The Ultimate Udemy Review: Is It Right for Your Online Course?
- Matthew Turner
Erin Bali grew up in a small village in Turkey where much of what he wanted to know seemed out of reach.
A curious mind, he learned as much as he could with what he was given.
Chess was a big part of his life. Yet it didn’t take long for those around him to no longer test him.
Until one day his parents brought home a computer. This was the nineties, when computers were still a rarity. What’s more, it had an internet connection that introduced young Erin to a whole new world.
In an instant, he had everything he needed at his fingertips.
Chess moves he had never heard of before. Chess players, from the past and present. The chance to test himself against people better than him…
Think about this for a moment: how lucky he was; how lucky you are, reading this on your phone or laptop. Throughout most of human history, people could only learn what those around them told them.
No books or schools.
We live in an age that would seem unfathomable to those living just a few generations ago. We’re continuing to scratch the surface of what’s possible, and this is what Erin Bali did when he first sat down in front of his large white monitor with a clickety-clack keyboard.
It began a journey of learning. Not just for him, but for millions of others across the globe.
Udemy and the Explosion of Online Learning
Launched in 2010, Udemy’s early days were not simple. Rejected 30 times, Erin was finally able to raise the investment he needed. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Udemy is a global phenomenon:
- 57K Instructors
- 150K Courses
- 295M Course enrollments
- 33M Minutes of video
- 65+ Languages
- 5,000+ Enterprise customers
Huge clients like Adidas, Lyft, Booking.com, and Pinterest trust Udemy to “upskill” their workforce.
Erin and his team have literally helped millions of people find work, build careers, and escape jobs they hate. They’ve brought education to those who couldn’t otherwise access it. Like Erin experienced as a child, they had their eyes opened to the entire world.
You too have experienced this. In fact, you’ve likely learned something new today simply by scrolling through your phone. A hundred years ago, this wasn’t possible. You had to go to school or read a book.
A thousand years ago, less possible still.
Ten thousand years ago…yeah, you get the picture.
We live in a miraculous age. You feel inspired to take advantage of this. Not only so you can build a passive income stream that gives you a share of this soon-to-be $132 billion industry…
But to also help others learn new skills so they can change their lives!
You’re entering the world of online learning for a reason. We’ve written this article to help you decide whether Udemy is the platform to help you do this.
What is Udemy?
What is Udemy, and, is Udemy the platform for you?
It may be. As one of the largest online course platforms, it provides instant access to millions of students.
They also share a big promise with their instructors and students alike:
By connecting students all over the world to the best instructors, Udemy is helping individuals reach their goals and pursue their dreams.
Udemy doesn’t care to simply share content and information.
Their mission is to connect learners with teachers.
- So those teaching can build a passive income and the life they dream of…
- And so those learning can learn the skills they need to build the career they desire.
As a course creator/instructor, Udemy may provide the platform you’re looking for. With over 150,000 courses spanning 100+ categories, it’s sure to have what you need (no matter what industry you’re in).
This does come with its own issues, though…
In this Ultimate Udemy Review Guide, we’ll dive into both the good and the bad.
- Pricing and What YOU Can Expect To Earn
- How To Create Your First Udemy Course
- Core Features and Benefits
- The BIG Pros and Cons of Udemy
- Our Key Takeaways From Using Udemy
- as well as the main alternatives…
If you’re currently considering Udemy to create, publish, and sell your online course, this article gives you what you need. After reading this, you’ll know whether it’s the one for you.
So, take notes throughout this Ultimate Udemy Review Guide!
Relate everything to you, your course, and your students. Imagine the impact Udemy will have on your work and life. AND…whether it will help you reach your goals and vision.
Let’s begin, starting with price and how much you can expect to earn…
Udemy Review: PRICING
As an instructor (what Udemy calls their course creators), you DO NOT have to pay anything to create, sell, and promote your course. Unlike other platforms like Kajabi, Teachable, and Thinkific, it’s a free platform for you to join.
It’s also an affordable platform for your students.
Technically, you can price your course for as much as $199 (based on Udemy’s Price Matrix and standards). Yet the reality is that most courses are under $100 (with many sold at under $50).
This is one of the main reasons why Udemy’s become the most popular online course platform in the world. It provides students with a great choice at an affordable price.
(And with discounts readily available, it’s not uncommon for students to grab courses for under $20).
But what’s good for your students isn’t always good for you. Because although it’s free to create, sell, and promote your course on Udemy, your ability to generate passive income can be limited.
Here’s a breakdown of how you get paid:
- 50% to you when a student buys a course organically through Udemy.
- 97% to you if a student buys through your coupon code or self-promoted link.
- 25% to you if a purchase is made through an affiliate link (a third party promoting it).
- 25% to you if a sale is made through Udemy’s ad program.
NOTE: if you publish a Free Course, you get no commission.
If you generate your own traffic, you get to keep most of the revenue (97%).
Yet as soon as you rely on Udemy to drive sales, your commission gets slashed in half.
And because Udemy has the freedom to discount your course for promotions and partnership, your $199 could get reduced to $19.99. So although having access to Udemy’s 30+ million people is a positive, your ability to earn is limited.
An Example of What You Could Earn in a Month:
Imagine you sell a course on Udemy for $199. This is what a month’s commission could look like:
- You sell 30 courses via your private link (97% commission): $199 x 30 = $5,791
- You sell 10 courses through Udemy’s Marketplace (50% commission): 199 x 10 = $995
- Or you sell 50 courses via an Udemy Promotion where they discount your course to $30 (25% commission): $375
In total, you earn $7,161 for the month. However, the majority of this comes from YOU driving traffic to your course. Even though Udemy drives 60 sales, it only accounts for $1,370.
It’s important to take this into account when you create, sell, and promote a course on Udemy.
If you drive your own sales, you can make a good passive income.
If you rely on Udemy to drive these sales, it’s harder to generate this.
Udemy Review: HOW TO CREATE YOUR FIRST COURSE
It’s a relatively simple process to create your first course on Udemy.
If you decide to publish your course on Udemy, you can get started in just 1 to 2 hours.
To begin with, you will first need to create a new Udemy account.
Step 1: Once signed in, create either a new course or a practice test.
Step 2: Create a title for your new online course.
Step 3: Choose a category for your new online course.
Step 4: State how much time you can spend creating your course each week.
Step 5: Fill in details about who your target student is, and any requirements you have of them.
In addition to this, Udemy shares several resources on how to plan and structure your course (as well as testing your video and audio). Some of these core resources include:
- Outline Your Course
- Plan your Practice Activities
- How To Set Up Your Filming Studio
- How To Check Your Video and Audio Quality
Step 6: Once you’ve planned your course, upload each individual lesson.
You can choose different content types for each lecture: video, video and slide mashup, and article.
(For more details on different content types, click here).
You can also add a description to each lecture, and upload additional resources like PDFs, graphics, and external links.
You can add as many lectures per section as you like, and create different sections within your course to split up your content. Once you’ve uploaded your content, you can preview what your course looks like both from an instructor’s and student’s point of view.
Step 7: Once complete, publish your new online course, starting with your landing page.
Step 8: Next, it’s time to price your online course.
You can choose from several different currencies and various pricing options (starting at Free and going as high as $199.99).
Step 9: Finally, you can create a welcome and congratulations message for your students, before submitting your course for review.
Udemy provides several resources to help you create, promote, and price your course effectively.
A few of the most useful resources include:
- Create Your First Lecture
- Create Your Landing Page
- Price Your Course
- Set Up Automatic Messages For Your Students
Creating your first course on Udemy is a simple and quick process. In just 1 to 2 hours you can publish your course and promote it to millions of students. This user-friendly process is one of the main benefits of choosing Udemy.
It isn’t the only benefit, though…as we’ll now discover.
Udemy Review: A SUMMARY OF CORE FEATURES + BENEFITS
The biggest benefit Udemy offers its instructors is its huge marketplace. With access to 30+ million students, you have a great opportunity to reach those you need to and build a loyal following.
But the reality is, creating a course is only part of the process.
You can build the most comprehensive course there is, but it means little unless people find it.
Udemy helps people find your course. They also help YOU find your perfect avatar.
With 100+ categories and sub-categories, there is literally something for everyone.
In the same way Amazon helps authors and online sellers reach the masses, Udemy provides the same for course creators. So long as you create a good course, and write compelling copy that introduces it and places it in the correct categories…you WILL reach the right people.
It’s by far Udemy’s biggest benefit and is what sets them apart from their competitors. Of course, it’s not the only benefit of using a platform like Udemy. Here are some other core features and benefits:
- Udemy heavily promotes, advertises, and markets your courses.
- The ability to create both free and paid courses (and link them to one another).
- The chance to create Online Quizzes to better engage students.
- Coupons and discounts are available on courses, driving new traffic to you.
- Udemy creates external partnerships with companies, helping to reach new audiences.
- Action-based email campaigns help create greater engagement with students.
- A wide selection of categories catering to almost any course creator.
- Dozens of categories to classify your course and make it easier for students to find.
- Tools for sending direct messages back and forth between students.
- Bookmarks for your students to save your courses for later.
- Support for promotional videos.
- An area to show instructor announcements.
- Supplemental resources such as class exercises and worksheets.
- Options to give out certificates of completion.
- A built-in customer review section.
- Question and answer tools.
- Downloadable lectures.
- A mobile interface.
Without ever getting complex, Udemy provides you with a vast array of tools to build the course you need. Way beyond its marketplace, Udemy offers a great platform for any course creator.
However…it isn’t perfect.
There is no such thing as the perfect online course platform.
… only the online course platform that is right for YOU!
You must compare the good against the bad and decide whether it ticks your boxes. To help you achieve this, here are some of the most common Pros and Cons of using Udemy.
Udemy Review: PROS VS. CONS
Udemy is not the perfect online course platform. It’s ideal for some. Not for others.
As with anything, it has its pros vs. cons. It’s up to you to weigh these up.
To help you decide, here are some of the biggest pros and cons when using Udemy as a Course Creator.
PRO: Solid Community
When you join Udemy, you enter an established community of instructors and students. You’re not alone.
There’s help for you and for those you teach.
Everything’s built-in and ready for you to use.
You don’t have to create it all yourself (like you would when using a platform like Kajabi).
This makes your life easier, removing a lot of the pressure. It also allows you to connect with your students (and encourage them to connect with one another).
If you value community engagement, Udemy may be the platform for you.
PRO: Easy To Upload + Publish Your Course
The whole process is…easy!
When using a platform like Thinkific, the layers can soon add up. This isn’t the case on Udemy. Everything remains easy for you and your students. It’s a tried and tested process they’ve perfected over time.
It gives you all the tools you need. Nothing else.
Within a few hours, you’ll have your first course uploaded and published.
PRO: Marketing + Passive Income
Everything falls on your shoulders.
It’s in their interest to actively promote your course and set up new affiliate partnerships. They want their students to buy more courses, so if you’ve created a GREAT one…they’ll share yours far and wide.
The biggest downside to using Udemy is the sheer volume of courses you compete with.
You go up against 150,000+ of them!
AND…Udemy actively promotes the most popular.
This can hurt you in the early days. You have to prove that your course is worth promoting. Not easy to achieve when there’s so much competition.
What makes this worse is that YOU DO NOT get access to your student’s data!
No email address or phone number. No option to retarget them with future courses…
Udemy holds most of the leverage. In fact, it may begin to feel like you work for Udemy as an instructor. This makes it harder to build a presence on Udemy. It also makes it harder to leave in the future.
(Although we do have some advice on how to overcome this…more on that soon).
CON: Customer Service is Hit or Miss
As with most large platforms, customer service and communication isn’t great.
If you or your student comes across an issue, you may not get immediate help.
This isn’t to say Udemy’s customer service is bad. Considering their size, it’s actually rather good.
But it isn’t always great. You need to take this into account before you create your first course with them.
CON: Low-Cost Perception
The most expensive courses on Udemy are $199.99. Compared to a lot of online courses, this is low.
Worse, most of those on Udemy come in under $100.
(Regular sales and promotions often bring these under $50…even as low as $20).
This creates a perception of a low-cost product. Even if you create the greatest online course in the world, people may perceive it to be low-quality because of the low price. This may not be an issue if you like to create quick and accessible courses.
Whereas if you want to go deep into a topic, this may cause you issues.
** NOTE ** How you price your course is VERY important. Not only does it impact how much you make with this course, but also with future products.
If your students purchase a $20 course from you, will they later join your $2,000 per year mastermind? To learn more about pricing your course, read: How to Price Your Online Course: Essential Lessons From 9 Years of Course Building.
What Your Students Think About Udemy:
It’s also important to appreciate what your students think. As the world’s most popular online course platform, Udemy’s gathered A LOT of third-party student reviews in recent years.
Some are good.
Others are not.
We’ll share a few of these now so you can see what those using Udemy think.
These could become your future students. So, listen to what they have to say.
Udemy Review: THE KEY TAKEAWAYS
As we bring this Ultimate Udemy Review Guide to a close, you should begin to see whether it’s the online course platform for you. It offers many benefits. Yet it also has certain limitations.
Here are a few key takeaways that cover what we like the most (and what we like the least).
What We Like the Most About Udemy
- THE MARKETPLACE: Having access to 30+ million students is a big win. It allows you to test and validate your course, knowing there are people ready to consume your content at all times. No matter what topic you focus on, there’s an established customer base awaiting you on Udemy.
- HOW USER-FRIENDLY IT IS: It’s just so easy to use! If time is important to you — let’s face it…IT IS! — you’ll love Udemy for its ease of use. It’s simple for you to use, from creating your course to maintaining it. And it’s easy for your students to use.
- MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS: You are not the only one driving your sales. You can sit back, knowing Udemy will send new students to YOU. This happens organically, as students find you while searching the site. But it also happens when Udemy creates a new promotion, affiliate partnership, or special deal with a third-party.
- REMOVES THE PRESSURE FROM YOU: Overall…you’re not alone. If your students come across an issue, Udemy’s vast support team is there to help. If you personally come across a problem, they are there to help you, too. All this gives you more time to work on other projects — including the next course you want to build.
What We Like the Least About Udemy
- THE COMPETITION: As amazing as the marketplace is, it’s size does cause problems. This is especially true when you first join Udemy. You go up against the heavy-hitters who have VERY popular courses. Standing out is tough and does take time.
- HOW THEY SLASH PRICES WITHOUT NOTICE: You may price your course at $100, but Udemy WILL slash this price from time to time (and without notice). They often run student-friendly promotions where “all courses are $11.99 over the next 24 hours.” This makes it difficult to predict your monthly income. It can also hurt when you see the course you spent so much time creating sold for under $20!
- NO ACCESS TO YOUR STUDENT DATA: This is a big one. When a student purchases your course, they do not become your customer. They remain Udemy’s. You know their name, but that’s about it. Udemy keeps their email, location, and everything else. This makes it difficult to promote future courses, and almost impossible to continue a relationship with your students away from Udemy.
- BRANDING: Again…this is about Udemy; not you. The Udemy brand appears everywhere. It’s about their branding and presence, not yours. This is an issue for many course creators, as most people who join Udemy are at the beginning of their journey (more on this below). At this stage, you’re building a personal brand, audience, and identity. Udemy stifles this growth for you.
WHO is Udemy Best For?
Udemy is an online course platform perfect for those building a following.
If you have an established (and loyal) audience of 5,000+, Udemy may not be for you.
Platforms like Thinkific, Kajabi, Ruzuku, and Teachable do require more time and resources…
But you do have greater freedom to scale.
Whereas if you’re still building an audience, Udemy could become the online course platform you need.
- Udemy gives you access to an established and loyal student-base…
- Promotes your courses and helps you reach the masses…
- Takes care of customer service, technical issues, and payment processing…
- Allows you to focus on creating your course (and then create more of them)!
HOWEVER…as we’ve noted, Udemy does make it difficult for you to build a personal brand on their platform. You need to acknowledge this before you create, sell, and promote your first course.
If you don’t, you hand all the leverage over to them.
Whereas if you go in with a plan, you get to keep some of it.
This is where we’ll end this Ultimate Udemy Review Guide, offering a few tips to get the most out of Udemy (now and in the future).
Udemy Review: 4 TIPS FOR NEW UDEMY INSTRUCTORS
If you decide Udemy is the online course platform for you, this section may be the most important one in the entire article. Spend some time reading this, thinking about it, and making notes.
With these tips, you’ll not only get the most out of Udemy now…but long into the future!
Let’s dive in.
1: Define Your Customer Profile / Avatar
If you want to have a huge impact on your students, you need to get to know them.
- Who are they?
- Where are they?
- What’s their biggest problem right now?
- What is the solution they need, even if they don’t know they need it?
- What motivates them?
- Who do they want to become?
This doesn’t only define the course you create, but the messaging and copy you create for it.
In turn, this helps you reach the “right” people inside Udemy’s massive marketplace.
But none of this can happen until you define your customer profile.
To Help YOU Create Your Customer Profile, we have the perfect guide for you. It’s called: Customer Profile Template: Finding Your ONE Person, and you can open it in a new tab by clicking here.
2: Drive Your Students to Social Media
Once you target the “right” people inside Udemy, you want to further engage with them (and tempt them away from that platform).
- Inside your Udemy platform, link to your social media accounts.
- In every video, drive them toward at least one of these platforms.
- Give them a reason to follow you on them (a gift, further training, etc…).
You don’t have to push this down their throats. If you do, you may get flagged by Udemy.
However…it’s important that you communicate with your students away from Udemy.
Subtly bring your social media platforms into the conversation. Talk about the content you share on there. Make it easy for them to find you. Once there, engage with them.
This is the only way you can build a relationship away from Udemy.
This is the only way you can regain some leverage.
3: Create a Community AWAY From Udemy
Once you tempt them away from Udemy, invite them to join you inside a private community:
- Facebook Group
- Linkedin Group
- Slack Channel
Having a community like this allows you to provide greater value to your students (more on this next).
A community also empowers you to build trust and rapport with them.
In time, you can promote new courses, programs, masterminds, events, or coaching.
If you only communicate with them inside Udemy, you limit what you can do with them.
Once you create a valuable community away from Udemy, you open up new opportunities.
For them and for you!
4: Provide HUGE Value To Your Students
Above all…Provide Value!
A lot of it. Often. As much as you can! Especially during those early days.
Create the best course you can. Make sure you impact your students in a big way. Not only does this improve your chances of success on Udemy, but away from the platform, too.
They’re more likely to follow you. They are more likely to join your community. They’ll engage in this community and become a loyal customer to YOU (not just Udemy).
The bar is set low. Most course creators do just enough. By going beyond this, you can set yourself apart from everyone else.
If you choose to create, sell, and promote your course on Udemy, use these tips as a guide.
If you’re still not certain that Udemy’s the online course platform for you, don’t worry.
There are MANY alternatives.
Some of these are marketplaces like Udemy. Others offer an all-in-one online course solution.
Here are some further resources to help you make the right decision for you.
Udemy Review: THE MAIN ALTERNATIVES TO UDEMY.
Here at Mirasee, we’ve written a lot of online course platform comparison reviews.
Here are some of our favorites that we’d like to share with you now.
Because if Udemy isn’t the platform you need…one of these may be.
Skillshare vs. Udemy
If you decide that a marketplace is what you need, this article compares two of the most popular: Skillshare vs Udemy. If you have doubts over Udemy, Skillshare may be the alternative you’re looking for.
Open The Article in a New Tab Here.
Kajabi vs. Teachable
Kajabi offers one of the most comprehensive course creation solutions in the marketplace. Where Teachable provides a user-friendly approach, Kajabi allows you to go DEEP with your students.
Open The Article in a New Tab Here.
Thinkific vs. Teachable
Both Thinkific and Teachable are popular options among course creators. This comparison guide shows you why, detailing all the major features, benefits and more.
Open The Article in a New Tab Here.
Kajabi vs. Thinkific
Kajabi and Thinkific are possibly the two most “complete” solutions there are. If you have a big vision for your course(s), one of these platforms is likely what you’re looking for.
Open The Article in a New Tab Here.
A Few Other Resources You May Find Useful:
- Kajabi Review [2019 Update]: A Professional Option That’s Both Simple and Elegant
- Thinkific Review [2019 Update]: An All-in-One Learning Management System
- Teachable Review [2019 Update]: A Simple, Easy-to-Use Learning Management System
- Zippy Courses Platform Review: Does It Really Solve the Course Building Puzzle?
- Teachery Review: Simple, No Frills, and Wallet-Friendly
The Verdict: Is Udemy the Platform For You?
If you started this article wondering: what is Udemy?
You now know the answer. It’s a fantastic online course platform for both course creators and students. Yet it does have its limitations. Your job now is to decide whether these limitations will impact you.
Only you can decide that.
But don’t worry…we’re here to help.
We’ve worked with thousands of course creators over the years. Some have found success in marketplaces like Udemy. Others have used all-in-one solutions like Ruzuku or Thinkific.
Success doesn’t come down to the online course platform you choose! It would be great if it was that easy, but it isn’t. Success starts long before that.
That’s why we run our FREE Course Builders Bootcamp.
In less than a week, we show you how to create, sell and profit from your online course the right way.
We show you what to do….
And more important, what not to do!
- Why most courses fail to sell (and how you can get a different outcome)…
- What it *really* takes to become a successful (and profitable!) builder of online courses…
- How to design and build your course quickly and painlessly…
- The current business opportunities for course creators, and what’s on the horizon…
Why not join us for our next FREE Course Builders Bootcamp? We’ll not only help you decide whether Udemy is the platform for you, but help ensure you find success on any platform you use.
FREE Course Builder's Bootcamp!
In just 6 days, learn all the essentials to create a successful online course!