In this blog post, let’s review Podia closely 🧐 considering different use cases in mind.

As someone who’s into course creation and instructional design, I have tried and tested dozens of different course platforms over the years.

I’m a SaaS-junkie.

The ONE all-in-one platform that truly stands out for me is Podia!

It offers many features and is a great alternative to other platforms like say Kajabi for a much lower price.

Let’s dive into the review of Podia.

Here’s a quick overview

FeaturesPodia
TypeOnline product selling platform
Starting price 💲The lowest plan costs $39/mo.
Best for sellingCourses, digital products, coachings, website builder, and communities
Mobile app 📱 available?No
Podia examples👀 See 12 live examples
Competitors 🏹Kajabi, Teachable, and Thinkific

Quick decision

👍 What do I like about Podia?

  • Great user interface and beginner-friendly: If you’re like me and can’t stand poor UI/UX, you’ll love it’s minimal clean look. Also, if you are absolutely a new beginner, you can get started in no time without any tech fuss.
  • Unlimited courses and products: Unlike other tools like Teachable or Kajabi, Podia allows unlimited courses and products in all its paid plans.
  • Built-in email marketing tool: The platform includes a built-in email marketing tool that supports broadcasts, campaigns, and automation rules.
  • Embeddable checkouts and even upsells: Podia supports embeddable checkouts and even upsells on external websites. Using WordPress? No problem.
  • Community feature: Podia comes with a basic community feature that lets you create topics and posts to keep the community engaged.
  • Website live chat: It has a website live chat feature to connect with prospective customers in real-time. Save bill on your Intercom or Zendesk!

👎 What I don’t like about Podia?

  • No mobile app: Podia doesn’t have a mobile app, and there are no plans to release one soon. This is a BIG CON compared to other platforms like Teachable and Kajabi!
  • Limited community feature: It has a really basic community feature with just topics and posts. And it lacks features like gamification and customization.
  • Limited website builder: Podia’s website customization features is pretty basic. You don’t have any CSS/HTML customization options to hack some features in.
  • Lacks some course features: Podia lacks features multiple quiz types, student-level course analytics, etc.

Upfront bottomline ✨

Podia is an all-in-one platform that allows you to sell courses, digital products and communities.

However, it does not specialize in any of its features. For example, its website building abilities are very limited, and it lacks some course creation abilities. Additionally, its communities feature is quite basic.

If you value simplicity and prioritize “getting things done” over obsessing about extra features (that may not add much value), you’ll like Podia’s approach.

Since it is an all-in-one platform, its features work together in an integrated fashion.

Needless to say, their speed of implementation of new features is commendable.

Recently, they introduced Emails 2.0 to enhance their email automation capabilities and also they’re rolling out some updates to their limited website builder as well.

But one big downside that I faced with Podia is their lack of mobile app. I mean, it’s not optional.

Overview

Podia logo

Podia is a New York based all-in-one digital selling platform that was founded in 2014 by Spencer Fry and has been profitable since 2019.

It initially started as an online course platform.

At that time, it stood out for offering numerous features at an affordable price, without any transaction fees.

And later, down the line, it transformed into an all-in-one digital selling platform.

Now speaking of the product itself, it has a polished, intuitive interface with intricate attention to detail.

The interface of Podia is one of the most refined that I have ever seen in an LMS platform.

Now, with Podia you can sell products like:

  • Courses
  • Coachings
  • Digital downloads
  • Communities

To call it as an all-in-one platform, it also includes email marketing features (with boradcasts and sequences)

Additionally, it provides a website builder for customizing your website and a live chat functionality to convert prospects well.

Speaking of conversion, it also offers an affiliate marketing feature, which is only available in their higher plan (refer pricing section).

Let’s review these one by one.

Online courses

Content structuring

Podia has a course builder, where the curriculum is divided into sections and lessons.

It supports different lesson types like text, files, quizzes (basic multiple choice), embeds, and coaching.

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Podia’s course curriculum design

👍 Podia lets you add coaching lessons directly to the course curriculum. Students can book paid coaching classes with you by scheduling a calendar slot (more details later).

However, there are some downsides with their course creation workflow 👎:

  • You can’t add multiple content types inside the same lesson (say quiz along with video file).
  • Doesn’t support custom codes inside the lessons.
  • It doesn’t support cloud uploading (like Drive or Dropbox)

Due to these restrictions, when I create courses on Podia, most of the times, I end up creating text lessons.

When creating text-based lessons, there are various building blocks available, similar to those in Notion.

Lesson content blocks
Podia’s Text Lesson Editor

However, the building blocks available here when you type in the “/” command are very limited. I hope they add more blocks like quizzes, coaching, and others in the same lesson.

Quizzes

When creating your course, you can also set “Quiz” as a lesson type in Podia

This feature allows you to provide multiple-choice questions for your students to answer.

Untitled 8

Podia only offers a basic multiple-choice quiz feature.

It lacks advanced features such as assessments, question banks, grading, and other functionalities found in platforms like Kajabi or Thinkific.

Content compliance

When creating a course, it is important to ensure that students successfully complete the training. Course compliance features help enforce that students go through the course as you intended.

For this, Podia has drip content feature for courses.

This feature allows you to postpone the availability of modules or sections in your training course gradually over time.

Drip scheduling in Podia

It also handles sending personalized emails when new content becomes available.

This would be helpful if you’re doing something like a 30-day challenge (helps in sales nurturing).

But.

Apart from the option to delay the module availability after enrollment, there is no way to set a fixed date for unlocking the module. This could be seen as a drawback, especially if you are running a seasonal challenge and want to release course content on a specific date instead of a relative date based on when your students got access to the course.

👎 Other than this, it lacks other course compliance features like course locking, enforcing video watch duration, lesson completion, and order/quiz completion (often helpful in academic contexts).

Student analytics and certification

The most important part of student engagement is ensuring better course completion rates.

But the question is, are your students really going through the course?

Well, for that, good analytics features can be essential.

Podia does not have the ability to automatically track student progression through the training course, unlike platforms such as Teachable.

Instead, it relies on students manually clicking on the “complete” button as a way to track their progress.

Student progress reports Podia

You need to encourage them to click on the “Complete Lesson” button manually.

Also, Podia does not offer any additional video analytics and heatmap reports unlike other platforms like Thinkific or Kajabi.

However, for course compliance, Podia does provide course completion certificates, but these are only available in its Shaker plan, which costs $89/month.

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Frontend experience for students

This review will be incomplete if I don’t describe the front-end experience that Podia offers to students.

Podia offers a really good interface for the students when consuming the course.

They can access the entire curriculum, including sections and lessons, from the sidebar.

There’s also a full-screen button (top-right) that allows students to hide the lesson sidebar for a more immersive experience.

Podia course interface

While using the full screen mode, your students can use the previous and next lesson buttons to navigate one step at a time throughout the course, rather than getting bogged down by dozens of lessons in the sidebar.

Also each lesson has a comments area where students can leave comments, reply to others, and even favorite comments.

All in all, it’s very intuitive and straightforward!

Coachings

Podia offers a coaching feature that allows you to conduct 121 or group sessions.

This feature is only available in the Shaker and Earthquaker plans

Coachings in Podia

To help users book the sessions easily, it gives integrations with SavvyCal, Acuity, or YouCanBookMe.

You must embed these on your service page or add a custom calendar link.

Also please note that when you book a coaching session at the stores, you will need to log into a respective calendar app like Calendly to manage them. This, I’m telling based on my personal experience, as I was wondering where I can see the bookings in my initial days with Podia.

Podia coaching integrations
Minimize your round-trips to Calendly!

For every coaching product, you can set signup limits, access durations, and program start dates to encourage users to book sessions early.

podia coaching calls

These are really handy features 👆

Each coaching session you create is treated as a “Product” by the system.

This means, you can bundle coaching sessions with other Podia products or add them as an upsell to your existing products.

One drawback is that if you offer mentorship packages of varying durations, you will need to create separate products and a custom sales page for each package (or use their pricing plans block).

Digital product selling

With Podia, you can sell a variety of digital products such as templates, prints, workbooks, and more.

You don’t need to again make use of platforms like Gumroad to sell digital products.

When creating a new downloadable product, you can upload all the relevant files in the “files” section.

Digital downloads in Podia
Creating a digital download in Podia

You can also add these files under different sections, which is especially useful if you are offering multiple files.

Also, you have the embed code for every product that you create, so you can use it on your WordPress site.

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For example, you can easily embed digital products directly into your blog posts to maximize just-in-time sales.

Podia embed product 3
Preview of the product’s button embed code

You’ll likely use Podia’s embed feature, especially when using external platforms like WordPress, as Podia has limited website building capabilities.

Bottomline: I really like the ability to organize downloadable content into different sections. Additionally, I appreciate the feature that allows embedding the checkout process on third-party platforms using embed code and checkout links.

Communities and memberships in Podia

Podia just have basic community features.

It supports members, posts, topics, and likes/comments.

That’s it.

Though Podia’s community cannot replace dedicated community tools, it gets the job done.

You can create a community and organize topics within it.

podia community 1

Each topic can contain relevant content such as posts created by members of your community.

What if you want to restrict access to certain topics/products only to people in a specific membership level?

For this, you need to setup multiple plans under Community settings.

Podia community plans

This allows you to set up various subscription levels to restrict content access.

Additionally, you can create multiple topics or channels to group the discussions in your community.

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Podia Community Topic Creation

As you can see in the below screenshot, you can create exclusive topics to certain plan owners.

For example, the topic or community space – “Mastermind” is only accessible to people who subscribe to the “Gold” plan.

Bottomline: Podia doesn’t come with fully-fledged community features. For example, it lacks gamification features such as points, rewards, leaderboards, badges, rankings, etc. You’ll be stuck with topics and posts. If you want to build a thriving online community with features like live-streaming and gamification, you can consider going with dedicated community platforms.

Webinars

Unlike other platforms, such as Kajabi, Podia does not have native streaming capabilities.

However, it does integrate with Zoom and YouTube Live.

Podia webinars

You can sell access to the live events, masterclasses, or webinars that you host on Zoom or YouTube Live directly.

When you create any webinar product, you just need to enter into the Zoom or YouTube Live platform, to which they will gain access once they make a purchase.

One of the best things about Podia is that you can make “Webinar Replays” available by uploading a video file.

podia replay videos

👎 As Podia does not have a built-in webinar feature, it does not have the ability to automatically send webinar event reminders. As a result, email broadcasts need to be set up manually to send follow-up emails at least 24 hours before the event, 1 hour before, and when the event starts.

Email marketing and automation

Podia comes with both one-off-email broadcasts and campaigns (sequences) that can be triggered based on conditions.

Podia emails

For example, when people enroll in my training course on the BloggingX Automation System, they should be immediately sent a welcome campaign.

Untitled 14

This campaign will send an initial email and checks in with them after one week.

I will discuss the automation features later on, but first, let’s talk about its email builder.

Podia recently upgraded their email marketing feature. Now, you have a new email builder in Podia that gives you ultimate control over your email design.

It now comes with more than 10 templates for you to easily get started with a new email.

Podia email templates 3

They also have this drag and drop builder that lets you add images, change forms, adjust colors, or even insert buttons.

Podia email builder 3

Along with that, Podia has introduced audience filtering and segmentation options.

Podia email filter conditions
You can segment audience for seding emails

So, when you are sending a broadcast, you can effectively segment the audience based on their tags, products that they have purchased, memberships, revenue, and more.

Podia email segments

In the above example, you can see that I’m sending a hyper-targeted discount to people who are part of my “Pro” community and have also opened one of my previous emails on Black Friday.

Podia email works well with as you already have all the data you need for effective segmentation . You don’t need to integrate it with other email softwares or make use of Zapier.

When it comes to email analytics, you will get various metrics like sent, open, click, sale, revenue, bounce, and unsubscribe.

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Podia email is available for every plan, even if you are on the free plan, you have access to all its features.

It is available as an add-on based on the number of subscribers that you have. For example, you can host upto 10,000 subscribers with their $42/mo addon.

This can be more affordable compared to other email marketing platforms because you get integrative benefits when you have an email platform built into an all-in-one platform.

It is not uncommon to see people who are hosting their emails on ConvertKit switch to Podia emails.

Bottomline:Podia has a feature-rich email builder and automation features. Although it lacks advanced features like A/B split testing, site tracking, and other advanced features, it does the job well!

Design and customization features

Podia comes with a basic visual builder that you can use to design your website, landing pages, product pages, checkout, and thank you pages.

It’s quite restrictive for a sizeable chunk of people, but minimalists tend to like it.

To start designing a page, Podia provides pre-built email landers, link pages, and full website templates.

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When you choose a full website template, and Podia will generate essential pages for you, such as Home, About, Service, and ToS.

Below are the blocks available to design the pages. (Refer to the screenshot below)

Podia page design blocks

When designing pages on Podia, each block you add becomes a section.

Unlike other website builders, there is no separate feature for “sections/containers” in which you can include multiple blocks.

The website builder is grid-based, which limits the ability to freely move elements or components in any direction. This can restrict flexibility and customization options when designing a website or layout.

Also, there are no other advanced options available.

For example, the margin and padding between the sections can’t be modified, and there’s also no custom CSS option, even in their highest plan.

I think options are kept to minimal so that the underlying complexity is hidden, which can be both good and bad for power users.

For more ideas, see this demo site.

👉 Personally, for me, Podia can be considered just as a storefront builder, not as a complete website builder. If you are using Podia, you would still need to use a dedicated page builder like WordPress or Leadpages to complement it.

Checkout embeds

But fortunately, Podia offers good embed options for your products.

embed codes podia

You can embed Podia products on your website easily.

To do so, simply copy the embed code from your product and paste it as custom HTML on the page where you want it to appear.

In the below example, I have selected the embed code format as “Link”.

Podia course embed options
Podia’s product embed functionality

Now I can include the embed code on my WordPress site. This way, when people click on the link, a modal will be triggered, allowing them to quickly purchase the product.

Popup trigger
Podia pop-up triggering on my WordPress site

Podia offers excellent embed features for easy checkout on external websites. This is ideal if you already have a website hosted elsewhere or if you find Podia’s design features too limiting.

Bottomline: Podia has limited options for page design blocks and does not offer the ability to customize with HTML or custom CSS. While power users may complain about this limitation, fortunately, Podia provides good website embed functionalities for those who want to use say WordPress.

Sales and marketing features

Prelaunch

Podia allows you to set up pre-launch waitlists for your digital products.

By pre-launching your course, you can build hype and interest before the launch date and even pre-sell your course to students at a discounted rate.

Podia pre launch

This validation process ensures that your course idea resonates with your audience, and you can even earn revenue before the course content is completed.

For example, John D. Saunders pre-sold his course on Podia, earning $10,000 on launch day.

Pricing the products

Once you have built your course or any product, Podia offers support for various pricing options including free, waitlist (for prelaunch), one-time pricing, and monthly payment plans (when you connect with Stripe).

Podia course pricing setup

Subscription pricing can only be added in Podia communities, which I will explain later.

Upsells or order bumps

In the products pricing section when you scroll down, you can also specify the products to upsells

However, these are not traditional upsells.

In Podia Order Bumps are called Upsells

Instead, these are order bumps (which they call upsells) that are presented on the checkout page, allowing customers to purchase additional products that they have not previously enrolled in.

For instance, when selling a training course, you can upsell customers with coaching products, e-books, and other items to increase the total value of their cart.

Product bundles

Product bundles are considered as a product type in Podia.

This means that all the options available for course products, such as pricing, embedding, and customization, will also be available for bundles.

This is a good thing!

When creating a product bundle, you need to associate various products that you want to sell together with that bundle.

Podia product bundles

Here are some tips to get the most out of product bundles:

  • Selling multiple products for a single price (at a cost lower than the individual products). This helps in increasing your average order value (AOV).
  • Create customized bundles based on the user’s personas. For example – blogger bundle, LMS bundle, course creator bundle, etc.
  • You can create membership plans according to the type of bundles. This incentivizes members to upgrade their membership levels in order to access premium bundles.

You can use product bundles along with upsells to further increase the average cart value.

Coupons

And when you sell product bundles, it’s really important for you to sell it at a discounted price . What’s the incentive for people to buy the bundle, right?

Podia supports coupons.

You can limit the coupon use and add the expiry date as well.

Type of coupons Podia

I really like how they support both “Amount” and “Percentage” based discount values.

Personally, I prefer to use percentage-based discount values. This would be the recommended option unless you are specifically involved in e-commerce.

Affiliates

Now, in addition to marketing the products yourself, you can recruit other marketers to promote your products in exchange for a share of the revenue.

With Podia, you can set up your own affiliate platform for your raving fans to promote your products and drive sales.

Once you set up your program, you need to start inviting affiliates to sign up and promote your products.

Affiliates will be sent an affiliate sign-up link and they can login to the portal.

You can make your affiliate program closed/open/invite-only.

Podia affiliates

You can set different commission rates for different products.

If you want the specific product to be promoted more effectively by your affiliates, you can set it at a higher commission.

But note that Podia lacks affiliate-specific commission rates and multiple commission tiers.

Bottomline:Podia just has basic marketing features. If you need tools like funnels, advanced email marketing, automations, mobile apps, etc. Kajabi would be the best choice. Even though it costs 4x that of Podia, it is worth the money you spend.

Payment processing

Before selling any digital products from Podia, connect your bank account or PayPal account to these payment processors.

Podia integrates with Stripe and PayPal to collect payments from your students.

You must also note that Podia doesn’t support PayPal for recurring/subscription community plans.

Because there are some API complications on PayPal’s end, especially when processing recurring payments. So, as of now, for the community plans, only Stripe is supported.

Customers can make use of their credit cards to do the checkout.

Typically, payments get processed within 2 days and credited to your bank or PayPal account. This is pretty quick.

👍 Note: Podia supports EU/VAT tax calculation. You don’t have to remit the taxes if your students are from Europe.

Podia integrations

Podia provides native integrations with payment gateways, email marketing services, calendar apps, etc.

Although Podia comes with feature-rich email marketing software that includes decent automation capabilities, it also integrates with almost all major email marketing software.

podia integrations

If your email marketing platform is not on this list, you can utilize their Zapier integration.

podia integration with zapier

🙁 But it doesn’t integrate with Make.com (a much more powerful and affordable Zapier alternative, i.e the daily automation driver).

Bottomline: They are adding integrations rapidly. As of now, they have integrations with the major email marketing providers and also Zapier. I hope they’ll soon release the integration with other tools as well.

Pricing and discount

When it comes to pricing, Podia offers three different plans: Free, Starter, Mover, and Shaker.

Initially, Podia did not have the Starter plan, but they recently introduced it.

The Starter plan costs around $4 per month if paid annually, but it does not allow you to publish any products.

The reason for rolling out this plan is unclear.

Additionally, they offer the regular Mover plan and the Shaker plan.

However, it’s important to note that even the Mover plan, which is priced at $39 per month, incurs a 5% transaction fee. This means that for every sale made on the platform, you need to give 5% of the transaction amount to Podia.

This is contrary to how Podia positioned itself initially (as a creator-friendly platform), claiming to be a transaction fee-free platform two to three years ago.

Also, if you would like to use Podia as your email marketing platform, you will need to purchase their optional email add-on.

It costs you:

  • $50/month for up to 10,000 subscribers
  • $109/month for 20,000 subscribers
  • $198/month for 50,000 subscribers
  • $330/month for up to 100,000 subscribers

… in addition to your regular pricing plans.

Despite the limited features offered by Podia, many people still choose to use their email add-on because it provides the convenience of having an email marketing functionality integrated into the platform where they host their courses and communities.

And support.

When it comes to support, Podia provides good support. It has a live chat, support documents, YouTube videos, weekly demos, and weekly QAs to assist its customers.

Shaker plan users will get priority support, onboarding calls, and monthly creator calls.

Bottomline: Podia’s pricing is affordable. The free plan and Starter plans are a joke, and most people end up going with the Mover or Shaker plans.

How Podia compares to competitors?

Throughout this blog post, I reviewed Podia.

But how does it compare with digital product-selling platforms?

  • Podia vs. Kajabi: Podia is a great option for those who value simplicity and affordability and want to sell digital products without the need for advanced marketing features. Kajabi, on the other hand, is a better option for those who require more advanced marketing features and customization options and are willing to pay a higher price for it.
  • Podia vs. Gumroad: Gumroad is a good option if you want to sell simple digital products without all the bells and whistles of Podia. Additionally, Gumroad’s Discover feature can help you get organic sales from people searching for keywords related to your product. However, it lacks powerful features and is not an all-in-one solution for marketing enthusiasts.
  • Podia vs. Payhip: Payhip is one of the most affordable alternatives to Podia. It provides support for digital downloads, coaching, courses, and memberships. However, unlike Podia with Payhip you can sell physical products.
  • Podia vs. ThriveCart: ThriveCart is a great platform for selling physical and digital products. They also offer an LMS tool called “Thrive Learn” that provides various course layouts, bundles, content dripping, and automations. ThriveCart excels in marketing, offering features like sales funnels, order bumps, cart abandonment, and A/B split testing.
  • Podia vs. Patreon: Podia is an all-in-one platform to sell digital products, create online courses, and build a community. It has a free plan with no transaction fees. Patreon is a crowdfunding platform that allows recurring donations from fans. Although Patreon is great for generating passive income and a loyal following, it lacks a lot of features when it comes to marketing and course creation of Podia.

FAQs on Podia

Is Podia better than Teachable?

Teachable is only for courses, whereas with Podia, you can sell courses, memberships (using community), coaching, and other digital products.

Is Podia better than Kajabi?

Podia is cheaper compared to Kajabi. Also, it offers great features for the price. On the other hand, Kajabi is a very high-priced solution that offers more powerful marketing and customization features than Podia.

What is Podia for?

With Podia, you can sell courses and digital products like webinars, bundles, coachings, or any other digital files.

Is Podia good for blogging?

No. Podia doesn’t come with a blogging feature. You need to use external blogging platforms like WordPress or Ghost.

Is Podia really for you? 🏆

If you’re seeking an affordable all-in-one alternative to Kajabi, consider Podia.

But do note that it can be a jack of all trades and master of none if you’re seeking specialist features.

Podia’s features lack depth.

However, if you’re solely interested in creating training courses, you may want to explore Teachable or Thinkific instead, as they offer more advanced specialist features for course creation.

Nevertheless, Podia provides an impressive range of features for its price, making it an excellent value for money.

However, the lack of any mobile app is a big downside and I can’t simply withstand it.

Hope you loved my Podia review.