We are going to talk about 2 of the well-known course hosting platforms in the market: Podia and Kajabi.
These 2 platforms have a clear difference in their intended target markets.
While Podia being the cheaper of two options, addresses the needs of new course creators. Kajabi is a more expensive full-stack online solution for medium-sized businesses.
Given the above, Podia is a much simpler solution. Kajabi is a platform for power users with much more complexity.
Talking about features: Podia is a lighter weight solution than Kajabi. The latter comes with a host of specs for online course creators.
Podia's gives a tough competition to Kajabi because of its user-friendliness. Its pricing is less than Kajabi, while at the same time provides course creation to marketing.
Now let's dive into the positives of each platform.
- Podia across both its paid plans(Mover and Shaker) allows you to create unlimited courses. It also allows you to send unlimited marketing emails and add unlimited customers. This gives it an edge over Kajabi, which only allows a limited number of courses, emails, and students.
- Podia's starter plan called “Mover” costs one-third of Kajabi's “basic” plan. Thus, a much more suitable option if you're a beginner.
- Podia is simple and straightforward to use. But Kajabi requires you to have some technical chops and is thus meant for advanced users.
- Podia's premium most plan called “Shaker”, only costs one-third the price of Kajabi's. And, it does provide every single essential feature that Kajabi has. From the ability to host unlimited courses, webinars, unlimited marketing emails to blogs. It even has an affiliate program system for your business.
- Podia's membership feature allows you to create an engaging community of your own. You can always keep updating your paying members with posts of content types such as videos and text. Kajabi also has a membership feature but it is like its course creation process and seems rigid.
- To add the icing on the cake, Podia doesn't charge any transaction fee like Kajabi. It is like the swiss army knife for beginners.
Bottomline: Podia has a whole host of features for course creators under a single umbrella. And, given its user-centric approach, it definitely is a must-try for beginners.
- Kajabi has a marketplace of its own much like Udemy and Skillshare. But, I doubt if they put any effort into marketing your courses. And, even though they don't have an incentive to do so, any extra exposure is good. Podia doesn't have such a benefit.
- Kajabi is the granddaddy of a full-stack online course solution. It packs a tonne of features for creating and marketing an online course. You name it, and Kajabi has it all. Email marketing, webinars, blogs, advanced automation, affiliate systems are some to name.
- Kajabi has advanced automation rules. For example, you can send an email to a student after they have finished a course lecture. Podia lacks in this quarter and has a simpler email marketing solution.
- Kajabi charges no transaction fee. But Kajabi is an expensive solution.
Podia manages to be user-centric with a friendly approach for new content creators. Kajabi is more like a professional-grade instrument for true professionals.
In Podia, you can manage all the component features it has to offer from the header menu. When you access each of these features, it gives you a lot of explainer content and resources for it. Podia has made the online course creation process a fun journey.
Talking about Kajabi's interface. All its component features are nesting in a complex manner. Some of them can even go unnoticed to an untrained eye. But, Kajabi is a powerhouse of beneficial features. Kajabi's assistant comes handy in identifying these features.
Bottomline: Podia's simple UX and interface wins hands down. Since you want to focus more on creating an engaging course. Tracking down the nitty-gritty of the platform itself can be an exercise in vain.
To create a course in Podia, all you have to do is access the “Products” section from the header menu. To add a new product, click on the “Add New Product” button.
Podia allows 3 types of products. These are online courses, digital downloads, and webinars.
To create an online course, all you have to do is create “sections” where you can add file types such as videos and pdfs. Sections are how you design a course curriculum in Podia.
I have already talked about Kajabi's course creation process here. It can house 3 types of courses. These are mini-course, online courses, and evergreen training.
If you are looking to develop a recurring stream of revenue, then create a membership. It is beneficial to keep your audience engaged. Both Kajabi and Poda are great platforms to build online membership sites.
In Podia, you can click the “Memberships” button to get started. You can name your membership and set pricing for different tiers of product access.
Inside Podia memberships, you can share something called “Posts” with your audiences. These can be any content type(video or text) to engage your audience on an ongoing basis.
Kajabi's online membership creation process is like creating a course. You can bundle different products for different tiers of your membership.
Bottomline: Both platforms are good for creating memberships. There isn't a clear winner here, but I'd somewhat still tilt towards Podia for this.
Now, I am going to talk about the design and customization options available in both Kajabi and Podia. This is available at both site and course levels in these 2 platforms.
Podia product/course level customization
In Podia, you can design the sales page of a course/product. You can edit the appearance of the sales page. This enables you to change the colors of text, brand, background, heading, and buttons.
You can also go ahead and add new sections to your sales/course/product page. These sections include columns, testimonials, videos, images, and FAQs.
Podia site/storefront level customization
You can switch over to the storefront and add customizations discussed above.
Designing and customizing sales pages and storefronts in Podia is a straightforward process.
Things change quite a bit when you want to design and customize in Kajabi.
Designing in Kajabi is a rich experience with the help of an inbuilt visual builder.
The visual builder in Kajabi gives you a tonne of customizations. These include adding elements like an accordion, countdown timer, videos, opt-in forms etc.
The visual builder can help you build storefronts, landing pages, and sales pages.
Analytics and reporting
Till now, Podia has been a clear winner in the departments we discussed. But, here comes a critical area of “Analytics and Reporting” where Podia lacks.
In other platforms like Teachable and Kajabi, we have seen comprehensive analytics. Reporting of lecture completion, course completion, and assignments such as quizzes are missing.
This makes it hard to judge the level of engagement your audience is having with your content. As a savvy online creator, one would expect to have these metrics for feedback.
I don't know why Podia still doesn't bother to put a reporting mechanism in place. Especially when competitors such as Teachable, Kajabi, and Thinkific have these capabilities.
Kajabi being the sophisticated tool, it does have a heavy-duty reporting capability. You can view metrics like video engagement rate on average, total plays, and play rate. This helps you make a sound judgment on the quality of your content.
When you head over to the analytics, you can view your sales reporting.
You can use Google Analytics to track traffic and conversion metrics for Kajabi as well as Podia.
Bottomline: If course engagement reporting is critical for your business success. Then do, go with Kajabi.
Email marketing: Podia's email marketing capabilities are basic. It won't act as your full-fledged email marketing platform. And, I will tell you why
Podia lacks any real sales funnel or landing page builder. It also doesn't have any email list management system so you can tag users or segment your list. Again, it doesn't have any automation rules for email marketing.
Given above, the email marketing feature in Podia enables you to do 2 things. These are sending emails to existing students enrolled and sending an onboarding campaign.
Email Marketing in Kajabi is a beast of its own though. You can create both email broadcasts to your list or send email sequences. This makes creating a drip campaign easy.
In Kajabi you can also create forms. Embedding these forms on a Kajabi or any other site helps you collect opt-in subscribers. With the events feature, you can also schedule webinars or events. For events too, you can send email notifications to your subscriber list.
Both courses hosting programs Kajabi and Podia offer a great affiliate marketing system. You can sign up your own course promoters, assign them a commission rate, and drive sales.
In Podia, you can add affiliates to your store and assign them unique links for each of your products. Each affiliate gets its private dashboard. From this dashboard they can track their sales and commissions.
You can either assign your affiliates a % commission or a flat one. Each product can have its own commission structure.
Podia's affiliate system does lack certain aspects. There is no way to upload swipe files for your affiliates. You can't change the cookie tracking period or arrange tax forms for your affiliates.
While Kajabi does have a robust affiliate marketing system. You can sign up for your affiliates and assign them links from a single dashboard. You can also view the performance of each affiliate from your own dashboard.
Automation: Podia doesn't provide many automation tools except that of integrations. As discussed earlier Podia's email marketing is quite basic. And, you can't segment users, set automated rules, or send email sequences.
Kajabi comes bundled with many automation tools. You can add triggers and actions based on events to the following:
Emails: You can choose what happens when you send emails, they're opened or clicked through.
Offers: You can add actions when members pay a subscription, and cancel a subscription.
Forms: You can add actions when people opt-in via your forms.
Bottomline: Kajabi is a clear winner here as it comes with a robust marketing features set.
Since Podia's marketing stack is pretty basic, you'd need it to integrate with other tools. Podia does provide integration with popular email marketing apps. These include MailChimp, Drip, ConvertKit, Get Response, Active Campaign, and MailerLite. Thanks to this, when someone subscribes to your email list they will get added to your ESP's list.
Podia also has an integration with Zapier. This will make sure you have integrations with 1000s of other third-party apps.
Finally, Podia does allow you to put third party scripts on the app such as Google Analytics and FB pixel.
Now moving onto Kajabi. You can access the Integrations of Kajabi under its settings tab. Like Podia it also integrates with popular ESPs and has a Zapier integration as well.
Podia has 2 simple pricing options. The “Mover” plan costs $39 a month and the “Shaker” plan costs $79 a month. Also, you don't get charged any transaction fee on the sales you make.
But, in the “Mover” plan you don't get features such as memberships, blog, affiliate marketing, offsite buy button, and third party code. These features are only available in the higher tier “Shaker” plan.
But there are few drawbacks to this pricing. First, you can't integrate 3rd party codes on the lower tier “Mover” plan. This is something every content creator needs to promote their course well and I don't see a point in not having it. Second, you can't remove Podia branding in either of the plans and you will have to pay extra for that.
Otherwise, I like that Podia has kept things simple. It does offer a no-credit card 14-day free trial. So do check it here to see if it's a good fit for you.
Now, coming onto Kajabi. This one's pricing is premium since we discussed how it targets a more sophisticated set of content creators.
Their basic plan is $119 a month. Though it does have serious limitations on creating products and pipelines. This decoy pricing is to motivate people to buy higher-priced plans – Growth and Pro. But do remember Kajabi is a strong full-stack course hosting and marketing solution.
Bottomline: If you need autoresponders, sales funnels, and landing pages to market your courses well, then go for Kajabi.
As we discussed how Podia is user-centric and the 1 thing it has done great is its customer support. The support team has been friendly, quick to respond, and helpful so far in my experience.
The 2 support channels are email and chat(from the admin dashboard). During work hours, you'll usually get a response to your query within 15 minutes. And, as we discussed before, Podia has an extensive library of resources and guides.
While Kajabi also manages to provide the same quality of customer support. You can email them or chat with their support team 24/7, you're sure to get a response. Afterall, Kajabi's pricing is premium.
Do both these platforms offer a free trial?
Podia offers 14 days no credit card required free trial while Kajabi does offer a trial but you need to put your card details.
Are there any limitations on products/courses and students?
No such limitation in Podia but Kajabi does put a specific number on it for different tiers of plans.
Do they come with automation features?
Podia doesn't but Kajabi has done well in the advanced automation department.
Can I build my own sales funnels to sell courses?
Podia doesn't have a sales funnel builder but Kajabi has a full-blown solution for it.
Is Kajabi worth the price?
The sticker price on Kajabi might be high but then again you need to ask yourself if its full-stack features are critical for your success or not.
Well as we know Kajabi is a robust marketing machine with a premium price. But, if you have external third-party tools to build sales funnels, landing pages, and email marketing, then you can save money with Podia. Podia will give you unlimited access to courses and students.