Udemy Review (July 2021): Is Udemy 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.

What is Udemy?

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There are multiple ways that today’s would-be educators can start selling their knowledge online. You can give your students lifetime access to your courses in a marketplace like Coursera or udacity or set up a website where you drip out new skills to your clients on a week-by-week basis.

The course building tools that are available on the web allow companies to leverage the tools for issuing course content that work best for their needs. Udemy is just one of those solutions that ensures you can create a variety of courses without being a web developer.

Udemy is something called a Massively Open Online Course website, or M.O.O.C. Unlike Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, and similar tools, Udemy doesn’t ask users to build their website and the courses that they want to sell from scratch. Instead, you design your course using a pre-approved template, and sell it on a platform with other similar educators.

Anyone is free to create and promote course content on Udemy, and all of the courses included come with access to video educational sessions and “modules”. There are hundreds of thousands of courses on Udemy, and they cover a wide range of topics, from how to use EDX, to how to play piano.

Creating a great course with Udemy is all about providing a convenient learning experience for the particular course you’re interested in selling. The builder provided with the system ensures that you can create your course content quickly and offer a legit learning experience to a wide selection of students.

Because Udemy allows anyone to publish a course, it’s very easy to set up a Udemy account and start potentially earning income. Similar to Skillshare, your courses will be on display alongside other learning opportunities to a wide existing audience. However, it’s up to you to make your course and make sure customers use it. Remember to remind your customers that they can approach your lessons at their own pace.

The fact that Udemy allows anyone to teach is both a positive and a negative thing. On the one hand, people can share their expertise on virtually any topic. On the other, you’re not offering courses through an accredited institution. Lack of accreditation from a course might make it harder to convince your students that your lessons are worth it.

How Does Udemy Work for Content Creators?

On the surface, Udemy is a very simple and effective tool. This online learning site offers you the opportunity to deliver course information via Android and iOS apps, as well as online. The vast community also means that you can generate great course reviews, and gradually build your reputation. Using Udemy is simple enough.

As mentioned above, anyone can teach a course on any topic, as long as you stick to Udemy’s guidelines. You also don’t have to pay any fees to become an instructor, but you might offer a 30-day money-back guarantee to your students if you want to increase your chances of sales.

There’s no approval required to start creating a free course on Udemy, but if you want to design a premium course, then you will need to meet with quality guidelines like making sure your course has:

  • HD video
  • High-quality audio
  • 5 lectures or more
  • At least 30 minutes of video content
  • Instructor engagement
  • Helpful supplemental resources

Educators creating paid courses will also need a Payoneer or PayPal account they can link to Udemy to receive fees on a monthly basis.

Notably, Udemy focuses more heavily on video than other online learning platforms. Your courses will need at least 30 minutes of video, so Udemy instructors will need to have to make that course material before they get started. You also need to offer at least five lectures.

Fortunately for content creators, uploading your course material to the Udemy platform is simple enough. You can bulk upload materials through Dropbox, Google Drive, and other popular tools. One possible plus side to Udemy is that you retain the rights to your e-learning course when you publish it on the platform. If you want to list your good courses on your website and do your own digital marketing to drive attention their way, you can do that too.

When you create a masterclass for Udemy, you simply grant the company the right to use and advertise the course on their platform. You can check the Business content collection policy and permission policy to find out more about how this works.

To help you make the most out of your educational opportunity, Udemy also has a Marketplace Insights tool that can show you what kind of demand certain topics have, without excessive LinkedIn and Google research. If you’re not sure what to create a course on, this could be a good place to get started. Udemy can also help to promote your course on its website and mobile app.

Udemy also has a deals program so you can improve your chances of attracting customers by offering your course at a discount. To create a course with Udemy, all you have to do is follow a few simple steps, starting with creating your Udemy account, from there:

  • Choose your course topic: pick the topic you want to create your course on. You can use the market insights service to help you.
  • Define your audience: Decide who you want to try and reach with your courses, and how you’re going to connect with them.
  • Outline your course: To create an effective online course, you should have a basic idea of how everything is going to tie together. Start by planning what you’re going to cover in each section of your course. Each section should cover a specific skill.
  • Plan practical activities: Make sure you take advantage of all the functionality on Udemy, including the option to guide users through practical tests.
  • Check your transactional options: make sure you have the right payment system set up to accept credit cards, voucher codes, and more.
  • Check audio and video: Make sure you have the right systems in place to deliver audio and video course tools for your customer’s personal development.

Price your course: Choose a price that’s suitable for the amount of information you’re sharing, without convincing customers that your lessons are a scam.

Udemy Review: Basics

At 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 web design. Students can discover your courses through Udemy, removing any marketing on your 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 marketing and run your site.

Remember for any kind of course solution, you’ll still have to take steps to ensure you stand out on social media, and make your course appealing in the subcategories it aligns with.

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. 🙂

YouTube video

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
      5. Searching for Courses is Simple
      6. Get Customer Support: Getting Help from Udemy
    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. How to Create Online Course with Udemy
    4. FAQ
    5. Who Should Consider Using Udemy as an Online Course Sales Tool?

Udemy Review: The Pros

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Udemy has an active 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 audience, I say Udemy works out quite well. It's also an excellent place for supplementing income if you already have your website and following.

The advantages of 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 specific classes, 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 an active 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.

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

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 session 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 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.

Also, 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 a few 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.

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 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.

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

Finally, 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.

Finding Courses on Udemy is Simple

Another point worth mentioning in this Udemy review is how easy it is for your customers to find your content. In a database with more than 65,000 courses, it's easy for content to get lost. However, you should be able to find the right audience that you need.

For instance, when you create your course, you'll be able to target the specific kind of student that you want to attract, by answering questions like:

  • What can students achieve by taking your course?
  • Who should take this course?
  • What tools and knowledge will your student need?

Udemy will then place your lessons within the right “Categories” pages on their website.

For both instructors and students, the Marketplace Search Tool is highly intuitive. You can either enter keywords related to the course or search for a specific subject. Of course, it's essential to make sure that you've added a very informative and keyword-rich description to your lesson if you want to attract as many students as possible. There's going to be a lot of competition on Udemy already for most educators.

When students search for courses by category, they'll also see “Featured courses,” which are the most popular and highly rated courses on the Udemy platform. The best way to make sure that you end up in this section is to track your course engagement and work on optimizing your description and content as often as possible.

The fact that it's so easy to browse through content according to its rating, popularity, subject matter and more also means that you have more ways to track your competition. It's a good idea to regularly assess some of the highest-rated and most popular courses in your sector, so you can find out what you need to do to improve your chances of success.

For instance, is there information that you can offer that isn't available in other courses? Will adding more video content to your lessons make them more attractive? Could you consider bringing in a guest lecturer to give your campaign more thought leadership?

Customer Support: Getting Help from Udemy

Venturing into the world of online courses for the first time?

If the answer is “yes,” then you're bound to need some support. After all, even if you have a history of teaching, you probably haven't spent much time sharing your skills online.

The good news?

Udemy offers plenty of ways to get the help that you need.

On the website, you'll find a FAQ section where you can find out more about becoming a premium instructor, updating your course, and even earning more money through teaching. You can also refine your search for assistance by clicking on different segments in the Udemy knowledge base, including:

  • Course Management
  • Trust and Safety
  • Quality Standards
  • Payments
  • Course Building
  • Selling and Promotion

Clicking on any of these options will take you to a range of in-depth articles and tutorials that you can use to answer most of your questions.

For extra guidance, Udemy has a global instructor community that you can tap into. The instructor forums allow you to ask questions and receive insights from other teachers just like you, who have learned how to use Udemy properly over time.

“StudioU” is the official place to ask questions and introduce yourself as a new teacher. On the other hand, if you're a published instructor and you just want to chat with others like you, you can visit the Published Instructor club.

If none of the “DIY” help options appeal to you, then you can always submit a request for expert assistance from the Udemy team with a support ticket.


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.

Those are the select few.

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

You Have to Compete with the Big Dogs

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A rating system is helpful 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 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

udemy teaching reviews

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 regularly.

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

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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.

How to Create an Online Course with Udemy

If you're going to create an online course with Udemy, then the first thing you need to know is how to use the service.

Now that you know about the pros and cons of Udemy, you'll be ready to launch your course with confidence. To help you move on from this Udemy review on the right track, we're going to guide you through the basics of getting started.

You need an excellent lesson plan with plenty of rich content that you can share with your audience. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Research your audience and find out what kind of questions they're asking
  • Check out some online videos for course creation to help you
  • Create a lead magnet on a branded site where you can send people to your course
  • Use plenty of videos, images, and other media to keep people engaged
  • Support your students with regular feedback.

Once you're ready to begin building, visit the “Course Building” section on the Udemy support website. Here, you'll find everything you need to know about updating content on your lectures, managing videos, and creating assignments for your course.

The main thing you'll need to feel comfortable with is the Course Management Dashboard. This is your step-by-step solution for creating and publishing a course.

So, how do you use this tool?

It's simpler than it seems.

The course management dashboard walks you through your lesson plan strategy with tips and information on each page. You'll have a list of things you need to do on the left-hand side of your page, such as adding course messages or including assignments. As you complete each stage, those things will tick themselves off. According to most Udemy reviews, it's a simple process.

When you've published your course, you can also go back into the system and edit things if you need to. There are options to:

  • Change your target student
  • Adapt the course image, description, subtitle, title, promo video, basic info, and instructor profiles
  • Add sections, videos, lectures, and more to your curriculum
  • Include new instructors in your course
  • Adjust prices and add coupons
  • Manage your student list

You can find out how to handle all of the above on the Udemy Course Organization dashboard.

FAQ: Top Questions about Udemy

Still got questions about Udemy?

Check out these FAQs for some extra assistance

Are Udemy Courses Accredited?

Usually? No.

Unlike the MOOC courses that are offered by colleges and universities, Udemy courses rarely give any certificate of proficiency to be recognized by an employer. Udemy is less about building out your CV, and more about learning how to do things for the betterment of your personal skills and self. Udemy provides people from all over the world with a way to transfer knowledge to other would-be learners across the globe. Udemy isn't the place for academic credit.

Is Udemy Better than Lynda?

That depends on who you ask. Lynda is a flexible learning platform for people who are looking for a diverse range of courses, available at a monthly flat fee. However, Udemy allows customers to purchase lessons per diem. This means that you pay only for the educational resources that you're going to use.

Does Udemy Provide a Certificate of Completion?

Yes.

When a student successfully finishes a Udemy course, they get a certificate of completion which they can share with friends, relatives, and even potential employers. However, these certificates aren't accredited by any educational body. Notably, in Brazil, certifications aren't offered for free courses.

Does Udemy Offer Free Courses?

Absolutely!

There are tons of free courses available on Udemy for advanced, intermediate and beginner leaders. The only problem is that it's not very easy to search for or filter through results for courses that are free. Users might have to commit some time to scroll through all the options in their chosen category before they find a deal for a free course.

Tutors and educators can also set up coupons for courses if they want to give their lessons to friends and family members for free.

How Much Does Udemy Cost?

It's free to sign up as a learner or instructor with Udemy. When you decide to buy a course, you'll have to pay for that lesson individually – there's no monthly fee like there is with Lynda.

Udemy has a “global price tier matrix” which instructors can use to determine how much their lessons should cost depending on the kind of education they're offering, and where their students life. Course prices are capped at a maximum of $199.99, and instructors can change the cost of their course at any time.

It's also possible to offer a free course if you want to. However, you can only switch from free to paid once. If you switch back to free after changing to paid, then your promotional options for the course will be disabled permanently.

Do Udemy Courses Expire?

No.

There's no time limit on your course. As soon as you pay for a lesson, you'll have unlimited access to the information that you've paid for.

How Do You Buy a Course on Udemy?

Easy!

Once a user finds a course that they want to purchase on Udemy, they simply click on the Purchase button, and they'll be taken through to a payment page. The Checkout page offers the option to pay by credit or debit card, as well as bank transfers, and App store or Google Pay purchases. PayPal acquisitions are also available.

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.

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.