I’ll also discuss why you ought to consider alternatives to Udemy.
What Makes Udemy Different than Other Providers?
What sets Udemy apart from other platforms is:
- Udemy has the largest course marketplace, and…
- Udemy has the worst financial incentives for course instructors
More on these below…
Let’s take a high-level look at Udemy and then we’ll dive into my review.
Udemy Overview and Pricing
Udemy has the biggest online course marketplace by far. Udemy will provide a framework for everything you need to create and sell your course.
And, most importantly, Udemy has a built-in platform for you to market your course to millions of prospective students.
You can build your course with videos and written content and then sell it through a Udemy sales page which will handle payment processing for you.
Unlike other course platforms, Udemy requires you to apply to become a premium instructor. Application is free, but you have to wait 2 days and get approved.
Udemy has minimum standards for course approval which include at least 5 lectures, 30 minutes of video content, quality content, and no links to paid content off Udemy.
The Udemy platform only has one price plan: Free. This default, free plan allows unlimited courses but comes with tons of caveats which we’ll explore. The biggest is that you must share 50% of your revenue for any courses sold through the marketplace.
Here is Udemy’s Course Pricing Model (for creators)
- No monthly fees for course creators
- 3% transaction fee if you refer the student
- 50% transaction fee if a student buys through the Udemy marketplace
- 75% transaction fee if Udemy markets the course for you through their affiliates and ads
Get the full run down on the Udemy price plan here.
Recognizable Udemy Customers
Udemy is used by over 42,000 course creators and is accessed by over 30 million students in over 50 languages.
But it’s not just for solo entrepreneurs, corporate users include Lyft, Booking.com, SurveyMonkey, General Mills, and many more.
Udemy Review – The Good & Bad
Pros: Here’s what I like about Udemy
- Udemy’s enormous course marketplace to promote your course is by far the #1 pro.
- The Udemy community is great at leaving reviews which is critical if you want to gain traction and have your course show up in searches.
- Udemy has built-in payment processing so you don’t need to get a separate Stripe or PayPal account.
- Udemy has no platform fees (although they get you with transaction fees).
Cons: Here are the things I don’t like about Udemy
- Udemy takes 50% of each sale that comes when visitors find your course through the Udemy marketplace.
- You are limited in pricing for your course. You have to choose one of Udemy’s pricing tiers and they max out at $199.99
- Udemy requires you to apply to be a premium instructor and wait 2 days for approval
- Courses must meet minimum standards and be approved by Udemy.
- You cannot configure payouts for affiliates who promote your course. Udemy charges you a whopping 75% transaction fee when someone buys through their affiliates.
- Udemy users are used to getting discount courses. Udemy offers tons of sales and coupons and chances are you will have a hard time getting someone to pay your full list price.
- You cannot offer students payment options like a monthly payment plan for higher cost courses.
- You cannot offer a monthly recurring subscription for ongoing access to a course in a membership model.
- You have to wait 2-3 months for course sale payouts because Udemy collects payments (versus other platforms that allow you to collect payments directly via PayPal or Stripe).
- You cannot direct students to your own mailing list or sell them products outside Udemy.
- You cannot match the look and feel of your business or website and you’re stuck with how the course and landing page will look.
- You cannot use a custom domain to make the course appear as part of your own website.
- There is no phone support
Can you still make money on Udemy?
There was a time when Udemy instructors were able to make 6 figure incomes because there was no other game in town. As one of the first movers in the online education space, they had a lot of market share at the start.
But now people are beginning to realize the Udemy marketplace is crowded and it’s hard to get your course to stand out. And even when you do make sales, you’re earning potential is severely capped.
Udemy has ultimate control over everything on their platform. This includes course pricing, instructor payouts, look and feel and much more. This also means they could change the rules of the game at any time. You are much better off using one of the better online course platforms.
There are so many options to promote your course these days like social media, your own website, and paid ads that it doesn’t make sense to have your course lost in a large marketplace.
Alternatives to Udemy
Udemy is one of the few providers to offer a free plan, unfortunately, it comes with a hefty transaction fee. If you are looking for a truly free plan, Thinkific has a good option (read my review of Thinkific).
Udemy’s Professional Plan and above are worth considering and are very popular with many big names in the online course industry. However, if you are looking to explore options besides Udemy, check out my reviews of the 5 best course platforms.