Mighty Networks vs. Podia: a comparison
When it comes to selecting community and membership platforms, there is a lot to consider and it can be pretty overwhelming to review software functionality, design limitations, integration options, and pricing models.
In this comparison of Mighty Networks vs. Podia, we break down all the important considerations for you, so you can find the perfect software for you and your business.
Why we're creating this online course platform comparison
We’ve tested so many course software solutions for our business over the years.
When we couldn’t find a solution that would do what we needed, we dusted off our Software Engineering chops and developed AccessAlly.
And to this day, we continue to test and review the options on the market so we can share that knowledge.
Today we’ll share what we know about Mighty Networks vs. Podia.
How do Mighty Networks and Podia Differ?
Mighty Networks and Podia are both platform-as-a-service options.
That’s where the similarities end and the differences begin.
Though they share the platform-as-a-service distinction, they have different development philosophies and are designed to support your business in different ways.
All-in-one vs. Modern Day Website builder
Podia is an all-in-one, platform-as-a-service provider that tries to do everything from host your website, handle email marketing, design landing pages, take payments, and deliver online courses and memberships.
Podia offers a ‘plug-and-play’ setup so you can set up your storefront, add website pages and products, and start taking payments without being a tech expert.
It’s a plus to be able to get your site up and running quickly, however, since this is a platform-as-a-service provider, you’re building on ‘rented’ land. Meaning, when it comes time to move to a different system, you’ll have a manual migration on your hands, and might have limits in place on what you can and can’t do with your space.
Podia is a great option if you’re just getting started online and looking to host everything in one place.
Mighty Networks started off as a social network. But, in recent years they’ve expanded into a modern-day website builder that can support community, online courses, and memberships. Mighty Networks is also a platform-as-a-service provider meaning that you drop your content into their existing plug-and-play systems.
Mighty Networks has a strong focus on community. If a major part of your business is connecting members, building community, answering questions, and facilitating conversations, Mighty Networks could be a great choice for you.
Pricing limits on members, courses, and products
Understanding the pricing structure for each platform is essential to making an informed decision. On top of the monthly costs, it’s important to consider transaction fees, costs of the current systems that you have in place (CRMs, for example), and your website if it’s already hosted somewhere else.
Mighty Networks has three tiers to consider:
- The Free Plan
- The Community Plan ($28/month)
- The Business Plan ($98/month)
The Free Plan is a great way to get setup and running, but you’ll quickly run into limitations such as limited number of admins, inability to charge for online courses, and lack of SEO resources. The transaction fee on this tier is 5%, which is in addition to merchant account fees. .
The Community Plan is their mid-level tier. With this option you’ll have unlimited members, hosts, and moderators, but you won’t have the ability to charge for online courses. The transaction fee on this tier is lower at just 3%, which is in addition to merchant account fees.
Lastly, with their Business Plan, you can have unlimited members, admins, and moderators. You’ll have the ability to charge for online courses as well. While there’s still a transaction fee at this tier it’s only 2%, which again, is in addition to merchant account fees.
In comparison, Podia offers two tier options to meet your needs:
- The Mover ($39/month)
- The Shaker ($79/month)
There are no transaction fees on either tier and you have unlimited members on both tiers.
The Mover plan does not include the ability to setup and sell memberships, blog functionality, offsite buy buttons, affiliate marketing, and the ability to incorporate third party code. If these elements are part of your business now, or will be in the future, budget for the Shaker plan.
Based on the typical features desired to set up and run a membership site and sell online courses and/or memberships, you’ll need The Shaker plan ($79/month) on Podia and The Business Plan ($98/month) on Mighty Networks.
Ongoing Development and Ownership
As with any platform-as-a-service tool, there is a lack of full ownership of your content and setup because you’re building your business on rented land. Meaning Podia and
Mighty Networks own the space you’re set up on. When you outgrow these platforms or want to uplevel your business, you’ll have to manually migrate off these platforms, and moving your content could be time-consuming.
Mighty Networks hasn’t been around as long as Podia, they came to market in 2017. After starting out as a social network platform, they pivoted to support website building, online courses, and programs recently. Many help articles mention they intend to expand their features, although there’s no timeline or official statements attached to those.
Podia has been around since 2014 and they’ve kept with their original vision to support small creators who sell online courses, digital downloads, and membership subscriptions.
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Onboarding and Customer Support
Having access to great customer support, or not so great support, during your new setup can make or break your launch.
Setting up the user experience and learning environment that your students expect and deserve will result in better retention rates with the material, and long-term relationships with your students so finding a tool with great support to make that happen is imperative to your success..
Podia does provide chat tech support at every tier, available 7 days a week within their business house. They also provide email support where they’ll respond to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It’s important to note that although chat support can be nice for easy, quick, one-off questions, receiving actual technical support on a complicated or confusing issue is sometimes best handled over email support.
Podia’s team page introduces you to their support team so you can become familiar with the folks on the support team and know who you’re connecting with. They also offer a Help Center that’s supported by the Podia team and Podia users.
Mighty Networks also offers a help center for both hosts and members. They have a contact form where you can submit your questions as well. They don’t offer chat support and don’t set an expectation in terms of how quickly they’ll respond to your contact form.
Depth of Integration
It’s important to understand how both Mighty Networks and Podia can integrate with your current tech stack.
To simplify the depth of integration, there are essentially three possibilities:
- No integration
- One way push integration – where one system can push information to another, but not return any data back to the other system
- Two-way integration, where both systems can send data to each other
To truly achieve a LMS experience, you’ll want two way integration so you can do things like create members and update access immediately or trigger an automation based on when they logged in, visited a certain page, or completed a video on your membership site.
Podia does integrate with CRMs via a third party tool like Zapier. This is a one-way integration where your CRM will receive data from Podia.
Podia offers a simple way to communicate with your customers via newsletters, drip campaigns, and automated emails with segmentation as part of their all-in-one-system, but advanced automations aren’t possible within their framework.
If you decide to use their built-in automation and email marketing features, you won’t need to integrate with another system.
Mighty Networks can also integrate with a number of CRMs via a third party tool like Zapier. Similarly to Podia, this is a one way push integration, not a deep two-way integration.
If you do choose an integration, be sure and budget the monthly cost for the third party integration like Zapier. Also be prepared to budget time for integration, troubleshooting, and maintenance on these connections through Zapier.
So although both Podia and Mighty Networks offer integrations through Zapier, they’re one-way push integrations that will relay information, but not create a deep, integrated experience for your students within their membership.
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Learning reinforcements: quizzes, progress tracking, homework, and certificates
The general learning environment should be considered here. Mighty Networks is resemblant of a social media network, which can lead to a very distracting environment.
For example, when students log in, they can see a feed of all activity. For some, this initial distraction will keep them from ever getting to the online course they originally logged in to see.
With Podia you can set up online courses, programs, and more without these distracting feeds.
With Mighty Networks, you can track if someone has watched a video, but you cannot create quizzes, video bookmarks, and course progress checklists. Mighty Networks is not a good choice if these types of learning reinforcements are important to you.
Podia offers multiple choice quizzes you can add at the end of your lessons to reinforce and check comprehension, but they don’t offer any kind of video tracking or video bookmarking.
If these features are important to you, your brand, and your online courses or programs, neither Mighty Networks or Podia will be able to offer a robust enough solution for you.
Membership site and course design flexibility
Mighty Networks gives you dictated design and flow for your community groups, online courses, and website pages. You can customize your brand colors and fonts, menus within your site, and landing pages.
The overall design layout is limited though; there’s no way for you to customize your online course or program to be exactly how you imagined it. You’ll have to flex your original idea, planned setup, and compromise your member experience to fit within Mighty Networks’ dictated layout.
The appeal here is that you can get your site, group, or community up and running quickly through their website builder without investing an extra time and money designing and customizing everything. The drawback is that you risk losing your brand look and feel in this process.
Podia makes it possible to build your website and courses with a flexible layout, live previews, and the ability to customize your logo and colors.
On the higher level Shaker tier, Podia does allow you to use third party code to further customize the look and feel of your programs and membership site how you wish.
Note that if third party code is required to achieve the design you want, you may incur an additional expense to hire a skilled developer to implement. Be sure to budget time and money for implementation, ongoing maintenance, and troubleshooting.
When it comes to design flexibility with both Mighty Networks and Podia, the basic infrastructure is built, but going back to the home analogy: you’re coming in to ‘decorate’ your ‘rented home’. Podia does allow more customization than Mighty Networks, but you won’t be able to do a full remodel or structural changes; you can change the paint (colors) and make a few other cosmetic changes.
If you want full design flexibility, AccessAlly is for you
Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, you can use any WordPress theme or builder you like.
Or start with AccessAlly’s theme, which comes with all of the progress tracking and navigation menus integrated out of the box.
Power, flexibility, and beauty all in one course platform.
bulk course enrollment and umbrella accounts
Bulk course enrollment allows you to create a set of online courses that can be sold as a package to multiple people at one time.
This feature serves business models who sell their courses or memberships to companies, families, or schools. The team leader can assign the allotted number of courses purchased to each student on their team.
This becomes a powerful selling tool that can change the way you sell your trainings and expand your business in a whole new way.
Neither Podia or Mighty Networks offers a fully automated solution for bulk course enrollment.
To be clear, with Podia it is possible to sell online courses by creating an offer for the specific number of people to enroll, and using coupon codes to enroll them.
The closest thing that Mighty Networks has to offer is their Ambassador Program. Team leaders could invite Team Members to join the specific Mighty Network, but there’s no automation or functionality beyond that.
Mighty Networks uses Stripe as their third party payment processor. They do not currently support payments via PayPal or other payment processors.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that Mighty Networks withholds a transaction fee on top of your Stripe fees.
You can accept one-time payments or subscription plan payments with Mighty Networks and you’ll also have the ability to offer upsells and free trials.
The upsells are presented within your Mighty Network, which means that potential customers must be a part of that network in order for them to see your offerings.
With Might Networks, there are pricing limitations when it comes to the cost of your Mighty Network, online course, or membership.
They provide a populated drop down list for pricing, and you must select one of those amounts to charge for your offerings. At this time, you cannot charge more than $999 for a one-time payment.
Podia can integrate with both PayPal and Stripe. You can accept both one-time payments and subscription plans.
However, recurring payments can only be accepted via Stripe at this time, not PayPal.
Remember that Podia does not have any additional transaction fees so they have the slight edge on Might Networks.
With Podia, you can offer free trials and upsells.
Unlike Mighty Networks, your customers don’t have to be part of your community in order to see these types of offers, which is a benefit in most business models.
Using Podia you can set your online courses, memberships or programs to be any price. There aren’t pricing limitations or restrictions with Podia either.
Both Mighty Networks and Podia accept international payments based on Stripe’s policies.
They both offer use of coupon codes and discounts. Podia supports multiple currencies, but Mighty Networks does not.
Podia offers more e-commerce and pricing flexibility than Mighty Networks.
A full fledge affiliate system is one that supports new affiliate sign ups, and a beautifully designed dashboard where they can find their unique affiliate links, commissions, leads, and their affiliate assets including images and swipe copy.
If affiliate marketing is part of your business, the more important this set up becomes. Without a proper management system it can become a full time job to manage affiliates and their needs.
Mighty Networks offers an Ambassador Program. However, it’s not an Affiliate Program that tracks commissions and referrals. It’s designed to drive your current members to refer to new members based on the value of your Mighty Network.
Podia does include a built-in affiliate system on their more expensive Shaker tier. With Podia your affiliates can sign up to become an affiliate, and see sales, commission totals, clicks, and their conversion rate via their affiliate dashboard.
The limitation with Podia is that there’s no way to seamlessly share assets, such as approved images and copy, with your affiliates.
With that said, Podia’s affiliate marketing feature is still more advanced than Mighty Networks.
your workflow on Mighty Networks vs. Podia:
- Create your Mighty Network
- Add your own branding, content, events, and members
- Get familiar with the different areas setup in your Mighty Network
- Set up templates for creating your foundational content
- Add your member guidelines
- Add your online course content
- Connect payment methods
- Add any integrations you’ll be using
- Add moderators or admins to your Mighty Network to help manage the community
- Setup your storefront
- Add any connecting applications you might want to use, such as Zapier for integrations
- Choose your URL
- Migrate existing content or add new content to your website pages
- Add integrations such as Google Analytics or Facebook tracking pixel
- Customize the look and feel of your site by using the out-of-the-box editor or building something from scratch
- Build your online courses, digital downloads, memberships, and free or paid webinars.
- Setup your payments and terms of purchase
- Add your emails and marketing automations or integrate with a CRM
See How Mighty Networks and Podia Features Compare
We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed our membership and LMS plugin AccessAlly, to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package. Here you’ll see where Podia and Mighty Networks fall short or shine in comparison:
|Protected course content|
|Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments||No recurring with PayPal||No recurring with PayPal|
|Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics|
|Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus|
|Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip|
|Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps|
|Cart abandonment automation|
|Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content|
|Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion|
|Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts|
|Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles|
|Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking|
|Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes|
|Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells|
|Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting||Limited features|
The true cost of Mighty Networks vs Podia
These pricing models will give you a realistic expectation of costs associated with Podia vs Mighty Networks.
If you plan to use the built-in email marketing automation in Podia, this may be a good fit for you. However, be prepared to flex your business model and get creative when you run into system limitations, or face a migration.
If you plan to use a third-party integration tool to connect Podia or Mighty Networks to your existing CRM or marketing automation systems, be sure to budget time and money for those connections and maintenance.
In order to truly assess the cost of both of these platforms-as-a-service options, consider the long-term vision for your business and your membership site. Consider the cost of migrating off these platforms onto a software-as-a-service platform like AccessAlly if you anticipate outgrowing either of these systems in the future.
We recommend selecting the best option that will not only fit your business right now, but will also scale with you as you grow instead of holding you back.
Mighty Networks might be right for you if...
- You want a social media-like platform to connect your members
- The look and feel of your online course isn’t important to you and you’re willing to conform to the layout and design options
- You’re willing to lead your students through what can be a very distracting learning environment
- You’re willing to use a third party like Zapier to integrate with your current systems
- You’re not looking to create a true LMS experience for your students
Podia might be right for you if...
- You’re a creator looking for a simple course website
- You have offerings like free and paid webinar, digital downloads, or simple courses with no plans to expand to a fully functional and integrated membership site
- You’re willing to modify your setup when you’re met with Podia’s platform limitations
- You don’t have a CRM and plan to keep automation and interaction with your customers simple
- You won’t mind migrating off Podia and into a new software-as-a-service offering as your business grows
Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we're here to help!
If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, we can help you sort out all of the different options.
We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too. Not sure what AccessAlly is? Watch the video to find out now, then book a call to discuss further:
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