Podia prides itself as one of the easiest ways to monetize your passion. As an all-in-one platform, it has a plethora of powerful tools, from course builders to email marketing integrations. Thus talented creators can sell online courses and digital products and even host membership platforms all without knowing a single line of code.
Podia is a fast-growing course platform that has taken the online course market by storm.
But what really makes it unique as an online course platform? What are its pros and cons? Is it really worth your money? How does it stack up against Thinkific, Teachable, and Kajabi, which have all been around for longer?
All these and more will be discussed in today’s in-depth Podia review. No need to keep scouring Google for more Podia reviews.
Let's dive into it.
What is Podia?
At the most basic level, Podia is an online platform where creators can create and sell online courses, digital downloads, and memberships.
It provides the necessary tools you need to streamline the entire process. Thus, you can create your content, host them online, build a storefront, handle the checkout process, and offer customer service, all on Podia.
Aptly called an all-in-one platform, Podia has impressive tools that help you run effective email campaigns, affiliate marketing programs, and webinars. With its integration features, you can install any app of your choice on your account to build an even more powerful and personalized platform for yourself.
Just in case you've been wondering, Podia (formerly known as Coach in 2016) is quite different from Udemy. With Podia, you completely own your students' data, and you're in control of every aspect of your program, from pricing to refund policies. It only focuses on running the infrastructure.
Here's an overview of what you can expect from the platform:
- Easily create and host courses, digital downloads, and memberships.
- Unlimited video hosting with a sophisticated course player.
- Beautiful and professional storefronts with average customization options.
- Impressive payment processing tools to help you charge one-time fees, recurring subscriptions (if you run a membership site), or even a payment plan.
- Create and manage affiliate programs for your content.
- Easily build, manage, and interact with your email lists through Podia's native email marketing tools.
One key selling point the platform has is its simplicity. It takes a ‘no B.S' approach when it comes to helping creators get their infrastructures up and running. You can build your online course and create a sleek, high-converting storefront in a short time, even with no knowledge of code.
However, for such an incredible level of simplicity, there is one trade-off: flexibility. Thus, while accessing features such as its course builder and page builder, you'll realize that using these tools is a cakewalk, but they don't give you many customization options.
Podia did release an update recently saying that you can now create custom blank pages for your storefront. This is impressive, and there's much more to look forward to.
With that said, it is helpful to note that Podia is a relatively new platform taking on giants like Teachable, Thinkfic, and Kajabi. Thus, there are certain features that are either missing or incomplete.
We will get to all that in subsequent sections of this Podia review.
Course creation is the most important function of any online course platform. If your chosen platform can help you create, structure, host, deliver, and manage your content without hassle, then it is probably a great choice.
Here, we'll see how the platform performs in this regard. Knowing that it is not just focused on course creation, this review will also analyze how it ticks in other major aspects such as memberships and digital products.
Let's jump into it.
Membership is one of the main features of Podia. With Podia, you can create and host a membership site where people pay for exclusive, premium content every month or year.
So how easy is it to create a membership site with Podia?
First, when you log into your Podia account, you're welcomed by a very simple, elegant dashboard with three modules lined up on your screen, as shown below.
If you go ahead and click on the image with the ‘Membership' tag, you'll be taken to a window where you can set up your membership site. The first step is to input a name for your membership site, after which you'd click on create your Membership.
After creating your membership name, you'd be taken to a new window with a few tabs where you can create posts, manage comments, create plans, promote, manage sales, etc. The next step is to set up a pricing plan for your membership.
Under the ‘Plans' tab, you'll be able to set different pricing plans (including free plans), where you can add digital downloads (products) and courses for each plan as shown in the screenshot below.
You have the option to publish [your] plan or save as draft(if you'd like to touch it up later).
The settings tab has just a few options which allow you to change your Membership name, edit your membership site's URL, and add links to your Facebook group and Slack channel(if any).
Other modules such as posts, comments, promote, and sales can all be used once you publish your membership site.
Online courses and digital downloads are among Podia's three major features. While you can access them individually with one click from the dashboard, they're collectively listed under the Products tab.
If you clicked on the products tab and hit Add a Product, you'd find three options: Online Course, Digital Downloads, and Product Bundle, as shown below.
So let's check them out.
With the three options already laid out on your screen, go on and select Online course. You'll need to create a name to get started with creating your online course. Once that's done, you'll be taken to this page.
Here, you'll see modules for sections, files, links, text, and quizzes. These are super easy to use and make it easy for you to structure your online courses.
Podia has an interesting feature known as the drip content feature. This feature sets a schedule for your online courses so your students can access them at a controlled pace.
Also, Podia lets you create a pre-launch page so you can hype your online course and get emails from potential students, even before you finish creating the course. You can also create several courses and accept as many students as possible.
Something to note, however, is that Podia's quiz feature is average and doesn't offer automatic grading.
It also doesn't support content locking. Thus you can't force your students to complete specific sections before getting to other sections of your course.
Digital downloads is another module listed under the products tab.
By clicking on Digital Download, you'll be taken to a page where you can add sections and files.
Here you can sell digital products such as audio files, pdfs, videos, cheat sheets, and more, all of which are downloadable. Podia gives you the freedom to set your prices or even offer your digital products to your customers for free.
Your customers won't be required to create an account to access your digital products. This is particularly good because it speeds up the checkout process. Podia also provides a sales page where you can insert FAQs, a video clip, and an email subscription form.
Last on the list is Product Bundle. This tool allows you to bundle your digital products and online courses.
On clicking the tool, you'd be taken to this page where you can set things up pretty quickly.
Course Content Uploading & Structuring
Podia lets you host videos, audio files, e-books, etc. It partners with Wistia, allowing you to upload unlimited videos.
When creating your online courses, you can upload your files one-by-one, or alternatively, you can upload multiple files at once using its bulk uploading feature. When you upload your files in bulk, Podia automatically creates lessons from them.
Content uploading is quite straightforward with Podia. However, it doesn't support direct upload from Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive.
Cloud Import is faster than uploading from offline storage, and Podia is lacking in that regard.
As far as course content structuring goes, Podia has two levels: Sections and lessons.
Basically, Lessons refer to where your content is. Sections, on the other hand, refers to how your lessons are organized.
Every file you upload on Podia is a lesson by default, and Podia allows you to manually reorder and move them to their respective sections.
While structuring your course content is pretty straightforward on Podia, there are some shortcomings.
I'll highlight them below.
- You can't put a video and a PDF in the same lesson.
- You can't have a video and a quiz in the same lesson.
So, if you wish to include downloadable resources to your course, you'd have to create separate lessons and upload them there. This is not convenient.
Other things to take note of include:
- You can't make your videos downloadable when creating courses.
- There is no option that lets you show your PDFs as an embed.
- Text editor is pretty basic with limited formatting options.
These are nice-to-haves for any online course platform, but they don't necessarily make things hard for you when creating your online courses.
In summary, as far as content uploading and structuring goes, Podia is super easy to use. But it isn't the best out there in terms of flexibility and features.
Podia provides effective tools that help course creators engage their students and help them achieve the objectives of signing up for the course.
Let's review them below.
Drip Email Marketing for Automated Engagement
Podia's drip email marketing function is a great way to control your student's pace and also keep them engaged.
This is how it works:
You create your lessons and schedule them to be ‘dripped' at specific times. That way, the course won't be available until that time. When it becomes available, your students will get email notifications, prompting them to head over and take the lesson.
Also, you can use Podia's email marketing function to send course updates to your students. For example, if you create a new chapter for your course, you can send out notifications to your students, letting them know you've just updated it with new information.
Podia allows you to create multiple-choice quizzes to test your students' knowledge about the lessons they've had.
As you may have already known, Podia lays a lot of emphasis on simplicity. Thus, you won't get a fancy looking quiz with images and embellishments. However, even in its simplicity, Podia's quizzes are elegant.
Course Analytics and Reporting
As far as course analytics and reporting, Podia is quite limited. For example, there are no reports available for course completion, lecture completion, and even quiz completion.
You can track your students' individual progresses for specific courses, but it doesn't go beyond the course level. For example, you can't see how far they've gone for specific lessons within your course. Also, you can't track their progress with quizzes.
Similarly, Podia has no analytics functionality to track your video performance. Thus, you can't have insights about video engagement, click rates, etc.
These are important features readily available with competitor platforms.
Customization and Site Design
How does Podia perform when it comes to helping you design your site? The biggest advantage you get from hosting on Podia is that you do not have to worry about buying separate web hosting or SSL certificate.
You also wouldn't worry about things like security, updates, and maintenance.
With that said, what tools does Podia have for web design, and what customization options are available?
When it comes to site designing, The easiest way to get around hours of coding is the use of themes.
With that said, Podia currently has a few basic themes you can use to customize your website. They are:
- Default: Comes with Podia's default theme.
- None: Basic, white background, and dark texts.
- Light: Bright background color and dark texts
- Dark: Black background and white texts.
- Custom: Allows you to fully customize the colors of your desired sections.
Podia is still no match for Teachable and Thinkific when it comes to site themes. This is because there isn't so much you can do to customize your website themes using Podia.
For example, you can't change the header style, neither can you customize elements such as navigation menus and buttons. It also doesn't give extra freedom to code-savvy users who would like to edit the CSS code of their website to improve its styling.
However, websites created on Podia are clean, professional, and elegant. It just focuses on what you need more than what you probably want.
Sales and Digital Marketing
Podia provides you with essential tools to help you make sales more effectively. Let's review these tools and see how well they do their jobs.
Podia's page builder is the tool you'd need if you wish to customize your storefront.
Podia's page builder has a ton of pre-built elements that you can add to your storefront and sales page with a single click. With the page builder, you can create a product banner, add testimonials, etc. You can also create custom sections within your sales page using Podia's page builder.
In general, it is very easy to use, but there is minimal flexibility. For instance, the text editor locks you in on one text size, and you cannot adjust the text spacing or add images in-between text.
Also, you can't choose to show or hide specific elements on mobile or desktop, and you can't modify the spacing between elements within the sales page.
You can build a standard sales page with Podia. However, its customization options make it a bad choice for creating a fully fledged website.
Pricing Products and Podia Payment Processing
When it comes to payment processing, Podia is excellent. It supports Stripe and Paypal. Since Podia doesn't collect your payments directly, all payments made by customers go directly to your account with no transaction fees.
Podia has different pricing options for products and memberships.
With products(online courses, digital downloads, and bundles), you can set up a one-time fee or a payment plan to allow your customers to pay more conveniently.
With memberships, you can multiple plans, listing different products in each of them. Also, you get to choose between monthly and annual subscriptions, and even offer a free trial.
There are a few limitations with Podia membership pricing options, though.
- You can't set up a lifetime fee for memberships.
- Podia does not support PayPal payments for memberships. This is largely due to some API issues from PayPal. But you can smoothly run your memberships using Stripe.
Podia offers you a payment coupon tool, which can supercharge your conversion rates. You can choose to create a coupon for all your products or specific ones only. To make things more efficient, Podia allows you to have direct links that automatically create and apply the coupons on your sales page.
Podia's checkout process is optimized for speed. Your customers don't need to create an account to make payments on your sales page. They only need to input a few details before completing their checkout process.
Additionally, Podia offers you the freedom to add (embed) your checkout experience on pages outside your Podia website. Thus, customers can pay for your courses, memberships, and digital products without leaving the website.
Another great feature Podia offers is the One-Click Upsell, which allows you to send discounted upsells to customers. You can even add several upsells to your checkout page.
Podia does not allow you to have testimonials, money-back guarantees, etc. on your checkout page. This is probably because it is expected that all of that would've been covered in your landing page. But at least, there should be a money-back guarantee on a checkout page.
Furthermore, you can't add custom messages, videos, etc. on your upsell page.
In general, Podia's checkout experience is solid.
Podia offers basic email marketing functionalities to help you collect leads for your business.
You can send one-off emails or automate a series of emails to go out on a schedule. You can also set up conditions for entry and exit.
For instance, when a lead signs up for your pre-launch offer, they automatically join your email campaign list. When they buy your course, they automatically exit the campaign list.
Podia's email marketing functionality is quite basic, though. It doesn't have any tools for list management. Thus, you can't create segments for your email list.
This is a crucial limitation and proves Podia's email marketing tool to be good enough just for sending notifications and onboarding campaigns.
However, this limitation can be by-passed using third party integrations (more on that later.)
If you would like to get additional revenue through affiliate marketing, Podia has the tool for that. You can invite customers to join your affiliate program, and Podia will generate unique links for your products and affiliates.
Your affiliates will get their private dashboards where they can get their links and monitor their earnings.
You can choose to pay them a specific percentage or a flat rate. You can also set different commissions for different products.
There are a few limitations here, though.
Firstly, the affiliates tool is only accessible in Podia's Shaker Plan. There is also no way to hide some products from your affiliate. However, you can deter them from promoting certain digital products, memberships, and courses by setting a 0% commission on them.
Furthermore, your affiliate cookie tracking will last for only 15 days. You cannot customize the tracking duration.
Third Party Integrations
Let's review Podia integrations. As you already know, Podia's email marketing functionalities are pretty basic and won't perform sophisticated tasks like list management. However, the platform is pretty compatible with most third party apps, allowing you to supercharge its capabilities beyond basic email marketing.
For email marketing, Podia integrates natively with the following email service providers:
- Mail Chimp.
These integrations give you the extra juice that helps you segment your list, set autoresponders, and several other advanced email functionalities.
Other integrations you can find on Podia include:
- Analytics: Google and HotJar.
- Advertising: Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Ads.
- Zapier: Helps you integrate over 1000 apps, including ThriveCart, Clickfunnels, Leadpages, etc.
- Third-party custom code snippets: Helps you add code snippets for apps like Sumo, Deadline Funnel, ConvertBox, etc.
Podia's integration with Paypal and Stripe is also awesome as it allows instant payout. However, its PayPal integration does not work onMembership.
Podia's customer support is very responsive and friendly. Every Podia review you'd come across would always give them a thumbs up in this aspect.
For starters, you can reach their customer service every day of the week through email and live chat. Their average response time during work hours is two minutes.
Along with this, Podia has built an impressive knowledge library that has answers to almost every general issue you might encounter. Also, there is a ton of superb walkthrough guides for new users who want to do anything from creating their first course to launching an affiliate program.
The best customer support feature Podia has is its free migration. If you already have your courses and products hosted on another platform, Podia offers to help you move everything (content and audience) onto their platform, for free! This is obtainable if you're on its Shaker plan.
Podia does not have an active Facebook community like its competitors. This is needed because it creates an avenue for users to network with each other and provide assistance as well.
Podia has two pricing plans:
- The Mover Plan: $39 per month.
- The Shaker Plan: $79/month
The Shaker Plan gives you the full features of the platform, including memberships and affiliate programs, which are not available on the Mover Plan.
Podia gives you access to both plans on a 14-day free trial (no credit card required). You can also terminate the plans anytime. However, there will be no refunds for all incurred monthly charges. If you terminate your plan after billing, you can use the features until the billed month runs out.
Finally, on both plans, you get zero transaction fees for all sales and payouts.
Learn more about Podia's pricing plans here.
Podia Pros and Cons
Podia, as an all-in-one platform, does pack a punch in delivering great services. Throughout this Podia review, we've seen several upsides and downsides. However, lets make a recap with bullet points, so you don't miss any of them.
- Awesome customer support via email and live chat
- Free migration of content and audience from other platforms
- Robust knowledge base
- Versatile platform for online-courses, digital products, and memberships
- Very easy to use
- Comes with payment plan options so you can allow your customers to pay in installments for higher cost courses
- Availability of drip email features
- Instant Payouts for creators
- Unlimited video hosting
- Compatibility with third party apps along with a robust Zapier integration
- Ability to embed checkout tools on external websites
- Handles EU VAT taxes automatically
- Zero transaction fees
- Limited customization options for website designing and course building
- Course builder does not support cloud import
- No passing grades for quizzes
- No course compliance features, completion certificates, etc.
- No mobile app
Podia Review: Is it Ultimately Worth it?
Let's end this review by saying that Podia is an awesome platform, excellent for beginners and experts on a budget. However, to use this, you'd have to trade simplicity for flexibility.
Podia stands out because it is very easy to use. Thus if you're a beginner, Podia is going to be fun for you. This is simply because you can set up a beautiful website and launch a course within minutes without a line of code.
However, for advanced creators who are more experienced in the technical aspects of website development, course building, integrations, and email marketing, Podia's limitations may be inconvenient.
Also, Podia is not only meant for creating courses, and have shown impressive features in areas of memberships and digital downloads.
So, what is our final review verdict?
Podia is worth it at its current prices. It is a great choice if you're looking for an affordable solution that gives you awesome features for creating courses, memberships, and digital products.
Test drive Podia by starting your free 14-day trial today!
Podia Alternatives and Competitors
As we already mentioned, Podia is essentially the new cool kid on the block, with other platforms like Thinkific, Teachable, and Kajabi already existing before it.
So, how does Podia stack up against its competitors?
Podia vs Teachable
Teachable is among the top platforms in the online course industry, hosting over 100,000 course creators and 23 million students so far. It is quite similar to Podia in the aspects of tools and pricing.
However, as a course platform, Teachable trumps Podia because it has all the features Podia lacks(graded quizzes, course compliance, certificates, etc.). It is also more flexible.
Podia performs better in memberships and digital downloads. It is also more affordable than Teachable and has better customer support.
If you'd like to know more about how these two compare, read our in-depth Podia vs Teachable comparison.
Podia vs Thinkific
Thinkific does a good job of course creation and delivery. It also has a large library of themes, which makes it more flexible for web designing. It also has a free plan and charges no transaction fees.
However, Thinkific is inferior in terms of marketing. For instance, it requires customers to create accounts before ensuing the payment on checkout. This slows down the checkout process. Learn more in our Thinkific review.
Finally, Thinkific does not automatically handle EU VAT for its users.
Podia vs Kajabi
Kajabi is a powerful all-in-one platform with which you can build your website, funnels, etc. It performs far better in terms of course creation features.
Kajabi gives you so many tools that can take your course creation experience to another level. These include a library of over ten course player themes, super-flexible course builder, content locking features, IOS/Android app support, better quiz features, etc.
However, it is more expensive at $149 per month. So, it is not quite ideal for beginners.