A third online course platform for comparison: Podia
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we are here to provide an honest and straightforward review of some of our our top competitors, as well as our own platform (yes, even the downsides) to help you make the right decision for you and your business.
While it’s true that we have more insight into our own product than we do for Kajabi or Thinkific, we’ll do our best to put our biases aside and just focus on what we know to be true about our product and what people say about it in independent reviews.
Podia: A quick overview
Like Kajabi and Thinkific, Podia is also an all-in-one online course platform that gives creators everything they need to sell courses, webinars, downloads, and memberships.
Podia was founded in 2014 and the platform serves “50,000+ creators,” which is similar to both Thinkific and Kajabi in terms of audience size.
Like Kajabi, Podia also emphasizes the “all-in-one” aspect of the platform (and relieving the hassle of the “duct tape solution”) while emphasizing the fact that you can sell any kind of digital product on the platform, including online courses, webinars, memberships, and digital downloads (it’s worth noting that Thinkific is much more focused on online courses vs all types of digital products, which is one of Podia’s main selling points).
The Podia site also highlights their marketing tools, including our site builder (which allows you to build beautiful, modern, mobile-friendly websites or landing pages), their email marketing tools, live chat widget (a feature that’s totally unique to Podia), and their affiliate marketing feature.
Podia is also very focused on customer support, offering live chat and email support 7 days a week, as well as weekly demos and daily Q&A’s (Kajabi offers live chat and email support 5 days per week and Thinkific offers email and phone support 5 days a week from 9-5PM PST).
Finally, Podia has a free plan that includes a full website, an online community, one digital download, and one coaching product. You don’t have to pay anything to get started and you’ll only pay an 8% transaction fee if you make a sale. Podia’s free plan makes it easy for creators to start their online business without a huge upfront investment.
In terms of reviews, Podia’s customers tend to focus on the simple, intuitive design with customers saying things like “PODIA hands down is SIMPLE to use. No muss, no fuss, SIMPLE” and “I can say so many good things about Podia. It has helped me build my business with so much ease. I love how simple it is to build a course.”
One person also loves how the simplicity saves him time: “In using Podia for these past few days, I’m seeing how the simplicity can help me take more action faster & get more value to my people without getting hung up in the tech.”
Customers also seem to love the lack of limits on everything from products and customers to pages and emails, saying things like “looove the fact that you get unlimited everything, so no more tiers to squeeze through” and “I like the fact that Podia gives its users unlimited hosting of video content through one of the premium video platforms: Wistia. This means that you can upload all kinds of videos, as well as PDF and other types of learning materials, without having to worry about potentially ‘running out of storage’.”
Finally, Podia customers seem to love Podia’s stellar customer service, saying things like “The customer service is absolutely amazing!” and “they have exceptional chat customer service. If you have any problem, you can just ask them and they answer really fast.”
The free migration service is also a helpful bonus for those switching platforms and is mentioned throughout the reviews (“the team were able to migrate me in less than 24 hours and the support is so personal and caring”).
While very close, it’s also worth noting that Podia is rated 4.8/5 stars on Capterra, while Kajabi is rated 4.3/5 stars and Thinkific is rated 4.6/5 stars on Capterra.
Who is Podia best for?
At its core, Podia is for creators who are looking for a simple, intuitive, and affordable all-in-one platform that supports all types of digital products while providing seamless content delivery. It’s also ideal for creators who want the flexibility to grow their businesses without limitations and to get the helpful and responsive support they need to succeed.
In a nutshell, we believe Podia is best for creators who:
- Want a simple, intuitive, and affordable all-in-one course platform
- Sell (or plan to sell) online courses, webinars, memberships, communities, coaching, and/or digital downloads
- Want the option of getting started with a free plan
- Want to offer live chat on their own website and sales pages
- Want fast, helpful, and friendly customer support
- Don’t want limits on the number of products they can create
- Don’t want to pay transaction fees on paid plans
Podia’s key features
While there’s a lot of love about Podia, below are the key features that are highlighted prominently on the Podia Features page and throughout the site, as well as what was mentioned most frequently in public reviews.
Podia’s free plan
Podia makes it easy for creators to start their online businesses without breaking the bank. Podia’s free plan comes with a full website, one digital download, one coaching product, and an online community where you can connect with your followers.
The free plan also enables you to start growing and communicating with your email list. Free plan users only pay an 8% transaction fee on sales. Create your free account today.
Podia offers creators a simple and intuitive course builder that makes course creation easy. With Podia, you can build beautiful and modern standalone courses, drip courses, bundled courses, and more. You can even pre-sell courses, allowing you to validate ideas and earn sales before putting in any work.
Podia supports every type of digital download you can imagine, for eBooks and PDFs to templates, music, audio, video, and more. Sell downloads on their own, use them as lead magnets to capture emails, or bundle them together with others products.
Webinars with live or pre-recorded videos
Host live or pre-recorded video sessions with unlimited participants by connecting your YouTube Live or Zoom accounts, and your audience will be able to register - and pay - for access through your Podia site.
With Podia, you can create as many membership plans - for as many members - as you want, with each featuring different perks, content, and prices.
Membership sites include public and members-only posts, product bundling with your memberships, recurring subscriptions for members, and integrations with Facebook, Slack, or Palapa (only available on “Shaker” and “Earthquaker” plans).
You can set up all the details of your membership through our community feature.
Run your coaching business directly from Podia! Sell one-to-one coaching sessions with built-in scheduling integrations with many popular platforms, including Calendly, Acuity, YouCanBookMe, and Savvycal (available on “Shaker” and “Earthquaker” plans).
You can also integrate coaching directly into your courses, which is especially helpful for student satisfaction and course completion rates.
Affiliate programs for your customers
Turn your fans into sales reps by launching your own affiliate program. Within your affiliate program, you can set custom commission terms, invite affiliates, and reward them for helping you grow your business (only available on “Shaker” and “Earthquaker” plans).
Beautiful, easy-to-build custom website/pages (no coding required)
Using Podia’s site editor, you can quickly and easily build a custom, professional-looking website for your online business (as well as custom landing/sales pages) without design or technical knowledge.
Built-in email marketing tools
Send one-off emails or automated, multi-touch sequences with Podia’s built-in email marketing tools. The built-in marketing tools also include email capture, segmentation capabilities, email analytics, and more. Bonus: Podia is also the only online course platform that gives you complete revenue metrics for every email you send.
Live chat messaging to interact with visitors and customers (exclusive to Podia)
The same way Podia offers live chat support to potential and current Podia customers, you can also offer live chat to your potential and current customers by enabling the “live chat” widget on your website and sales pages. This functionality is unique to Podia and is not available through Thinkific or Kajabi.
Sell in more places (and increase your chances of conversion) with Podia’s embedded checkout feature, which features a fast and simple checkout process that’s been tested and optimized for conversion (available on “Shaker” and “Earthquaker” plans).
Automatic VAT calculation for EU customers
If you’re in the EU, Podia will calculate the amount of VAT due from each customer, add the VAT to the customer’s bill, collect that money to your Stripe or PayPal account, and store all the tax data you need to make an accurate VAT return.
Payment plan options
If your customers prefer to pay in installments (vs all upfront), you can allow your students to pay over time with Podia’s simple payment plan options.
Entice customers to buy (and make more sales) by creating custom coupons for individual customers, one-time purchase, limited-time deals, and more.
If you have a course idea (or your course is WIP), you can use Podia to pre-sell your course, which means you can promote it, capture email addresses, and even collect payments before putting in any of the work (great for validating ideas, as well).
Have similar products you want to sell together? Use Podia’s Bundle feature to sell complementary products together at a discounted rate as a way to increase sales.
Increase the size of every order by offering relevant upsells (like additional products or a mix of products and live trainings, webinars, etc) to customers who purchase your digital downloads.
Test your students’ knowledge and ensure concepts are being properly absorbed by incorporating quizzes throughout your online courses.
Want your content to arrive at specific intervals? Use Podia’s Drip Content feature to automatically deliver specific content at specific times throughout the customer journey.
See student questions, get their feedback, or just start a conversation by allowing customers to “like” and comment directly within your course content.
Course completion certificates
When students complete a course, automatically recognize and reward their effort with a simple yet elegant course completion certificate (only available on “Shaker” and “Earthquaker” plans).
Podia pricing: A quick breakdown
With paid plans starting at just $39/month (and only going up to $199/month), Podia is considered much more accessible to creators at every level, which is why “good value for the money” tends to be a highlight across public reviews.
Kajabi, on the other hand, is much more expensive and far more limiting in comparison to Podia’s plans, even though Podia offers over 90% of the same features as Kajabi (check out the BIG comparison table at the end of the article to see what we mean).
And speaking of limits, Kajabi has limits on just about everything, and while Thinkific has fewer limits on things like number of courses, students, etc, they have considerable limitations when it comes to email marketing and membership tools, lack of support for digital downloads, and more. Podia, by comparison, has nearly zero limits on everything across the board, built-in email marketing/membership tools, support for digital downloads, and everything else you could need to run your online business.
Below is a high-level breakdown of what’s included in each of Podia’s three plans: