Podia Review: A Creator-Focused Online Course Platform (2022)
Podia is a creator-focused online course platform that enables you to create, market, and sell courses, webinars, memberships, and other digital products.
Podia is a creator-focused online course platform that enables you to create, market, and sell courses, webinars, memberships, and other digital products.
Podia’s pricing is transparent and straightforward.
You unlock all essential features with the Shaker plan for a low monthly price.
It comes with simple email and affiliate marketing tools.
The daily live Q&As and live chat offer customized support options.
You can create course completion certificates.
You can sell various products, including webinars, coaching, memberships, and digital downloads.
There aren’t any transaction fees on any plan.
You can sell unlimited products with unlimited video bandwidth on any plan.
The monthly costs quickly rack up if you want to add more team members.
While Podia covers a range of features, many aren’t as in-depth as specialized third-party tools.
It doesn’t offer a mobile app.
Site customization is limited. There’s no drag-and-drop editor, so you have to work within the confines of the sections and elements Podia provides.
Reporting tools are relatively basic.
It doesn’t offer course compliance requirements or grading features, which can be a deal-breaker for some course creators.
Whether you are looking for your next passion project, an additional income stream, or a fully-fledged business venture, selling online courses is a popular market worth considering.
But, how do you hit the ground running? Cue, an intuitive online course platform such as Podia.
This easy-to-use solution provides everything newbies need to create and sell online courses, digital downloads, and online memberships.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Podia offers.
In light of that, I’ve outlined everything you need to know about Podia. So hopefully, by the end of this review, you’ll have all the info you need to decide whether this is the right platform for you.
There’s lots to cover, so grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get to it.
What Is Podia
Founded in 2014, Podia is a creator-focused online course platform. Fast forward to today, and thanks to Podia’s ease of use, range of features, and affordable pricing, it’s amassed a user base of over 50,000 creators.
Podia promises to replace at least five tools you would typically need to get your online business off the ground, including:
- Online course creation
- Digital product creation
- Online membership area creation
- Email and affiliate marketing
- Website creation
Suppose you’ve already done some research into Podia’s competitors. In that case, you might know that platforms such as Kajabi provide a similar offering (see my Podia vs Kajabi comparison). So what makes Podia different?
In short, Podia is geared towards solopreneurs who are just getting started. Its features are intuitive, and most importantly, affordable. While you can’t build multi-site online schools with Podia, you’ll benefit from versatile features developed with independent teachers and content creators in mind.
Ease of Use
As I’ve already hinted at, one of the main reasons new creators flock towards Podia is its intuitive interface.
Podia doesn’t complicate the user experience with too many options. Instead, it simply guides you through the process of creating a new course or digital product. Just click through the tabs and fill out the information fields as requested to develop the framework of your product. Simple, right?
Podia’s website and sales page builder is equally easy to use. It comes with a live preview so that you can see exactly what your site looks like before you launch it. However, there isn’t a drag-and-drop editor. Instead, everything is customizable from the sidebar. The process is easy and tidy, but your freedom to customize your website’s aesthetic is somewhat limited.
If you already have an online course hosted on a different platform, rest assured, Podia makes the migration process a breeze. On the Shaker plan or higher, you get access to Podia’s free migration service that will transfer all your files over for you, so you don’t have to lift a finger!
As you’ve probably gathered already, Podia comes with a versatile set of features covering a wide range of business aspects.
Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Online Courses and Digital Products
The most important feature of any online course platform is its course creator.
Fortunately, Podia doesn’t disappoint in this department.
Here, you’ll find a wide range of product types to choose from and multiple ways to sell them. For example, you can create standalone courses, drip-fed courses, bundles, and pre-sales and pre-launches. With the latter, you just set a start date for your course. Then, buyers only get access once the course is officially open. This is an excellent technique for generating hype surrounding your digital products!
Aside from traditional courses, Podia also enables you to sell digital downloads, such as eBooks, templates, lead magnets, audio files, and music. Like online courses, you can also upload, title, and describe your product.
To support your marketing, you can generate customer coupons. More specifically, you can customize coupon codes with usage caps, product limitations, and expiration dates. You can also implement an upselling strategy by offering other complementary products on your checkout pages.
You can populate your courses with any content type you like, including text, images, video, audio and MP3 files, links, PDFs, Photoshop files, quizzes, and more. Each plan comes with unlimited video bandwidth, so Podia is well worth considering if this is your preferred content type.
On top of that, creating your course structure is very straightforward. First, you opt into creating a new product, choose the product type, and start adding sections. From there, you can title your course, upload an image to go with it, add a description, and begin uploading media to your content sections.
Podia also lets you offer students course completion certificates, a popular feature amongst course creators and students alike. For you, it cuts out using middlemen such as Canva, and for the students, it makes your course seem more formal and works wonders for creating a sense of tangible achievement.
Students can also toggle to distraction-free learning. This blends out all navigation areas so users can solely focus on your content.
That said, where the student experience is concerned, this is pretty much where Podia draws the line. You get very little control over how students progress through your courses. For example, you can’t create assignment certificates, grade quizzes, or set course compliance criteria. Your only option for controlling course progression is to create a drip-fed course.
Webinars and Coaching
You can also use Podia to offer webinars and coaching services via their YouTube Live and Zoom integrations (the latter is only available with the Shaker and Earthquaker plans). You can even require users to sign up via Podia to turn those anonymous YouTube fans into engaged subscribers.
Podia makes it easy to schedule your webinars in advance. You can also earn passive income from replays; Podia saves all your webinars so that new customers can purchase the recordings.
To offer coaching services, you can pair Podia with your favorite scheduling platform, including Calendly, Acuity, SavvyCal, and others. That way, students can book and pay for coaching sessions from your Podia site. You can even add coaching as a course module, should you wish!
Podia also lets you create membership programs that enable you to build a loyal and profitable community surrounding your content. With Podia’s community features, you can publish members-only content, pin posts, schedule content in advance, and even determine which membership plans can access which pieces of content.
The membership isn’t one-sided, either. Podia allows users to comment and like your posts, which boosts engagement and develops a great sense of community.
With Podia communities, you can create different membership levels, bill customers monthly or yearly, and offer free trials to entice new customers. On top of that, you can also bundle your membership programs with other products to create a more appealing offering.
Paid communities, however, are only available with the Shaker and Earthquaker plans.
Podia allows you to create your own website and product landing pages, where there isn’t a limit on the number of sales you can process.
Fortunately, the website editor is very beginner-friendly and requires no coding knowledge. It’s also SEO-friendly and enables you to embed subscription forms or free products to boost conversions.
Podia comes with a messaging widget you can add to your site. This isn’t a third-party plugin. At the time of writing, Podia is the only online course platform that comes with integrated live chat.
This is great for interacting with new customers and visitors. For example, you can offer on-page live chat support for logged-in customers while you’re available. And if you’re out of the office, the messaging widget can capture customer questions, feedback, and requests that you can respond to at your leisure.
The chat tool supports 11 languages and pings you notifications to ensure you never miss a thing.
Email marketing is vital — some would go so far as to say that you can’t run your business without it. Fortunately, with Podia, you don’t have to. The platform comes with an in-built email marketing service that empowers you to host unlimited subscribers no matter which payment plan you opt for.
However, the number of emails you can send per month varies according to your payment plan. For example, the cheapest plan enables you to send 5,000 emails per month.
Podia’s email marketing process starts with email capture. You can add subscription forms to all your landing and sales pages.
Once you have an email list, you can create and send automated drip email campaigns to build a sales funnel. You can set the triggers that send these emails, for instance, when someone downloads a lead magnet or purchases a course. On top of that, you can also send one-off broadcast emails at any time.
You can also send broadcast emails or entire campaigns to segments of your audience. These segments could be based on product purchases, membership plans, specific subscription forms, and more. These are just a few examples, but you get the gist. By segmenting your email list, it’s much easier to target specific customers with customized content relevant to their needs.
The Email tab highlights all the critical stats you need for both campaigns and broadcasts, for example, how many emails were sent, opened, clicked on, led to sales, or caused unsubscribes.
Podia’s email marketing feature is excellent for small businesses that need to send frequent updates or announcements. However, sooner or later, you may have to invest in a more advanced email marketing tool to really unlock the power of this strategy.
For example, Podia’s email segmentation is quite basic. It doesn’t allow you to add custom tags to separate your audience. The emails themselves also only allow for rich text editing and file uploads. In contrast, many third-party email marketing providers offer high-quality templates, better design options, more fine-tuned segmentation, and more advanced automation features.
Affiliate marketing is another popular marketing technique you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Podia allows you to quickly set up your own affiliate program with no additional software required. You can set a site-wide commissions structure or assign specific commissions to individual products.
You can also make your affiliate program public or invite-only — the choice is yours!
Again, while an in-built affiliate marketing platform is nice to have, you might miss out on some of the more advanced affiliate marketing features offered by third parties. For example, Podia doesn’t allow you to set different affiliate tiers or manage the commission rates of individual affiliates. This makes it challenging to establish VIP relationships with your most loyal partners.
Podia integrates with email service providers such as AWeber, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp. It also offers analytics integrations, including Google Analytics.
Through Podia’s Zapier integration, you can further unlock connections with tools such as Leadpages, Trello, Google Sheets, and more.
That said, overall, Podia’s list of native integrations is still pretty limited and only falls into select categories. You can browse the complete list of integration here.
With three simple premium plans to choose from, Podia keeps its pricing transparent. Once your 14-day free trial is up, you can choose between the Mover, Shaker, and Earthquaker plans. If you opt for annual billing, you’ll save the equivalent of two months worth of subscription.
The below prices are based on monthly billing.
The Mover plan is $39 a month and comes with “unlimited everything” (products, customers, messages, sales, and files hosted) and no transaction fees. In addition, you get access to all of Podia’s core course creation functionality.
To unlock paid communities, coaching, affiliate marketing, course completion certificates, you’ll need to upgrade to the $89 per month Shaker plan.
Finally, the Earthquaker plan at $199 a month empowers you to white-label your site. It comes with the highest monthly email allowance and five team seats included, plus unlocks access to a dedicated account manager and monthly group creator calls.
You can also add extra team seats on any plan for an additional $20 per month.
Documentation and Support
Podia offers a range of self-help resources, including two how-to guides covering membership site creation and how to profit from online courses. The guides offer a several-step outline explaining in-depth how to make the most of Podia’s features.
The Podia Creator Wiki covers other features in detail. However, just like there are only two how-to guides on the website, the wiki doesn’t have too many articles to boast about.
There’s also a video library of Podia guides. Here, you’ll find many of Podia’s features showcased, alongside plenty of handy tips and tricks.
As an additional resource, Podia lists a handful of free content creation tools, including a generator for sales and email copy.
All of these resources stand in addition to the official Podia Help Center, where you’ll find more technical documentation on all of Podia’s features and tools.
If these self-help resources don’t answer your questions, you can contact Podia’s support team directly. Live chat is available from 9 AM – 6 PM ET on weekdays and 9 AM – 5 PM ET on weekends. You can also contact them via email if your query falls outside of these hours. Here, Podia promises to get back to you within a day.
That’s not all, however! The team also offers daily Q&A sessions and weekly live demos. These are fantastic for getting a good idea of the software before you sign up — especially if you have questions you want answering before you sign the dotted line.
Podia Review: Final Verdict
When it comes to online course platforms, there’s rarely a one-size-fits-all approach. As such, you’ll need to carefully consider what you want out of your online school before you make a choice.
For example, in the case of Podia, the platform caters nicely to independent creators looking for an affordable but feature-rich option. With unlimited products, bandwidth, and no transaction fees, you can quickly sell a wide range of digital downloads without breaking the bank.
Podia’s Shaker plan also covers everything you need to get started with affiliate and email marketing. Not to mention, you can create unlimited landing and sales pages and also use these touchpoints to build your email list.
That said, Podia doesn’t replace specialized email and affiliate marketing tools. This is where similar all-in-one platforms such as Kajabi overtake Podia quickly, albeit with a much higher price tag. Podia’s affiliate and email marketing features are just too basic to fully replace a specialized third-party tool. Its design and customization capabilities are limited, and even the overall student learning experience is on the simple side.
While this means Podia is easy to use and combines all the essentials into one interface, it’s just that: the essentials.
For more advanced functionality to scale your business, you’ll eventually have to integrate with more third-party software or switch to a different online course platform entirely.
If your needs aren’t too complex and you just want an intuitive and creator-friendly tool to get started, I encourage you to check out Podia and give its free trial a go. On the other hand, if you’re already a course creator looking to scale your business, I would point you towards other course platforms such as Kajabi instead.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments what your experience with Podia has been, or if you’re thinking of checking it out after reading this review!