your funnels? Is the goal simply to promote WA to others who want to learn to make money online?

      If so, this is a slippery slope that can leave you tied up in their system, stuck there and paying a lot more than you need to be paying for the 'right' to promote their system. Pretty close to MLM challenges and at some point, there is a massive group of people unable to bring in new people who 'support' all the people above them with no cashflow... Then eventually the bubble pops.

      If you are going to be doing niche marketing, why not just build it out in WordPress and learn life-skills that you can apply to any business in the world? This video series shows it all :

      I'm all about helping you gain independence and I feel that WA is all about creating dependent people... Because for WA to survive it must have either A) Lots of new people and a big churn rate or B) lots of long term people paying month after month.

      I joined back in the day hoping I could promote it to people wanting to learn how to do what I do... But I didn't like the cult-like vibe to the whole thing... So much pressure to upgrade. I called people out on this

      I'm realizing that I prefer open source foundations (wordpress) to closed systems... And pretty much why I started teaching everything I know on YouTube free, because I can't send people to a pressure-cooker to 'learn' and sleep at night.

      1. To be fair, Miles wrote this 2 years ago. Wealthy Affiliate in 2020 offers top hosting for WordPress websites. It is not a 'closed' system. Each site gets a free SSL for security (https) and is owned by you, ie if you leave you can transfer it to another host. The hosting is on fast top tier servers. There is live weekly training on niche website creation. There are 3 step-by-step multi lesson 'Certification' courses that covers from niche selection, via keyword research using a great keyword tool that's included in membership. I moved all of my WP sites there when I joined as the hosting itself was worth it for 25 sites. While you have FTP access to your sites, there in not a CPanel, which is fine for the vast majority of niche site bloggers. The techs will do things for you too. Plus there is a community of people to ask and learn from and you can earn cash (or platform) credits for viewing other members' websites with constructive criticism and commenting on other member's niche site posts. I've installed Thrive on 2 of my sites and am working on creating my first SLO funnel now (self-liquidating leads). Thanks Miles for that article and all the great free content!

  7. Hi Miles, I have been following your videos and comments ... I am struggling with Clickfunnels. They say that it is easy for beginners who are new on line. Not so and I am no slouch with a computer and pick up things easily BUT I have spent 5 weeks solid learning the system .. started with the bootcamp and working through the maze. My life has been hacked by Clickfunnels. My daughter started with me but I lost her last week, complete overwhelm and confusion (again no slouch either) So much information and the constant up sell is overwhelming. I don't want to give up on this as I develop my on line presence but its looking like it. CF is way expensive when you look at it and pretty much the FB community pages are geared up for the techno crowd. Yesterday i picked up on a comment that someone had been told by google adwords that they were not allowing their ad because it was clickfunnels ... too much for the market. That's not good. I want to maintain control and looking at some of the funnels I have invested in now in my CF account I am thinking I have to maintain my membership or lose the work I have already done and paid for. Is that what happens when you leave ? Support takes days to get back to you which isn't helpful when you are in the moment. Seems to me that those who already have successful businesses are with CF and using the software to be even more so, for us at the other end not such a great option when you break it down. I want a membership site ultimately so I am not keen to start with CF and have to migrate later on. How much knowledge do I need to get started ? If CF is to go by I need to get geeky πŸ™‚

    1. I think the underlying problem is that they have so many affiliates out there claiming it is the best thing since sliced bread when it is still buggy and their support is overwhelmed. Then you get 'stuck' on their system and those $97 or $297 monthly fees (40% of which go to the affiliate) bleed many people dry.

      So, have you watched the wordpress funnel video series from the creator of Thrive?

      He shows how Thrive Themes works in a few videos... And that is what I use. It is similar but a little different...

      I think I may put together a full video training on Thrive Themes, showing step by step how to setup a funnel, soon. If you want to migrate, you can always take screenshots of your pages, copy all the text down, etc. Then just rebuild it in Thrive.

      The unfortunate part is that there is no perfect system... And it does require sleeves rolled up and getting hands dirty. It is frustrating at times, no lie... But once it is setup, it is running and you can move on to marketing which is where the rubber meets the road.

      I completely left Clickfunnels... Not sure if you saw the post why, but it is here:

  8. Miles, huge thumbs up to your site and youtube. Thank you for everything you share. I actually found you 2 weeks ago when I was about to go with CF and decided against it to stay with WP + Thrive Themes. Added on Membermouse for membership and their directly integrated iDevAffiliate.

    Now I'm looking at some things that CF has and wonder is there is anything out there that would plug in for automatically building profiling visitors, members, and clients that buy products the same way that Actionetics does. Do you have any recommendations?

    Thank you again for the blog posts and videos

      1. Good that i found your blog here - found it on Youtube, while searching ChannelFunnels . Great blog overall and found few nice websites for my online marketing projects.
        Please try to get in touch with me , i have some questions about advertising.

  9. Miles, Miles, Miles! Thank you for being so honest and transparent! You are spot on with this info and yes I will keep dealing with WordPress for a fraction of the cost of CF!

    1. Focusing on one platform helps so much... Jumping around just keeps us from the real goal of publishing great content (and funnels)... Plus you get to learn new and marketable skills on WordPress! Great choice πŸ˜€

  10. I know what you mean about click funnels. I two am leaving after investing over $10,000. Somehow I missed your affiliate link for Thrive. Can you send me that? I want you to get a commission.
    Did you go through click funnels partner program? Please call me I would love to talk to you.

    1. You can get Thrive via my affiliate link here: http:/

      I did not go through their partner program, btw...

  11. Hey Miles,

    Loving the videos, really helpful. Have been looking at Thrive Themes and wasn't sure if they could do what Clickfunnels claims to do...

    I just finished watching the "DIY Sales Funnel- Save Up To $3236 Per Year With This Funnel Hack Vs. Overpriced Click Funnels" video from the above post.

    And I'm a bit confused??

    In the video you didn't purchase the SSL yet your website address in the video is https:// - How does that work?

    Did you buy the SSL later and then record the video?

    Did you have to configure the SSL or did the hosting company your recommend do all of that for you?

    Sorry never done the hosting stuff or the SSL stuff so wasn't sure how that works or how I do that?

    Thx you're awesome and love the video's. Super valuable πŸ™‚

    1. I added on the SSL after by simply emailing support, they sent me the link where to buy it and then I bought and replied... they set it all up and configured it for me after I purchased. I talked about it in one of the videos, don't remember exactly which, probably the shopping cart one.

      1. Thx for clearing that up for me Miles,

        I'll check that video out too πŸ™‚

        Quick question - Do you recommend setting up SSL right from the start for a total beginner with no audience, no list, no product yet (but planning to offer a done for you service)?

        Or is it better to start with a buy now button that takes potential buyers to checkout on PayPal/Stripe or even use something like SendOwl (they say you can do upsells and subscriptions etc)?

        Cheers πŸ™‚

      1. How do you compare Get Response? That's what I'm using and they new interface seems better. Voice phone support is great.

        1. If you like it and are comfortable with it, run with it! ...It is not my top choice, but sometimes switching from something you know to something new causes more problems than it solves.

  12. Hello Miles, thanks for sharing all the great info you do. I'm curious how you would recommend integrating an eCommerce store into this? I have a domain so far and I'm trying to figure out how everything will be laid out and integrate together with a blog, eCommerce store (with all digital products), and then with this sales funnel. Any direction or advice you can provide is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. For digital products, I don't do eCommerce style sites... I create landing/sales pages for each product category and enter interested people into that funnel focusing on them taking 1 action at a time.

      So if you sell 10 products total from your site... You should focus people on one thing at a time... A specific solution to a specific problem.

      No one wants to buy 10 digital products at once... They want 1 solution for their biggest problem... Then the next solution for the next problem.

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you! With ongoing issues with ClickFunnels including a less than stellar customer support team that has caused me financial loss, I was looking for an alternative. After searching numerous alternatives, I am grateful I came across your site. I will be making the switch and am appreciative of you sharing your knowledge and resources including your helpful videos.

  14. Hi Miles

    Fantastic content, I'm glad I found you. And it's good to see you're so responsive to comments.

    I don't usually like asking questions pubically via comments, but after reading through this post some burning questions come to mind that I'd be so grateful if you could give some guidance on:

    - if any of your email sequences linked to your funnels are engineered to recommend affiliate products to your subscribers rather than your own products, do you: a) ever recommend more than one product from the same product owner/vendor, one by one, over the course of that one email sequence or even multiple sequences? For example, you recommend product A from the owner/vendor first, then product B (products A and B might not necessarily be linked to one another), from the same product owner in a later email. Or b) do you just recommend one product from one product vendor/owner only?

    - if you ever do a), how do you approach the potential situation ahead of time where your subscriber will enter the sales funnel of the product vendor/owner if they purchase product A, leading to a potential situation where both you and the same product vendor/owner end up recommending product B to the same subscriber, ending up in a situation where the actual product vendor/owner gets the sale directly for recommending product B themselves because the subscriber clicked their link rather than your aff link?

    If I'm making sense, would a way to approach such a situation (so you don't lose out on commissions for your efforts) be to ONLY recommend ONE affiliate product from a product/vendor to your subscribers through your email series which ensures you also get commissions on any upsells or cross-sells the vendor/owner generates themselves from your referral? So then you don't have to worry about trying to recommend a second or third or forth product from the same product vendor/owner yourself?

    So essentially, what I'm describing here is you'd become more like a gatekeeper of information, a lead generator only - and you'd entrust any further upselling/cross selling efforts to the product vendor/owner so you don't have to? Is that how you'd approach it?

    I really hope I've been clear! I look forward to hearing from you πŸ™‚

    Best regards

    1. For recommending affiliate products, yes I recommend multiple products from the same vendor! The number of people who buy A and see email for B is so small I simply don't care. Plus, it shows I like multiple products from one vendor. Some vendors/programs tag you with a customer on the sale so you get all future sales if you initiate the first one.

      My approach is always to get the lead, build the relationship and really own that relationship with the individual... When I send them to a vendor it is simply 'check out this helpful tool that will solve your problem for ______'

      But then my follow up sequence continues to deliver value so they are more interested in hearing from me and look forward to my emails. I never trust a vendor to be good at cross selling or building relationships with their customers.

      1. Awesome, thanks Miles! It really does make sense just to put the extra effort into really nurture the relationship with each lead

        1. I give them the option to by introducing the vendor's product or angle in a video with a button below the video that takes them to the offer... The reason I do this is to take the chance to introduce myself and set the expectation for them to get some emails from me in the future.

          To me, I am most interested in the relationship in this step... so I 'greet them' and offer them more if they are interested. You can see how this all plays out in the first video in this series: probably 2/3 the way through when I'm building the funnel out... I make one of those 'bridge pages' and 'bridge videos' in that one!

  15. I also considered CF but I went with Instabuilder. Very affordable, easy to use and great support. I am very happy using WP with my Instabuilder. You are an awesome teacher. Appreciate what you do to help us little people to get ahead. Thank you. Donna H

    1. I actually used instabuilder for a while... It worked well for a time... But their plugin code had some security issues and got hacked, allowing some no-gooders to do what is called an 'sql injection' through their plugin. I don't mess around with the security of my site so that was a dealbreaker for me.

  16. This kind of presentations and insights on these topics are very much appriciated and show the real value and suggestions newbies are looking for ,it also shows a real onest person that cares for what he does and take care of whom are following him for Learning and advices!!! KEEP UP the good work it's needed and there isn't much arownd these days!!!

  17. Hi, great information! I already have my website using AVADA theme and hosting with GoDaddy and as email marketing MailChimp. I'm surprised about the hosting company you are using because allows you more visitors.
    I also use my website to sell my Mp3's, Books and to host my podcast.
    My mistake was that I didn't create my list since the beginning!

    1.-If I already have my WordPress Avada Theme, can I use Thrive Leads Plug-in?

    2.-To start you recommend Aweber but also Active Campaign.

    3.-I would like to create a membership site using my existing Avada Theme, that will help me to manage everything from one place.
    Do you recommend creating a new membership website just from scratch? Or do you recommend a specific plug-in or WordPress theme?

    Thank You again!

    1. Thrive changed that plugin name to Architect and you can use it. It is personal preference between Aweber and Activecampaign, but if you are already comfortable with Mailchimp, stay there. Never used Avada theme, so I don't know if it will be an asset for you in building your membership. I use and recommend Thrive's theme:

  18. Hey Miles. I really like where your head is at in regards to building as ecommerce business. I'm a fresh newbie in this realm. And I've spent the last 3 years following supposed gurus around and attending events and buying every shiny object they threw at me. I've easily spent 30 times as much as your recommendations on this page. I am by no means a geek but I know where to acquire resources to help ruin the business. Mr biggest issue is getting the right website configuration to run an ecommerce / affiliate business. Your simplification of "must have" biz component software is a huge relief. If you have any further biz recommendations, please send them my way. Also curious how Thrive Cart is working for you so far. Have a blessed day

    1. Thrivecart is solid. If I was doing ecommerce I'd probably go with WooCommerce on WordPress since I have years of WordPress experience... If not, I'd go with Shopify and add on a WordPress blog...

      It is much more about how much awesome content are you putting out to attract your target customer than it is what tools you are using!

  19. You answered a lot of my questions. I’ve been debating on clickfunnels or WordPress. I’m switching from to for more control and making sales funnels for my practice. Thank you.

  20. Hola Brother Miles! Just wondering what package you went with to get A2 for $100 a month? I'm about to sign up (with your affiliate link of course) and was wondering becuase I'm getting 123.xx for their turbo wordpress for one year and an additional $4/mo for a dedicated ip. Any savings you can pass to a brother? lol Thank you for all you do Miles!

    1. You don't need turbo or a dedicated IP to get started... Can always upgrade. Even if you aren't selling things, you don't need an SSL. Can go bare basics if you want!

    2. in this example I went without the turbo which saved some money… But I actually upgraded to turbo later because I like the faster server.

      You don't need the dedicated IP you don't need to pay for an SSL just in case you have that. The free SSL and dynamic IP is fine

  21. Hi Miles,
    Thanks agin for so much value. I have a question for you. I'm in the process of creating a funnel. I currently have a leadmagnet and a recorded training/webinar that I created.
    I signed up for Kartra and had it for a month. I started dabbling in it a bit. What are your thoughts on it? Or Lead pages? I never used or tried ClickFunnels.
    The problem I'm having is I don't know what tools would be best to use to create my funnel and email automation.
    I have WordPress experience.
    All I want to do is get people to my training video so they schedule a call with me.
    Katra doesnt yet have a done for you funnel. Would you recommend I switch to Thrive and build it all out there?
    I also want to prequalify the leads with a questionnarie at the end using a questionnaire, possibly with Wufoo.
    I know the process, i guess i just want to know your recommendations for tools.


  22. Hey Miles, Thank You for this post πŸ™‚ question... I didn't see a cart via Thrive (I didn't study the site either). Do you have a cart that you use -- if so, what is the fee? If you don't mind my asking. Thank You for the quality work you do and share!

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