Summary: I tried many tools to create my dream Bible training website, and have finally transitioned from WordPress to Teachable. If you want to hear the story and reasons, read on, friend!
Lynda.com for the Bible. That was the dream.
Right around 2016 as the dawn of the age of online learning was upon us, I was hooked. Lynda.com had grown to become the gold standard in my mind of online courses and I was learning a ton on there. Then it struck me: “Where is something like this for the Bible?” At that point, I knew 2 things for sure:
- It didn’t exist, at least not how I wished
- I wanted to build it
It was also that time that I began to get serious as a Mac User and started to explore some more advanced tools. All the cool kids were using Scrivener and I was doing a lot of teaching at my church and checked it out. Scrivener, to use a software analogy, ticked all the right boxes for me. It had dual pane writing. It had a cool binder feature to organize everything, and you could import PDF’s and webpages for reference.
Cool? But how do you use it? Not a clue.
So I went searching for an online course and found one Learn Scrivener Fast. It is on a different platform now, but at the time it was built on WordPress and used a plugin called WP Courseware, and it was wildly successful. That was it. I now had a platform which I already knew, WordPress, and a tool that I could build my Bible Courses on. Exciting!
So I registered LearntheBibleFast.com (inspired by said Scrivener course) and almost immediately realized that was wrong URL for my goal. I didn’t want to communicate a shortcut mindset about learning Scripture, I wanted to communicate hope and that this site was here to help. With that, I switched it from LearntheBibleFast.com to YouCanLearntheBible.com.
The First Setup
Powered by WordPress, Hosted by Bluehost and driven by WP Courseware, I began to create course units based on the content that I was teaching at my church. At this time I absolutely loved everything about the process: the page design, the site management, the course structuring. I enjoyed all of it, but it was a lot for one person to keep up with.
A fun side benefit of this dream was that this project really got me into the WordPress community. I started learning about all kinds of themes plugins and tools. I went to WordCamps, contributed to forums and was loving what I was learning. This was time where the dawn of the Page Builder was just about to really hit the WordPress ecosystem, as well, which was great because I knew jack diddly about coding.
Genesis, LifterLMS and ACF
I kept hearing about the Genesis framework and how great it was, so I decided that I would learn Genesis and the Dynamik theme was the only theme at the time that allowed you to tweak your site with toggles and switches instead of code, so I used Dynamik. As I grew in my skills, I moved the site to the Genesis Sample Theme and learned how to code a bit myself, and it was at this time that I moved away from WP Courseware to a new, shiny course plugin called LifterLMS.
LifterLMS had not only the eye of the community, but it had the coolest visual course builder I had ever seen. Plus, the core plugin was free! I also got to know my all-time favorite WordPress plugin Advanced Custom Fields which allowed me to customize my lessons however I wanted. So, even though it hurt. I moved all of my content (110+ lessons) away from WP Courseware to LifterLMS and I was done moving content.
Not so fast.
Even though I tried, I couldn’t do it all
YouCanLearntheBible.com was never intended to be a money-maker, just a way to organize and share what I had already taught in person at my church online. But doing this required me to do it all: design the pages, manage the plugins, dial in the SEO, write the content, record the videos, manage social media accounts and I just couldn’t keep it up. I moved from Bluehost to WP Engine, as well, but in the end I decided that I didn’t have the desire nor bandwidth to do all the tasks needed to run my own course site.
So I did the unthinkable. I left WordPress.
From WordPress to Teachable
I will forever love WordPress and my own personal site BodieQuirk.com is still on WordPress, but for me the minutia of website management was preventing me from creating content, you know, the main goal I started with. For this site, I just wanted to create courses and I love Teachable because it has allowed me to focus just on the course creating and not have to manage the website.
So I moved all of my teaching content.
Even though a small part of me died having to migrate all of my data and videos again, Teachable’s platform made it really easy (Bulk Upload, I love you!). I was able to get it all over fairly painlessly, only confirming that this was the right move.
Do I miss the power and flexibility of WordPress? Yes. Teachable’s page builder doesn’t hold a candle to what you can do in WordPress (particularly with the incredible Beaver Builder plugin), but the freedom of not having to manage the platform and just create content made this move worth it for me.
So here we are, in 2020 and I finally feel like I am beginning to build courses again. YouCanLearntheBible.com will never truly become a Lynda.com since it is just me, but I have lots of finished content that I am excited to move on to this site, and lots more future courses that I want to build, all with the hope that it helps build up the church in the love and knowledge of the Scripture.
See you inside!