Wondering whether you should host your community on Mighty Networks vs Circle? You’ve come to the right place. By the time you finish reading this quick comparison article, you’ll feel confident in choosing the right platform.
Creating your own online community is like owning a piece of digital real estate. With a loyal following and the right platform, you’re able to effortlessly attract, grow, nurture, and most importantly, monetize an audience - making a living doing what you love.
But - the keyword there is the right platform. These days, it’s easier than ever to start an online community. There is a vast suite of community hosting platforms to choose from. And while that variety encourages healthy competition between the platforms and ensures creators are set up for success, it can also get overwhelming.
What are the differences between platforms?
Which is best for your unique community-building goals?
Today, you’re going to find out. We’ll break down the difference between Circle vs Mighty Networks to help you make an informed decision on where to grow your community. We’ll highlight the pros and cons of each while pointing out the intricacies that separate them from one another. Without any further ado, let’s dive in!
Circle vs Mighty Networks: Explaining Each Creator Platform
Before we dive into the differences between Circle vs Mighty Networks, it’s important to realize that both of these platforms have their place in the overarching community hosting world. Each of these platforms gives you the ability to host a community, run events, live stream, offer courses, and create memberships. But, that’s where the similarities end. And, the manner in which each platform allows you to do these things differs greatly.
Further complicating matters, both Mighty Networks and Circle have created their own comparison articles - each of which is skewed to promote their own platform. If you read each of these articles you’d end up even more confused as each claims to be the best. So, to help you gain a full, unbiased understanding of how each platform works, let’s start by breaking down Circle.
What is Circle?
Circle is home to more than 2 million community members and 5,000+ creators. You’re able to effortlessly build your community in a simple, seamless manner. That should be the biggest takeaway from this section - Circle is perhaps the easiest platform for building your community.
It’s not just easier for you as the creator, though. Your community has an easier time using the platform too. This drives higher engagement across communities and helps creators and members get the best bang for their buck.
The goal with Circle was to create the simplest option for creators who host their courses and content elsewhere to add a community feature - and that’s exactly what the platform has managed to accomplish.
The platform works through “spaces” with four types of spaces available to creators:
- Posts: Designed for discussions between you, your members, and between members themselves. Members have the ability to like or comment on these posts just like they would on a Facebook post.
- Events: You can create virtual or physical events for your community, where members have the ability to RSVP in advance. This is great for live streams or in-person meetups where you and your community come together to network, have a Q&A, or host a speaker.
- Chat: Participants are able to chat back and forth in real-time, giving your members direct access to not just you, the creator - but each other - in a more private, intimate, and interactive setting.
- Courses: Professional plans and higher offer creators the ability to create courses. This is a great way to monetize your community by using your expertise to create digital information products.
For each of these spaces, privacy and access settings can be adjusted easily. But you’re probably most interested in how you actually go about monetizing your community.
In Circle, you’re able to choose between a variety of payment options: annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, and more. You can even set a one-time payment fee. If you’d like to offer a free trial, you can do that as well. It’s also nice to be able to select the specific levels of access granted at different payment tiers.
Now in terms of pricing for you, the creator, you can choose between three plans: Basic ($39/month), Professional ($89/month), and Enterprise ($360/month). The Basic plan gets you:
- Engaging discussions
- Rich member profiles
- Unlimited events
- Group chats
- Private messaging
- iOS app
- Easily accept payments
- Custom domain
By upgrading to the Professional plan, you gain access to all this and courses, live stream video experience, a white-labeled site, advanced analytics, and custom CSS. On the Enterprise plan, you also get a dedicated CSM, API access, customizable profile fields, priority email support, custom single sign-on, and concierge onboarding.
What is Mighty Networks?
Mighty Networks is similar in that you’ll use spaces to interact with your membership, but the way in which you go about it is far different. You have more flexibility in the design and structure of your community offerings. Each space can be customized with up to 8 different features.
This can create a far more engaging and cohesive community experience. If you wanted to, you could create a space with all four features: Content, Event, Chat, and Course. These four spaces are no different from Circle’s four spaces, but the features are what separate the two platforms.
One of these features is Discovery. This allows you to highlight featured posts within your different spaces so members have no trouble finding the most important content in your community.
Another unique feature of Mighty Networks is the member directory - allowing individual members to more easily network amongst one another. This creates a more cohesive community. There are also individual pages you can create within your community - great for introductory pages, a page describing a new offering, etc.
In terms of customization, a nice feature within Mighty Networks is the ability to organize your feed as you see fit. Within your community, you can choose to show events first, or courses - or just posts. It’s entirely up to you as a creator. You’re also able to rename individual spaces as you see fit.
When it comes to charging for membership, you can choose between payment tiers for the entire community or certain spaces. What’s unique about the payment processing within Mighty Networks, though, is the ability to offer token gating - so you can get creative with NFTs. Similar to Circle, you can dictate the payment frequency: subscription or one-time fee.
Mighty Networks also offers three pricing tiers: the Community Plan ($33/month), the Business Plan ($99/month), and the Mighty Pro (contact them for pricing). The community plan gets you a community with:
- Native Livestreaming & Video
- Chat & Messaging
- Events & Zoom Integration
- Paid Memberships
Should you upgrade to the Business Plan you’d also get online courses, live cohort course creation, featured pages and events, analytics and member data, and Zapier APIs & workflows. The most robust plan gets you all this along with your own iOS and Android apps, branded app notifications, white-labeled web and app experience, and strategy/migration services & support.
So, What is the Difference Between Circle and Mighty Networks?
Now, there are obvious similarities between Circle vs Mighty Networks. But what is the difference between Circle and Mighty Networks? If we had to summarize it for you as basic as possible, it would be this:
- Mighty Networks is a platform focused on creating as much customization and adding as many features as possible.
- Circle, on the other hand, focuses on keeping things simple to offer the best experience for creators and their members.
But to really help you make the right choice, we’ll highlight a few key differences side by side below. Let’s start with pricing for you - the creator.
Pricing for Creators
Getting the best ROI from your community is top of mind. And so let’s start this conversation by comparing the price points of different creator plans. Circle’s Basic plan is more expensive at $39/month compared to Mighty Networks Community plan at $33/month. You’ll see a similar price discrepancy at different tiers as well. But, this isn’t just a simple comparison of price. We need to discuss what each tier actually gets you.
With Mighty Networks, you get unlimited members, admins, moderators, and spaces across all plans. On Circle, though, you are limited based on your plan. For example, on the Basic plan, you get 100 members, 1 admin, 1 moderator, and 10 spaces.
You get 10,000 members on Circle’s Pro plan (and pay $20/month for extra members), 3 admins (and pay $10/month for extra admins), 10 moderators (and pay $20/mo for extra moderators), and 20 spaces (and pay $20/month for extra spaces).
So - the key takeaway from this should be that your costs scale with you on Circle. But as your community grows on Mighty Networks, your costs stay the same - helping you enjoy more and more profits from your hard work. You also miss out on one of the key features of any community platform with Circle’s basic plan: live streaming. This means you essentially must start at the Pro level, even if you don’t have a large community yet.
Customization, Features, and Integrations
The ability to bring your dream community to life is the most important consideration when choosing between Circle vs Mighty Networks. And, there is a clear distinction between the two platforms in this criteria.
Mighty Networks blows Circle out of the water when it comes to customization and branding. You can customize your community’s interface to feel as if it was made just for you - this is huge for established brands that have a loyal community already in place.
Mighty Networks doesn’t disappoint in terms of features, either. You gain access to a mobile app, live streaming capabilities, discussion boards, different spaces for selling your content/events, direct/group messaging, course creation, activity feeds, paywalls, and different membership tiers.
Circle, on the other hand, keeps things simple - and that can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. You’re more handcuffed in terms of what’s possible on the platform - but as you’ll discover in the next section, that is actually by design. However, Circle does fall short in terms of the features offered.
Community Engagement & Ease of Use
Finally, let’s talk about the actual community experience each platform offers.
We’ve said this a few times already - but the appeal of Circle is how simple and straightforward the platform can be for community hosting. If that’s all you’re looking to do, then Circle is likely your best bet. Circle focuses on your members first, so they can focus on your content and each other. You’ll drive higher engagement among your members and create a better experience for them. And as we’ve touched on already, actually building your community is easy for you, too.
Mighty Networks, on the other hand, can be considered hard to “get”. While they are the clear winner in terms of features and customization capabilities, the process of building your community is more complex. And, your users may feel this same struggle themselves as they try to navigate all the different spaces (and groupings of spaces). As a result, you may get lower engagement in a Mighty Networks community.
Circle vs Mighty Networks: Which is Right For You?
Ultimately, you can achieve success whether you host your community on Circle vs Mighty Networks. It’s hard to say which is better because each has its pros and cons - which means it really just comes down to what you’re looking for as a community creator.
While those who favor Mighty Networks point to all the additional features and customization possibilities, those who favor Circle point to the simplicity and ease of use - which leads to better engagement.
While there’s no denying the extra features and customization capabilities within Mighty Networks, the edge in terms of simplicity and ease of use goes to Circle. So ask yourself…which factors matter most to you? What does your dream community look like? How much customization do you want to have at your fingertips?
By answering these questions, you should gain a better understanding of which side you lean towards in the Mighty Networks vs Circle debate. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. And because both communities support migration, you can try both and see which performs better!
Ultimately, what matters most is that you choose one of the platforms and take action. Don’t let decision overwhelm lead to inaction and procrastination. Getting started on any platform is better than waiting around hoping to be inspired to choose one.
Final Thoughts on the Mighty Networks vs Circle Debate
Hopefully you have a more clear understanding of which community hosting platform is right for you: Mighty Networks vs Circle. You can enjoy great success on either platform, but you should…
- Choose Circle if you want to keep things simple and grow a highly-engaged community
- Choose Mighty Networks if you want more customization & features at your fingertips. This platform also makes it easier to scale without increased costs.
In the end, we give Mighty Networks a slight edge. But it’s less about which platform you use, and more about what you’re offering your community and the way you go about building. And if you want to consider another option, read our article on Circle vs Tribe.
Want to learn more about monetizing your craft online? We have in-depth articles on becoming a Substack writer, how to make money on Quora, building viral tweets, how to become a freelance writer with no experience, how to write an ebook and make money, or how to start writing on Medium. There are so many other ways to turn your digital writing skills into cold hard cash.
However, having your own community is like owning a piece of digital real estate - and it’s one of the most powerful assets you can have in your arsenal. Don’t wait any longer - get started building yours today!