Before getting into any discussion, let us first understand what are online course sites. Suppose you have created the next big thing – a lit album, a bestselling book, a website for online courses, etc. Now comes the question, how do you make sure that it doesn’t get lost in the online market, and stays in front of your audiences’ eyes? This is exactly where these platforms come to play.
When you are planning to earn out of your online business, digital downloads, or memberships, one of the most prominent steps you need to take is to make yourself heard among your customers. Thus, you must stop wasting your time and money into insufficiently marketing your content. It is better to use a platform that helps you to not only create a digital storefront but also offers a single site to market and sell your content and get noticed by the subscribers.
If you own a small business and are looking for a creative business platform where you can manage your sales as well as marketing campaigns, Podia might work the best for you in boosting your entrepreneurial spirit. This blog revolves around Podia review for 2021. But before we get into the details, let’s talk basics.
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What Is Podia?
Podia is a creator-friendly platform that assists online businesses to sell their products, courses, and memberships at the same place. This all-in-one tool not only allows its users to sell their own products but also doesn’t ask them for any additional share of their earnings when using the platform.
One can sell their digital downloads- PDFs, audiobooks, online courses, video content, etc. It also comes with some very beneficial features like built-in email marketing, real-time chats, custom pages, and many more. As a matter of fact, Podia is not a crowdfunding alternative.
An Overview Of The Platform
Way back in 2016, Podia came by the name Coach when its features were still in infancy. Since then, its team has added numerous specialties and upgraded the platform to come up with some incredible features. Here’s a summary of some of the best ones that I have found, along with some shortcomings:
1. Easy To Use
The thing that hit me the very first day I used Podia was its simplicity and minimalist approach. One can easily and quickly set up their courses and storefront even if they have very little technical knowledge, and everything would still look out of the box. Both the frontend and backend have a clean design, and you can create individual posts for your membership.
2. No Need To Buy A Separate Domain
One of the best advantages of using Podia is that one doesn’t need to buy web hosting separately or look into any technicalities like maintenance, updates, security, etc. Their teams manage these technical things. Besides, you will also get a subdomain (mysite.podia.com) or an option to use a domain of your own (mysite.com).
3. Design and Customization of Course Sites
Themes: This site has a single template for website themes, and you can change the color that you would want for your store. You can customize the color of the background, texts, headings, buttons, etc.
Page Builder: The page builder comes with various inbuilt elements that you can add on your pages- FAQs, testimonials, author bio, images, or videos with text, Columns, course description, product banner, etc.
Overall, the designing part is something very simplistic yet practical even for a newbie who has no experience in coding or designing. However, the biggest drawback remains that one cannot opt for a different theme. Also, you cannot alter the text font, size, manage the spacing, etc. So it is not a very excellent platform for building a fully-fledged website, but a recommended one for small businesses to get started.
4. Competitive Pricing
Podia, as compared to a majority of the online course sites, costs reasonably less. It has two plans- the Mover ($39/month) and the Shaker ($79/month). There is no transaction fee, and it also offers you a 14-day free trial. You also get further discounts on switching to any of the plans during the initial days of your 14-day free trial. Plus, you get 2 months of FREE trial for your annual plans.
The Shaker plan offers you everything that you would need to set up your online business. But the Mover plan lacks some of the very crucial ones like free migration, using third-party scripts, and affiliate marketing.
All-in-all, the prices are fair for online businesses, in general, but a bit higher for the ones who are new to the market as they won’t be able to understand and carry out a lot of campaigns using the lower tier.
5. Course Creation & Engagement
Content Uploading: You can either upload your content one by one or in bulk, there’s no glitch in either of the processes. But you cannot upload your folders or files directly from cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.). Thus the process gets a bit slow.
Structure: The course builder allows you to order and reorder the lessons that you have uploaded. It is super easy to use but needs more flexibility as it lacks some advanced features like:
1. Adding Video and PDF in the same lesson (folder).
2. Making course videos downloadable.
3. Turning off the downloading option for audio files.
Basically the platform has fewer formatting options, but it is exceptionally straightforward to set up and operate.
6. Marketing and Sales Tools
Product Pricing and Payment: This website gives you the option to accept payments through both credit/debit cards as well as Paypal. The money goes directly into your wallet without any transaction fee. The entire process is extremely feasible, and I haven’t experienced any delay in the transactions as well. They offer instant payouts.
However, there are some problems with the payment option like:
1. You can price the “Products” only as a yearly option.
2. No option for free trial in the “Membership” option.
3. There is no payment option using Paypal for subscriptions.
Checkout Process: Your users don’t have to create an account for making payments. The checkout occurs in a popup, and your customers can finish checkout without having to leave the website. The only downside is that you cannot add product testimonials, money-back guarantee, etc. on this page.
7. Customer Support
Something that Podia has taken care of since the very beginning is the responsive and friendly customer support. You can either contact them via email, or directly leave a message on the chat widget, and you will get a response in no time!
Podia also has a Knowledge Library on which you can search how to do certain things on that platform. I personally found this option to be extremely convenient for those little doubts. The free guides that they offer also make it very feasible for its customers.
8. Reporting and Analytics
Podia, as compared to other online course sites, lacks in this area. The reporting abilities are a bit limited. For instance, you can track your individual students for course/lecture completion, but you cannot record the metrics for their course level, etc. You also don’t get data for the video engagement rate.
Some More Features Of Podia In A Nutshell
Podia is slowly arising out as a pivotal player in the e-commerce industry. Despite having some very successful competitor course sites like Teachable and Thinkific, this platform offers some very exceptional services to its customers. Justified by the customer testimonials, this platform has proved itself to be reliable. It has a very creative interface, charges no transaction fees, and is quite cheap.
It is not suitable for building a fully-fledged website as it lacks some tools. But if you’re a business owner with little to no technical experience, this tool is definitely going to work for you.