In this Podia review, I’m going to talk about one of the options creators have for selling digital products such as courses, ebooks, memberships and webinars online.
Podia is one of the top course platforms on the internet and you may have several questions before you dive into the platform. Questions like:
- Is Podia a good course platform?
- Which platform is better than Podia?
- How do you use Podia?
- What can I sell on Podia?
- Does Podia have a free trial?
- Can I use Podia for free?
I’ve tested Podia and its features and I’m going to answer all of these questions here in this Podia review. You’ll be able to make a decision on whether or not to use Podia by the end of this post.
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What is Podia?
Podia is a cloud-based learning management platform that allows you to not just sell courses but also memberships, downloads and even offer coaching and webinars.
The platform provides creators with everything necessary to build courses, market and sell them via their own website. To get started, you can sign up for a free account and begin building your courses. Core features are available on the free plan and you can upgrade to one of the paid accounts for more advanced features.
Podia once offered a free trial for their paid plans but has since replaced that with a free plan. The free plan is ideal for test-driving the platform.
If you’re looking to sell your digital product, course or offer a membership then you may want to consider Podia. Their all-in-one nature allows you to replace a lot of tools including email marketing automation services, affiliate networks, webinar software, shopping cart and e-commerce platforms and more.
Podia is also very easy to use and you don’t need any technical skills to get everything set up. There are plenty of helpful training videos, tutorials and guides to get you familiar with each task involved. The 24/7 live chat support is also always there to help.
What Can You Sell On Podia?
If it can be delivered directly through the internet, then you can sell it on Podia. This includes:
- online courses
- audio files
- video files
Podia will host your file and you can use the provided website and marketing tools to build your audience and sell them what you have to offer. Create a membership or community to retain your audience and market to them through the built-in email service.
Who Is Podia For?
Podia is for anyone who wants to sell an online course or downloadable product online.
The pricing makes it a more affordable option than many of the other course platforms like Kajabi or even Thinkific. This makes it perfect for bloggers, marketers, YouTubers and most creators on a budget who would like to share their knowledge in a more structured format.
Since Podia allows you to sell stuff like digital downloads, for example, music files and audio as well as ebooks, this makes it a great alternative to platforms that do not allow direct selling of downloads. For instance, you may want to offer a Lightroom training course and sell presets. Podia would be a better option to go with than any of the other top course platforms.
It is important for any platform to have an interface that isn’t cluttered and clunky, easy to navigate and allows you to accomplish the tasks you set out to do.
Podia features a very clean and minimal interface with all the important stuff just a click away. When you first sign up for an account, you’re asked to choose what you would like to accomplish during the onboarding process.
You can choose as many options as you like. The options that you choose are added as a dashboard widget so that Podia can help you check off your goals as you achieve them.
When you log into Podia, your dashboard looks like this.
At the top, you’ll find the site menu where you can access the core features quickly.
- Products – start building your course, upload files to offer as a download, set up webinars and more. If you’ve already started offering any products, you’ll be able to manage them here.
- Community – from here you can set up your community which helps to create engagement and interaction around your products.
- Email – this is where you can set up and manage your email marketing within Podia.
- Coupons – you can create and manage your coupons here to offer discounts on your products and memberships.
- Audience – all your subscribers, members and customers show up here and you can manage them all through this tab.
- Affiliate – Podia allows you to offer affiliates a way to promote your product and get paid. You can manage everything through this tab.
- Sales – You can keep track of sales data here, refund customers and set up direct deposit through Stripe or PayPal so that you can get paid.
Other items in the header allow you to see notifications, access help and manage your account settings. The dashboard also has a tour and quick start guide at the top that you can easily get rid of once you’ve seen the video. It’s helpful to have it there if you’ve just signed up.
The goals section of the dashboard allows you to see the goals that you chose during the onboarding process. Once you’ve started any of these, they get checked off.
In the screenshot above, you’ll see that “create first course” has already been checked off and moved to the bottom of the list because I’ve already done this task.
Audience and sales data are also shown in the dashboard. You can get rid of the first two widgets to see them without having to scroll.
Podia’s interface makes this platform very easy to use. There are help files where you’ll need them especially when you just start using a feature.
For example, when you first start using email, you will be able to see a video overview on using email and a link to learn more through Podia help guides.
In the next section, let’s take a look at Podia’s main features.
Podia has a lot of great features that make it a good all-in-one course platform. In this section, I’ll review some of the best features you’ll find yourself using as a creator on Podia.
1. Course Builder
The feature that most creators are going to use on Podia is the course builder. This feature is very easy to use and there are tutorials posted to help you as well.
To start using the course builder, all you need to do is to click on Product in the top menu and then click on the “New Product” button that shows up on the following page. You will then see the following pop-up.
You can then:
- Give your course a name.
- Choose the product type. Online course is selected by default.
- Click on “create product” to create your course.
It is that easy to set up. All you need to do now is add the content and define your settings. The course editor looks like this.
Here, you can add lessons and sections to your course. There are also useful links to watch videos and get step-by-step instructions on setting up your course. Your lessons will fill this area and you’ll be able to edit and manage them from here.
The links at the top of the editor allow you to add course details such as the thumbnail image viewers can identify your course by, your course description and category. You will also be able to add certificates for your course if you plan on offering them.
The Pricing link lets you add your price settings. You can set your course to give away for free or add Stripe or PayPal to set a price. You can also add upsells to show during checkout.
In the Availability settings, you can set the status to available for purchase, prelaunch if you’re just collecting emails or draft to make it unavailable. Set the access to open (for purchase) or closed if it’s not available for purchase but still visible on your website. There are other settings to fine-tune how audiences find your product.
To build your course out you can add sections and lessons. Sections are like chapters with different lessons making up that chapter.
In the section editor, just add the title and a description of the section. There is also a delay feature where you can choose to show the section immediately or delay it for a set number of days.
To add lessons, you have a number of content options.
You can add:
- Text lessons – your students can read the lessons. Great for detailed step-by-step instructions.
- Embeds – Podia supports embeds from hundreds of sources including YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Instagram, Google Docs and more to add to your lessons.
- Quizzes – Write your lesson’s content and add questions and answer options to make a quiz.
- Coaching – Allow your students to book a coaching session with you.
- Files – Upload any files such as a video, audio file, image, pdf or other documents to add to your lesson.
When you’re done, you can organize your course the way you want it to look for students and either publish it for immediate purchase or set it to prelaunch while you collect emails.
The Podia course builder is easy enough for beginner creators to use and there are tutorials and help files available so you’re properly guided on the process.
2. Digital Downloads
Podia also lets you sell digital products that your visitors can download to their computers after they’ve purchased them. This is a feature that not all course platforms offer. Podia doubles as a digital product platform in this regard.
To add digital products to Podia, you follow basically the same process as the course builder but instead of adding lessons, you upload your digital files. These files can include video, audio, pdfs, spreadsheets, presets, templates and more or bundles that include any combination of allowed files.
You can use the links at the top of the editor to add product images and descriptions, pricing details, upsells and availability in the same way as course settings.
If you want to give away a lead magnet for free while building your email list, you can do it through the digital download manager and then sell your course later.
Podia allows you to do webinars whether they are live or pre-recorded. To sell webinars to your audience, you have two options – use YouTube live to connect through Podia or connect your Zoom account to host webinars or meetings.
Again, not all course platforms allow you to directly offer webinars and meetings so this is another feature that sets Podia apart from its competitors.
You’ll need to have a Zoom account and have it connected to Podia to host Zoom webinars and meetings. You can just enter the YouTube live link to embed it on the platform.
Then inside the webinar editor, you can just add the start and end date and time for the webinar, a webinar description and join instructions, and choose when to remind your viewers that the webinar is starting.
As with other product types, Podia provides instructions for hosting both Zoom and YouTube Live webinars on the platform.
You can add preview details, pricing and other settings using the links at the top of the editor.
Podia makes it easy to have a community where you can build the conversation around your course and where your students can interact. This can help create audience retention, higher engagement and interest in your products.
To build a community, you can just click on the community link in the top menu, name your community on the next page and click create.
Your community has been created. From here you can add discussions and then launch your community. Settings allow you to further customize your community to match your branding.
You can give access to students for free or charge a fee. Products can be included with membership and you can choose visibility and access settings. Members can create their own posts and depending on the level of access, they can also embed media from hundreds of websites.
5. Website Builder
One thing that comes standard with all course creators is a sales page or website builder so you can sell your courses. Podia offers a simple website editor that does not require any previous coding or design experience.
To start using the website builder, you can just click on the “edit site” button on your dashboard at any time. As usual, if you need help with building your website, Podia provides a walk-through video as well as links to Podia help.
Podia offers a few choices depending on how you would like to set up your website. Once you’ve chosen how to start here, you can’t really go back or delete your website.
You can start with:
- Blank site – You don’t have access to website code on Podia so this isn’t completely from scratch. What Podia will do is let you edit your site without a prebuilt template.
- Email Lander – Gives you a pre-built template that puts collecting emails into focus.
- Link Page – This simple page template let’s you show off links to your existing online presence.
- Full Website – You can build a full website with multiple pages where each page has different layouts and sections.
The initial setup asks you for a few things like brand colors and a logo and then you can edit your pages using the website editor. The editor isn’t drag-and-drop which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can click to add sections and then there are style and layout options you can click on to customize how you want your site to look. While it isn’t that flexible, the tight customization choices ensure that you have great looking sales pages that are built for conversions.
You can set SEO title and descriptions as well as whether Google should index certain pages.
One thing that is missing from Podia’s website building experience is the ability to add blog posts. The Podia team admits that while they don’t have a blogging tool, there are doable work-arounds that you can use to create a blog on your website.
One thing that I do like is that you can preview your fully responsive website as seen on desktop, tablet and mobile phone right there in the editor.
Podia’s website editor is great but it badly needs a proper blogging tool and probably a bit more flexibility when it comes to editing.
6. Email Marketing
You do not need to have your own email marketing service such as Aweber, GetResponse or MailChimp when you’re using Podia. Although Podia has integrations for these services, they also have a built-in email marketing service that you can use to reach your audience.
You can send broadcasts or cue up a series of emails to send out at intervals. Podia also gives you all the tools to collect emails such as forms and even page templates. You can build funnels in order to convert leads into paying subscribers and more.
Podia’s email marketing service let’s you do the things any great email marketing service allows you to do. Segmentation is one of those things and also analytics. You can get insights into open rates, clicks, bounce rates, unsubscribes and more.
Everything can be managed from your email dashboard by clicking on Email in the top menu.
To get started with Podia email, you will be able to see a walk-through video as well as help guides on how to use the product. You will also be required to add your address for compliance and set up a few other things.
Being able to reach your audience with the right marketing messages and see how your efforts are performing is something you need when using any platform. Podia provides everything you need in this regard and saves you yet another subscription.
If you however have an existing list with one of the email marketing services, you can also use the direct integrations to link to Podia and run your campaigns from an external service.
7. Marketing & Sales
Podia has a number of marketing and sales features to help you convert more of your visitors into buyers.
- Coupons – Only available on paid plans, coupons allow you to give buyers a discount for courses, downloads, memberships and even bundles. You can create and manage coupons in it’s own dashboard by clicking on the Coupons link in the top menu.
- Live chat – You can offer convenient messaging and live chat to visitors browsing your site so you can turn them into customers.
- Upsells – You can offer other products on the order page of an existing product which is a great way to earn more money per customer.
- Bundles – You can also boost sales by combining two or more of your products whether it’s a download with a course or a course and a webinar or all three.
- Embed buttons – You can easily integrate Podia into an existing website that you own by using the embed buttons for your products.
To use the sales features you’ll need to connect to Stripe or PayPal (or both) for payment processing.You can see all your sales data in your dashboard under Sales in the top menu.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to extend your reach and reward your existing customers for telling others about your courses. Podia offers built-in affiliate programs for subscribers on the Shaker plan ($99/month) or above.
As usual, whenever you start using a feature on Podia, you’ll be able to see a walk-through video and also help guides to show you how to use the feature.
Affiliate marketing on Podia is simple and you can set it all up and manage it from your dashboard.
To have people promote your products, you can set your affiliate program to either invite-only or open. Commission rates can be set to either a flat fee (like $10 per sale) or as a percentage of the sale (say 35% per sale). You can also set specific products to have their own commission rates which will override the globally set commission rates.
You can see sales data in your affiliates dashboard and you’ll be able to see which affiliates have not been paid and pay them directly from the dashboard.
Podia Support & Help
One thing Podia is great at is the support and help they offer to creators who use their platform to build their online business. There are many support channels on Podia and they aren’t just available to members on paid plans but even for free members.
Get started with any of the core features on Podia and you’ll be shown a video walkthrough and links where you can learn more about doing the task at hand.
The screenshot above is just an example of this. When you start using their email feature, you’ll be shown a video tour of the feature and how to set it up. You’ll also be given a link to some help files so you can get step-by-step instructions that you can go through.
And if you get stuck while you’re setting things up and prefer talking to a human being, no matter what plan you’re on, free or paid, there is the live chat available.
From your account, you can also click the “question mark icon” in your header navigation next to your profile picture and access a host of help and support channels.
- Weekly Live Demo – this is a weekly webinar that happens every Tuesday at 2pm EST. You can sign up to see how Podia works and get any questions you have answered .
- Podia Blog – You can get Podia updates on new developments, get inspired with creator stories, and tips that can help you level up your online course business.
- Video Library – Get tips on growing your business with Podia videos. You get new useful video content every week.
- Podia Guides – shows you step-by-step and in detail how to use Podia and its features to achieve your goals.
- Creator Wiki – These are short articles that explore different topics from creating digital products to marketing on social media.
- Free tools – Podia has a collection of free tools to help you generate content. You can use them to generate a sales page, generate emails, terms and conditions page for your website and more.
- Creator Community – Podia practice what they preach. They don’t send you off to a private Facebook group like some of the other course platforms. Instead they’ve build a community using their own communities creator so that members can ask questions, share their stories and interact.
- Help Center – This is a helpful knowledge base of information that was written by the Podia team to guide you through every aspect of using the platform.
All Podia members have access to all the above help and support channels.
For subscribers on the Earthquake plan, support is the main focus instead of added features. Earthquake subscribers get priority support, special onboarding calls to get you set up faster and a monthly creator call to answer your questions, learn best practice and strategy and share your journey with other creators.
Podia Plans and Pricing
Podia has four pricing plans, one of which is a free plan. They previously offered a 14-day free trial on their three paid plans but that has now been removed and replaced with the free plan.
While the free plan offers a preview of the core features, it can also be used to offer your course for free or for sale but comes with an 8% transaction fee. If you plan to sell your product, it would be unwise to do so on the free plan as this would end up costing you more in the long run. None of the paid plans have transaction fees.
When compared to other top course platforms, Podia’s paid plans are much cheaper than those of it’s competitors. For example, Podia’s entry plan starts at $39/month compared to Kajabi’s $149/month price tag on it’s cheapest paid plan.
Some features are only available on higher priced plans. For example, on a free plan, you cannot publish your course without upgrading. You can only draft it and set up everything else. You can sell downloads on a free plan.
Here’s what you can do on the paid plans:
- Mover Plan ($39/month / $33/month on annual billing) – publish unlimited courses, download and have unlimited coaching calls. You can still only draft webinars without upgrading.
- Shaker Plan ($89/month / $75/month on annual billing) – publish unlimited webinars, run an affiliate program.
- Earthquake Plan ($199/month / $166/month on annual billing) – not many added features but more focus on support as they give you priority support, 2 personalized onboarding calls to get started and a monthly creator call to learn tips, strategies and best practices as well as hear from other creators on the Earthquake Plan.
All plans including the free plan gives you a full website, email marketing, live chat support and the ability to create a community.
Podia Pros & Cons
Podia is a pretty good all-in-one course platform offering a lot of features and a very budget-friendly pricing. But they aren’t perfect as is the case with most platforms.
In this section you’ll see what I liked and did not like after test driving Podia.
The only thing I really disliked about Podia is that it’s website creation tool didn’t allow you to blog. Podia said that while they didn’t have a blogging tool, there are workarounds that can be used to create a blog on your website.
The other thing I didn’t like was that none of the free plans had a free trial. Podia previously offered a free trial but recently replaced it with the free account tier. This free account tier does allow you to test drive Podia.
Other than those two gripes, Podia is a pretty solid course platform that you can use as an alternative to other top ranking platforms.
Podia is a decent course platform that offers a lot of great features. However, it may not be the best platform for everyone depending on a number of different factors. For instance, you may want to edit your website’s code to further customize your website and this isn’t an option with Podia.
There are many great alternatives to Podia that might be a better match for you depending on what you’re looking for. Here are some of them.
Of all the choices you have when it comes to course platforms, Thinkific is one of the best you can go with. It’s a great alternative to Podia if you’re offering courses, communities, and memberships. However, if you want to sell downloads or offer webinars and coaching, these product types aren’t available on Thinkific.
Still, there are many pluses, including the ability to edit your website’s code or integrate Thinkific into your existing website.
Thinkific is a little more expensive than Podia with their plans starting at $49/monthly or $36/month when you use annual billing. However, they have a better free plan where you can sell with no transaction fees.
You can start a 30-day free trial on their Start or Grow plans, or you can explore core features for free.
The main difference between Kajabi and Podia is the pricing. While Podia’s lowest-priced plan starts at $39/month, you’d have to pay almost 4 times that amount for Kajabi’s entry plan. Kajabi also doesn’t have a free plan.
Those differences aside, Kajabi is a really strong alternative to Podia that offers everything you need to sell courses, podcasts, memberships, digital downloads, webinars, coaching and more online.
They also have one of the strongest email marketing products of any course platform and support and training is also top-notch.
If you don’t mind the higher pricing, don’t need a free plan and can work with the different plan limits, Kajabi offers a 14 day free trial that you can start with.
Learnworlds is another awesome alternative to Podia. They allow you to sell courses, memberships, digital downloads and offer webinars. You can engage your students with beautiful interactive video, ebooks, assessments, surveys and more.
The drag-and-drop website builder is also great and allows you to build high converting pages with plenty of themes to choose from. The website builder also allows you to have a blog. There is also an app your students can download and access your online school.
Learnworlds doesn’t have a free plan like Podia but offers a free trial on all of their paid plans with no credit card needed to access. Plans start at $29/month ($24 if paid annually), but the downside is that Learnworlds takes a $5 fee on each course sale for the Starter plan. The other paid plans, Pro Trainer for $99/month and Learning Center for $299/month) do not have any transaction fees and are rich in features.
Teachable is another popular choice for many creators and a worthy alternative to Podia. You can offer online courses, memberships and coaching just like Podia. However, you can only offer communities by subscribing to an external provider called Circle for an extra fee.
Like Podia, Teachable also has a free plan that you can start with although it’s more limited in features. There is a $1 plus 10% transaction fee for sales on the free plan and a 5% transaction fee for sales on the Basic plan. There are no transaction fees on the other paid plans.
Teachable starts at $39/month or $29/month when paid annually and goes up to $299/month on the Business plan.
5. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is mainly a community and membership site builder which is a great alternative to Podia’s community builder. The platform also has a native course builder so that you can sell courses to your audience as well.
Since Mighty Networks is essentially a community platform, it can do communities better than Podia with a host of features like what you’d get with a social network. However, you wouldn’t be able to offer downloads and digital products or coaching.
Mighty Networks offers a free trial of the Business Plan which is their most popular option. This plan is available for $119/month or $99 when paid annually. The other plan option, The Community Plan is $39/month or $33/month when paid annually but you cannot create courses on this plan.
These are five of the best and most popular alternatives to Podia. Most of them offer a free trial so you can try them out if you’re not completely sold on what Podia has to offer.
Podia is a pretty solid course platform that caters for bloggers, freelancers, YouTubers and any creative type on a budget. The all-in-one nature allows you to ditch many external services and just use the platform to do everything you need to do as a course creator.
You can sell downloads, webinars and create communities and membership sites with Podia. Not all course platforms let you do all of those things.
The platform allows you to start for free and keep a free account until you’re ready to publish and sell your courses. You can sell downloads on a free account but you’ll have to give up 8% transaction fees with every sale. Still the free account is great if you want to test drive Podia.
If you want to try Podia and all that it has to offer, click the link below and sign up for a free account.