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Podia Review

Written by: Siobhan Brier  | August 30, 2021

Right now, you can start selling online courses, create coupons to incentivize people to your membership site, and promote your digital content in an all-in-one platform. However, the competition is fierce.

Dozens of websites want your attention, with each touting itself as the best website for online courses and digital downloads.

So how do you choose?

Podia is an up-and-coming online content creation course, but as it is a recent addition to the world of online course business, does it stack up to the competition? Or will it bore your students and force you to look elsewhere for your course creation needs?

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Who Should Use Podia?

Podia prides itself on being a platform for the dedicated course creator through its creator-friendly policies. One of its most attractive features is instant payouts, letting you immediately earn your compensation when someone purchases your digital products or online courses, or through their memberships.

The digital storefront also possesses the infrastructure to retain student data and manage memberships on the same site where you provide content. Furthermore, you have full control over your sales pages, pricing plans, and payment acceptance.

In addition, you can sell digital products on a one-off basis to customers who are not interested in online courses memberships.

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The Simplicity of Online Courses at a Cost

Most importantly, Podia appeals to those without the technical knowledge needed to build a website from scratch. You can quickly set up your courses and storefront, and for advanced users, you can flesh out the design more by using Podia's more advanced features. But what does simplicity cost? Flexibility.

The user interface will always prioritize simplicity over customization options, which may not be a bad thing, depending on your personality or technical skills.

Did you ever want to start selling online courses but don't know where to start? Podia can help you manage your course content with a simple user interface that can shave off a couple of years of stress.

A Full-Featured Online Course Platform

Podia's immense list of existing features, including email marketing strategies, affiliate programs, complimentary sales pages, and more may be what you need to get your start.

This Podia review will focus on the features and if they are worthwhile for any aspiring teacher.

Patreon Killer

As part of the company's rebranding process, Podia markets itself as an alternative to the popular subscription-based crowdfunding site, Patreon. While Patreon takes a 5% cut of a creator's process, (particularly anger-inducing, the idea that multi-million dollar conglomerates are hurting for cash),

Podia lets you keep everything.

Plus, in an attempt to steal people away from Patreon, Podia offers those users the ability to import their existing Patreon content into their Podia accounts, free of charge, making the switch attractive and easy.

For all intents and purposes, Podia is doing quite a bit to take Patreon down a peg. But it comes with a question. Does it really work?

That depends on what kind of content you want in your online course platform. But the first factor to mention in a Podia review is the pricing.

Pricing Podia Plans

The cost for Podia or any platform is often the biggest deciding factor for people trying to choose a good website to fit their needs. After all, a Podia review would feel incomplete if it omitted how much you are paying Podia so you can sell online courses memberships. You gotta spend money to make money, but how much?

There are three plans altogether, and they each come with a 14-day free trial and do not require a credit card. The Mover plan is $39 per month, the Shaker plan is $79 per month, and Earthquaker is $179 per month.

Screenshot of Podia Plans & Pricing

There are no high transaction fees for the Mover, Shaker, or Earthquaker plans. Each plan offers unlimited courses, along with other benefits. The Shaker plan and above are the only ways to get memberships, Zoom integration, and Affiliate marketing features, to name a few.

For the Mover plan and the Shaker plan, however, you must pay $20 for each team member, as opposed to the Earthquaker plan, which has up to five team members on the plan from the outset. Having more team members may help in developing unlimited courses.

Podia's Four Main Features

The Podia platform can be divided into four important features built with content creators in mind:

  • Podia's content creation and engagement
  • Online course payers and content delivery
  • Podia's payments and marketing services
  • Podia's support

There are benefits as well as shortcomings to each feature.

Let's begin with the feature that you may have come to this review for specifically, content creation.

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Podia Content Creation and Engagement

Podia's main purpose is to provide you with a quality experience in creating digital products and letting you deliver them to your students in the best way possible.

Podia allows you to create courses of any kind, including text-based lesson plans, videos describing a practical idea, audio files for quick lessons, MP3 links, PDFs for worksheets, quizzes to test students' knowledge, and so much more.

It can also be reassuring for users to realize that Podia uses Wistia for unlimited video hosting. Because of this feature, you won't need to worry or shy away from uploading videos, as your students may appreciate the visual element.

Ways to Deliver Content

You may also want to know how to deliver content, including digital downloads. You have a few options at your disposal to make your online courses really stand out, such as data exporting tools.

Drip Courses

Drip campaigns allow you to define a schedule for your course selections. You can choose when customers get access to particular sections of your lesson plan.

You could give them access over several days after purchase or after they completed a module, for instance.

Furthermore, customers will automatically be notified of newly unlocked sections via email.

You can choose to vary not only the delivery methods but the content itself to keep students engaged by making new sections within the lesson plans.

You could change it up by using videos, workbooks, tutorials, or other means to academically challenge your students.

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A simple way of testing your students' knowledge is with Podia's built-in quizzes. They are elegant and simple enough for everybody to use and understand. All you have to do in order to implement them is:

  1. Click on Products in the top bar, then choose edit on the far right of the product for which you wish to make a quiz.
  2. Click Add quiz, or you can add one to a specific section.
  3. Once the new page opens up, give the quiz a name and click on New question to add your content.
  4. Give your question a title, mark the available answer as right or wrong, then click "Create question."

Once the student is done with their quiz, they will see their final results before moving on to their next lesson. You can also check your customers' quiz completion individually by checking their course progress.

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Bundling Courses

You may consider bundling products or digital downloads so that your students can easily access their courses without referring to multiple sections. You can do this in the following ways:

  1. In the Podia dashboard, go visit your Products tab. From there, select "Create product", then choose Bundle. Name the bundle and "Create product."
  2. Under Products, you can see all of the product options are you can add or remove from your bundle. You cannot add bundles themselves to a bundle.
  3. The bundle must have two products or digital downloads before you can fully publish it.
  4. Then, you can set your price for the bundle by clicking the Pricing tab.
  5. Bundles can be offered for free, set as a one-time payment, or request a monthly payment, depending on your preference.
  6. Bundle prices are sold at a lower price than if each object was purchased on its own, incentivizing customers to purchase bundles that can boost your average order value.

Uploading Content

After learning what kind of content you want to produce, your next step is finding out how you can upload it to your lesson plan.

You can transfer your content to your Podia account either one by one or in bulk. Podia can then automatically create lessons from them.

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Cloud Limitations

One downside of Podia is that it does not allow you to transfer your files from the cloud. These include services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. S

Since Podia is still a new website, the creators may decide to support cloud-based software eventually–one can hope!

Divide and Conquer Content

Once your content is all on Podia, you can separate them into lessons and sections. The actual content will be classified as a lesson, with Podia organizing your lessons within a section.

Uploading content is convenient, but there are a few downsides.

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Online Course Player and Content Delivery

Podia's course player is a smooth user interface with an attractive aesthetic split into two halves. Students use the bigger half on the right to watch the course and they can use the left half to select a specific section or navigate the course.

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Comment Section

The comment area at the bottom appears if you have that feature turned on. Here, students can ask questions or leave a comment without leaving the exiting the course player.

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Membership Site

The Membership portion of the site allows you not only to bundle your courses but to also create individual posts for your members. Think of Patreon's posts: creators can create public posts for anyone to see and private posts exclusive to members.

Podia works the same way, except users can freely switch between your content and the membership site on the same user interface. Public posts can help you get your brand out there, while member posts are for your subscribers, where the exclusivity can encourage subscriptions and allow you to be more candid.

Content Creation's Shortcomings

Despite the many features, there are some drawbacks to Podia's offerings. You cannot change the course area design for the membership site. There is only one default template. While some creators may appreciate the simplicity, others may feel like they cannot fully express themselves.

Additionally, you cannot set passing grades for the quizzes. The student will see what they scored, but you cannot set a benchmark for what they need to move on to the next lesson plan.

Next, you have to check each grade individually. There is no way, as of now, to see their grades in one place.

Altogether, the quizzes are simple affairs that cannot be fully customized to fit your needs. But, adding them to your lesson plan is easy and students will know their progress upon completion, which can inform them right away if they need to improve on any particular area.

There are some program limitations: students cannot download your course videos for later viewings, you cannot embed PDF files, and you cannot turn off the download option for your audio files.

Customization Options for the Podia Website

Having put together your content strategy, the next step might be to design and use customization options for your website.

Thankfully, you don't have to worry about buying website hosting separately when using Podia. Each of the multiple plans for Podia will provide one free subdomain, along with supporting a custom domain.

In addition to supporting a custom domain, security, updates, and maintenance will come at no additional cost to you, as Podia will do all the heavy lifting for you. Now you can focus on what truly matters: designing a website that will bring in the customers.

Sales Page Builder for Selling Digital Downloads, Memberships, & Courses |  Podia

One-and-Done Template

While other platforms may provide several page designs for you to choose from, Podia's design features for pages such as membership sites are more limited for the sake of simplicity.

While having a predetermined built-in sales page, online store, checkout pages, and other sections makes building your website an easy process, those who are looking for more design features may feel disappointed.

Website Editor

Although you can't change the layout of your courses, you can alter other features via the online learning platform editor. The sidebar only appears while you are editing, allowing you to see the whole page to see if any other changes are needed.

Next, change your text and headings by choosing from a wide selection of fonts and changing the font spacing, height, and weight. You can choose different colors to represent different parts of the site.

In addition, you have full freedom in adding background images to site pages. You can add a picture for each section and adjust for picture quality and opacity, blur or blend images, and fully customize the color and contrast.

Quality of Life Options

In an update rolled out at the beginning of 2021, Podia updated all the tools for its website editor, introducing quality of life changes.

You can now click directly on the editing interface, rather than searching for the section in the sidebar. You can preview how your pages will look on mobile devices before publishing, such as viewing your membership sites to see if there are any changes you need to make before publishing them.

Easily add new sections by pressing the "+" button when hovering your mouse over a page. These new sections are nestled in between existing ones rather than appearing at the bottom of the page by default.

Website Editor's Shortcomings

Not every flaw within Podia's site editor was solved with the quality of life options. Although you can change how the font looks, there is currently no way to alter the size of the text. You also cannot adjust the design of a site's heading or restyle the navigation bar.

You cannot reach your site's database or implement CSS code and change the design. Podia sacrifices customization options in favor of a simple, elegant look. Its minimalistic design philosophy extends to how Podia handles its payments as well.

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Podia Payments and Marketing Services to Sell Online Courses

One of the best features of Podia is letting you process transactions on the same platform where you provide your content, which is not as common on other platforms. In addition, the email marketing Podia provides is a good start, but tools such as a sales funnel builder and advanced email marketing tools are not offered.

Payment Processing Podia Options

When collecting the funds from your products, Podia sends the proceeds to your connected Stripe or PayPal account.

You can connect both platforms to your site by visiting store settings, clicking on the Connect button for Stripe or PayPal, sign into the account, and then they are added after going through security measures.

You can use Stripe for individual product purchases and membership payments, but PayPal can only be used for individual product purchases. It does not work for payment or membership transaction fees.

Additionally, Podia does not charge any transaction fees. However, Stripe or PayPal will charge a standard transaction fee, which varies based on your location.

Types of Payment

You can set up both one-time payments for individual products and membership plans. So, you can charge individually for courses, digital downloads, and product bundles. Podia allows for membership as monthly or annual subscriptions, with the option of creating a free trial plan.

This is good for customers who don't want to invest in memberships but do want to try out a part of your courses via digital downloads.

To sell online memberships, you have the option to create multiple pricing plans and choose which products fall under the plans for your online business. You could also put in posts under a higher tier membership plan as well.

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If you want to further incentivize your students, Podia has the ability to create discounts on all of your plans and individual digital products. You can discount your online learning platform courses by an amount or percentage.

Furthermore, coupons can apply to specific digital products, online courses digital downloads, or everything you have to offer. Podia lets you place direct links on your sales page, which can automatically apply the coupon during the checkout process.

Checkout Process

Podia makes sure that the checkout process is as seamless as possible. Users do not need to create an account before making a payment. If they see a digital download they like, it's as simple as adding it to the cart and buying it without spending the time to make an account.

Additionally, checkout happens in a popup. Users can get any digital download and still stay on the page, rather than getting distracted and leaving your page without completing the sale.

Podi accepts credit cards, along with Stripe and PayPal, but as mentioned previously, PayPal only works for one-off purchases.

Also, to capitalize on your discounts, you may want to add upsells to your products. Upsells let you recommend other products, potentially with a discount, to the customer while they are purchasing something else.

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Podia's Email Marketing Features

To get more people to check out your products, Podia includes a few integrated email marketing tools, but they are relatively simple. Try including opt-in forms on the homepage, so that people can join your email listserv.

When designing your email marketing campaigns, Podia allows you to send one-off and automated emails. You could also offer a free plan or give away some digital products so that you can collect email addresses and build your audience.

Then, you can create an email funnel in which you send messages to your new students about your free or paid courses, which can help you sell online course memberships and boost your profitability.

Podia's campaign builder can help with creating a series of emails, setting a schedule for a drip campaign, and defining specific triggers that will send certain emails. On your website, you can include an email opt-in form to any page with Podia's embeddable buttons.

Another helpful feature is segmentation, which helps with segmenting your emails based on which products your students have purchased. You can then send them emails of other products they have not purchased but may enjoy in the future.

If students no longer want to be subscribed to your emails, then make sure that in every email you send, there is an opt-out button that is clear and visible to see. By showing your students that you respect their wishes if they proceed to leave your business, they may feel compelled to tell others about the class, even if it did not work out for them.

However, email marketing is not the only way you can market your products.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a wonderful tool that can help you drive customers to an online course by paying a third party to market your content to their audience.

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One of the most popular affiliate marketing adverts on YouTube is Raid: Shadow Legends. In fact, reading the game's title might feel instantly familiar because Raid: Shadow Legends constantly sends out a call to dozens of content creators to market the game. It typically works well, so give it a try.

You can add affiliates to a private dashboard. From there, you can give affiliates either a flat commission or a percentage of the funds you make from people clicking on your links on their content.

If they have a blog, then pass along a unique link to them that refers to your content. You can even look at how the competition is using its affiliate tools and incorporate their practices into your business model.

Affiliate tools are a cool way to make passive income within the course.

Integrations for Your Website

Podia supports a variety of third-party apps for use on your website. You can make use of various email service providers, such as MailChimp and Drip, to build more compelling email marketing strategies.

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If you want to see how visitors interact with your website, use third-party code applications like Google Analytics, to learn who your website visitors are and what they are doing on your site. HotJar can help you collect user feedback and turn more visitors into part of your audience.

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You can even link apps like Zoom into your digital marketing efforts, but that will require you to have at least a Shaker plan.

However, apart from all its native integrations, Podia does not have any support for other apps.

Podia's Marketing and Payment Services Shortcomings

Despite the usefulness of some of these features, there are a few downsides. For payments, you cannot set multiple price points, so there is not an easy way to provide basic and premium services.

Furthermore, all of your products and services will be only priced in the same currency that you initially selected when developing your website. International students will have to do conversions themselves.

One more thing with affiliate marketing is that you cannot easily collect and manage tax forms from your affiliates.

Podia's Support

Podia provides multiple ways to help you check on students' progress and excellent customer service.

Screenshot of Podia Products Page

People Management

In the Audience section of the app, you can see a list of your students and filter if they are on your email listservs or are a subscriber.

For each specific student, you check their progress on courses or tests, but there are no course completion certificates so you can know which courses they excel in.

Customer Support

The customer support is friendly and eager to help you with any problems. There's nothing worse than spending hours on the phone with customer support, only to learn nothing and still feel frustrated.

Podia's live chat support is available during regular 9 AM to 5 PM business hours on weekdays and weekends. During the timeframe, live chat support will respond to messages right away.

Other options include contacting them through email if you can't make it to their live chat hours. Also, a help center is open 24/7 with over a hundred articles on its resources page to help you with common questions.

Podia's Support Shortcomings

Despite the support options, there are a few ways they could improve the system.

There are no bulk actions for student management; for example, you cannot enroll multiple students in a similar course.

Also, the filter options on the Audience section are lackluster. You cannot filter them based on which courses they enrolled in or their course completions.

Lastly, Podia's customer support could be improved by adding ways to interact with other users via social media. Other competitors have established Facebook Groups so that users can ask questions from other content creators and network with others.

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Final Thoughts

Consider this short refresher: Podia could be perfect for anybody wanting to create a business without worrying about creating code or making a website from scratch.

While some creators may prefer more customization, Podia's purpose is to be as simple as possible. The creators want people to choose something that can help them get started right away.

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