UPDATE: I have two posts on Zippy Courses that are more recent than this one, here and here.
Let me first contextualize my review.
I'm a WordPress guy. I'm also a longtime membership guy – and have built and managed corporate membership solutions since 1998. I've managed those solutions for small and large companies alike. You can read any of my 44 posts on the topic.
But I'm not an internet marketer. I do have an online course available, but it's not how I make my living.
So it's very possible that I'm not the target audience for Zippy Courses.
I just want that out there loud and clear before you read the rest of this review.
Let's get to it!
Here's what I love about it
To be clear, I'm comparing this to LearnDash, WP Courseware, and Sensei—leaders in this space.
In that comparison, this beta version (I did mention that it's still in beta, right?) does some things quite well.
For example, the course/lesson layout is easier than the rest – mostly because it does it on the same page as you create the course.
Other plugins have you create lessons separately from courses and then connect them up – and this just creates extra hurdles for the user.
The other thing they do well is the dripping of content that others haven't yet tackled (though Sensei will roll out any second now).
This is very well done!
Another thing they did well was the widgets, which make course navigation a breeze.
And lastly, they totally get payments in a clean way, adding payment plans (they're the first to really think about these things in the way a marketer would).
Here's where Zippy Courses bummed me out a bit
The first mistake, and I use the term lightly but it's still a mistake in my opinion, is one that a lot of plugin developers make on their first editions. Because the plugin needs a few pages, they create them for you.
These aren't pages that have a shortcode on them. They're clearly using filters to add content to them. But that means you can't delete them.
And the reason I call it a mistake is because it's designed to use those specific pages, even if other plugins are using it first.
This means you can only use Zippy Courses on its own site. Without other key plugins (like eCommerce).
Zippy Courses also came with it's own theme and it's clear that this is inline with my preceding statement. The entire GUI is designed as if it's the only thing you're doing on a site.
In effect, the most frustrating thing is that Zippy Courses is a bit of a selfish plugin.
It does one thing well, but it presumes that you only want to do one thing.
I know tons of folks that want eCommerce, eLearning, blogging, and more. Zippy Courses won't be great for them.
But it will be great for people who don't mind setting up courses.yoursite.com and using Zippy Courses on a standalone site.
Zippy Courses may be right for you
It all depends on what you're up to.
If you're looking for serious Learning Management System (LMS) features, this isn't the right plugin for you. There's nothing for quizzes, for example. And I know that knocks a lot of folks out from using this.
But I think Derek's audience isn't the LMS folks. I think it's the folks looking to put some online content on the web and sell it.
And if that's you, then this may be right for you.
As long as you don't mind putting it on its own site.
Because if you try to put it on an existing membership or eCommerce site using any of the other plugins I've talked about, you'll be in a world of hurt.