An In-Depth Comparison of
Podia Alternatives & Substitutes
Are you looking for a Podia alternative for your online course or membership site?
Read our in-depth overview, comparisons of popular competitors, native software features, and pricing.
Whether you are considering purchasing Podia or you're already using Podia and need to locate a replacement, this article has everything you need to select the best software for your business.
Before We Dive into Our Podia Comparison
We're always curious about who writes reviews for products online, so we want to give you the full disclosure.
We are the creators of the AccessAlly LMS plugin for WordPress, and we're affiliates for some of the tools that we’re comparing here, which means that we may earn a commission if you buy from our recommendations.
We never let an affiliate incentive sway us in our reviews, but this makes it possible for us to test and provide in-depth and hands-on experience with a lot of the course and membership tools you might be comparing and considering.
Now let’s see how Podia compares, and why current Podia users might start looking for a Podia alternative in the first place.
Why People Choose Podia
Before we get into our list of Podia alternatives, let’s look at why you might consider implementing Podia for your online course or membership site.
- Easy to get started: If you’re just getting started online and don’t have any other systems in place yet, Podia can save you time and help shortcut your startup process while keeping your expenses consolidated.
- All in one platform: With Podia there’s no need to worry about getting a bunch of different solutions to work together, and you can start putting online courses or memberships up for sale in a relatively short amount of time.
- You want to simplify: For some business owners, the technical maintenance required for their systems can become a burden. With Podia, you can easily train a team member to take care of your business from within one platform.
- It’s affordable: Podia is one of the most affordable course platforms out there, and it gives anyone who is just getting started selling courses a chance to get a minimum viable product. Because of its competitive pricing, Podia is a strong contender when you’re comparing it to other hosted, platform-as-a-service options and WordPress membership plugins.
Why People Recommend Podia
You might have posted in a Facebook group asking people what they use for their membership site or to sell their online courses, and received a lot of “Podia” recommendations as answers. Why is that?
- Podia has built their reputation over time: If you see people recommending that you choose Podia, it’s likely because they’ve used it or seen it as a student on someone’s website. That’s because Podia has been used by universities and businesses since 2014, and people often recommend what they’re most familiar with.
- It’s a good course builder and easy for users setting up their first course: Another reason online course creators recommend Podia is that it’s easy to set up and get started if you offer a simple course, and don’t need the more advanced features of an LMS. If you don’t need a lot of added functionality like advanced sales funnels, robust engagement campaigns, or custom course layouts, then Podia can help you get your course online fairly quickly.
- Flat, affordable pricing: Podia’s pricing is some of the most competitive on the market. They don’t charge you more as your business scales, and there are no additional transaction fees on top of your merchant account fees, distinguishing them from many platform-as-a-service companies. That’s why it’s easy to recommend to friends or colleagues.
Why People Look for Podia Alternatives
While Podia has some great things going for them and we recommend it for users who may need a system to test a “proof of concept” or have no plans of expanding into different setups down the line, there are a number of Podia alternatives that make up for its shortcomings.
If you’re here you’ve likely tried Podia and found it limiting, or you’ve heard from others who may have outgrown the Podia system and want to learn more. If you want to build a more customized and engaging learning environment, Podia might not be the right fit for you; here are some of the other common reasons why people look for Podia substitutes.
- Lack of design flexibility: Podia’s design options are limited because you must design your course layout within the Podia framework. Their top tier does allow for the use of third-party code for further customization, but you likely won’t be able to manage this without the help of a development team, and could be costly for ongoing support and maintenance of that code. This can be stifling for those who value custom designs and want to be able to put their unique stamp on their courses and membership area.
- Lack of functionality: Because Podia focuses on a more simple course setup or basic membership site, you may need to adjust your expectations if you want to include advanced quizzing and homework submissions, credit systems, member directories, and other engagement strategies to keep your members motivated.
- Basic e-commerce: One-time and subscription payments are possible with Podia, however, their PayPal integration does not support recurring payments. Instead, you can use Stripe if you’d like to offer recurring payments to your customers. You can also create basic coupons to specify a percentage or amount off of the total purchase price and set an expiration date, however, if you want to use evergreen funnels to offer expiring coupons that are unique for each person, you’ll need to re-think your strategy or migrate to another solution. Podia does make it possible to offer a free trial for your membership, but if you’d like to offer a reduced price trial, you won’t be able to. There’s also not a way to recapture lost sales through abandoned cart automation within Podia at this time, which has the potential to add a significant amount of income to your bottom line.
- Autogenerated Certificate setup: Many course creators like to issue certificates of completion to course participants, however, this is not a native feature for Podia users and requires the use of a few third-party tools, and manual creation upon the request from course participants themselves.
- Ownership: Podia is a platform-as-a-service course and membership platform, which means you’re building your business on rented land. If you cancel your Podia subscription, you lose access to all of your courses and students’ information. Plus, migrating off Podia is difficult because everything is stored in their proprietary setup, and your videos are hosted on their servers, too. You’ll need to re-upload your content and export your members, emails, and everything to keep your business going.
- Extensibility: Because the Podia system is closed, you can’t easily extend it by installing add-ons and plugins. That means you can’t add an integrated forum, gamification, or other features that could improve the user experience for your courses.
- Marketing Automation and CRM integration: If you offer more advanced sales funnels, segmentation, and automations based on user interactions with your course, you’ll likely find this feature limiting on the Podia platform and will benefit from a more advanced CRM or marketing automation system. This will require integration with a 3rd party tool such as Zapier to connect Podia to your CRM, adding one more piece of complexity to your setup to achieve a seamless user experience.
WHEN COMPARING ONLINE COURSE PLATFORMS, LOOK AT BOTH THE LEADERSHIP AND THE LMS SOFTWARE
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AccessAlly is so so so good. It's literally at the core of my business!
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- MICHAEL KILLEN, SELLYOURSERVICE.CO.UK
Compare Podia Pricing
Podia’s pricing is pretty straightforward. There are 2 tiers and both include unlimited members, emails, and courses or membership levels.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and the limitations that come with the lower price include minimal design flexibility, no advanced sales tools, no gamification, or ability to extend the feature set.
While cost is not the only thing to look at when you’re considering what membership software or LMS to choose, it does factor into the equation.
Here is the cost breakdown for some of the most commonly compared Podia substitutes:
No memberships or affiliate functionality
Includes 3rd party code and embedded checkout forms
Includes only 3 products, and limit of 10,000 contacts
100 Products, 100,000 contacts, limited email sending
Unlimited courses and students
Additional features and groups
Plus 5% transaction fee
No transaction fees, includes bulk student enrollment
|Mighty Networks|| $280/year|
Community forums only, no online courses, plus 3% transaction fee
Includes online courses, plus 2% transaction fee
|MemberPress + LearnDash|| $448/year|
No course or student limits, basic functionality
Includes group licensing, affiliate functionality
Ecommerce and CRM addons included
Quizzes, groups, and social learning
Unlimited courses and students, affiliate, and bulk courses
All LMS functionality
More In-Depth Comparisons of Possible Podia Replacement Software
Now that we’ve looked at all of the reasons why someone might choose Podia, or switch from Podia to another LMS solution, it’s time to see how Podia compares to alternative LMS solutions!
In these in-depth Podia comparison pages, you'll see where each tool shines and where it falls short so you can make the best decision for your particular business and needs.
Your Podia Substitute Might Include Several Tools, Software, and Plugins
Now because Podia handles a few different aspects of an online business or course delivery operation, you might find that some Podia replacements require you to use more than one tool.
How you decide to construct your tech stack depends on your requirements, and what goals you’re trying to achieve. For instance, you might need:
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 don’t have a CRM and plan to keep automation and interaction with your customers simple
- You’re willing to migrate off the system when your business grows
What matters most to CRM users in 2021?
Switching CRM systems in 2021? Here's what you need to think about.
The privacy landscape is continuing to shift, and things like CCPA, GDPR, and CalOPPA need to be on your email marketing provider's radar. If you have questions about these privacy policies, your CRM company needs to be able to help you answer them.
You’ll also want an email marketing platform that has sophisticated tagging, automation, and campaigns that are flexible and that make it easier to keep your email list clean.
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