Let’s take a deep look into the Podia platform as a whole and all the things that make it truly unique.
This is an in depth review of the platform.
- What is Podia?
- Course Creation & Engagement
- Site Design & Customization
- Sales & Marketing
- Reporting & Administration
- Customer Support
- Pricing Plans
- Podia vs The Competition
- Podia Review – Final Verdict
What is Podia?
Podia being an online platform lets you create and sell courses, memberships and digital downloads like ebooks.
On podia you can host course content, deliver it well and build an eCommerce storefront to sell these courses while accepting payments.
The first thing to know about Podia is that it is completely different from a marketplace like Udemy. So you should own data like email addresses and personal information around students. You can get control over pricing and refunds.
Podia gives you the structure to build and sell courses online.
Since the period the team has been adding new features and has upgraded the platform in a huge way. Podia is a better platform than it used to be several years ago.
Here’s what the platform has to offer:
- Create a good online course or membership
- Unlimited video file hosting through Wistia.
- Deliver content professionally through the course player
- Create a great sales page for the product.
- Charge one-time fee, recurring subscription or even a payment plan.
- Accept payments through Stripe or PayPal
- Get them EU taxes.
- Create your own affiliate program
- Send broadcast emails or automated campaigns.
Podia stands out owing to its simplicity and ease of use. You can set up your own courses even if you lack technical knowledge on how few things work.
The whole thing looks elegant.
The ease of use sometimes comes at the cost of how flexible the features are. All tools you use on Podia, whether its the course builder or page builder you will find they will make it easy for someone to use the tool rather than customize all aspects of the tool.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Podia is new and there are certain features completely amiss or incomplete.
We’re going to discuss all the essential features driving down into what’s good, bad and great.
Course Creation & Engagement
Course creation and delivery is one of the most important things an online learning platform can do. A good choice helps you host the content, create the structure and engage learners in multiple ways.
We are going to see how Podia performs in each aspect of course creation. Let’s start with content uploading and course structuring at the beginning.
Content Uploading & Structuring
On podia, you can host the content. This includes videos, audio and other such things. As far as video hosting is concerned Podia uses a platform called Wistia.
For uploading the content one option is to upload files one by one or do them all at once.
With content uploading the process is fairly simple. You can’t however import files from Google drive/Dropbox.
Cloud import is a much quicker way of uploading files and is an essential feature.
This becomes important because Podia doesn’t have a video library.
For creating the course structure there are two levels: first sections and second lessons. Lessons are where you add the actual content and sections help you organize the course content.
Every file you add to Podia turns to a lesson and the course builder lets you reorder the lessons and move them within a section or between sections.
The course builder is easy to use but lacks a certain flexibility when adding multiple content items.
Things like adding a video and a pdf file to the same lesson. Or adding a quiz and video in the same lesson are some ideas.
If the course has downloadable resource plus videos you need to create separate lessons for them. That may not be a great idea.
Aside from this there are few essentials missing.
- You can’t make course videos downloadable
- You can’t embed pdf files
- You can’t turn off download option for the audio files
- The text editor is basic and doesn’t have many formatting options.
It’s easy to set up a course inside Podia. It’ doesn’t take much time for you to get started with the process.
The course builder isn’t flexible lacking a number of features including cloud import.
Course Player & Content Delivery
The course player helps students go through the content and the design of the player influences their experience.
The great thing is the course player is well-designed from UX point of view and is beautiful to look at.
The students can go through the whole course in the content area. Then there’s the table of contents to the left sidebar which students can use to navigate the course.
Also, for ease of use, there’s previous and next lesson buttons.
If you turned comments on for the course, the comments area appears at the bottom so users can ask questions and leave comments without leaving the course player.
Another factor I love about the course player is students can click on the icon at the top. This hides the navigation sidebar and content area takes up full space on the screen.
Podia also has the memberships option that can help bundle courses and also let you create individual posts for members.
The posts appear separately on the membership area and is excellent for delivering one-time content and doesn’t have the same linear structure of online courses.
You have options to schedule posts, set up email notifications and this is a good feature on the website builder.
Another cool feature with membership posts is that you can use them in public for your brand. Keep in mind that it’s a workaround than a blogging tool.
There’s just one default template. You can’t customize the design elements.
If you dislike the design or want to give your site a unique look this isn’t possible with Podia.
The course area is mobile responsive and looks professional as well.
Learning & Engagement Tools
Course creators can use a number of learning tools to engage students and help them.
Some popular learning and engagement tools are compliance, certificates, quizzes and more.
You can drip feed your course content. Define a schedule for course sections and then send out emails to students based on when the content is available to them.
Another handy feature with Podia is you can unlock dripped course content for only a few specific students. If you want to give them access to certain modules or the whole course that’s also possible.
Another learning and engagement tool is quizzes. Create multiple choice questions students can answer.
From a design perspective, a quiz on Podia looks elegant and useful. There are several features like the ability to add images to questions, add question types and add other questions and so on.
One big limitation however is the fact that you can’t set pass grades for the quizzes. You can’t evaluate students on this and that’s the reason the quiz feature seems incomplete.
Aside from this, podia lacks any learning tools. You can’t create assignments, or accept submissions.
There’s no content locking feature either. If you want to restrict student progress unless they complete past lessons that’s not possible with Podia.
For student discussions and community there are fewer options with Podia. The thing with Podia is you can enable comments in the course lessons.
It doesn’t let you create a standalone community. Most course creators allow you to embed comments, it can hold a limitation when building membership sites and hosting a community on your site.
Another tool to enable student engagement is providing certificates to students. You don’t have a tool to create or issue certificates to students.
In terms of learning or engagement Podia doesn’t have much and probably is the weakest link in the chain.
Here are course creation features on Podia
- The course builder lacks plenty of flexibility in that there’s no option to upload files from Google Drive or Dropbox.
- The quizzing feature is limited and doesn’t set passing grades
- No support for content locking, certificates, or running a community.
- No mobile apps for learners.
Site Design & Customization
Here we are going to see what POdia does differently when creating your own site on the platform.
The big advantage with a hosted platform like podia is you don’t need hosting or SSL.
In addition every school on Podia gets a free subdomain on examplesite.podia.com
For site building, podia comes with a number of site themes you can readily use. Podia doesn’t have multiple site themes, just a single template you can edit.
Another thing to change at the site level are the colors. See the main color and colors for the background, the headings and text.
You can also change the default font for the body text and headings.
Aside from this, you get little control on the design or styling of the site. FOr instance, there’s no option to change the header or other elements like navigation or buttons.
If you’re an advanced user, there’s no way to access the backend and modify the css.
The great thing is the default template is clean, has a modern design and the sales pages are going to look great.
You can customize pages with the page builder.
To customize the storefront and sales pages you need the page builder.
The page builder has a number of pre-built elements you can add to the page with one click. Add product banners, course descriptions, author bios and more.
Elements like image with text, video with text and columns are another space to add information on.
There’s also section themes where you can set colors for the background and text and is a great feature. The page builder is easy-to-use and gives you a great deal of control even if you can’t design or code.
The text editor places a number of small and big restrictions. It’s difficult to change the text size, images or play around with the spacing in the text.
You can’t modify animations or hide specific elements on mobile vs desktop.
Another thing to note is there’s no simple way to add buttons at the middle or bottom of the sales page
The sales page builder isn’t all that flexible and can’t adjust the design much.
Site text customization. Podia lets you change the storefront language. There’s no way for you to alter the default alt texts.
When building a site on Podia, most of it revolves around the page builder that’s easy to use and you can create a great looking sales page with little to no effort.
You also don’t need to worry over site updates and maintenance either.
There are further limited capabilities. No site themes and page builder has few customization options too.
Sales & Marketing
Coming to sales and marketing, Podia offers a number of tools for you to start processing payments and sell courses. There’s no sales funnel builder or email marketing capabilities in the funnel builder.
Let’s go into more details regarding what the platform can offer.
Product Pricing & Payment Processing
Podia supports Stripe and PayPal for payment processing. It’s easy to pay affiliates as well this way. You can also make the payments go right to your PayPal account too.
For the pricing options it’s a little different with products and memberships on POdia.
For products in the form of digital downloads or product bundles you can have a one time pricing or payment plan.
Another problem with pricing products is there is no way for you to create different price points. You can sell the basic course for $99 and another version for higher. Podia simply doesn’t support this feature.
When you create membership you have the option for multiple plans and choosing which products or posts are gong to be listed under which plan.
You can price your membership either as monthly subscription or an annual subscription or create free trials as well.
The problems are here
;Not possible to charge set up fee for the membership
You can’t offer lifetime pricing for memberships
- You don’t have paypal support as a payment option.
Another limitation with pricing products for Podia is you can’t choose a specific currency at store level.
Another useful tool that Podia offers for product pricing is coupons that can let you discount products either by amount or percentage. You can create coupons to apply for all products or even specific products as well.
You can also create direct links on the sales page that applies the coupon on checkout.
Podia has a multi step checkout. However it’s optimized. Users don’t need an account before payment. THey can enter a few details to complete the payment.
No checkout page. The checkout happens inside a popup. The benefit with this is user can complete the payment while staying on the page itself.
You can add the buy button or product card or text link on the main site with customers completing the checkout without having to leave the website.
Another thing I like about the process with Podia is that you can collect EU vat on the courses. On settings turn on the collect eu vat and podia adds the correct vat amount to the course.
THe eu vat feature on Podia works well.
There’s also option for you to add 1 click upsell to the checkout while also applying a discount. You have the option to add multiple upsells as well.
There are few problems with the checkout process in Podia.
You can’t add testimonials, money back or badges.
Email Marketing Tools
Podia offers some email marketing and lead generation tools. Add a pre-launch signup form to the sales page. You can also add a newsletter form to the storefront to start collecting email addresses as well.
For email marketing Podia lets you send one-off emails as well as automated emails. You can send these campaigns to course buyers or those that join the waitlist.
Using the campaign builder, it’s easy for you to hatch a few emails, set the schedule and drip send them. You can also define the trigger to send the emails.
You can send conditions for the campaign. Say when someone signs up for pre launch and other activities like this.
Podia’s email marketing capabilities are basic and is far from the sage where it can be your email marketing platform.
You don’t have the ability to create any landing pages on Podia. If you use external lead generation tools like Leadpages you can bring subscribers in Podia via Zapier.
Podia doesn’t have anything for list management. You can’t tag anyone or create segments of users.
Third, you can only create basic automation rules. Want anything more? Not possible on Podia.
Podia’s email marketing features are great for sending notifications to students and for onboarding campaigns you may want to run.
If you want to set up affiliates for the courses, podia can help.
Add affiliates to the school and for products. The affiliates get a dashboard where they can access affiliate links, track sales and view conversions happening in real-time.
For affiliate omissions, you can either give them percentage-based commission or flat commission. You can customize the commission at the product level.
There are a few things you can do with affiliate tools. There’s no way on Podia to upload content assets, swipe files for the affiliates. Second, the products show up on the affiliate dashboard by default and there’s no way to hide them. You can set a zero percent commission rate to hide these products.
You cannot change the cookie period for the affiliate links either.
There’s no simple way for you to collect or manage tax forms either.
The inbuilt marketing tools are basic. You need a third-party email marketing service. It integrates with Mailchimp, Convertki, Drip and other tools.
When a user starts any of the courses you can pass the user information to the emails service provider and add him to a list or tag. Podia has the Zapier integration as well. If you use any email service podia doesn’t directly support, use Zapier that has 1500 integrations.
You can do more with Zapier. Connect with click funnels or Quickbooks.
Podia lets you add scripts to your site which lets it integrate with GA and Facebook pixel.
Sales & Marketing – The Bottom Line
Podia does a great job for sales and marketing. The checkout process is completely optimized as well.
You can offer 1 click upsells, do the eu vat and do email marketing too.
- More pricing options including setup fee for subscriptions
- PayPal for memberships
- Can use checkout page from checkout popup
- Use email marketing
Reporting & Administration
With a course creation platform, you can manage courses and students as well as keep track of revenue numbers as well as engagement. Here we are going to see what Podia can offer.
Reporting & Analytics Tools
Pdia’s course reporting abilities have some critical pieces of info amiss. The one thing you can do is track student progress for courses.
You can view the completion rate for individual students and track which lessons they completed.
That’s not all. You don’t get access to any course completion reports or lecure completion reports. Or quiz completion reports.
There’s no analytics for course videos either.
POdia doesn’t give you the data for video metrics beginning from video engagement to tracking the performance of videos you play.
These are essential reports that are missing.
For sales analytics POdia has a different dashboard that gives you an overview of total sales. You can also filter sales reports by specific plans as well.
Below you see individual sales transactions that you can export in csv/
Sales Overview in Podia
The sales report on podia is basic at best and doesn’t have filters or dates for items like coupon codes or affiliates.
User Roles & Privileges
You can add students and affiliates and you can assign roles to people. Whether you have VA or partners for the business school you can assign privileges to them. You can invite them to the store.
Adding members to the account is simple. Just enter the name and email address of the team member and choose sections inside the app for them to have access to.
There’s no course author role inside Podia. If you want to work with authors and sell courses and share revenue that’s not possible within podia.
Podia does customer support really well. THe customer support is truly awesome and readers and users alike have friendly comments on the same.
During work time the response time is 5 minutes tops. Outside work hours, you wait a little more.
Podia pricing is pretty straightforward. There are two plans one costs $39 per month and the second costs $79 per month. The pricing doesn’t levy any transaction fee from you.
The mover plan gets you all features necessary to both create and sell online courses as well as digital downloads.
The big issue may be the fact that you can’t use any third-party scripts on lower tiers.
If you’re using ConvertBox or other tools you can’t get it to integrate with Facebook pixel either. That’s something you need to know about Podia.
Use the 14-day free trial to find out all the tiny details and use cases of the platform. The trial doesn’t require a credit card.