There are a lot of ways you can make money online. One of the most popular and profitable ways is to create a course, host it online, and sell it to a global student base.
Podia and Thinkific are some of the well-known course creation and hosting platforms.
I suppose, in your research, you stumbled on these two platforms, and now you’re caught in a dilemma. You’re wondering which platform is worth investing your hard-earned money in.
In my unbiased opinion, Podia is an excellent choice if you don’t have a deep pocket.
With Podia, you can create decent courses, market and sell them, plus process payments without breaking the bank.
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However, Thinkific allows you to do more.
It is a scalable solution with so many powerful and cool features that Podia does not provide.
Thinkific robust features help course creators to provide the best user experience to their students.
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To come to a consensus and find the definite winner, we need to look at the features provided by these two platforms, their pricing plans, and their benefits and downside.
It’s a daunting task, but luckily the Software Accountant is here for you.
I will walk you through Podia and Thinkific from top to bottom, and hopefully, by the end of this journey, you’ll have your final answer.
Podia is a robust platform that allows content creators to sell courses, downloads, webinars, and memberships. It also gives the chance to interact with their customers live.
If that’s not enough, Podia lets you launch email marketing campaigns straight from their dashboard.
Let’s look at what you can sell on Podia.
1. Online Courses
Podia takes care of everything when it comes to online courses. From hosting your course material, handling payments, and managing access.
Uploading course content on Podia is simple. All you need to do is head to your dashboard, click the products button, and select the ‘online course’ option from the prompt.
Next, you’ll be requested to add the title of your course. Now you can add lessons(text, quizzes, videos, etc.), course details, pricing, and course availability.
Once finished, click on the publish button, and a course page and a sales page will be automatically created. You also get access to an editor if you want a bit of customization.
Start Your Online Course
2. Digital Downloads
Selling digital downloads is a good way of supplementing your course sales revenue. It may even turn out to be an independent stream of income. Who knows?
There are several downloadable stuff that you could sell to your students through Podia. The specifics, however, depend on the niche of your course content.
For example, bloggers can sell blog templates, musicians can sell sheet music, chefs can sell recipes, and programmers can sell app templates.
Honestly, you can sell anything on Podia as long as it is downloadable and not illegal and, most importantly, people are willing to pay for it.
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Memberships let you sell access to content you share regularly. It can be your blog articles, tutorial videos, or anything.
In case you are wondering about how to create a post for membership customers, don’t worry. It is simple.
All you need to add a new post for your members on Podia is to head to the membership section and click on the create a post button. You can add a title and the content, upload videos and files, manage access to your posts, and schedule or publish your post.
In this section, other tabs allow you to interact with comments from your members, manage pricing plans, see how much you’ve made from membership subscriptions, and edit the appearance of your storefront.
Start A Membership Site
Thinkific is a popular platform content creators use to create and sell online courses.
You can easily create a beautiful website for your audience to find, purchase, and learn from your online courses using Thinkific course creation, selling, and marketing tools.
Thinkific allows non-technical people to create educational sites using its themes specifically built for online schools.
Thinkific’s intuitive drag-and-drop course builder allows you to build pages and customize them according to your brand. Thinkific’s website builder helps you build a home page, a sales page, etc.
You can create a course using a course template to remove the guesswork. You can also use the bulk import feature. Create a new chapter and drag and drop videos, texts, audio, and files right into your curriculum at once.
You can add quizzes, surveys, downloads, discussions, and narrated slideshows to create an interactive and engaging experience for your students.
You can pair your site with a payment processor to sell your courses as a one-time fee, subscriptions, and a payment plan.
Thinkific also allows you to offer a course for free to grow your audience.
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Podia vs Thinkific: Pricing
Podia is lower priced compared to Thinkific.
All payment plans allow you to create unlimited courses. Unlike course marketplaces like Udemy, Podia does not charge transaction fees on all of its payment plans.
Are you not sure if Podia is the right platform for your business? Podia offers a free trial period for up to 14 days. Two weeks is more than enough time for you to make up your mind.
Podia Pricing Plans
Podia has three monthly payment plans. They’re pretty straightforward and inexpensive compared to the competitors.
The number of features accessible to you varies according to your Podia subscription. The plans are ranked from low tier to top tier.
The payment plans are funnily named to illustrate this point. Let’s look at them in detail at what you get with each payment plan.
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1. Mover Plan
The first and basic plan Podia has to offer. It does not attract transaction fees.
The Mover plan costs $39 per month. If you pay annually, you’ll get a 17% discount which means that you’ll pay $33 per month.
Let’s look at some of the features unlocked under the mover plan.
- A custom website
Forget about hiring a website developer to cook up a site for you or paying extra money to an online website builder.
The $39 per month cost covers a fully customizable drag and drop website. You get templates for a sales page, a thank you page, and more.
- Email marketing
Running a successful course selling business goes beyond creating a killer course. It is through marketing efforts that a business wins over new customers.
One way of doing that is by emailing ad copy to your potential customers. Podia allows you to grow an email list and handle all your email activities from the dashboard.
- Customer messaging
Podia allows you to interact with your students through its messaging feature. Students can directly raise questions to you, and you can instantly address them.
The interaction improves the students’ user experience as well as increases engagement. Students are sure that they’ll get the help they need whenever they find themselves stuck along the curriculum.
- Unlimited Courses
Podia allows you to host unlimited courses and students. It doesn’t matter which payment plan you choose.
Podia does not deduct any transaction fees from your sales. All the money you raise through podia is your money.
- Unlimited downloads
Podia lets you sell complimentary digital downloads through the platform. Through Podia sales pages you can set up and sell ebooks, templates, and what have you.
Selling downloads through Podia is a great way to supplement your income or even create an independent one. Podia lets you sell as many as you want downloads.
Podia removes the need to create an independent e-commerce site or use an e-commerce platform like Shopify or Amazon. Everything is handled in-house.
- Unlimited Coaching Products
Podia allows selling coaching services to your customers right through the platform.
Users can subscribe to one on one coaching sessions, group Q&As, or whatever arrangements you agree upon. The good thing is you can set it up that they pay you on a subscription basis. This way you end up having recurring revenue.
You can create and sell coaching services as much as you want. Podia does not demand any transaction fees from your revenue.
It’s important to turn your audience into a vibrant community of loyal customers and satisfied students.
Podia gives you the ability to control and manage communities around your product. Members can discuss among themselves their favorite topics, help others by answering their questions, etc.
Once even more amazing is that you can turn your community members into recurring customers. You can sell your downloads, memberships, or coaching sessions.
2. Shaker Plan
This is the second and most popular payment plan on the list. It also does not incur any transaction fees on your sales.
It is priced at $89 per month. If you decide to pay per annum, you’ll pay $75 per month. Enjoying a 17% discount.
When you subscribe to this payment plan, you’ll get all the features under the Mover payment plan plus the following.
- Unlimited webinars
When you subscribe to this payment plan, you’ll get the chance to sell your courses, and downloads, plus access to webinars.
Now you can deliver live lessons to large audiences by organizing everything through the Podia platform. You can connect with YouTube or Zoom and let your audience register and pay through your Podia site.
You can sell or offer free webinars, schedule and sell in advance, earn passive income through replays, and bundle with other products, all with zero transaction fees.
When you subscribe to this plan you’re allowed to create an army of affiliate marketers from your student base.
You decide how much commission they get off of each referral, invite people to become your affiliates, etc. All in all, this is a great way of growing your business by actually delegating the heavy lifting to your customers.
3. Earthquaker PLan
This is the third and final payment plan from Podia. It is $300 cheaper than Thinkific’s final plan. It is designed to help you scale up operations without switching platforms.
It costs $199 per month. If you choose to pay every year you get a 17% discount and you’ll pay $166 per month.
The Earthquaker comes with all the features from the lower payment plans. You also get the following extra features.
- A dedicated Account Manager
After you subscribe to the Earthquaker plan, Podia assigns you, someone, to personally handle your account and requests.
He or she will contact you through Zoom and walk you through the Podia and promptly answer all your questions. Not only will you get world-class support, every time you need help you’ll be connected to the same person who knows the specifics of your business.
- Remove Podia branding
I know how inconvenient and annoying it can be to have someone’s brand pasted all over your website.
An Earthquaker subscription gives you the ability to remove all Podia branding from your school. Now you can have a professional-looking school.
- Send emails to up to 50K email subscribers monthly
You have worked hard to grow your business and accumulate a huge community. The Earthquaker plan allows you to send a promotional copy to up to a whopping fifty thousand subscribers!
- Monthly community call
When you upgrade to the Earthquaker plan you get access to a monthly call with your fellow Earthquaker creators and Podia’s professionals.
You can discuss how your business is going, share tips, and ask your peers or professionals. It’s a great way of finding out what’s driving your fellow creators’ success and what pitfalls you should avoid.
Thinkific Pricing Plans
Thinkific has four pricing plans for you to choose from.
And honestly speaking, compared to Podia’s pricing, Thinkific is a bit pricey.
But to its defense, Thinkific offers many features which are quite advanced compared to Podia. It also offers a free plan which Podia doesn’t have.
Some add-ons can be combined with some plans to get the best out of Thinkific and run your business with ease. Thinkific provides the greatest value compared to Podia but it comes at a few extra dollars.
Let’s explore Thinkific’s pricing plan and see if the high prices are justified.
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1. Free Plan
Thinkific compensates for its expensive pricing with a free plan, and rightly so. It is important that you know the ins and out of a pricey platform before you fully commit your resources and time.
This free plan gives you the bare minimum in terms of features. But, it should be enough for testing purposes. Let’s dive into the features under this plan.
- Limited courses and unlimited students
It seems even though you can create and host courses on Thinkific without paying a dime, you can only create so much.
The good thing is you can have an unlimited number of students enrolled in your courses. For testing purposes having a limit on the number of courses you can create shouldn’t be a problem to be worried about, after all, you only need to create a single course to test a platform.
Even if you’re seriously considering subscribing to the free plan for your normal business, it’s not like you’ll create 100 courses anyway.
- Easy drag-and-drop course builder
The free plan gives you access to an easy-to-use intuitive course builder that takes the guesswork out of creating courses. The fact that Thinkific provides this for free is impressive.
- Easy to use website templates
This is powerful. The fact that Thinkific provides website templates for free without spending a dime can not be praised enough.
Normally, website templates cost money so the fact that Thinkific decided to include it in the free plan is commendable.
- 1 site admin account
The free plan allows you to have a single admin for your school. This is generally you, the owner of the school.
You can carry out administrative duties in your school including but not limited to managing the site, carrying out marketing campaigns, managing content, etc.
- Email and phone support
Contrary to expectations, Thinkific provides support even if you’re on the free plan and are paying them nothing.
When you run into hurdles you can contact the support team via email or phone and they’ll surely get back to you and help you.
- Thinkific app store
Get access to over 80 apps on the Thinkific App Store that will help and aid your course creation businesses. You’ll get apps like Promos Kit, Facebook Pixel, Zoom, and more.
2. Basic Plan
This is the second plan as well as the first paid plan. It is designed and well suited for when you’re busting out in the course creation business.
The basic plan costs $49 per month. If you choose to pay every year, you’ll receive a 20% discount and pay $39 per month.
All the features in the free plan are included plus the following.
- Custom domain
Money will buy you the right to use a custom domain for your website. You can connect your school with an old domain name you own or register a new one and link it with your site.
- Live chat support
Get the help you need when you need it. The basic plan gives access to the live support team any time you need their support.
- Coupons and promotions
The basic plan allows you to offer discount coupons and other promotions to your customers. This way you can drive more sales to your courses and other products.
- Drip (scheduled) content
You can decide and schedule when your students access course material. This perhaps improves student experience and engagement.
- One-to-one student email
The basic plan allows you to directly email your students from the platform one by one. It is limited but it is an efficient way of building loyal customers.
- Thinkific Academy basic courses
Thinkific Academy is a school dedicated to creators like you to help you in your course creating business and becoming successful. There are courses on how to create a course on Thinkific for example and many more.
Well, the basic plan gives you access to just the basic courses from the Academy.
3. Pro Plan
This is the third and most popular plan from Thinkific. It is designed to provide a complete and cohesive user experience to your students. The pro plan can also be combined with the Growth add-on for a more complete set of features.
The Pro plan costs $99 per month, $79 per month if you pay yearly.
The Growth add-on costs an extra $50 on top of your normal Pro plan.
Here are the features you get when you subscribe to the Pro plan.
- 2 site admin accounts
The Pro plan allows you to delegate your administration duties to one more person. He/she can do everything that you can do in your school. It is a great way of reducing the workload on your hands and focusing more on content creation.
- Private and Hidden courses
Sometimes you might want to offer a free course but not to everyone. Thinkific allows you to offer private courses or hide them completely from your school if you subscribe to the Pro plan.
Visitors to your site will not see the hidden courses therefore they cannot enroll.
- Subscription and flexible pricing
The Pro plan gives you the ability to price your courses in multiple ways. You can offer one-time buys, subscriptions, etc. You can also offer memberships, additional course prices, and bundles.
- Completion Certificates
Give your students the chance to test their knowledge and see if they’ve mastered what they have learned by allowing them to take a test after completing the curriculum.
Those who pass the test can then be awarded a certificate. It’s a good way of acknowledging and rewarding their dedication and hard work.
- Live lessons
You can connect Zoom with your school and deliver live lessons and webinars to your students across the world. Just create a Zoom account and start delivering engaging classes.
- Advanced course building
The Pro plan gives you the chance to add assignments to your courses, Prerequisite lessons, randomized quiz banks, and member-only web pages on your site.
- Thinkific Academy Pro Courses
Are you just starting in this course creation business and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, Thinkific Academy has a collection of courses to help you in your course creation journey on Thinkific.
The Pro plan gives you access to advanced courses from the Academy tackling advanced topics.
- The Growth Add-on
When your business grows to new heights you’ll need advanced features to successfully help you manage your success.
While it comes at an extra $50 per month, you might want to add it to your arsenal when you start considering scaling up.
The add-on comes with the following features.
- Remove Thinkific branding
That is straightforward. The Growth package gives you the right stripe away from the Thinkific brand from your school. For a large school maintaining your brand is paramount and might be worth paying extra for.
Create groups similar to Facebook Groups right on your website. You can sell your courses to cohorts or organizations and assign analysts.
- Public API
The Growth package gives you access to Thinkific’s API. now you can hire programmers to utilize the API and modify your school and manage your website.
- Advanced segmentation
Utilize search filters and bookmarks to organize student communications, reporting, and progress tracking.
Webhooks allow programmers to send your course data to any tools you like.
The Growth package gives you the chance to turn your audience and students into a vibrant community and hopefully a bunch of loyal customers.
- Infusionsoft integration
If you have an Infusionsoft integration subscription you can link it with your school and increase sales through automated end-to-end sales and marketing solutions.
- Zapier Actions
If you have a Zapier subscription the Growth package allows you to enroll students in your school.
- Brillium exams integration
The Growth package allows those who have a Brillium subscription to offer their students more interesting exams with features like time limits and attempt caps.
- ActiveCampaign integration
If you have the ActiveCampaign subscription the Growth package allows you to integrate this email marketing and CRM tool with your school and manage your contacts for sales and marketing purposes.
- Import students
The growth package allows you to import your old students into your new Thinkific school from another platform or database using XLSX or CSV files.
- Bulk enroll students
Reduce the workload by enrolling or removing students from your school all at once.
- Bulk emails
The Growth add-on allows you to send bulk emails to your students directly from your Thikific school’s dashboard.
This is the final and ultimate pricing plan from Thinkific. It is designed for big organizations and schools with a very large student base.
It is pricey, to say the least, but it has all the features you could need. It costs $499 per month. If you choose to pay annually you’ll pay $399 instead.
The Thinkific Premier plan comes with all the features included in the lower features plus the following additional features.
- 5 Site Admin accounts
I assume that anyone paying $499 per month has a really big school. This is why Thinkific allows you to add other four admins to your school to help you in administration duties.
Just like in the Pro plan’s Growth add-on, the Premier plan allows you to create groups right on your website. There are many advantages of having groups including but not limited to being able to make announcements, do marketing, and increase sales.
- Onboarding package
Once you subscribe to the Premier plan, someone from the Thinkific sales team will give you a 30-minute call to walk you through the Thinkific platform and answer any questions and another 30 minutes to review your launch preparedness.
- 15 Group Analysts
After creating a group on your website, Thinkific allows you to dedicate 15 analysts in a group if you subscribe to the Premier plan. These analysts can directly report to you the proceedings in the group.
- Unlimited Communities
The Premier plan gives you the ability to create unlimited communities around your content and courses. Vibrant communities can turn your customers into loyal customers which means recurring business and more money in your pockets.
- Brillium Exams integration
Now you can deliver interesting exams to your students with features like time limits and the limit to the number of times one can take them. This brings an air of seriousness to the exam and avoids blatant cheating.
- White Labeling
The Premier plan buys you the rights to remove the Thinkific branding from email, website, and course player.
- API Access
Now your programmers can access the Thinkific API and be able to modify your school, make changes and improvements, and generally efficiently manage your school.
Do you still need more? Thinkific has Enterprise Plus plans for companies and high-volume customers. Head over to Thinkific’s pricing page and request pricing.
Podia vs Thinkific: Key Features Comparison
So far we’ve roughly gone through the features of both of these two platforms by looking at their pricing plans.
But how do Thinkific and Podia stack up feature to feature?
Let me walk you through what can be considered the key features of course creation and course hosting platforms.
Before we go any further, I would like to say on the jump that Thinkific is superior to Podia when it comes to features but Podia has all the important features you need to run a successful online school.
Now, here are the features.
1. Course Builder
- Podia’s course builder
Podia combines simplicity with functionality quite impressively. You don’t need to be tech-savvy or a programmer to put a course together on Podia. The dashboard’s interface is straightforward and intuitive.
You can create a standalone course in all sorts of content types or a mixture of the same including but not limited to text, images, videos, audio, links, PDF, PSD, and quizzes.
Podia also offers the drip feature that lets you schedule when a student receives a section of the curriculum. You can also run promotions by bundling a couple of your courses and offering them as one at a discount.
Not only that, Podia gives you the possibility to test out your course idea before you invest any time and resources by letting you pre-sell and pre-launch courses i.e. sell courses before you publish them. Pretty cool right? You can also run cohort-based courses by setting a starting date and letting your students take them in groups at the same time.
In a nutshell, Podia lets you create media-rich courses that are stunning on all devices including smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. The builder has a flexible layout that allows you to put what you want where you want and the live preview feature that makes you see all the changes you make in real-time.
- Thinkific’s course builder
Thinkific allows you to do more than just create a do-it-yourself (DIY) course. With the Thinkific course builder and other platforms’ features, you can create a fully-fledged online school.
To create a course you just have to click on the ‘create a course’ tab and immediately start dragging and dropping stuff around.
Thinkific removes the need for guesswork when creating your first course with its numerous course templates.
You can choose to create a course from scratch by selecting a blank template. You can also select the presale course template and try out ideas and possibly earn a decent income.
Then there’s a mini-course feature that lets you create a short-form course. Other templates include a flagship course, a webinar replay, and a membership resource center.
Each template comes with sample lessons to allow you easily drag and drop your curriculum content and create a beautiful course. Templates are accompanied by instructional lessons on how to maximally benefit from the template.
Just remember that a template is just a suggested guideline and everything is changeable and customizable.
Thinkific also saves you time and energy with its bulk import feature in course builder. This feature allows you to upload a lot of files at once without going through the process one by one.
You can also add a course image and description. Are you a good coder or can your business afford to hire programmers? Thinkific gives you the chance to add custom code to customize your school.
Then there is the course completion feature that tracks the progress of your students either for a video, a chapter, and a course. You can also handle SEO duties for web crawlers here.
Thinkific also allows you to drip-feed the content to your students.
2. Email Marketing
Podia’s email marketing capabilities are slightly better than Thinkific’s because of the ease of use. You don’t need any technical ability or spend extra cash on a third-party email marketing tool.
Podia has numerous cool and important marketing features accessible right from the dashboard.
The email capture feature allows you to build and grow an email list by adding email signup pages to any page on your Podia website.
And then there’s the broadcast feature. As the name suggests, it allows you to send updates to the entire list or a segment at once.
The automated campaigns feature allows you to schedule emails and focus on other things. The drip emailing process allows you to walk your subscribers through the sales funnel.
Embedded forms make it possible to take your email marketing outside of your Podia school. You can embed the signup page into any other page on the web by using the Podias embed button.
Segmentation allows you to divide your subscriber’s list according to what each user purchased. This allows you to target subscribers efficiently with sales copy they may care about.
Most importantly Podia allows you to create professional clean emails through a professional email template.
Text is boring to look at. Increase the click-through rate by adding rich text, images, and gifs to grab the attention of your subscribers.
You can also get engagement and revenue metrics right from the dashboard without any third-party integrations. What’s even more impressive is that you get the Return On Investment(ROI) or see how much revenue is generated by each email.
The design is fully customizable. You can also add lead magnets like free PDFs and grow your email list. Get unlimited everything by having unlimited subscribers and sending unlimited emails (depending on your pricing package).
Emigrate from another tool to Podia for free. You also have access to world-class support. You’ll be assisted through live chat any day of the week and live video support every other weekday.
Thinkific allows you to stay connected with your students and email subscribers by letting you connect your school with a third-party email marketing app from the Thinkific App Store.
In the App Store go to the Email & Marketing Apps category where you’ll find several apps that can be linked to your school and enable you to carry out email marketing campaigns.
These apps can help you in different stages of your marketing efforts.
For email marketing, you have a couple of apps to choose from depending on your pockets, needs, and likes. The most popular options are MailChimp and CovertKit but you can also get Constant Contact, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, and EngageBay.
For capturing leads Thinkific allows you to connect with apps like Capture and Hello to create and add beautiful signup pages and popups to your pages on your Thinkific website.
For referrals, you can connect with EarlyParrot.
In case you wish to carry out your email marketing campaigns with different apps than the ones mentioned above, Thinkific allows you to connect with Zapier which allows you to connect with over 2000+ other apps.
However, it is important to note that these apps may come with extra charges separate from your Thinkific subscription.
So, to recap, we’ve looked at and compared Thinkific and Podia according to their pricing plans and key features but also their capabilities.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear winner. They’re both awesome platforms with their strengths and weaknesses.
If you want to create DIY courses and don’t have a big expenditure budget then Podia is the right platform for you. It is very easy to use and you’ll have everything up and running in a short time even if you’re a first-timer.
For a more complex online with a superior student experience then I highly recommend Thinkific. Thinkifics’ advanced features allow you to create a fully-fledged online school but you may need to hire some help or do it yourself but it may take a while to get hold of everything.
You’ll also need a bigger budget to afford Thinkific expensive pricing plans but it may be worth it for bigger schools and high-volume creators.
Disclosure: This page may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you buy something through them, we may get a commission (without any extra cost to you).