As someone with interdisciplinary skills such as digital marketing, training and instructional design, as well as systems design, I have tried and tested dozens of different course platforms over the years.
I’m a SaaS-junkie.
But the ONE all-in-one course platform that truly stands out for me is Podia!
It offers many features and is a great alternative to other platforms like Thinkific or Teachable for a much lower price.
In this blog post, let’s review Podia closely 🧐 considering different use cases in mind.
Let’s dive in.
📣 This isn’t yet another review published by someone who just referred some documentation and videos here and there. This review is written by a person who has actually setup courses and used the platform with real-life usecases 🧪 in mind.
|Type||Online product selling platform|
|Free plan ✨||Available|
|Starting price 💲||The lowest plan costs $39/mo|
|Best for selling||Courses and digital products|
|Mobile app 📱 available?||No|
|Podia examples||👀 See 12 live examples|
|Competitors 🏹||Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, ThriveCart, Payhip|
👍 What do I like about Podia?
- Attention to detail: Podia has a great user-friendly interface. If you’re like me and can’t stand poor UI/UX, you’ll love this!
- Unlimited courses and products: Unlike other tools like Teachable or Kajabi, Podia allows unlimited courses and products.
- Built-in course completion certificates, quizzes, community: Podia comes with built-in course completion certificates, community (which can be used as memberships), and quizzes. However, their communities’ feature is not so feature-rich.
- Built-in email marketing tool: The platform includes a built-in email marketing tool that supports broadcasts and campaigns, as well as automation conditions (your Zapier subscription cut in half!). This is a big advantage compared to platforms like Teachable, which doesn’t come with email support.
- Embeddable checkouts and even upsells: Podia supports embeddable checkouts and even upsells on external websites. Using WordPress? No problem.
- Website live chat: Recently, it has introduced a website live chat feature to connect with prospective customers in real-time. Save bill on your Intercom or Gist!
- Built-in affiliate program: Podia has a built-in affiliate program for your audience. However, it’s available only on their Shaker plan, which costs $75/mo.
👎 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!
- Poor website customization features: Podia’s website customization features are poor, with just a basic builder and a few modules. Don’t expect any CSS/HTML customization options to hack some features in.
- Lacks video analytics and heatmaps: Unlike dedicated LMS tools like Kajabi and Thinkific, Podia lacks video analytics and heatmaps. It means you can’t get insights on:
- Which part of the video are students engaging?
- Where are they dropping off?
- What is the engagement rate?
- Lacks course-compliance features: Podia lacks course-compliance features. Unlike Teachable or Thinkific, it lacks enforcing quiz completion and lecture order.
Upfront bottomline ✨
Podia is an all-in-one platform that allows you to sell memberships, webinars, and digital products. But it’s not a specialist when it comes to website customization, advanced course-related features, community features, and marketing features may feel limited for advanced marketers (say ClickFunnels lovers!).
However, since it is an all-in-one platform, its features work together in an integrated fashion.
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.
Needless to say, their speed of implementation of new features is commendable as you’ll be seeing in this post.
Podia review – latest updates
Recently Podia introduced feature updates like:
- Podia email enhancements: Podia has made enhancements to its email marketing tool, adding a visual designer (with templates), filtering, segmentation, tags, forms, and automation.
- Product access duration: Now, you can limit product access duration so that customers have access to the product until the set date and time. For example – For courses, you can set access duration as 15 days starting from their enrollment.
- Sign-up limits on product purchases: You can use this for scarcity marketing and motivate users to purchase your products quickly.
- Ability to offer lead magnets and opt-in freebies to grow your email list faster.
- Improved site editor with new formatting options for images and videos.
Podia has a polished, intuitive interface with intricate attention to detail.
First, you sign up for Podia and it asks for all the options you need to offer a personalized onboarding experience.
The platform then offers you different steps to complete in order to get started quickly.
The interface of Podia is one of the most refined that I have ever seen in an LMS platform (except Kajabi).
Podia has a course builder, where the curriculum is divided into sections and lessons.
When it comes to adding course content, it supports different lesson types like text, files, quizzes (basic multiple choice), embeds, and coaching.
👍 I really like the feature that allows you to add coaching lessons directly into the curriculum. If your students have any doubts, they can book paid coaching classes with you booking a calendar slot right away.
However, you need to note that:
- It doesn’t support cloud uploading (but embeds are supported)
- 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.
Most of the times you end up creating text lessons.
When creating text-based lessons, there are various building blocks available, similar to those in Notion.
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.
This allows you to directly assess the engagement level of your students, and you get student-level quiz performance reports in Podia.
Podia only comes with a simple multiple-choice quiz feature, but it doesn’t include advanced features like assessments, question banks, grading, SCORM, etc.. that some platforms like Kajabi or LearnWorlds offers.
Content dripping (Compliance)
Podia has drip feature. You can enable course’s modules/sections to be unlocked over time.
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).
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).
Once you build your course, for course pricing, Podia offers support for free, waitlist (for prelaunch), one-time pricing, and monthly payment plans (when you connect with Stripe).
Subscription pricing can only be added in Podia communities, which I will explain later.
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.
You can analyze student progress reports, course signed-up date, and start date.
As of now, Podia does not offer video analytics and heatmaps reports. If you need student level analytics and video retention graphs badly for better accountability, you can look at platforms like Kajabi or Teachable.
👉 Pro tip: Instead of using Podia’s built-in video hosting, you can use Vimeo instead. Vimeo offers video-level analytics. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more affordable video hosting solution (that comes with analytics), you can use Bunny Stream.
However, for course compliance, Podia does provide course completion certificates, but these are only available in its Shaker plan, which costs $89/month.
To get the certificate, they need to manually mark the course as done, as there’s no automated tracking available. ☹️
The student interface in Podia is intuitive and easy to use. Students 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.
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 my dozens of lessons in the sidebar.
Each lesson has a comments area where students can leave comments, reply to others, and even favorite comments (a bit of gamification).
All in all, it’s very intuitive!
Podia streamlines coaching by consolidating everything you need in one place, whether you’re organizing group calls or providing one-on-one sessions.
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.
You can set signup limits, access durations, and program start dates to encourage users to book sessions early.
These are realy handy features 👆
Each coaching session you create, is treated as a “Product” by the system.
This means, similar to other products, you can sell coaching as an upsell to your other products. Also, you can bundle coaching sessions with other products.
Digital product selling
With Podia, you can sell a variety of digital products such as templates, prints, workbooks, and more. Also you have various embed options like link, button, and card, similar to how you can do it on Gumroad.
For example, you can easily embed digital products right inside your blog posts, to maximize just-in-time sales.
You’ll likely use Podia’s embed feature as you’ll need to use external platforms like WordPress due to Podia’s limited website building capabilities.
Unlike other platforms, such as Kajabi, Podia does not have native streaming capabilities.
However, it does integrate with Zoom and YouTube Live.
You can sell access to the live events, masterclasses, or webinars that you host on Zoom or YouTube Live directly.
Simply share the Zoom signup or live link in the courses, membership posts, or emails.
One of the best things about Podia is that you can make “Webinar Replays” available by uploading a video file.
👎 As Podia doesn’t have inbuilt webinar feature, it lacks the ability to automatically send webinar event reminders. As a result, email broadcasts must be set up manually to send follow-up emails at least 24 hours before the event, 1 hour before, and when the event starts.
Communities and memberships in Podia
Podia just have basic community features. It supports members, posts, topics, comments, and likes.
Though Podia’s community cannot replace dedicated community tools, it gets the job done.
You can create as many topics as possible to keep the conversations organized.
Now what if you have multiple membership tiers?
What if you want to give access to certain topics/products only for people in a certain membership level?
For this, you need to setup multiple plans under Community settings.
This allows you to set up various subscription levels to restrict content access.
Also you can create exclusive topics to certain plan owners.
For example, in the above screenshot, 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 barebones (as discussed above). If you want to build a thriving online community or scale your existing community with excellent gamification, you can consider going with dedicated community platforms.
Design and customization features
Page design features
Podia comes with a basic website builder that you can use to design your entire 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.
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)
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.
When it comes to customization, options are kept to minimal. Aside from changing the brand color palette and fonts, there are no other advanced options available, not even padding and margins. The underlying complexity is hidden, which can be both good and bad for power users.
One good feature is the ability to preview your landing pages for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. In my experience, responsive design has not been an issue as there are no mobile specific changes you may need to do.
For more idea, see this demo site.
As Podia comes with limited design and customization options, you may want to make use of third-party website tools like WordPress or Squarespace for hosting your website.
In those cases, Podia offers good embed options for your products.
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, we have selected the embed code format as “Link”.
Now I can include the embed code on my WordPress site, so that when people click on the link, a modal will be triggered enabling to quickly buy the product.
Podia offers excellent embed features for easy checkout on external websites. This is ideal if you already have a website hosted elsewhere or find Podia’s design features too limiting.
Bottomline: Although it has some shortcomings, Podia offers a decent number of customization options. There are a few blocks available for designing pages, but you cannot customize it with HTML or custom CSS. Nevertheless, these features may be sufficient for most non-techies (infact it’s their target audience).
Sales and marketing features
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.
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.
To create product bundles, select the products you want to include.
When you create a bundle in Podia, it is considered as a single product. This means that all the options available for course products, such as pricing, embedding, and customization, will also be available for 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.
Podia offers an upsell option for all products, meaning that buyers can be encouraged to purchase additional products immediately after making a purchase.
You can even offer multiple products with an one-time discount to encourage immediate sales.
However, upsells cannot be added to free or fully discounted products. Also, Podia does not currently support order bumps (big downside).
Podia supports coupons. You can limit the coupon use and add the expiry date as well.
I really like how they support both “Amount” and “Percentage” based discount values.
But you can’t create bulk coupon codes.
With Podia, you can set up your own affiliate platform for your raving fans to promote your products and drive sales. You can make your affiliate program closed/open/invite-only.
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.
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.
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.
Unlike other platforms, Podia’s live chat feature allows you to connect with potential students in real-time, understand their needs, and provide personalized answers to help convert them into enrolled students.
There are no limits on visitors, customers, and chats. It supports unlimited everything.
Apart from being able to message with your customers and set your availability, Podia’s community feature is basic and lacks ticketing, email notifications, and other extra added features found in specialist tools like Intercom.
Email marketing and automation
Podia comes with both one-off-email broadcasts and campaigns (sequences) that can be triggered based on conditions.
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.
Podia now comes with more than 10 templates for you to easily get started with a new email.
They also have this drag and drop builder that lets you add images, change forms, adjust colors, or even insert buttons.
Along with that, Podia has introduced audience filtering and segmentation options.
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.
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.
Speaking of automations, Podia has also added many more automation triggers to their “Campaigns” feature.
For example, once people enroll for my training course “BloggingX Automation System”, I can trigger them a sequence of emails aka. Campaign.
When it comes to email analytics, you will get various metrics like sent, open, click, sale, revenue, bounce, and unsubscribe.
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.
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!
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 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 provides native integrations with payment gateways, email marketing services, calendar apps, etc.
Podia has recently rolled out email marketing automation capabilities with rich features. This may want you to use Podia instead of integrating it with other email app.
However, there are still a decent number of native integrations.
If you are using an email marketing software that is not so popular,you may need to use of their Zapier integration
🙁 But it doesn’t integrate with Make.com (a much 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
Podia recently released a free plan.
With the Podia free plan, you can sell only one coaching product or digital download, and you’ll pay an 8% fee for each sale.
However, this plan does not allow you to create full courses, but you can still create drafts of courses.
The premium pricing for Podia starts at $39/month, but some features, such as affiliates, third-party code, embedded checkouts, and priority support are not included. To use the affiliates feature, you need to subscribe to the Shaker plan, which costs $89/month.
For most of the advanced users, the Shaker plan would be the ideal choice because it supports most of the notable features like embedded checkouts, affiliate marketing, webinars, sign up limits, access duration, etc.
On the annual plans, you will get 17% OFF. With this, you can save up to $168/year.
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. Its free plan is not feature-rich, but the paid plans are worth the money you spend. Also, if you are an advanced marketer, its Shaker plan would be ideal for you.
How Podia compares to competitors?
Throughout this blog post, I reviewed Podia. But how does it compare with other payment gateway or digital product-selling platforms?
- 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. What sets Payhip apart from Podia?
- You can sell physical products on Payhip.
- Payhip includes a built-in blogging platform (with SEO settings) for content marketing.
- Payhip offers marketing features such as referrals, cross-sales, and customer reviews.
- Podia vs. ThriveCart: ThriveCart is a top platform for selling physical and digital products. It has a new LMS tool called “ThriveLearn” that offers different course layouts, bundles, content dripping, and automations. ThriveCart is particularly good at marketing, with features like sales funnels, order bumps, cart abandonment, and A/B split testing. It costs $495 for lifetime access, with a Pro account available for an additional $195.
- 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. 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 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. However, if you’re solely interested in creating training courses, you may want to explore Teachable or Thinkific instead, as they offer more advanced features for course creation.
Nevertheless, Podia provides an impressive range of features for its price, making it an excellent value for money.
Podia is for you if you:
- Need an affordable all-in-one platform to sell your courses, digital products and also build community – without worrying about integrations much.
- Need community features to interact with students.
- Want to earn income by selling webinars and coaching.
- Need a built-in affiliate program.
- Don’t need advanced automation and funnel features, unlike Kajabi or ClickFunnels (not an LMS).
Hope you loved my Podia review.