Podia Review – A Top All-in-One Course and Membership Platform

Podia Review – A Top All-in-One Course and Membership Platform

Podia Review - Screenshot of Podia online course

Looking for a Podia review? Look no further: Learning Revolution has you covered. Here’s our take on Podia, one of the fastest growing all-in-one course platforms and membership site solutions.

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When deciding on a platform to create and sell your online courses or memberships, you may find that the sheer number of options available is dizzying. Maybe you’re completely new to online course creation and looking for your first platform to host your courses! Or, you might already be hosting your online courses on a platform but are thinking of switching.

Either way, when deciding between the huge number of options, it’s easy to gravitate towards the big brand names like Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi. All the major players seem to be using them, right? While these platforms are impressive and boast a wide variety of features and customizability, in this review, I’m going to introduce you to Podia, a user-friendly, one-stop shop solution that streamlines not only the online course creation process, but the customer conversion process once your product hits the market!

What is Podia?

Given the somewhat odd name, this seems like a necessary part of a Podia review.

Podia is the plural form of the word “podium”, a platform on which you can be seen and heard. Using the plural form is wholly appropriate in this case, as Podia is a full-featured digital storefront where you can host and sell your online courses, downloads, and memberships. It’s a highly creator-first platform that helps entrepreneurs, small business owners, and creatives generate residual income.

Is Podia right for you?

While newer than some of its major competitors (e.g., Kajabi) Podia has gained a lot of traction in the e-commerce realm because of its creator-friendly policies. Not many digital storefronts boast instant payout from sales with zero transaction fees (not including their free plan)! That attractive feature, all by itself, is a major selling point for many!

Nevertheless, a major draw for most is how intuitive and comprehensive the platform is. You might be a passionate creative with many great ideas, but lack the technical know-how required to build and host courses online. Another overwhelming hurdle might be figuring out how to get your digital products to market.

Of course, Podia is also highly valuable if you’re already hosting your digital content on a website or a different selling platform. Perhaps your business is rapidly expanding, creating excess demands that compromise the functionality of your website. Or your current platform is “overkill” based on the amount of features you pay for but don’t use.

Perhaps you would like to integrate your membership site with your selling platform. In most other cases, you’d have to host your membership site separately from your products. But Podia is one of the small set of platform that hosts both – and does it well. Simplifying this process for your customers helps maximize your customer conversion rate! As a matter of fact, Podia has rigorously tested its its interface and checkout process to ensure optimal conversion rates.

Bottom line? If you’d rather focus on “creating,” then let Podia handle the logistics.

Features and Benefits of Podia

Since we published the original version of this review, Podia’s done a lot to remain competitive and keep pace with e-learning demand. They’ve revamped their platform with major upgrades based on user feedback. Here’s a quick list before we dive into more detail:

  • Generous free plan
  • Advanced site editor
  • Online courses and digital downloads.
  • Integrated membership site.
  • Unlimited everything.
  • Email marketing campaign.
  • Affiliate marketing campaign.
  • Tested and optimized for maximal conversion rates.
  • Allows users to sell monthly and annual memberships.
  • Instant payout with no transaction fees.
  • Excellent customer support (24/7).
  • Free migration.

As soon as you sign up for their free plan, you’re in! No credit card is required. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to confirm your email. Podia puts you – the creator – first, allowing you to experiment with all of the site’s features without having to make any commitments.

It’s extremely easy to create and sell digital products with Podia. As I mentioned, the platform does not target techies who would like ultimate control over the look and feel of their storefront.

That notwithstanding, since the release of their new site editor, they’ve managed to strike a fairer balance between ease of use and customizability. Prior to this update, I found Podia’s site editor to be quite limited due to their “minimalist” design approach. 

For example, before, you couldn’t add background images to your site pages. But the new site editor not only enables background images in every section, it offers powerful editing tools to get the look just right! You can adjust the opacity, blur or blend images, and fully customize their color and contrast, as shown below!

Podia site editor

As a matter of fact, adding background images was by far the most requested upgrade, which shows how seriously they take customer feedback (they’re also lauded for their customer support!).

Not to mention, the site editor upgrade makes an already intuitive process even easier by ditching sidebar navigation, which can be tedious. That is, if you’re editing a section, only the sidebar for that particular section will appear. It’s only visible when in use. Before, it was slightly clunky and took up unnecessary space. Without it, you can now see your full site page/screen just as customers would!

It also offers a more efficient editing experience. Rather than scrolling through the sidebar to select the section you’re editing, just click on the section within the page and the editor will pop up! Simple touches like that make the new editor a breeze.

Podia site editor with dropdowns showing

In terms of actual “editing”, you can customize your headers to change how your logo and links are displayed, as well as the background and text colors. Speaking of text, not only do you have a wider range of font options, you can also adjust text height, spacing, weight, etc. Usually, you’d need some basic CSS coding skills to customize text to such an extent. But it’s all built in for you! You can even preview how your site pages will look on mobile devices. I’m impressed by how much thought went into this upgrade.

Podia’s great because it does the heavy lifting for you! Its simplistic and minimalist design helps maximize the user experience for both you and your customers!

Screenshot of digital product options for Podia review

As soon as you sign up or log in, Podia takes you to the dashboard where you can choose whether to set up a membership site, online course, or digital download. Podia’s membership sites are powered by Stripe, a secure and instantaneous payment system that simultaneously houses all your customer and financial data. Through this system, you can set up both monthly and annual member subscriptions.

If you’re a content creator, service provider, or a product company that has enough digital stock to sell, then a membership site hosted on the very same platform will enable you to cut out the “middle man” and sell your products to your clients directly. Not only that, but Podia is the only e-commerce platform that allows you to bundle any of your digital products with your memberships. Perhaps you’ve created an online course and would like to upsell to your client base by making exclusive offerings for a small subscription fee. Conversely, you could offer a free membership or “fan club” to attract a larger client base while simultaneously building your customer relationships. Podia’s membership and bundling features are truly testimony to their creator-first philosophy.

Another great feature of Podia is its spotless email marketing capabilities. Regardless of whether you’re strictly in the business of selling online courses or digital downloads, you can gather email addresses from both current and prospective customers via your prelaunch and/or storefront webpages. Do you want to keep communications regular but are hindered by time constraints? No worries. Podia lets you create nicely-formatted newsletters and drip campaigns so that your customer base is always in the loop! And if you’re new to entrepreneurship and marketing in general, then Podia will take over the brunt of the work by helping you track email click, open, and unsubscribe rates.

Options abound on this platform! Podia goes above and beyond by taking care of email marketing campaigns and affiliate marketing. Your customers are your greatest asset, not only because they keep you up and running financially, but because they can help you widen your exposure. If you create online courses, your audience is apt to consist of likeminded entrepreneurs who are pursuing continuous education for personal growth and/or business business ventures. Podia distributes special links so that your affiliate marketers can link back to your products. These links are also helpful for keeping track of affiliate sales.

Unlike Podia competitors like Teachable or Thinkific, Podia is extremely easy to navigate from the dashboard. When you add a new product, such as online courses or digital downloads, the resulting pop-up is actually the same. You are then prompted to type a product name and storefront description with filler text explaining what to write in each field. Podia practically babies you through every step in the content creation, marketing and selling process.

Screenshot of adding new products for Podia review

In keeping with its minimalist and user-friendly style, when you click “Create & continue” after filling in the product name and description for your course or digital download, you’re brought to a page that simply asks you to upload your pre-designed content. Remember, Podia helps you organize, not develop, your content. For your courses, you can add text, new sections, files, links, and even quizzes! Podia also lets you drip your course content bit by bit in case you don’t want the students to get too far ahead of themselves! Digital downloads are much simpler by nature – simply upload your files and add sections to organize them.

Screenshot of digital downloads manager for Podia review

Another game-changing, creator-first feature of Podia is that everything is unlimited. There is no cap on the bandwidth, number of courses, students, digital downloads, sales, memberships, and clients that you can host! There are no hidden costs or excess fees associated with simply using the site. When you eat at a restaurant, you expect to pay for the food, not the cutlery. But most e-commerce platforms will charge you a transaction fee of around 5% in addition to the subscription fee for using the very same services. With Podia, all you have to do is pay your monthly subscription fee. They will cover their own operational costs using your subscription payments. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Podia Pricing

Despite all the great features Podia offers, your decision might ultimately come down to price. With Podia pricing, you have a choice between their new Free Plan, Mover plan and Shaker plan – a monthly fee of $33/month and $75/month, respectively. Moreover, they recently introduced their new Earthquaker plan for $166/month. With this plan, you get everything in the Shaker plan, plus more.

For example, instead of paying extra for additional admin capabilities, the Earthquaker plan includes 5 at no extra cost. Furthermore, your limit of monthly email subscribers goes up from 15,000 to 50,000. But it also offers some really neat “extras”, including a dedicated account manager, white-labeling, and monthly calls with Podia’s course-creation masterminds.

That said, if you’re unsure, then you can always take advantage of the completely non-committal 14-day trial. You’ll be able to explore all the features of Podia and determine whether it addresses all your needs.

If you decide that Podia’s right for you, then I highly recommend an annual subscription since you get two months of free service. While Podia isn’t among the cheapest of options, it offers value and convenience due to its simple interface, user-friendliness, and convenient payout procedures.

Podia pricing does change from time to time, so be sure to check out the company’s Web site for the latest.

Podia pricing plans "Free, Mover, Shaker, Earthquaker"

Shortcomings

Overall, based on several reviews, Podia is a cost-effective solution that delivers a significant degree of value. However, it might fall short for design techies and developers who wish to customize their storefront and product pages. The cost for ease and convenience is a lack of control. However, these design limitations are minimal and Podia is constantly upgrading its platform and adding new features. Additionally, while Podia is lauded for its customer service, many have expressed disappointment that it only allows for email or live chat support.

Podia Review: Final Thoughts

Podia is steadily emerging as a major player in the e-commerce game, with potential to reach the popularity of leading competitors like Teachable and Thinkific. Nevertheless, this platform is creator-friendly, offering unlimited everything, zero transaction fees, and ultimate convenience as a one-stop shop solution. It uniquely hosts your membership site alongside your digital products and is the only e-commerce company to date that allows you to bundle select digital products with your membership.

While Podia’s not the cheapest solution, it delivers high value with its simple and intuitive interface. The user experience it affords not only does most of the heavy lifting, which is especially useful for non-techies, but its minimalist nature is optimal for high customer conversion rates.

If you are highly tech-savvy, or a designer who’d like ultimate control over the look and feel of your storefront and landing pages, then you might find that Podia falls short of options. Regardless of your background, an increasing number of creatives and entrepreneurs are gravitating away from safe bets like Teachable and Thinkific to experience Podia’s creator-first philosophy.

By Sydney Mansaray for Learning Revolution

See also:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the question I often get from readers or see asked in other places.

Does Podia have a free plan?

Yes! But note that they do charge an 8% transaction fee (the only plan that does this). Still, it’s a low-risk way to get your feet wet with access to many of the features in the premium plans.

What are the main alternatives to Podia?

If you are considering Podia, the three other platforms I would recommend vetting are LearnWorlds, Thinkific, and Teachable.

Does Podia integrate with Zoom?

Yes, but you do need to be subscribed to at least the Shaker level plan ($79 per month). Here’s an overview of how to run a Zoom Webinar through Podia:

ABOUT YOUR HOST

Learning Revolution founder Jeff Cobb is an expert in online education and the business of adult lifelong learning. Over the past 20+ years he has built a thriving career based on that expertise – as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an author, and a speaker. Learning Revolution is a place where Jeff curates tips, insights, and resources to help you build a thriving expertise-based business.

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