I 'Wrote the Book' on Kajabi. But I use Podia. Here's why...

~ 8 min read | Category: Podia

Not long ago, I spent 100+ hours getting under the hood of Kajabi, the popular online business platform. I even published a book on it. But as capable as Kajabi is, I concluded that Podia is a better fit for many course creators.

Not long ago, I spent 100+ hours getting under the hood of Kajabi, the popular online business platform. I even published a book on it. But as capable as Kajabi is, I concluded that Podia is a better fit for many course creators.

If you’re expecting a Kajabi “take down”, this isn’t it.

I like Kajabi. There are many good reasons it’s a popular platform.

And for a time, I immersed myself in it. I even wrote a book called Kajabi Quickstart (4.7 stars on Amazon).

But when I launched my own online programme, I chose Podia.

If you’re curious to find out why, read on…

My Course Platform “Origin Story”

I learned my craft as a course creator building popular courses for a well-known online entrepreneur.

When we started out, all-in-one platforms didn’t exist and we pieced everything together ourselves.

WordPress + course plugin + membership plugin + video host + email software + …

Well, you get the picture…

But keeping all the pieces working smoothly together was a full-time job.

By the time I left that business, I was craving a simpler life. Course creators had more options by then and the promise of an all-in-one platform was enticing.

Enter Kajabi. Its reputation was growing and it kept cropping up in conversations with prospective clients.

So I signed up for an account and spent what turned into 100+ hours exploring its strengths and weaknesses, ultimately ploughing that knowledge into my Amazon book.

But I came to realise that for all its strengths, Kajabi is not the right choice for everyone.

For me (and most of my target audience) Podia was a better fit.

Here are the three main reasons why…

1) You Only Value Features You Need

No doubt about it, you get a lot under the hood with Kajabi.

Websites, emails, courses, sales funnels, communities, podcasts, coaching and plenty more.

Which sounds great, right? The more features the better.

But in practice, it’s a bit like joining a fancy gym with extras like a climbing wall, a cold plunge pool and a Peloton studio.

The high membership fee is only good value for money if you actually use all of those things.

If you only want a weights room and the occasional spin class, it’ll feel expensive.

Likewise, if you’re running an entire online business on Kajabi and using the majority of its features, it’s great value.

But if you’re just getting started with digital products, it may be overkill. And if you already have some of those features provided via other tools, it looks less attractive too.

My typical clients are service business owners who want to add a course to their offering. They already have a website and an email list, so those Kajabi features aren’t required.

For most of those people, Podia is a much better fit because of the simplicity and the lower cost.

2) Customisation Cuts Both Ways

Kajabi gives you a lot of scope for customisation.

In fact, from a design perspective, Kajabi is one of the most flexible platforms out there.

Not only can you customise the branding of your website and products, you can practically build your course layout from scratch.

But that flexibility can also be overwhelming. Too much choice actually becomes a stalling point.

And I’ve found that making full use of those extra features means either becoming an expert, or hiring one.

(That’s why there’s such a thriving marketplace of Kajabi-savvy implementors and VAs.)

And it’s not just the design side of things. It’s every other area too.

This complexity is exactly why I love Podia’s simplicity. For most people, it’s less intimidating.

For example, when building your website and your course in Podia, you can set your logo, fonts and colours to make it your own. There’s even a simple but powerful page builder for creating your web and sales pages.

But when it comes to elements like your course layout, you’ll need to rely on what’s provided out of the box.

Want to change where the table of contents appears in relation to your lesson content? Tough luck, you can’t.

Want to use a Netflix-style layout that showcases your videos? Can’t do that either.

But the layout that’s provided is simple and elegant and it just works.

Personally, I’m glad I don’t have to agonise over choosing from multiple different options.

I can focus on my course content and my business instead.

3) Slow but Steady Wins the Race

Kajabi’s pricing and subscription model is really designed for people who can hit the ground running.

There’s always a 14-day free trial and and you’ll find links online that’ll get you a little longer. Kajabi occasionally runs an offer where you get 3 months for $99.

But whatever deal you take, it won’t be very long before the full monthly costs kick in. And they’re not insubstantial.

The lowest Kajabi plan (Basic) is $149 a month. The one above that (Growth) is $199.

So you’ll need to get your course up and running profitably quickly if you want to cover those costs.

If you have all of your digital ducks in a row before signing up, it’s certainly possible to launch and begin selling your course in those kinds of time frames.

But if you’re a tortoise rather than a hare (and the fairy tale tells us which type usually succeeds), you’ll be burning a lot of cash before you start making it back.

Podia, on the other hand, offers a much less pressured start:

  • You can sign up and build a website and a free community for free.
  • You can get comfortable with how the software works and build your course behind the scenes.
  • You can create a sales page and collect emails for potential buyers in a wait list.

Only when you come to sell your course will you need to upgrade to a paid plan.

And when that time comes, the plans start at $39/month (which includes unlimited courses).

If you need more advanced features like paid webinars and affiliate management, you’ll need the next level at $89/month.

Bottom line: if you need all the bells and whistles and you’re ready to hit the ground running (i.e., course content created, marketing strategy in place) then Kajabi could still be a great choice.

But if not, you may already be in the red by the time you launch.

Where I’d Love Podia to Go Next

Balancing simplicity and functionality is a high wire act.

Podia’s a software company and “feature bloat” is how many software companies lose their way.

For the most part, I hope Podia stays beautifully simple.

But there are three areas I’d love to see it expand in future.

i) Email Marketing

Podia has email marketing built in, which is awesome if you don’t have an email list yet and are looking to start one.

But if you’ve used any of the mainstream email providers (e.g., MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, etc.) Podia’s functionality will seem rather basic.

Yes, you can send broadcasts and create simple, automated campaigns. But if you want to track behaviour (like tagging contacts who clicked a link in a promotional email) that’s not possible right now.

In fact, that feature alone would open up a world of possibility for segmentation and personalisation.

So I hope it’s something the Podia team are looking at.

ii) Community

Podia’s community feature is wonderfully simple and gives you a viable community option that doesn’t require swimming in the murky waters of Facebook Groups. But it lacks a few niceties.

For instance, the only reaction you can give another user’s post is a “like” and you can’t see which users liked what.

I’d like members to be able to express a wider range of emotions. And with my course instructor hat on, I’d like students to know it was me who’d “liked” their latest homework submission.

Also, you can’t @tag other community members to draw them into conversations, which would be really handy for fuelling engagement and highlight important discussions.

Overall, the community feature in Podia already works well.

But with a few simple upgrades it could be amazing.

iii) Blogging

It’s great that you can create your entire website on Podia. And if your website is primarily a static storefront for your products, it’s a great solution.

But the lack of a native blogging feature makes it harder to keep things fresh and build your site traffic via regular content updates and SEO.

Yes you can create custom pages that serve the same function as blog posts but doing it that way is cumbersome and not very scalable.

I hope this is something that Podia looks to add in the future.

Podia Team: We don’t need a new WordPress, but a simple blog feature would be a game changer.

If Kajabi is Too Much, Maybe Podia is Just Right

There’s no doubt Kajabi is a strong course and online business platform. Its popularity is well-deserved.

But for many business owners and creators, it’s just too much.

Too many features. Too much customisation. Too high a price.

I’ll be the first to admit that Podia can’t compete with Kajabi feature-for-feature, but nor does it try to. (That’s part of what I love.)

If this isn’t your first rodeo, and you know you’ll need all those bells and whistles from day one, you should definitely put Kajabi on your list of possible platforms.

But if you’re starting smaller, or your course platform will fit alongside a bunch of tools you’re already happy with, take a look at Podia.

I’m happy I did.


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