Business owners, influencers, and educators finally have the ability to make their own course and generate revenue.
The problem is that there are a lot of options out there, and some of them have predatory practices that just want to lock you into a deal.
Among the very best course creators out there, you have Thinkific, and you have Podia: two time-tested, community features rich and beloved course creation services that help you make the most attractive and educational courses out there.
Both are termed as best online course platform available, however, still there must be the one best online course platform.
It’s time to draw a comparison. Thinkific vs Podia: who has the better deal for your money, your time, and your vision? We’ll go over all the benefits and drawbacks from both of these course creator sites so you can decide what works best for you.
Podia vs Thinkific
Thinkific and Podia Compared – podia vs thinkific
You’re ready to sell your online course content, and apart from delivery, you need to make sure your course building service has the concessions available to make your experience enjoyable, and see value in what they’re providing. You need an easy to use online course platforms.
Thinkific and Podia online course platforms have a similar goal, but give you different paths to get there. Which one ends up being better for hosting an online course? We’re about to find out together.
What is Thinkific? and how you build the businesses
Thinkific is an online tool and service where you can create your own courses, market them, and sell them to prospective students. Essentially, what you’re doing is taking your knowledge and adding it in linear modules within Thinkific to create a learning path.
Thinkific is a web-based course creation and hosting platform. Thinkific platforms offer an all-inclusive platform for multiple instructors to create, deliver, and track their online courses. Thinkific is a great option for multiple instructors who are looking to create their own online course or teach an existing one.
Do this effectively, and you have an online course where users can learn a new skill from start to finish, and acquire a level of mastery in a skill, using a program, or enhance their understanding of a creative art.
Thinkific is an all-in-one service that lets you build everything from the ground up, and become the online education entrepreneur you were meant to be. You can set prerequisite lessons for a certain session and other similar features such as creating discussion forum and generate student progress
What is Podia? And How instructors can use it
As an all-in-one service, Podia helps you build courses, host them on your own domain without any subdomain to mess it up, accept payments, and more.
Podia is a new e-learning platform that helps people build their own online learning business by providing them with all the tools they need to create, publish and sell their courses.
With Podia, you just have to know what you want to teach, and their intuitive online course building options will help you carry out the rest. Much like Thinkific, Podia is all about helping you teach people through modules: video, text, and image-based segments of courses, each with learning material to help you slowly master skills.
Podia is a complete package deal: host, accept payments, sell, market, and everything all from one platform. The integrated sales pages help generate the sales. You can also customize the sales pages.
Podia platform has excellent course, website, sales page and other creation capabilities. Whatever you think to do on Podia from marketing such as email marketing, content marketing or others, you will find it easy to do.
- Build your website
- Sell your course
- Grow your community and brand
“Sales page, emails and course all in one place, amazing!”
What Course Building do They Offer?
With Thinkific, you get instant access to embedded tools such as Screenflow, which helps you design and film your video content right from the get-go.
When comparing Podia vs Thinkific, Podia knows that a lot of online courses are teaching complex skills or those that require screencapping, so they allow you to screencap right in their online course builder tool and incorporate those videos into your plan (don’t worry; there’s a way to edit). The online course builders of both Podia and Thinkific platforms are equally functional, however, Thinkific gives you more control over course building.
When comparing Podia vs Thinkific, That’s one major strength of Podia, but on top of that, they also allow you to upload pre-recorded videos, text documents, images, and any other downloadable materials that you have to offer to your students.
How Hard is it to Make a Course?
You want to make an intuitive course that has a clean user interface.
Well, Thinkific might actually stun you in this round because they don’t hit the nail on the head quite like they should have. This is all about how easy it is to make a course, even with no prior knowledge or experience with course building sites.
Thinkific is one of the leaders of online course platform, but that doesn’t make them exempt from scrutiny. You go onto your dashboard and choose your course—which is easy enough to do—and then you either add or change a course template.
Choose a template (see examples), and you’re good to go. The platforms offer multiple ways to get your course started, but it becomes a bit clunky with their bulk importer. It’s a tool that’s designed to make this entire process easier, but it’s actually a little tricky to get to work properly.
Comparing Podia vs Thinkific, overall, they still walk you through the process in a step by step formula, but Podia just ends up being easier to use than Thinkific in several areas.
Podia has a linear process. They walk you through absolutely everything that you need to do to make a course from the ground up. It’s true that you might run into some restrictions here and there, but in a way, it makes the course building experience a little bit easier.
Input your own pre-recorded video or make screen capture from within Podia, upload images, text, and DLC to offer to your students. You go from module A all the way to Z (or more, if you need) in a structured, straightforward course development plan.
Course Delivery experience
Course delivery is all about how the course materials are fed to your students.
How they get to access them, how access is provided, and everything in between. Comparing Podia vs Thinkific, we won’t spoil anything but… Thinkific has a lot of experience in this space.
Thinkific really thought this part of their service through. You can have prerequisite courses to drip feed content to students, set up schedules via a calendar to drip content, by student, by course, and basically every customizable advanced features for content dripping that you could ever need. There are several advanced customization features discussed later in this review.
There’s even a way to set up automated messaging to let students know that their next batch of content is scheduled. When comparing Podia vs Thinkific, Content dripping is great, but be sure to use those landing pages that Thinkific offers so that you can accurately display how this works to your students before they make a purchase.
Course content delivery methods include:
- Live video chat with a course instructor – live chat support
- Video tutorials
- Self-paced videos and lessons
- Private 1:1 coaching sessions
Unlimited courses can be created with Thinkific. The company provides templates for all of these online course platform. Thus the large organizations can create unlimited courses. The platforms offer course completion certificates for those who complete a course with a passing grade.
They also have a tool called ‘Thinkific Studio’ which enables users to create their own course from scratch. This tool is free for all users who have signed up for Thinkific Premium or Enterprise plan or above. For other users, it comes at an additional cost.
You can also set private and hidden courses in the options. These courses will be available to subscribed members only.
Podia offers content dripping, though it’s nowhere as intuitive as Thinkific’s design and some other unique course creation tools. You’ll end up accessing the FAQ here and there to learn how to do it properly. Content dripping is all about restricting access to certain content for a certain amount of time. The digital downloads are available once the students complete a certain section of the course. The benefit of digital downloads is that students can consume the content even offline. This can be one of the key selling point of this platform.
What difference when comparing podia vs thinkific, Podia provides different methods for delivering course content on their platform:
- Podcasts are audio recordings of lectures or interviews.
- Videos are recordings of lectures or interviews with accompanying slides, animation, images and other media.
- Articles are written text with accompanying images and illustrations.
You can use this to make one-month batches of courses available, and upon the second month in membership, a customer/student would then get access to month two’s content. Moreover, in the Podia vs Thinkific comparison, Podia offers this, but other than that, it’s a standard module-based delivery method.
Podia offers a course completion certificate for students. It offers a course completion certificate for those who complete a course with a passing grade. The completion certificates will be available as a downloadable file as well as online. These completion certificates help students get recognized for applying to various online jobs.
Moreover, In Podia you can create unlimited courses and sell them to unlimited customers using selling tools. Podia also gives you freedom to hide or show the private and hidden courses.
- Build your website
- Sell your course
- Grow your community and brand
“Sales page, emails and course all in one place, amazing!”
Pricing (Including Payment Methods)
If one of these two are really looking good to you right now, we’re sorry, but we have to drop the price bomb and let you know what they cost.
Will these advanced features be worth the monthly or annual costs? Keep in mind that Podia and Thinkific both offer bundled pricing, but neither have lifetime access. Lets look at the price comparison of Podia vs Thinkific
Thinkific offers four pricing plans, with an undefined larger size for enterprises that you and I don’t really need to worry about right now.
- Free plan: It’s just what it sounds like; free plan as can be. There are obviously going to be restrictions, such as not custom domain and customer service support, but it’s a good way to build your course slowly before paying for it monthly.
The free plan includes features like unlimited courses, unlimited students, and up to 10 hours of video content per month. However, the free plan does not include features that allow learners to create custom quizzes or assessments for their courses or make use of group chat tools. These tools are enough to increase the student engagement.
Moreover, the free plan includes some features but not all; a paid starter plan with more features than the free plan but fewer than the paid premium; and a paid premium plan with all of the available features. Thinkific’s free plan is highly recommended for newbies.
- Basic plan: The basic plan starts for $49 per month, you’ll get a custom domain, some enhanced SEO benefits, affiliate benefits, email integration, and so much more. The basic plan is a good place to start when you have no current expectant students. Annually, this plan is $39 per month.
- Pro: For $99 per month, you get advanced customization, live Zoom lesson integration, and the ability to build a community through forums, assign work, and more. The main reason people choose Pro is for the ability to have multiple course admins for larger sites. Annually, this plan is $79 per month. Zero transaction fees and unlimited students.
- Premier plan: For $499 per month, you get incredible customer service, up to 50 course admins, five site admin accounts, onboarding packages to help you get started, SSOs, and group analysts to help your site be the best it can be. The simplified data overview makes it easy to analyze and target your audience. This can be done by course instructors or specialized data analysts. Annually, this package is $399 per month. Zero transaction fees.
In price package comparison of Podia vs Thinkific, Podia has two very simple, linear pricing structures with no frills. There’s a free plan option like Thinkific has, access to a free trial for the time being and there are 8% transaction fees. The inclusion of a free plan would be great for individuals.
- Mover Package: Mover plan is a paid plan for $39 per month, you get access to your own website, digital downloads, online courses, email marketing features, webinars, and messaging. The only problem with the mover plan is you cannot make memberships at this price. Pay annually, and you’ll save $78 on the mover plan. The digital downloads allow downloading all your content if needed. Zero transaction fees.
- Shaker Package: The Shaker Package is another paid plan (premier plan) that includes everything previously mentioned in the Mover Package, but with the addition of memberships, third-party coding, integration of third party apps, a blog, Zoom integration, offsite buying buttons, affiliate marketing solutions, and more. The package starts from $89/month. You’ll be able to save $158 in total when you pay annually. Zero transaction fees. The affiliate program increases the chances of selling the course.
- EarthQuaker Plan: EarthQuaker plan starts at $166 per month. It has all the options of previous packages. In addition you will get priority support, onboarding calls and monthly creator call.
Templates give you power on your website. Since both Podia and Thinkific give you the ability to build your own websites, you have to be able to lay out your content and information in a way that’s actually appealing to potential customers and students. Moreover, templates enables customized course creation styles which are unique to your website only. The course creation can be branded with editable templates. You can customize the sites and sell courses on templates of your liking.
Thinkific includes templates that have a known marketing advantage to others. They allow you to open up your site and display your content in ways that plenty of others find attractive and easy to navigate.
Thinkific’s templates give your students plenty of control and easy, clear paths to get from one page to another without dawdling. Not as good for individual page retention, but hey, it will show your customer where to get to. When you sell courses using your unique templates, you are actually making a brand.
Podia is known for having multiple templates available, but some of the best ones are actually third-party templates that you would buy similarly to how you buy WordPress themes.
For the most part, Podia already arranges information and data in fairly accessible ways, so in this case templates are more like skins than anything else.
This is either a pro or con depending on the way you look at it: if you like the basic Podia setup, it’s beneficial, and if not, it can be limiting.
Other Features comparison
Features are how you interact with your site, and how potential customers and students will interact with your site, and it will dictate the limitations that a site has. Overall, you want more features than you’ll need for an LMS system or some kind of course platform, where you’ll be hosting courses. Lets compare Podia vs Thinkific features:
- Complete Course Builder: You don’t have to use a SCORM file here: you can build the entire site from within Thinkific without any external or additional information necessary. Thinkific course builder allows you to create your own online course, with the ability to import content from other sources. Thinkific has some advanced tools.
- Video, Text, and Image Courses: Use all the media you need to make your courses the absolute best that they can be. There’s almost no limitations in this department. You can use video, text, images and other content to build the course on Thinkific. The best thing about this is the fact that it also allows users to create a mobile version of their courses. These options are very helpful in increasing the student engagement.
- Discussion Forums: Implement community features forums that people can ask questions on, or just chat with fellow students.
Moreover, You can integrate a large number of third party apps and advanced tools to market and sell the courses. You can integrate the most important and popular email marketing features using this option. The email marketing features increases the reach and revenue of your online businesses at a significant rate.
- Landing Pages: Podia is known for having excellent landing page templates, which will help you draw in traffic from Google. Podia is a platform that has a landing page that is designed to drive traffic from Google, Facebook, and other sources.
The landing page of Podia has a number of features that are designed to help it rank high on search engines and increase the number of visitors to the site. The first thing that you see on the landing page is an interactive map with pins pointing out different locations where Podia creators are located. This gives you an idea of how far-reaching Podia’s reach is and encourages you to explore the site further.
The second thing you see on the landing page is a video with testimonials from Podia creators who talk about how they have benefitted from using this platform. The testimonials are accompanied by screenshots showing the user interface of the platform.The third thing you see is a section where they talk about the program and how it can be used. They mention that this tool is designed to make your life easier, and it can free up your time in many ways.The fourth thing you see is a call to action for people who want more information about the program.
A good landing page will have more interactive classroom features integrated into it. This is possible using Podia builtin page builders. Apart from courses, you can also sell digital products.
- Selling Tools: Market your courses with coupons, internal upsells, and even have course affiliates. Using this affiliate program people can earn commissions by promoting your online course. These selling tools will help grow your business by selling online courses.
Podia has a number of selling tools that help with market and sell online courses. The first tool is the Course Builder which allows you to create a course from scratch or import one from another platform. The second tool is the Course Catalog which allows you to list your courses for sale in one place. The third tool is the Course Pages which enables you to customize your course landing page with different layouts, colors, and custom backgrounds. You can easily use these tools to sell online courses on Podia.
- Fast and Secure Payments: You’re in this to earn money, so you’ll be able to get money fast from Podia with near-instant payments.
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Voice Over PowerPoint: Many sites make you do this separately, but you can actually use Thinkific to make videos. Video production with PowerPoint (common in online courses) and your own custom live voice over can be a very powerful combination.
- Customization Options: Out of all the features of LMS systems out there, Thinkific gives you some of the best customization options. You choose how your site comes across to potential students. You have more access than just what’s in the template shop.
- Marketing Tools: You can assign coupons and other marketing tools to help you bring your course into the spotlight. It doesn’t take long to get started with it, and you can track coupon analytics to adjust prices as you see fit. The analytics features makes the marketing tools more effective.
- Student Payment Options: Making in-depth
Masterclass-level stuff? You can design payment plans so that you students can do installments, or discount for bulk purchase all at once (hey, more marketing tools).
- No Chat Support: True, they do have phone support, but we all know how long that can take to get help from. There’s no live chat support, so you’re left hanging on the line if you run into problems. There are no premium support options for course creators. The missing of live chat feature is always a setback.
- No Sales Funnels: You can make landing pages… kind of. The marketing tools that Thinkific suggest are less all-in-one than most of us would think going into it.
Podia Pros and Cons
- Instant Payouts: Need to scale fast? Podia can instantly pay you as soon as the money makes it to them, so you don’t have to wait to reinvest in your business. Just be sure you have a pool ready for refunds so you don’t get lost in this feature.
- They Host: It’s still your domain name and site name, but Podia will host your site so that you don’t have to worry about most restrictions that hosting companies instill in their packages. Keep this feature in mind when you make your final decision, because it’s worth almost the entire cost of using Podia and then some.
- Unlimited Bandwidth: Some hosting platforms only allow X amount of visitors per month, but Podia will literally support you as much as you need. They’re just happy to be assisting you in making your online course that much better.
- Full Service Course Builder: Podia is basically as all-in-one as any other LMS system out there. You have the ability to make your courses in intuitive ways. Whether it’s from the ground up, or you’re exporting/migrating files from another site, it’s easy to get going. You can host unlimited courses using this course builder.
- Less Payment Gateways: There are less ways for your students to pay you in the first place, so you end up with restrictions that could cost you a sale or two.
- Email System is Sub-Par: There’s an integrated email system, but… you might be better off having your students hit you up with a Gmail address if we’re being perfectly transparent here.
Which is the Best Option to Host Your Course?
We’ve divulged the high points and low points of both sites, but which one seems to fit your idea of what a course creation service should be?
Which one has exactly what you need to take your idea and turn it into a reality?
Managing your own course has its challenges, but thankfully, Thinkific and Podia both do an excellent job of making it easy for you. If neither of these tickle your fancy, be sure to check out our other guides to learn about more course creation services and sites to help fuel your creativity.
If you are still unsure, check out our Podia vs Teachable review or Podia alternatives.