What platform should you use for your online course? Udemy or Skillshare?
What are the pros and cons associated with each of them? Which one do I recommend for beginners?
I’m providing answers to each of these questions and sharing my own experiences with both. I chose to compare Udemy and Skillshare because these both help promote your course and get it in front of others. I use another platform called Teachable that I like A LOT. The difference is they don’t promote your course for you; it’s up to you to do the promoting. Teachable acts more like a host. In this case, I think it’s fair to compare Udemy vs. Skillshare.
Udemy is an online learning platform founded in 2010. This platform attracts over 40 million students from all across the globe. You’ll find courses covering a wide range of topics-computers, meditation, learning how to play the guitar, and more.
- Good Dashboard
- Transparent Pricing
- Quality Control
- Search Engine Visibility
- Potential Higher Revenues
- More Payout options
Udemy has an awesome layout. If you don’t know the exact layout of your course yet, you can actually draft it in the system pretty well. You’re required to ask questions like-“What will the student learn”, “What are the prerequisites to take the course.” You have the ability to upload quizzes, coding exercises, and assignments.
On the analytics side of things, you can trace how many visits your pages are getting. In addition, you can track your revenues over time and how many students you are getting each month. Here is a snapshot of the dashboard areas. The Traffic and Conversion area tells you your CONVERSION RATE per visitor.
Udemy is very transparent about how much you will make per student. You essentially make 37% if you opt out of their promotional program. From there, if the user finds your course via an Apple or Google Mobile app, those companies take 30% (there is nothing Udemy can do about this). Lastly, there are international taxes/fees that are removed from your profits. You are shown how much you get immediately in your dashboard. Another cool thing about Udemy-If a student signs up via one of your referral links or student coupons, you make 97% from that student’s payment. So, it is in your best interest to spread your referral links wide and far.
I feel that Udemy has stricter requirements than Skillshare. You must upload a 30 minute course with 5 lectures or modules. So, a person can’t shoot one or two videos and call it a course. There are numerous areas and landing pages you have to fill out with minimum word requirements. There is a HD 720 or 1080 video requirement. Lastly, when you upload your course, it gets reviewed to make sure it passes quality control. The first course I uploaded got flagged for a title or something, so they do go through it.
Search Engine Visibility:
I decided to experiment and type my course’s keywords into Google a few times. The result was Udemy came up on the first or second page both times. In fact, they were running ads for courses in my same KEYWORD (Not my particular course though). I did not see such consistent results from Skillshare.
Payment methods include Paypal, Payoneer, or direct deposit (within the US). Payment is issued within 45 days at the end of the month you got paid. For example, if you are owed $50 for June. You will receive that payment in August.
- The 30% fee from Apple and Google Mobile gets passed on to you.
- International fees reduce your profits
The 30% fee from Apple and Google isn’t really on Udemy, but it is a gripe of mine. You will barely make anything if your student signs up using one of those platforms. I’ve only had a few come into my course via those apps.
International fees-this does cause some confusion at first. You will one day log in and notice you aren’t getting as much profit from certain students. This is due to international fees and taxes.
Closing words about Udemy:
You do retain ALL rights to anything uploaded to Udemy. So, you are free to distribute your course on other platforms. Mine are on Teachable and Skillshare for instance. The only thing you aren’t allowed to do is upload the course on YouTube for free. To give you an idea of how much you can make-When I began, I priced my course at $19.99; I made $7.17 from each student that signed up for my course.
Skillshare is different than Udemy in that it operates on a SUBSCRIPTION model. It was founded in the year 2010 like Udemy. Like Udemy, you’ll find topics such as computers, using computer software, learning to play the piano, and much more. It currently has over 27 thousand courses. Unlike Udemy, Skillshare is not a publicly traded company.
- Lower barrier to entry for beginners-only 10 minutes of video
- Less rigorous quantity of information needed for your course
- Attracts a lot of students, many are international
- Recently increased requirements
- Non-transparent pricing
- Not as user-friendly
- Can’t plan the layout inside the dashboard very well
- Fewer payment methods
Better for beginners:
I do think Skillshare is better for beginners wanting to get their feet wet with online courses. It’s easy to upload a course and have things running quickly. In addition, there is only a 10 minute requirement, so a few short videos and you have a course there. The only other requirements are a 10 minute introduction video where you go over what the course is about and all videos must be shot in 1080 HD. So, a slightly higher video requirement than Udemy.
Less material needed to make the course:
With Udemy, you need to have a lot of what you are going to say planned as there are lots of spaces to fill in about your course. With skillshare, you need a description and a few notes.
Lots of students:
I think the platform does a good job of attracting students, in particular international students. I have students from all over the world. The platform is on a SUBSCRIPTION model rather than a pay as you go model like Udemy.
Recent policy changes:
Recently, they decided to increase the requirements to get paid on the platform. I believe this was a good choice, as it prevents a watering down of content and increases payment for long-time teachers. Now your classes must get 75 minutes total viewing minutes as opposed to the prior 30 minutes. There is a good chance your first few months on the platform, you won’t make anything. You have to stay with it. Another change is how much you make from referral links. You now get 60% of the 1st subscription payment from the student. The current subscription fee is $167.58, so you’d make over $100 from that student signing up. If you have only a couple of students sign up from a referral link, you could quickly rack up the money.
Limited Dashboard and layout tools:
Skillshare has a limited dashboard. You don’t get the quality of analytics with Skillshare as you do Udemy. You can see the minutes your students watched, how many students you have, etc. However, you can’t see how many times your course was viewed, what the click through rate is. You don’t see how many minutes each student has watched. Overall, there is less feedback.
My biggest gripe about skillshare is the lack of transparency with their pricing. How much you are paid is determined by how many minutes your students watched (which you get records of). However, that amount is then compared to the TOTAL amount of minutes and royalties earned on the ENTIRE platform and you have a SHARE of that revenue. For example, if there is a month your class has a bunch of minutes but the rest of Skillshare experiences the same, you won’t see your revenues increase (I’ve had this happen!).
Sure, they show you how many minutes your students watched and they tell you HOW you get paid. Yet, you don’t really see any final numbers. There is secrecy regarding the total revenue brought in from the platform.
Fewer Payment methods:
Unfortunately, Skillshare only pays through Tipalti. You have to fill out the usual W9’s and so forth to sign up for a Tipalti account like you do anywhere else. There is the option for Tipalti to pay you via paypal instead of your bank account. I’ve had no issues with Tipalti and like the fact it comes immediately to my bank.
While I think Skillshare is better for beginners, I also think your payment level is more limited. I have over 500 students on Skillshare and the reality is I haven’t made much money from this platform, even after years of being on there. Meanwhile, if you get a few students each month on Udemy, you will quickly surpass what you can make on Skillshare. To give you an idea of how much I make from skillshare:
My lowest month this year I had 266 minutes viewed and made $23. That same month, I had 11 students take my class.
MY FINAL ANSWER
I think it’s apparent that I prefer Udemy. I like the layout and friendy user interface. Most of all, I like knowing EXACTLY how much I’m making and WHY. There are no surprises when it comes to the money.
At the same time, there is nothing wrong with uploading a course you have made elsewhere and uploading it onto Skillshare. Just go into knowing what you really are facing, what the potential is with skillshare. You will have to make a course that is a gigantic hit to really reap the benefits. I think this could potentially take years.
Meanwhile, that same course on Udemy can net you more faster.