Udemy vs Teachable: A Comparison of Online Course Selling Heavyweights

So you want to sell courses online? Maybe you have a knack for Adobe Illustrator or like the idea of making money by teaching people photography. One of the great things about the Internet today is that you can take a look at your current skill set and potentially monetize it by becoming an instructor online. But how do you go about building a website and selling these online courses? Luckily, there are several online course building platforms to choose from. We want to compare two of the most popular options, so we'll pit Udemy vs Teachable and see which one comes out on top.

Keep in mind, both of these platforms are rather popular and useful depending on your situation. So, one teacher might find that Udemy (read our Udemy review) is far more profitable, while another may prefer the customization and marketing tools of Teachable (read our Teachable review).

udemy vs teachable - teachable homepage

We'll break it down for you in this article to ensure that you select the right tool for selling your online courses.

Btw, I've done a video version of the tutorial for you in case you want to hear my voice 🙂

Udemy vs Teachable: Pricing/Fees

When pitting Udemy vs Teachable for pricing, it's clear that both of them have completely different business models.

Let's start with Udemy.

If you convince someone to come to your Udemy course, Udemy pays you 97% of the revenue. We can't complain about that.

However, if a student discovers your course through the Udemy marketplace, you only get 50% of the revenue after the sale is done.

udemy vs teachable - udemy marketplace

In short, you're definitely incentivized to bring in your own customers. However, Udemy makes that a little tricky considering they're marketing all sorts of other courses that are comparable to yours. I would expect that the majority of sales come from the Udemy marketplace, since you don't have much control over the marketing and the Udemy website has a large following.

That being said, 50% may be a great cut for some teachers, especially if you're just getting started.

Teachable does pricing a bit different. Instead of having to give up 50% of your sales for what would most likely be a significant portion of your sales, you are asked to pay a monthly fee, along with some small transaction fees.

Therefore, as long as you're selling enough courses you should technically be making close to 100% of the revenue on every sale.

The pricing plans are set up like this:

  • Basic – $29 per month and 5% transaction fees.
  • Professional – $79 per month and no transaction fees.
  • Business – $399 per month and no transaction fees.

Now, if you're just launching your online course business, and you don't have many marketing processes in place, you may find that a monthly rate like this is somewhat expensive.

However, you only need to sell one course per month at $29 to breakeven. After that, you either stick to the 5% transaction fees and receive 95% of the revenue, or you upgrade to the Professional plan and completely eliminate the transaction fees.

From a business perspective, paying for Teachable on a monthly basis makes far more sense than surrendering 50% of your revenue to Udemy. Having said that, Udemy may serve a purpose if you're trying to expand your own user base or just get the word out about your courses to a large community of people.

Winner: Teachable (But Udemy Isn't Bad)

Udemy vs Teachable: Overall Feature-set

udemy vs teachable - jessica

Udemy boasts an impressive feature-set that's all wrapped up into one nice package for new users. Someone who wants to be an instructor would go to the website, sign up, and begin uploading courses to the already preset interface. You can create video, audio, and text lectures, along with options for closed captioning.

udemy vs teachable - adobe training page

Here's a list of some of the best Udemy features:

  • A popular marketplace for Udemy users to search for and enroll in your courses.
  • Several categories that make it easy to classify your courses and make it easier for users to find them.
  • Tools for sending direct messages back and forth between students.
  • Support for promotional videos.
  • An area to show instructor announcements.
  • A built-in customer review section.
  • Bookmarks for your students to save your courses for later.
  • Question and answer tools.
  • Options to give out certificates of completion.
  • Downloadable lectures.
  • Supplemental resources such as class exercises and worksheets.
  • Quizzes to test how well your users are doing.
  • A mobile interface.

You'll notice that Udemy is less of a customizable platform and more an option for you to instantly get your courses online. On the other hand, Teachable offers more control, since you're building your own website, but with built-in tools for things like hosting and page building.

Let's explore some of the top features from Teachable:

  • Support for a wide range of multimedia options such as audio, images, videos, and PDF files.
  • A drag-and-drop page builder for constructing your entire website.
  • A mobile interface.
  • A built-in payment processor that accepts Udemy credits, PayPal, and all major credit cards.
  • Sales pages to show prospective students.
  • An option to use your own domain.
  • Quizzes and completion certificates.
  • Discussion forums and messaging tools for your students to communicate with you, the teacher, as well as other students in the course.
  • A student feedback form to include surveys and Google Forms.
  • Integrations for things like customer support and email marketing.
  • Excellent marketing options like coupons and promotions and advanced pricing.
  • A complete affiliate program to convince users and bloggers to share your courses.
  • A connection to the Stripe payment processor for credit cards, as well as the option to connect through PayPal. You can also take payments from over 130 currencies.
  • A beautiful dashboard with student insights and extensive data on your revenue.
  • A complete website building interface with hosting, data ownership, and an SSL certificate.

Udemy vs Teachable: Design

In terms of the design, let's start with what the courses look like to the users. After that, we'll cover how easy it is to design your own course pages.

Udemy users are greeted with a well-thought-out marketplace for them to search for courses or browse through categories. After selecting a category or landing on a course, they then see everything from the course title to what they can expect to learn. Adding a course to their cart takes just a moment. They can also browse through all of the course reviews and see an entire description with course content and how long each module takes.

udemy vs teachable - udemy student feedback

Once taking a course, Udemy users are treated to a large video module where they can jump forward and backwards, turn on closed captions, and view whatever course materials are associated with the video.

Keep in mind, this interface is pretty much the same for every single course on Udemy. This allows for a standardized experience for all users, which is definitely a plus for those who continually come back to Udemy to learn.

On the other hand, Teachable students will see differences in the overall interface depending on how the instructor has set up their course. So, one course may have a focus on audio or PDF files, while another provides more video and image learning.

That said, we see this as a huge advantage for course builders. You can either work with an existing website that you have or create completely new pages through Teachable. This means quite a bit for your own branding, considering students are going to see your logo and customized webpage instead of whatever Udemy has prebuilt for you.

Teachable includes templates for your course pages, and you get to work with a drag-and-drop editor, which almost anyone can understand. Not only that, but things like quizzes, forums, and sales pages also have their own templates so that you never have to start from scratch when designing.

Overall, Teachable wins in the design area because of its complete customization options and wide variety of easy templates to use. Udemy is great for complete design beginners, but we don't see the Udemy branding and design as beneficial for people trying to make their own businesses.

Winner: Teachable

Udemy vs Teachable: Marketing and Sales

Marketing and sales are where Teachable really stands out. The reason for this is because Udemy seems to be most concerned about bringing new and current customers back to its own website. This obviously makes sense as a business model for Udemy, but it also means that hundreds and thousands of other courses are being marketed alongside yours.

Therefore, if a Udemy marketing email goes out, you have no control over whether or not your own courses are showcased in the emails. If they are, you have to compete with the courses placed right next to it. Since all Udemy classes have ratings and reviews, this competition can be rather fierce for instructors new to Udemy.

In addition to that, Udemy lacks any customizable sales pages that would allow you to direct people to your own courses. Sure, you could simply send potential students to the actual course page. But once again, that page features Udemy's branding and marketing tool. And you don't have the option to create a highly optimized landing page like you would with Teachable.

Udemy vs Teachable - teachable jessica course

Finally, Udemy is known for discounting large groups of courses to boost its user counts. It's not uncommon to see frequent promotions where all courses on the site are sold for around $10. Udemy users do have control over individual promotions, but the site-wide sales may be frustrating considering you end up selling your courses for virtually nothing.

Teachable, on the other hand, does an exceptional job of giving you complete control over the marketing process. For starters, you can create your own coupons and promotions to control pricing yourself. You have the option to generate a percentage-off coupon or simply take a certain dollar amount off of each enrollment. All coupons and promotions include expiration dates as well.

The advanced pricing options are also quite flexible, since you can sell a subscription, make a one-time fee for your course, or even offer a payment plan or a bundle.

One of the best parts about the Teachable marketing tools is the affiliate program. This is completely built-in so that you can reward users for sharing your courses with friends, family, or blog readers.

udemy vs teachable - teachable affiliate program

We also particularly enjoy the customizable sales pages that are optimized to improve your conversions. These are the landing pages that you would link to from Facebook and Google advertisements or from your email marketing.

Speaking of email marketing, Teachable integrates with just about every major email marketing platform such as MailChimp, Mixpanel, and AWeber.

When comparing Udemy vs Teachable, the one advantage Udemy has for marketing is its large user base. The Udemy marketplace is a hopping place, so it might be the push you need to get your courses out there. However, Teachable does it better for those who actually want to build a well-branded business. Essentially, we like the idea of sending people to your own website better.

Winner: Teachable

Udemy vs Teachable: Customer Support

udemy vs teachable - custommer support

Teachable has a quality knowledge base for you to learn about selling and to grow your business. You can also send in an email to speak with a rep. There doesn't seem to be anything in terms of chat or phone support.

Udemy has a more powerful support operation, with a gigantic knowledgebase, a teaching center, FAQs, and a ticketing system. You do have the option to chat with a customer support rep, but there aren't any phone numbers listed for a direct call to one of their experts.

udemy vs teachable - udemy customer support

Both have nice support documents, but Udemy's is more comprehensive.

Winner: Udemy

Udemy vs Teachable: Which Online Course Platform is Right for You?

After this Udemy vs Teachable comparison, which one is best for your business?

We like Udemy for those who want to take advantage of the popular marketplace. It's a great place to get more students, and you don't necessarily have to put in your own marketing efforts.

However, Teachable makes the most sense if you plan on building your own business and controlling everything from branding to email marketing.

If you have any questions about this Udemy vs Teachable comparison, let us know in the comments.

Featured image via Shutterstock

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.