Udemy Review: The Most Popular Online Course Marketplace

If you've thought of buying or selling an online course at some point, Udemy has most likely come across your radar. It's by far the most popular place to purchase online courses, and the quality is usually pretty respectable. What's more is that as a consumer, you can check ratings and reviews to filter out the junk.

But the big question for you is whether or not it's a viable place for selling your own online courses. In this Udemy review, we'll talk about why Udemy is so popular and outline the features that make it so appealing.

Upon first glance, it makes complete sense to start selling on Udemy. The platform is already built for you, you don't have to worry about hosting or webs design, and students can discover your courses through Udemy, removing any marketing on your own end.

That said, this type of convenience comes at a cost. I'm all for getting your courses and other products on a marketplace, but I'm also a firm believer that your main revenue should arrive via your own website. This way, you have full control over your branding, and almost every penny of the sale price goes into your pocket.

However, that freedom also comes at a cost, since you need to complete your own marketing and run your own site.

So, for this Udemy review, I'll break down the pros and cons along with the types of business folks who should include Udemy in their arsenals.

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

Table of Contents:

  1. Udemy Review: The Pros
    1. The Community
    2. All You Have to do is Upload Your Courses
    3. Sales Come from Two Angles
    4. Udemy Offers Lifetime, Offline, and Mobile Access
  2. Udemy Review: The Cons
    1. You Have to Compete with the Big Dogs
    2. Udemy Slashes Prices Like Crazy
    3. Branding is a Problem
    4. Udemy Takes a Significant Portion of Your Sale
  3. Who Should Consider Using Udemy as an Online Course Sales Tool?

Udemy Review: The Pros

Udemy provides a strong community and a beautiful search tool for getting your course out in front of millions of eyes. If you'd like to start making some passive income while you build your own audience, I say Udemy works out quite well. It's also a great place for supplementing income if you already have your own website and following.

The advantages for Udemy are plentiful, so let's walk through some of the tools, features, and pricing elements that make sense.

The Community

Udemy has by far the largest selection of subjects and topics for people to search for and locate the right courses. The search module suggests certain courses, and the average customer should be able to find what they need when they browse through the site.

Although a place like Lynda.com has higher quality courses, Udemy stands out because of the quantity and rating system.

Because of this, Udemy has a strong community of people who chat in forums and go straight to the Udemy website whenever they need to download a course. It also helps that Udemy offers significant discounts throughout the year.

In addition, users sign up for the Udemy email newsletter and receive information on other courses they might find useful. This is obviously also a downside since most of the branding is for Udemy and not all of the traffic going to your course.

However, you might also get customers from other people's courses, making it an easy win for new course builders.

Overall, the entire communication system is built into Udemy. So, there's no need for you to create a forum or comments area for your courses. In addition, you're not tasked with sending out emails or selling your course in any way.

All You Have to do is Upload Your Courses

Most of the time when I review online course platforms it requires going through all of the cool features of marketing, course building, analytics, and more. Even if all of those features are packaged into your platform you still have to customize the emails, design the website, and activate the marketing plans.

With Udemy, most of the work is put into creating your courses and uploading them to the site. Udemy already has the course format set for you, so there's no messing around with the design. You also don't have to upload your own logo or create an area for people to leave comments.

The infrastructure for launching and managing an online course is all set up for you in advance. It makes sense that people enjoy this configuration because you can still make some big bucks without all of the extra legwork.

In addition, you can still market your courses and make close to 100% of the sale revenue, as long as the customer clicks on your unique sales link.

Sales Come from Two Angles

Being part of a thriving community has strong advantages. With a standalone website, you're tasked with sending out emails, creating ads, and sending referral links to people who might be interested in your courses. That's also possible with Udemy.

In fact, Udemy provides you with 97% of the revenue if you take your Udemy course link and convince someone to click through and pay for the course. That's pretty darn good.

Udemy also has marketing process and community on its side. Since Udemy courses often come up on Google search results, you're more likely to land sales this way–all without having to work on your own SEO.

Many people also go straight to the Udemy website when seeking out classes. Although you only receive 50% of the revenue when a sale is made through Udemy alone (and not your unique sales link) it's still a sale that you might not have gotten if Udemy wasn't helping you out.

Udemy Offers Lifetime, Offline, and Mobile Access

Let's say you're a photographer interested in learning about landscape photography and Adobe Lightroom.

You stop by Udemy and pay for a course for both topics.

Since you're practicing landscape photography it makes sense you'll be on the road and outside, sometimes with questionable internet access. No worries! Most Udemy courses can be downloaded for offline use.

In addition, our hypothetical photographer gets access to the course for as long as Udemy exists.

Finally, the mobile access makes it much easier for people to view the courses and videos from phones and tablets. It doesn't matter if you're on the train, on a plane, or walking around the Grand Canyon, because all you need is a phone (without internet access) to check out your purchased courses.

Udemy Review: The Cons

Most of the downsides of Udemy have to do with branding and control. In my opinion, the pricing isn't that bad, since you wouldn't have many of these sales if it weren't for Udemy in the first place. However, I still believe that Udemy should serve as a complementary part of your sales plan.

Some course sellers make millions of dollars on Udemy. For those people, I say it's probably not an issue as to whether or not they need their own website. Udemy is obviously working out for them and the need for full branding and pricing control isn't going to change much.

Yet, those are the select few.

For most course sellers, Udemy should be paired with your own website.

You Have to Compete with the Big Dogs

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A rating system is nice for the average consumer, but boy is it tough to sell your course when you're placed next to a merchant with thousands of five-star reviews.

The Udemy community and marketing system can be helpful for newcomers, yet more often than not you're going to find that the early marketing is done by you and not Udemy.

Think about it, unless you create a completely unique online course you're being compared to others who already have reviews and thousands of students. No sane person would pick your 0 rating course over a more reputable one.

Udemy Slashes Prices Like Crazy

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Pricing on Udemy is set by the course creator. This is great for figuring out how much you can expect to earn, but Udemy also has sitewide sales on a regular basis.

For instance, I recently saw Valentine's Day sale that cut $200 courses down to around $10. And that's not uncommon. Udemy holds weekend sales and weekday sales, holiday sales and non-holiday sales.

Therefore, you might find spikes in your subscribers during these times. The only problem is that instead of splitting a $200 sale with Udemy, you're now stuck with $5.

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I've personally waited around for prices to drop since I know that Udemy has this in its marketing plan. They're more interested in bringing in waves of students since it gets people on their platform.

Then, those students who paid $10 for one course might be willing to spend a couple hundred for a different one. Unfortunately, you might be the $10 course and someone else could reap the benefits.

Branding is a Problem

This one is pretty simple to address since Udemy hardly has any tools for branding your own courses. Sure, you can insert your face into videos, but a logo with unique colors would be nice too. Furthermore, the emails and marketing efforts sent out are all branded towards Udemy, not your business.

Udemy Takes a Significant Portion of Your Sale

We already talked about this above as being kind of a pro and kind of a con. But I don't think a course creator should get only 50% of a sale, even if Udemy gets the lead for you.

Who Should Consider Using Udemy as an Online Course Sales Tool?

I like Udemy for people who want to find a separate revenue source to pair with their current online course website. The community will help accumulate additional sales, while the quick course building tools are already there for you.

If you have any questions about this Udemy review, let us know in the comments below.

Feature image by Pablo Stanley

Udemy Rating: 5.0 - Review by

Joe Warnimont

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