Podia Review (2020): A Worthy Online Course Platform?

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In this Podia review, I will give you all the information you need about the platform to help you decide if it is the right option for you to create and sell your online course.

What is Podia?

Podia is an all-in-one platform for creating and selling online courses, digital downloads and memberships.

Since starting in 2014, over 25,000 creators have chosen the platform to build and sell their digital products.

Podia pricing

Let’s start off this Podia review by going over the Podia pricing plans.

There are just two plans for Podia:

  • Mover – $32.5 per month (annual billing) or $39 per month (monthly billing)
  • Shaker – $65.83 per month (annual billing) or $79 per month (monthly billing)

Unfortunately, there isn’t a Free plan on Podia. But, there is a 14-day free trial.

Podia pricing

Podia features

Now you know how much Podia will cost you, let’s now go over what you get for your money.

Mover

The Mover plan is packed with the following features:

  • Digital storefront
  • Zero transaction fees
  • Unlimited courses, students and hosting
  • Digital downloads
  • Email marketing
  • Live chat messaging
  • Custom domain support
  • Product support (7-days-a-week)
  • Free migrations (with the annual plan)

Shaker

The Shaker plan comes with all of the features listed in the Mover plan as well as:

  • Membership
  • Blog
  • Embedded checkout
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Third-party compatible (eg, Facebook Pixel and Sumo)

Podia transaction fees

Unlike some of the other online course platforms, Podia has zero transaction fees on both their plans.

This means you will keep more of the revenue!

Podia course builder

When starting a new course in Podia, you will be guided by a short instructional video on how to achieve this.

An online course is known as a product in Podia. A product can be either an online course, digital download or product bundle.

Create a new product in Podia

Product editor

Once an online course is created, you can now add content. Content can be:

  • Files (eg, images, PDFs, videos)
  • Links
  • Text
  • Quizzes (multiple-choice)
  • Sections

The content is organized into sections. Each piece of content can be moved around dynamically inside the different sections so you can easily reorder lessons and quizzes.

Content can also be marked as previewable, meaning anyone can access it without purchasing your course.

Podia product online course creator

If comments are turned on, you can also see the number of comments for each piece of content, which is pretty handy!

Note that you cannot include different types of content within the same lesson. For example, you cannot have a lesson that has a quiz under a video; these will be classed as separate lessons.

Pricing

You can set online courses to have a one-time fee and/or give customers the option to take out a payment plan.

To use the payment plan option, you need to connect your Stripe account.

Alternately, you can give your course away for free.

You are not limited to USD as the primary currency. There are 24 different currencies that you can accept including the Euro and British Pound.

Podia pricing options

Coupons

Coupons are an excellent strategy to use when selling an online course.

You can specify your own coupon code, or you can get Podia to randomly generate a coupon code for you.

There are quite a few ways coupons can be applied in Podia:

  • Storewide – works for any product/membership plan
  • Products only – used for a specific type of product (eg, online course)
  • Membership only – used for all membership plans
  • Selected products – used for a specific product (eg, one online course)
  • Selected plans – used for a specific membership plan

The value of the coupon can be set as a percentage off or an amount.

Finally, you can limit the number of total uses as well as setting an expiry for the code.

Podia create coupon code

Live messaging

Podia is the only online course platform that has an integrated messaging system.

There are three options you can set for messaging:

  • Enabled for everyone – anyone can message you
  • Enabled for customers – only those that are logged-in can message you
  • Disabled

The messaging centre is where you can see what messages are coming in. This works a little bit like Facebook Messenger.

Podia live chat options

You can also change your status to Automatic (to detect when you are away or online) or to Away.

To see what the messaging system looks like for students and customers, then carry on reading.

Email marketing

Podia has one of the best-integrated email marketing capabilities of all online course platforms.

With Podia, you can create:

  • Broadcasts – one-off emails, such as newsletters and announcements
  • Campaigns – various scheduled emails

Broadcasts are one-off emails that can be sent to certain groups. For example, you may want to send an announcement to all students enrolled onto a particular course.

With a campaign, you select a trigger, such as the purchase of an online course. Then, you can set up a sequence of emails to send over the coming days.

For each email in the campaign, you specify when you want the email to be sent.

Podia email campaign

As well as creating emails, Podia also provides analytics for those that have been sent.

You can find those all-important numbers on click and open rates. Below is a screenshot of the analytics overview, but it is also possible to get these numbers for individual broadcasts and campaigns.

Podia email analytics

Podia’s page builder

With Podia you can edit the store storefront and product pages. There is also the option to create and edit additional statistic pages, such as an About Me page.

It actually took me a few minutes to find the option of editing the pages and this wasn’t entirely obvious.

The storefront page is where all of your products, including online courses, are presented.

Podia page editor

At the top of the editor, there are options to change the appearance (colors, fonts, etc) and header (logo, menu links, etc).

New sections can be added using the menu to the left. Sections that can be added include:

  • Text
  • Image with text
  • Video with text
  • Testimonials (manually entered)
  • FAQs
  • Categories
  • Columns
  • Author biography
  • Newsletter

All of the sections can be moved around by click and dragging on them. Any changes made will be instantly updated in the preview window.

I particularly like the newsletter section. There is the option to use Recaptcha to prevent spam entries and you can even copy and paste the HTML code to embed the newsletter sign-up on your own website/blog.

Podia newsletter section

A student’s view

So far in this Podia review, I have talked about the backend of the Podia interface. Let me now show you what users will see from the frontend.

Payment options

There are two payment options that customers can use to purchase your online products:

  • Credit/debit card (via Stripe)
  • PayPal

Unlike Teachable, there are no additional fees when accepting PayPal payments with Podia.

Note, PayPal is not available for payment plans or memberships.

There is a two-step process for purchasing an online product in Podia stores.

Firstly, a pop-up will ask for the customer’s email address.

This is useful to collect emails of people you know are interested in the online product. If they do not convert into a sale, then you can always follow up with an email campaign or even offer them a coupon code.

The next popup window displays the checkout options. Customers also have the option to enter a coupon code.

Podia two-page checkout

Lectures

The course layout is similar to most online course platforms.

There is a table of contents to the left, which can be minimized by students. There is also the main lesson window to the right.

Unfortunately, there is no progression bar to tell you how far through the course you are. Simply, each lesson you complete is crossed.

Podia lesson view

Video player

Embedded videos inside of lessons work well in Podia.

All of the features you see on most video platforms are there. Students can change the volume, quality and speed of the video.

Videos can also be shown in full-screen mode.

If captions have been added to the video (via a srt file), then a captions button will also appear to enable these.

Podia video player

A nice feature of the video player is the resume play option. So, for example, if you only managed to watch half of the video before leaving the page, you have the option to carry on watching where you were before.

Podia video player resume play

Comments

The comment system in Podia is rather average in my opinion.

If enabled, comments can be added under each lesson. There is no option to turn comments off for certain lessons; they are either enabled or disabled globally.

Users can add a comment in the text box; no file attachments are supported. It is then possible to start a thread when replying to a comment.

There is a Like feature, where other students can Like the comment.

Podia course comments

Live messaging

The live chat feature, in my view, is an exciting feature in Podia.

If enabled, students have the option to see if you’re online and instantly message you.

A nice chat box pops up in the corner of the screen and text can be added.

Podia live chat

As of yet, only text can be sent in the chat. There is no support for emojis or multimedia attachments; maybe this will be introduced in the near future.

Payouts

Next up in this Podia review, I will go over the payouts. In other words, how often will you receive your product sales?

Depending on the settings applied in the storefront, you can receive payments by either Stripe or PayPal.

Podia payments are instant! Typically, after a product sale, you should receive the money in your account within two working days.

Affiliates

For those that are on the Shaker plan, there is also the ability to set-up an affiliate network.

Affiliates are those who promote your online products by using a special link, known as an affiliate link. If there are any purchases made through this link, then the affiliates receive a commission of that sale.

To invite an affiliate, you simply fill out their email address and Podia will send them an invitation.

Commissions can be set as a percentage or a dollar amount.

There is also the option to set product-specific commissions. So, if you have multiple online courses, for example, you can set a different commission rate for each.

Affiliate cookies last for 15 days and there is no means of adjusting this.

Podia affiliates

Support

There are a few ways you can contact the Podia team, should you ever need them. These are:

  • Live chat
  • Help Center
  • Resources

Live chat

If you want to speak to a member of the Podia team over their live chat system, you can do 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) between 9 am-6 pm ET.

Podia state that their average response time is <2 minutes, which is pretty impressive!

Help centre

The Podia Help Center is a useful Q&A knowledgebase containing over 150 articles.

There is a good chance that you will find the answer you are looking for just by looking at the Help Center.

Podia Help Center

Resources

Another really useful utility provided by Podia is their resources page.

Here you will find articles, detailed guides and tools (including their copy sales generator) that can be accessed for free.

Oh, and you don’t need to be a Podia user to access these resources. So, make sure you check them out!

Podia Resources

3 things I like about Podia

Now it’s time to give you my personal likes and dislikes about Podia. So, let me start by sharing my three biggest likes…

Zero transaction fees as standard

As an online course creator, having zero transaction fees gets two massive thumbs up from me.

It’s quite annoying when you pay to use an online course platform, only to be slapped with additional transaction fees.

With Podia, there are no hidden shocks.

The live messaging system rocks

Podia is currently the only online course platform that has an integrated live messenger system – and it’s a fantastic feature!

Having the ability to interact with students directly within the platform is much more efficient than having to switch to third-party apps.

Email marketing

For an online course platform, Podia has one of the best email marketing capabilities out there. This means that you don’t necessarily need additional email marketing accounts elsewhere.

You can create your own drip campaigns and send newsletters. For those that love analytics, there is also an array of data that you can see directly within the Podia dashboard.

3 things I don’t like about Podia

Sure, Podia has a lot of things going for it! But, there are a few things I don’t quite like about the platform and this wouldn’t be a complete Podia review if I didn’t share them.

No course completion certificates

Unfortunately, Podia does not have a course completion certificate feature available. Meaning, you cannot easily reward students with course completion certificates.

Now, this isn’t a major issue as there are ways around this, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a certificate.

No white-labelling option

One of the main factors I believe drags Podia down a little if the lack of complete white-labelling.

White-labelling is essential for those wanting to enhance their brand and appear professional.

Of course, Podia does support custom domains. However, there is no option to remove the ‘powered by Podia’ mark across your store, even on their most premium plan (Shaker).

Lessons are restricted to one content type

I also don’t like that their course builder only allows one type of content to be added inside of a single lesson.

For example, say I want to structure a lesson to have a video at the top and a multiple-choice quiz underneath – this is currently not possible in Podia.

Podia alternatives

If you don’t think Podia ticks all of the boxes for you, then check out these Podia alternatives:

Podia review: wrapping up

I hope this Podia review has given you some extra food for thought when considering to use the platform to create and market your online products.

I believe Podia is in the top 3 tier of the best online course platforms.

Unfortunately, there is no free Podia plan. But, you can get access to a 14-day free trial (no payment details required) so you can check out the platform for yourself.

If you use Podia, then let me know what your thoughts in the comments section below.

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