Podia Review: All-in-One Solution for Selling Online Courses

Podia gives you everything you need to sell online courses and digital downloads like ebooks and audiobooks. You also get a website, email marketing, live chat and community features to offer your students, and affiliate marketing.

Podia Review: All-in-One Solution for Selling Online Courses

Podia

Podia is probably the best all-in-one platform on the market right now.

Get Podia

Run Your Entire Online Business with Podia

Podia offers small business owners all the features they need for their online course business.

You can sell digital products or your course using all the tools Podia provides including an online course platform, digital downloads, email marketing campaigns, a membership site builder, the ability to create an affiliate program, and your own website.

Podia provides hosting and security are essential features. Podia manages every detail so you don't have to worry about anything, making it an attractive option for online course creators.

Host your online course on the Podia platform.

Online learning platforms like Podia provide an excellent platform for course design and production. Bundling all the features you need for course creation into one platform can make your course creation process much easier.

Basic site setup

If you don't have a Podia account you can sign up for a free trial here: Get Podia

You can quickly construct a unique website in Podia to help your brand stand out. You may expect a surprisingly simple and elegant design in the Podia standard theme which has many customization options.

Podia Get Started

Once you log in, Podia provides you with guidance on how to get started using their platform, but we recommend skipping that step for now (We'll get back to it later).

Instead, begin your course creation process by setting up the basic settings for your online business.

Click on your avatar in the top right corner of the screen and then on "Site settings."

Podia Site Settings

Make sure you are on the "General" tab and then start filling out your information.

Podia Site Settings General

Fill out your site name, which can be your name or the name of your business, and then upload a logo.

Podia recommends that your logo be at least 200x60 pixels in .png or .jpg format.

You can also set the language for your site as well as your timezone on this page.

Set up your email marketing

Podia's email marketing allows you to send automated or one-time messages to your audience. This can include broadcasts and automated campaigns, eliminating the need for separate software.

Click on the "Email" tab on the "Site settings" page.

Podia Site Settings Email

This is where Podia allows you to input your mailing address, which is required by law to be in your emails if you choose to send marketing communications. We recommend setting this up now so you don't forget later.

Other customization options allow you to choose if you want your email subscribers to have to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link in an email before they will start receiving your marketing communications.

You can also customize the text for the opt-in confirmation link as well as whether you want to track when a subscriber opens an email or clicks on a link.

Connect your payment methods

The "Payments" tab of the "Site settings" page is where you connect Podia to your Stripe and PayPal accounts.

Podia Site Settings Payments

Third-Party Integrations

Integrations with third-party apps can help you automate tasks between Podia and the other services you use.

The "Integrations" tab of the "Site settings" page is where you can connect Podia to other online applications.

Podia Site Settings Integrations

Podia has a native video integration with Zoom and native email integrations with Aweber, ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, MailerLite, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, and Drip.

Because the email features of Podia are fairly simple, advanced course creators might eventually graduate to using an email service from another company.

Or you might just want to stay with the Podia email marketing solution. The point is that you have the flexibility to move to another email service if you ever want to.

You can also connect to many other online applications using Zapier.

Zapier is a web-based platform that allows you to connect to almost any other online application. This can include applications like Google Sheets, Salesforce, and Slack.

What Zapier does is automate the process of transferring data between two or more applications.

Connect your custom domain

Podia Site Settings Analytics

If you already have a custom domain name from a registrar like NameCheap, you can connect it to your Podia website on the "Domain" tab of the "Site settings" page.

This means that you can easily host your entire online presence on Podia or set up your Podia site as a subdomain.

Connect Analytics and tracking pixels

Podia Site Settings Domains

The "Analytics" tab of the "Site settings" page allows you to add your Google Analytics tracking ID along with your Facebook Pixel, Pinterest Tag, or if you have the "Earthquaker" plan, any other third-party tracking codes.

Messaging

Podia Site Settings Messaging

The "Messaging" tab of the "Site settings" page is where you can control who can message you from the messaging widget on your website. This feature allows you to have conversations with your customers, potential customers, or both.

This helps you replace third-party live chat services.

Add team members

Podia Site Settings Team

The "Team" tab of the "Site settings" page is where you can add team members for an additional cost of $20/month/team member.

This is a great feature to have as your business grows and you need to start hiring a team to provide customer support to your students.

Design your website homepage

Remember that "Get started" section that I said we'd get back to? The first recommended step is to fill out your biography.

Podia Edit Site

The "Fill in your bio" link actually takes you to the "Edit site" page so you can either click on the Podia logo go get back to the page where you can click on "Fill your bio" or click on your Avatar and select "Edit site."

Podia Select Bio

Once the "Edit site" page loads, click on the Plus (+) icon to open up the menu on the left and then select "Bio" to edit your biography.

Podia is similar to many course creator platforms. The site builder includes a left-clicking panel for selecting a section for your website.

Fill out all of the fields on the form that appears and then start editing the rest of the sections of your website. You'll find that each section that you create has multiple customization options.

Podia provides extensive documentation including videos if you need more help.

Create your online course

You start the online course creation process in the Podia online course platform by creating a "product" because a product can be an online course, a membership site, or another digital product.

Podia Create Product Select

You can get to the "Products" page where you can create a product by either clicking on "Products" in the top menu or on "Create a product" in the "Get started" section.

Podia Create Product

Click on the "New Product" button to bring up the product creation menu.

Podia Create Product Options

Podia's all-in-one platform allows you to create online courses, digital downloads, webinars, product bundles, or coaching sessions.

The default is an online course and that's what we're creating so leave that as the choice, give your course a name, and click on "Create product."

Customize your course

Before we get started with actually creating course content we think it's best to set up your course details. Click on the "Details" tab next to the "Lessons" tab at the top of the course page.

Podia Product Details

On this page, you can enter the name of your online course, give your course an image, create a description, add a category, and add course options.

Course creation options include the ability to provide a certificate of completion when your students complete the course, whether comments are enabled for your course product, as well as set up any integrations with other online services.

Many other course creation platforms do not offer the ability to generate certificates of completion or require integration with expensive third-party services to do so.

Set your course pricing or pricing plans

Podia Product Pricing

Podia allows you to give your course away for free or set up a price, assuming you have already integrated with a payment plan as described above.

You can also add products to upsell if you have related products that you'd like to offer to your customers at the time of purchase.

Course availability

Podia Product Availability

The "Availability" tab allows you to choose if your course is available for purchase and its start date.

Create a course section

Podia Product Section

The first step of organizing your online course is to create a course section (typically called a course module in other online platforms). Make sure you're on the "Lessons" tab and then click on the button to create a new section.

Podia Product Section Form

Fill out the information on the form that appears. The title will be the name of your section or module. We recommend thinking of this as the chapter title of a book.

Next, write a short description of what students will learn in the module.

Finally, you can create a delay for when students will have access to this content. This is typically known as "drip content" because it comes out sequentially like drips from a faucet.

It's usually not a good idea to have your first module dripped or delayed because this is where you'll typically introduce your course and let students know what to expect.

Podia Product Add Lesson

The next step is to add a lesson to your section. You can do this from the menu on the top and then use the drag and drop functionality to reorder your course content, but we find it's easiest to click on "New lesson" inside of the module that you just created (we called ours "Introduction") and select which type of lesson you'd like to add.

Add a text lesson

A text lesson is just that, a lesson that's made up of text like a blog page.

Podia Product Add Text Lesson

Podia allows you to add a title for your lesson as well as upload images or other files to the content area. Also, note that the text editor supports Grammarly integration if you have it installed.

You can also set options for your course like whether the lesson is visible to your customers, which comes in handy if you're in the middle of creating a new lesson, and whether prospective customers can see a free preview of your lesson in your online store.

Add an embed lesson

Podia allows you to embed content from other sites into your lesson. This comes in handy if you already host your videos somewhere else like Vimeo or Wistia.

Although these services aren't required since Podia includes video hosting, some course creators moving to Podia might already take advantage of these services and already have their content hosted there.

Podia Product Add Embed Lesson

Podia also allows embeds from YouTube, Soundslice, Google Docs, Instagram, and hundreds more sites.

Each embed lesson also has a title and can have descriptive text content. It's sort of like the text lesson mentioned above with embedded content added on.

Add a quiz lesson

Podia allows you to create quizzes to help you assess the progress of your students.

Podia Product Add Quiz Lesson

The page to add a quiz is exactly like the page for a text lesson but allows you to add multiple choice or true/false quiz questions.

Add a coaching lesson

A coaching lesson also has the same fields as a text lesson but adds the ability to embed a link to an online calendar service to allow your students to book an online session with you.

Podia requires the Shaker plan or above to host coaching products.

Podia Product Add Coaching Lesson

Note that what is normally called the "Content" section is re-labeled "Instructions" to make it clearer to the course creator that this is where you'll tell your students how the coaching session will work.

Podia supports embed links from Calendly, SavvyCal, Acuity, or YouCanBookMe.

Add a video lesson

To add a video lesson, select "Add files" as the lesson type after clicking on the "Add Lesson" button.

You will then be able to select a compatible file from your computer. Choose a video file to add a video lesson.

Once uploaded, you can click on your video lesson be presented with this screen:

Podia Product Add Video Lesson

Here you can change the title of your lesson, choose a video thumbnail, and upload any closed captions files as well as add text content and other options just like you can do with a text lesson.

Add audio, pdf, or another file to a lesson

Podia also supports audio, pdf, or other file uploads to be used as lessons or digital downloads. The process of uploading them is exactly the same as the video lesson above.

Add an online community

Podia allows you to set up your own online community. To get started, click on the "Community" link in the main menu of your account.

Podia Product Add Community

Your community will be created once you enter a name and click on the "Create your community" button.

Podia Community

Podia grants access to communities based on membership plans. This gives you the ability to create a membership site for your course that has a built-in community.

If you don't want to charge your customers a membership fee you can grant access to your community for free.

Note that Podia requires the Shaker plan or above to host paid communities.

You can also bundle online courses or other products into your membership, whether free or paid, so that your members are automatically enrolled into specific online courses.

Podia Community Done

Once created, your community is a blank canvas where you can share posts and other premium content with your subscribers.

This looks very similar to other community options like Patreon.

Email Marketing

You do not need to purchase any other email marketing tools when using the Podia platform.

You can set up your email campaigns on Podia's email platform so that you don't need an email service provider like GetResponse.

Podia offers a range of simple lead generation tools. You may include a signup form for your site prior to launch.

Podia provides email advertising that can include single-use or automatic mail campaigns. Send an automated e-mail message to your buyers and anyone on your course list.

The Campaign Builder allows you to create emails, set their drip schedule and determine triggers. You may specify entries or exits for your campaign.

You can find the email features on the "Email" tab.

Podia Email

You'll see the reminder to provide your address to comply with email marketing laws if you didn't set that up earlier like we recommended.

This page also shows statistics for the number of emails sent, opened, clicked, the sales resulting from your emails, the bounces (which measure bad email addresses), and the unsubscribes.

You can also set up email broadcasts (one-time messages to your email audience) and campaigns (automated dripped emails to your subscribers).

You also see a message to go to the "Audience" tab in order to upload any subscribers if you are migrating from another service that you used to collect email addresses.

Import or Export Email Subscribers

Podia Audience

The "Audience" tab not only lets you import subscribers, but you can export them as well just in case you ever decide to move away from Podia or need the contact information of your audience for another purpose.

This is also helpful if you ever outgrow Podia's email features and want to move your email marketing campaigns over to another email marketing platform like GetResponse which offers more advanced features.

Creating Coupons

Podia Coupons

Podia allows you to create coupons for your products on the "Coupons" tab.

Podia Create Coupons

The screen shown above appears after you click the "New Coupon" button.

You can create a custom coupon code or have the system generate a unique code for you. You can also select which products or plans are discounted by the specific coupon, whether the coupon takes off a percentage or dollar amount, whether there is a limit on the number of times the coupon can be used, and whether or not the coupon expires.

Create an Affiliate Program

An affiliate program is a type of marketing arrangement in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each customer or client brought to the business by the affiliate.

If you subscribe to the Shaker plan or above, the Podia affiliate platform allows you to create affiliate programs so that your customers or invited others can promote your products for you to earn a commission.

Clicking on the "Affiliates" tab will take you to the Affiliates Overview page.

Podia Affiliate Overview

This page shows you basic statistics about your program and gives you the option to invite or export affiliates.

You can click on the "Sales" tab to see a list of all of the sales brought to you by your affiliate partners and the "Affiliates" tab lists those affiliate partners.

Podia Affiliate Settings

The "Affiliate Settings" page allows you to set up the details of your program.

You can set it to closed, which means no one can join or earn a commission; invite-only, which means that only existing affiliates or affiliates that you invite can earn commissions; or open, which means that anyone invited or existing customers can earn a commission.

If you set your program to invite-only don't forget to actually set up a process where you can invite affiliates.

You can also set the default commissions that your affiliates will earn from referring sales. It can be a percentage of the purchase price or a specific dollar amount.

Product-specific commissions can also be set to override the defaults.

Sales Pages and Landing Pages to Sell Online Courses

Podia automatically creates a basic sales page (also referred to as "landing pages") for each product (courses or other digital products) that you create.

These pages might start pretty basic by default, but can be edited using the Podia editor (the same one we used to build your site earlier).

To get back to the editor, click on the Podia logo in the top left corner and then click on the "Edit Site" button.

From there, click on the top left pancake icon to switch the page you are editing to the sales page for your product.

Podia Pages

From here you can add images, videos, and more page sections to really show off your online course.

Although Podia does provide a list of all of your sections (also known as course modules) and lessons, some course creators choose to create new text blocks to better describe the contents of each section/module.

Here's what I was able to accomplish with just a minute or two of editing:

Podia Edited Sales Page

Okay, that's still not going to win any design awards, but imagine what you could accomplish if you spent just ten or twenty more minutes creating your perfect sales page.

Sales Analytics

The "Sales" tab shows you details and analytics regarding your product sales.

Podia Edited Sales Page

Unfortunately, the demo site we made to assist with this review doesn't have any sales yet. I would actually be surprised if it did considering we're not really selling anything in this demo.

Sales Funnel Builder

Although Podia doesn't have a dedicated section where you can create a sales funnel, all of the required elements exist in the system.

First, you can create a free course, which can act like traditional opt-in forms to collect email addresses.

Once a student "purchases" your free course, you can set up an email campaign to send them follow-up emails.

Those emails can talk about your paid product and link to your sales page where your free students can become paid students.

If your marketing strategy needs more advanced sales funnel features, then you can also use a tool like LeadPages or GetResponse.

Free Migration

If you're hosting your courses on another platform and would like to move to Podia, but don't want to move everything over yourself, you'll be happy to know that Podia's customer support offers free migration.

They will move all of your products and up to 2,000 customers from your current platform over to Podia free of charge, so long as you sign up for an annual plan.

How does Podia work with my existing website? Although the Podia website builder can provide everything that you need for your business, some businesses might already have a website that already works well for them.

The great thing is that you can keep your existing website and use Podia for your online course digital storefront. This works if your own website is on WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, or any other platform.

The most popular way of doing this is to set up a custom subdomain so that you can keep your main website at mysite.com and host your Podia site at courses.mysite.com (or whatever else you'd like).

You'd then link to your Podia site from your main website. You can do this in your site's main navigation and wherever is relevant in your other content.

And if you're on the Shaker plan or above you can embed Podia checkout onto your website. This means that you can create your sales pages on your existing website or any advanced sales page builder like LeadPages.

We recommend starting with the Mover plan for most users. This gives you unlimited courses, unlimited webinars, customer messaging, a custom website, and email marketing. The only features that are missing are the affiliate program (which usually isn't that important if you're just starting out) and the ability to offer a paid community.

If an affiliate program or paid community is important for your business, then we suggest upgrading to the Shaker plan.

Once you start making money from your courses, we recommend moving up to the Earthquaker plan for the additional calls and priority support.

Podia Review: The Bottom Line

Podia provides an excellent all-in-one platform for both new and veteran course creators. The tools provided are usually good enough so that you do not have to purchase third-party services from other providers. The sales features of the platform are on par with competitive options and Podia does not collect a transaction fee in lower-priced plans as some competitors do.

In short, Podia gives you the ability to sell online courses and digital products without the tech hassles or coding skills required to host your online business yourself using WordPress and a variety of plugins that might now work together well or using a variety of platforms and integrating them together.

Podia

Podia is probably the best all-in-one platform on the market right now.

Get Podia

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