If you're thinking about selling memberships, digital downloads, or online courses, several options are available for you. One of them has come across my radar called Podia. It's a system meant only for constructing a site in one of those three categories–which is pretty cool considering you can cut out the rest of the clutter of e-commerce. In this Podia review, we'll outline the best features, along with areas like pricing, templates, and marketing.
Upon first glance, Podia offers a clean interface for designing your website. It's simple enough for beginners, and since it's only for memberships, digital downloads, and online courses, the options are more consolidated for users in those industries.
The pricing looks a little steep, but it's not all that bad. In addition, the default theme formats your website with ease, offering an elegant design and simple web design elements.
So, keep reading to learn more about Podia and to see if it's right for your website.
Podia Review: Pros and Cons
Podia is one of the market leaders when it comes to selling online courses, memberships and digital products online. The company offers a host of extra features to help you make cash, from affiliate marketing, to drip campaigns. However, there are some limitations to what you can do with Podia too.
On the plus side, there’s plenty of customization options, so you can make your brand stand out when you’re growing your online business. Even if you go with the default theme, you can expect an amazingly simple and elegant design. Additionally, the sales page makes selling items from your digital storefront straightforward.
You can add various pieces of information to help move your customers along the buyer funnel, and you can also access features for upsells and cross-sells. On the other hand, Podia is missing a lot of the flexibility that other products like Thinkific and Kajabi have to offer. If you’re looking for course creators that are tailored for professionals, this might not be it.
Podia Pros 👍
- Very easy to use
- Range of customization options
- Well-designed user interface
- Free trial available
- Competitive pricing options
- Flexible for selling webinars, and courses
- Constant updates and improvements
- Good student experience
Podia Cons 👎
- Not the most competitive pricing for low-volume sellers
- Must have the know-how to sell your products on your own website
- Limited automation options
- Limited analytics
- Not much support for managing members on the back-end
Podia Review: The Best Features and How They Work
The Podia features are broken down into four categories:
- Online courses
- Digital downloads
- Email marketing
Let's start with the features for a membership site:
First of all, Podia lets you create and offer multiple plans with different prices, content, and perks. You can keep in touch with your members by sending out emails or even resorting to images, video, and audio updates.
Bundling products is part of the membership package, and it supports both digital downloads and online courses.
Podia helps you construct a beautiful membership site without any need for coding skills. It supports a wide range of file uploads (video, MP3, text, PSD, PDF, and more).
Finally, each membership content page is organized in a logical manner, and the members can communicate with admins and other members in the comments area.
As for the online course features:
It all begins with a basic theme, which looks modern and clean. You get support for an unlimited number of courses, customers, and sales. The drip content is perfect for sending out courses and lessons over a certain time frame. Not to mention, you can upload just about any type of file to your online course.
One of the main reasons I like the Podia online course module over some competitors is because it has a built-in sales page for collecting money and giving out coupons. Not only that, but Podia includes a presales page if you'd like to pitch your courses and collect email addresses from potential students.
Digital downloads features:
The digital downloads features include items for selling anything from eBooks to music. Some of the files you can sell include checklists, PDFs, eBooks, videos, audio, and cheat sheets.
The speedy checkout is optimized to improve your conversion rates, and the checkout process doesn't require people to create an account.
Marketing and sales are made easy with the complimentary sales page. Here, you can insert a video, FAQ, and email opt-in form. Finally, there's obviously a feature for selling your digital downloads, but you can also flip the switch to give the items away for free.
Email marketing features:
Email marketing is actually integrated into the other modules such as digital downloads, online courses, and the membership sites. So, if you'd like to retrieve emails from prospective (and current) users and students, it's possible no matter what.
The drip campaigns are sent out automatically through emails. Podia also offers email newsletters for when you'd like to put together some content and keep people engaged. Tracking is done by checking out the click rates, open rates, and unsubscribe rates. Finally, the email marketing tools include opt-in forms for placing on your storefront and prelaunch pages.
Podia Review: Ease of Use
Since Podia is provided to you for 30 days without any credit card, it gives you a chance to play around with the tools and see how easy it is to use.
I would argue that Podia has the perfect user-experience for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users. It makes sense that some developers would want to use Magento or WordPress for more advanced features, but I really don't see the point if you're only going to make something like a membership or online course site.
The hosting is included, and the dashboard is fitted with some fun and easy to understand steps for making your website. So, if I wanted to make an online course, I would start with the Online Course button.
Then, the majority of the features are consolidated on one page, with a few tabs for your sales page, settings, and sales. It shows the number of sales you've currently brought in, and you can click on the Preview button to get a look at your website.
The primary buttons include the options to Add Files, Add a Link, and Add Text. That's pretty much of it. I know for a fact that some people won't be that pleased with the limited design options, but that's kind of the point of Podia. It cuts down on the complicated process of building an online course or membership site, and it's all done by giving you a beautiful theme to start off with.
Podia Review: Pricing
As mentioned, the Podia platform provides a 30-day free trial without the need to type in your credit card information. What's more is that if you upgrade to an actual plan within five days of starting your free trial, a 15% lifetime discount is thrown onto your plan.
Annual and monthly billing plans are shown, so obviously, if you pay for Podia on a yearly basis you're going to get a better monthly rate.
Although Podia isn't the cheapest way to make an online store, the pricing isn't bad at all. Also, it makes up for the price with the awesome features and simple user interface.
One thing I like about Podia is that it only has two pricing plans. Therefore, you're not confused when trying to figure out which features you need to pay for.
Here's what's available in terms of pricing:
- The Mover Plan – $33 per month for all basic Podia features and drip course content.
- The Shaker Plan – $67 per month for all basic Podia features, advanced traffic, onboarding, migration assistance, drip course content, affiliates, and memberships.
All plans have the following:
- 0% transaction fees to Podia. This doesn't include the fee you will have to pay for Stripe or PayPal.
- Email newsletters for sending out manual and automated emails.
- Prelaunch product pages.
- Unlimited courses.
- Unlimited digital downloads.
- Drip email content.
- Customer tracking.
- A high-conversion checkout page.
- Several integrations like ConvertKit and Zapier.
- Payouts that instantly go to your bank account.
- Data exporting tools.
- A custom domain to sell items from your own website.
- A payment protection plan.
Podia Review: Templates and Design
As we talked about briefly, the templates are preset for making your checkout, sales page, membership pages, and course pages the best they can be. The good news is that it's one of the easiest design processes I've ever seen.
Your course content, and whatever other modules you place on your site, are organized for you. Furthermore, the preset templates look beautiful.
I'd say this is going to frustrate some professional developers who want full control over their design environment. However, it's still a wonderful solution for all skills levels because of how rapidly the Podia builder puts together your website.
Podia Review: Marketing
Marketing is built in with the email marketing module. This sends out everything from course updates to email newsletters. What's cool is that you can brand them to the best of your ability and choose whether you'd like to send out the manual or automated messaging. The drip content is configured on the automated end of things.
In addition, a sales page is provided for listing a product description, headline, and cover photo. I like this for people who want to link from ads on Google and Facebook. Feel free to upload an introduction video and create an FAQ area. You can integrate your shopping cart and email marketing as well.
Podia Review: Payments
The payments are processed through either PayPal or Stripe. You can choose.
Although this is extremely limited, Stripe and PayPal cover a wide variety of countries. You shouldn't have any problems with the fees or services.
Podia Review: Security
Your Podia checkout is protected by Stripe and PayPal. Podia doesn't collect any information when one of your customers goes through the checkout, and the checkout pages are completely secure. The transactions are sent through an encryption process and protected by 128-bit SSL encryption technology.
I would like to see some fraud protection, since membership and online course sites often see people trying to game the system.
One advantage is that both pricing plans have SSL certificates for locking down transaction security.
Podia Review: The Customer Service
One downside of Podia is the lack of phone support. You have the option to email Podia or go through the 24/7 live chat area. The Shaker plan even gets onboarding and migration assistance if you plan on moving from a different platform.
Along with a blog, documentation and a Resources page, Podia support is about as good as it can get without phone support.
What are the best alternatives to Podia?
Although Podia has a lot of positive features to offer as an online course platform, it’s not going to be the right option for everyone. There are a lot of alternatives out there that can offer different experiences, packed with additional features for those who need them.
Here are some of the best alternatives to Podia.
Teachable is one of the best-known Podia alternatives on the market for selling digital content. This fantastic eLearning solution comes with a range of fantastic features, including a user-friendly interface, and great navigation for your back end.
Teachable is also available at a great price point for those who don’t have a lot of money to spend. Teachable offers additional branding and customization options that are lacking elsewhere too. With the option to upload a range of content, including movies, images, MP3 files, and so much more, getting started on Teachable couldn’t be simpler. However, there’s not a lot of opportunities for interactive learning here.
On the plus side, Teachable has a lot of key course design features to explore, including the option to create quizzes, and the ability to organize courses into various sections. Teachable also has a host of eCommerce options, including a fixed-price basic plan option, subscription, or membership selling.
Teachable Pros 👍
- Great user-friendly interface
- Third-party code available on all web pages
- Structured course support
- Useful high-converting sales funnel
- Various upload options
Teachable Cons 👎
- Not a lot of interactivity for courses
- Limited theme options
Udemy is another of the most popular options for those who don’t want to use Podia for selling their online courses. Though the solution has mixed reviews online, Udemy can offer an excellent opportunity for people who need a little help getting started.
Udemy’s online education network is excellent for attracting opportunities for sales. You don’t need to create a website from scratch. Instead, you can use the marketplace that Udemy already has to grow at a rapid pace. If you’re keen to get your message across to as many people as possible, then Udemy can help with that. However, it’s worth noting that the fees are quite high.
Udemy allows people to build online courses using all the various kinds of media they love. You’ll need to keep in mind that Udemy does keep up to 50% of your revenue when they promote your course creation, however.
Udemy Pros 👍
- Good customer support
- No need to make your own website
- Easy to get started
- Excellent for business growth
- Huge marketplace for selling
Udemy Cons 👎
- You lose a lot of money when Udemy attracts customers
- Not a lot of options to build your own brand
Thinkific is another huge name in the eLearning game, and an excellent Podia alternative. With Thinkific, you can design, market, and sell online courses while still building an effective online identity. There are three themes to choose from in the Thinkific site builder tool, and you can add various branding elements to the mix, including adding your own font styles and color schemes.
Thinkific makes it easy to design well-structured online learning experiences that you can split into modules or chapters. Additionally, you can also access things like a built-in survey or quiz builder. However, if you need to host videos, you’re going to need to use a third-party service.
Thinkific offers a range of features for eCommerce functionality too, such as the option to add coupons, freebies, and discounts to your website. There’s also the opportunity to unlock a selection of third-party integrations, including ConvertKit and Active Campaign connections. Thinkific might be limited in some places, but it still has a lot to offer for course creators. Plus, you can access a free trial with Thinkific too.
Thinkific Pros 👍
- Easy-to-use intuitive platform
- Some customization options
- Third-party integrations
- Learner-focused design features
- Bulk importing for various file types
- Lots of customization options
Thinkific Cons 👎
- No in-built hosting for videos
- Not a lot of support for interactive content
Academy of Mine is another sensational option for selling digital learning experiences. This platform gives users access to a convenient all-in-one solution for selling self-branded course experiences. There’s no need to settle for any one-size-fits-all functionality here. Instead, you can create something that’s truly unique to you and your brand.
If you need some help getting started, you can select a fully-hosted template, complete with landing pages, galleries, offer pages, and more. Additionally, there’s a lot of support to help you with learning management and course creation too. With various marketing features to choose from, including affiliate programs and email marketing, it’s easy to get your message out there.
Additionally, Academy of Mine ensures that you have everything you need to build massive online courses, without having to compromise. Just keep in mind that the pricing is pretty high, and there’s more of a learning curve here than you would get from other leading solutions on the market. It may take some time for you to get used to this platform.
Academy of Mine Pros 👍
- No free plan but there is a free trial
- Lots of customization options
- Various payment plans available
- Great selection of ways to manage digital content
- Advanced LMS features
- Affiliate program and email marketing
Academy of Mine Cons 👎
- Quite expensive
- More of a learning curve
Finally, Kajabi is a well-known platform that borrows functionality from a range of different learning environments, including Podia. For instance, like Podia, you don’t have the option to create hierarchical courses. Instead, you build courses that are “digital products”.
Kajabi labels itself as more of an online business platform than a learning system. This means that you will be a little limited in terms of course design features. However, the marketing and sales features are intricate and elaborate, to the point of requiring special knowledge and formal training.
Kajabi includes course editors, which allows you to build your content within the platform. However, there’s not a lot of intuitiveness in this course creator, so it takes a while to get used to it. On the plus side, Kajabi does have a lot to offer when it comes to marketing. With this service, you can create highly customized websites with tons of built-in themes for your landing pages. Building intricate funnels and making sales is easy with Kajabi.
Unfortunately, the excellent ecommerce features from Kajabi do come at a price, as this is one of the pricier options in our list.
Kajabi Pros 👍
- Lots of growth opportunities
- Wide range of features
- Various marketing and ecommerce options
- Customizable websites
- Support for sales pipeline creation
- Webinar hosting
Kajabi Cons 👎
- More of a learning curve
- Limited learning path options
- Quite expensive
Who Should Consider Podia?
There are a lot of points to consider when choosing a tool to sell digital products and courses to your email list and other clients. You might want to choose a product with a free 14-day trial, or live chat support for guidance. You may need something that works as a plugin for your existing website, or gives you a range of ways to integrate with tools like Mailchimp and Clickfunnels.
Podia is one of the market leaders for small business owners. It can help you to reach a lot of potential customers with your digital products. However, there are limitations to the platform too. That’s why there are so many alternatives out there. It’s worth fully evaluating the marketplace and deciding what features are crucial to you before you sign on the dotted line.
I like this app for those who have found that Gumroad, or other competitors, are either too complex or they force you to pay high transaction fees. Podia offers a wonderful user experience along with a rapid launch process for online courses, digital downloads, and membership sites.
If you have any questions about this Podia review, let us know in the comments.