Podia Review: The Simplest of Membership, Online Course, and Digital Download Platforms

If you're thinking about selling memberships, digital downloads, or online courses, several options are available for you. One of them has come across my radar called Podia. It's a system meant only for constructing a site in one of those three categories–which is pretty cool considering you can cut out the rest of the clutter of e-commerce. In this Podia review, we'll outline the best features, along with areas like pricing, templates, and marketing.

podia review - memberships

Upon first glance, Podia offers a clean interface for designing your website. It's simple enough for beginners, and since it's only for memberships, digital downloads, and online courses, the options are more consolidated for users in those industries.

The pricing looks a little steep, but it's not all that bad. In addition, the default theme formats your website with ease, offering an elegant design and simple web design elements.

So, keep reading to learn more about Podia and to see if it's right for your website.

Podia Review: The Best Features and How They Work

The Podia features are broken down into four categories:

  • Memberships
  • Online courses
  • Digital downloads
  • Email marketing

Let's start with the features for a membership site: 

First of all, Podia lets you create and offer multiple plans with different prices, content, and perks. You can keep in touch with your members by sending out emails or even resorting to images, video, and audio updates.

Bundling products is part of the membership package, and it supports both digital downloads and online courses.

podia review - mobile

Podia helps you construct a beautiful membership site without any need for coding skills. It supports a wide range of file uploads (video, MP3, text, PSD, PDF, and more).

Finally, each membership content page is organized in a logical manner, and the members can communicate with admins and other members in the comments area.

As for the online course features: 

It all begins with a basic theme, which looks modern and clean. You get support for an unlimited number of courses, customers, and sales. The drip content is perfect for sending out courses and lessons over a certain time frame. Not to mention, you can upload just about any type of file to your online course.

One of the main reasons I like the Podia online course module over some competitors is because it has a built-in sales page for collecting money and giving out coupons. Not only that, but Podia includes a presales page if you'd like to pitch your courses and collect email addresses from potential students.

Digital downloads features:

The digital downloads features include items for selling anything from eBooks to music. Some of the files you can sell include checklists, PDFs, eBooks, videos, audio, and cheat sheets.

The speedy checkout is optimized to improve your conversion rates, and the checkout process doesn't require people to create an account.

Marketing and sales are made easy with the complimentary sales page. Here, you can insert a video, FAQ, and email opt-in form. Finally, there's obviously a feature for selling your digital downloads, but you can also flip the switch to give the items away for free.

Email marketing features:

Email marketing is actually integrated into the other modules such as digital downloads, online courses, and the membership sites. So, if you'd like to retrieve emails from prospective (and current) users and students, it's possible no matter what.

The drip campaigns are sent out automatically through emails. Podia also offers email newsletters for when you'd like to put together some content and keep people engaged. Tracking is done by checking out the click rates, open rates, and unsubscribe rates. Finally, the email marketing tools include opt-in forms for placing on your storefront and prelaunch pages.

Podia Review: Ease of Use

Since Podia is provided to you for 30 days without any credit card, it gives you a chance to play around with the tools and see how easy it is to use.

I would argue that Podia has the perfect user-experience for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users. It makes sense that some developers would want to use Magento or WordPress for more advanced features, but I really don't see the point if you're only going to make something like a membership or online course site.

The hosting is included, and the dashboard is fitted with some fun and easy to understand steps for making your website. So, if I wanted to make an online course, I would start with the Online Course button.

Then, the majority of the features are consolidated on one page, with a few tabs for your sales page, settings, and sales. It shows the number of sales you've currently brought in, and you can click on the Preview button to get a look at your website.

The primary buttons include the options to Add Files, Add a Link, and Add Text. That's pretty much of it. I know for a fact that some people won't be that pleased with the limited design options, but that's kind of the point of Podia. It cuts down on the complicated process of building an online course or membership site, and it's all done by giving you a beautiful theme to start off with.

Podia Review: Pricing

As mentioned, the Podia platform provides a 30-day free trial without the need to type in your credit card information. What's more is that if you upgrade to an actual plan within five days of starting your free trial, a 15% lifetime discount is thrown onto your plan.

Annual and monthly billing plans are shown, so obviously, if you pay for Podia on a yearly basis you're going to get a better monthly rate.

Although Podia isn't the cheapest way to make an online store, the pricing isn't bad at all. Also, it makes up for the price with the awesome features and simple user interface.

One thing I like about Podia is that it only has two pricing plans. Therefore, you're not confused when trying to figure out which features you need to pay for.

Here's what's available in terms of pricing:

  • The Mover Plan – $33 per month for all basic Podia features and drip course content.
  • The Shaker Plan – $67 per month for all basic Podia features, advanced traffic, onboarding, migration assistance, drip course content, affiliates, and memberships.

All plans have the following:

  • 0% transaction fee to Podia. This doesn't include the fee you will have to pay for Stripe or PayPal.
  • Email newsletters for sending out manual and automated emails.
  • Prelaunch product pages.
  • Unlimited courses.
  • Unlimited digital downloads.
  • Drip email content.
  • Customer tracking.
  • A high-conversion checkout page.
  • Several integrations like ConvertKit and Zapier.
  • Payouts that instantly go to your bank account.
  • Data exporting tools.
  • A custom domain to sell items from your own website.
  • A payment protection plan.

Podia Review: Templates and Design

As we talked about briefly, the templates are preset for making your checkout, sales page, membership pages, and course pages the best they can be. The good news is that it's one of the easiest design processes I've ever seen.

Your course content, and whatever other modules you place on your site, are organized for you. Furthermore, the preset templates look beautiful.

I'd say this is going to frustrate some professional developers who want full control over their design environment. However, it's still a wonderful solution for all skills levels because of how rapidly the Podia builder puts together your website.

Podia Review: Marketing

Marketing is built in with the email marketing module. This sends out everything from course updates to email newsletters. What's cool is that you can brand them to the best of your ability and choose whether you'd like to send out the manual or automated messaging. The drip content is configured on the automated end of things.

In addition, a sales page is provided for listing a product description, headline, and cover photo. I like this for people who want to link from ads on Google and Facebook. Feel free to upload an introduction video and create an FAQ area. You can integrate your shopping cart and email marketing as well.

Podia Review: Payments

The payments are processed through either PayPal or Stripe. You can choose.

Although this is extremely limited, Stripe and PayPal cover a wide variety of countries. You shouldn't have any problems with the fees or services.

Podia Review: Security

Your Podia checkout is protected by Stripe and PayPal. Podia doesn't collect any information when one of your customers goes through the checkout, and the checkout pages are completely secure.  The transactions are sent through an encryption process and protected by 128-bit SSL encryption technology.

I would like to see some fraud protection, since membership and online course sites often see people trying to game the system.

One advantage is that both pricing plans have SSL certificates for locking down transaction security.

Podia Review: The Customer Service

One downside of Podia is the lack of phone support. You have the option to email Podia or go through the 24/7 live chat area. The Shaker plan even gets onboarding and migration assistance if you plan on moving from a different platform.

Along with a blog, documentation and a Resources page, Podia support is about as good as it can get without phone support.

Who Should Consider Podia?

I like this app for those who have found that Gumroad, or other competitors, are either too complex or they force you to pay high transaction fees. Podia offers a wonderful user experience along with a rapid launch process for online courses, digital downloads, and membership sites.

If you have any questions about this Podia review, let us know in the comments.

Rating: 5 - Review by

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.