Getting Started Guidelines

Last Updated: Jan 08, 2015 05:09PM EST

We're excited you're creating a course with us! There are thousands of students waiting for you so let’s get started.We empower you to teach online by giving you the best tools and resources to make it easy for you to teach what you know best.

First things first...You are invited to join the Udemy Studio!

The Studio is Udemy's online instructor community where you can get quick help and feedback on your course from us and hundreds of other instructors in the community. You'll get the support you need to create an awesome course.

Sign up for our How to Create a Udemy Course ​course to access your personal invitation to the Udemy Studio. We also work with you throughout the course creation process. We provide feedback on your test video -- or the first video you do to test out your lighting, framing, audio, and video quality. It makes a HUGE difference to do a test run before you film your entire course, so let us help you! We also review every course when it’s published before it enters the marketplace to ensure it is ready to go.​

As a Udemy instructor, you always retain full ownership of your content and hold the reins for your course. But with great power comes great responsibility! Keep your course updated, check if your students are learning your material, and be available to your students when need be. 

Ready to create your course? Join the Studio and then move on to our 4-step process to create a course. 

Happy teaching! 

The Udemy Team

There's never been a better time to teach online! Designing an online course on Udemy is easy - just follow these 4 steps to make sure create a great online course.

Step 1: Plan Your Course

Planning is key to online teaching. Not only will it save you countless production hours, it will also help create an organized and effective online learning experience. Overall, your course should be a progressive series of independent Lectures (or standalone lessons) that help students achieve the online course goal. To help plan your online course, follow the guidelines below.

Under "Details"  

  • Write a general summary of your online course. 
  • Define your course goal and objectives, intended audience, requirements, and instructional level. ​

Under "Curriculum" 

  • Create an outline that is organized by "Sections" with individual "Lectures". Instruction in your online Lectures should be sequential, logical, and consistent under each Section. 
  • Have a minimum of 1 section and 5 lectures in your course and include at least 30 minutes of content (60% video lectures, each between 2 - 20 minutes in length). 
  • Have short, descriptive titles for Sections and Lectures. 
  • List specific learning outcomes for each Lecture description. 
  • Add activities or assessments to reinforce previous learning (e.g. questions, projects, exercises, "Quiz").
  • Include an Introductory and Concluding Lecture.

Want to use a Udemy Course Checklist to help you create your course?​


Step 2: Create Your Course Content

Here is where you'll get your hands dirty by creating new course materials or modifying existing ones. You will need to choose the best way to discuss your Lecture topic (e.g.Video, Audio, Presentation, Document, Text, Mashup), but do note: Udemy recommends that your course consists of at least 60% video lecture content (includes screencasts) and has a mix of different content types for differentiated instruction. Udemy also allows Downloadable Files and videos imported from other sites (e.g. YouTube, Slideshare, Vimeo) so keep it in mind for supplementary materials. When developing video content, including screencasts, be mindful of:


Lighting - keep it bright and balanced. 

Audio - use a quality microphone and make sure your audio is clear, crisp, and audible. 

Video - use high resolution 720p or HD (most modern smartphones and digital cameras can record in 720p or higher), have a clean background, good framing, make sure everything is legible, and aim for 2-15 minutes in length (will vary based on your content). 

Type - keep files to a 1.0 GiB file size limit, use .mp4, .mov, or .flv file format, and use widescreen 16:9 ratio even though 4:3 is accepted.

Under "Promo Video" - Start by recording a 1-minute introductory or promotional video that introduces yourself, your qualifications, the goal of your course, how the online course will be taught, and who will benefit by taking your online course. Perfect the audio, video, lighting, and background now before you record the entirety of your online course. It'll save you a ton of time!

AND, post your 1-minute test video in the Udemy Studio to get fast feedback. 

Next, go ahead and create any new materials (Video, Audio, Presentation, Document, Text, Mashup) and don't forget a beautiful, high resolution, and suitable course Image (min. 480x270, recommended 960x540).  


Once you are done creating your content, go to Step 3 to publish your online course on Udemy.

Step 3: Publish Your Online Course

Once you have designed or prepared your course content, you will be ready to upload and publish an online course on the Udemy platform. The process is very easy, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

Under "Curriculum" 

  • Use the Curriculum Builder to add new add and existing materials (including Mashups).
  • Add useful supplementary material (i.e. presentation slides, readings, Zip file, resources).
  • Use the Udemy Bulk Uploader to add multiple files at once: Download the Udemy Bulk Uploader here!​

To get your course ready for the world, make sure you: 

  • Add an amazing instructor bio (including image) that explains your experience and expertise under My Profile. 
  • Have a beautiful, high resolution, and suitable course image (dimensions: Min. 480x270, Rec. 960x540). 
  • Have all information completed under Basics and Details. 
  • Include at minimum 1 Section and 5 Lectures with at least 30 minutes of content (60% video lectures). 
  • Confirm the Privacy settings and Price & Promotions. 
  • Apply to become a Premium Instructor​ and get paid to Teach Online.
  • ​Consider Third Party Integration.

Not sure if you are ready to publish? No problem! Udemy wants you to have the best online course so we created a checklist that will guide you to success. You can view the Udemy Course Checklist here​.

How to Find Your Course on Udemy / Marketplace Standards

Now that you have all the material uploaded to your course and have gone through the checklist, click Publish! Once you publish, your course will go live and you can share it with others via its direct URL or landing page(your course can always be found there). However, your course won't be discoverable on Udemy's marketplace or via search until it goes through our quality review process, which takes around 3-4 business days. Once it meets our standards and passes (see Checklist for standards), your course will be found in the Udemy marketplace.

Remember, your online course is a living thing, so make sure your content stays current and you make improvements based on your students' feedback. Within a course, you can click "Manage this Course" at any time to revise your course content. It is also recommended that you set a consistent time, whether daily or weekly, to check your course's Messages and Questions, or to make an Announcement. Why not start with asking your students to post a self-introduction in the Questions area to encourage supportive peer-to-peer learning? However you choose to do it, stay connected and engaged with your students!


Step 4: Promote Your Course

Congrats on publishing your course! Are you ready to become a top Udemy instructor?

We have instructors who are teaching thousands of students and 25% of our high quality instructors earn over $10,000 from their courses.

Another important thing to highlight is 84% of Udemy’s Bestselling instructors get 25 or more students into their courses in the first 30 days through their own promotions.

The good news is we have a number of success stories from instructors who got more than 100, 500, and even 1500 students into their courses through their own promotion within their first 30 days.

We can help you get there, too, with our Instructor Promotion Plan.

If you get course reviews and 25 students into your course through your own promotions in your first 30 days, your course may be featured on our New & Noteworthy page! That will help you get even more awareness for your course.

Remember: When you promote your own courses using your Instructor Coupons, you receive 100% of the sales revenue, whereas you will receive 50% for all other sales*.

How many students can you get in your first 30 days? Let's find out!

Want to know how newbies become bestselling instructors? Here are rules every Udemy Bestseller follows.


Rules Every Bestseller Follows


1. This is not a spectator's sport.

  • Bestsellers on Udemy don't just publish their courses and leave the rest to chance.
  • We at Udemy recognize that producing a course is a huge ordeal (my instructor colleagues share war stories all the time), but…
  • What's the point of publishing your course if you have no one to share it with?

2. More students, more love.

  • Course landing pages with more students, more engagement, and more reviews get "more love."
  • In other words, courses with more students and engagement convert at higher rates than similar courses with less students. A visitor is more likely to enroll into a course that has 200 students than a course with 4 students.
  • Udemy looks for high engagement and enrollment courses, and we feature them on our site, in email promotions, and in paid ads.
  • Example: When you publish your course, and get 25+ students and positive course reviews in the first 30 days, you’re in the pool to be featured in our New & Noteworthy section.

3. Know your audience: "Different strokes for different folks."

  • Remember that your potential students fall into 3 buckets, defined by their buying behavior. Bestsellers craft their marketing plans to target each group using the pricing scheme that they are most likely to favor—anywhere from FREE to full price.
  • Do students who enroll in your course for FREE add any value? Yes! Students who enroll for free consume course content just like paying students. Also, are you more likely to enroll in a course with 500 students or 5 students? Whether students pay $50 or $0 to enroll into your course, they still help your social proof and credibility: "More students, more love." Here are the 3 types of potential students:
  • Bargain Hunters - They are unfamiliar with your brand and love deals, discounts, and freebies. They will probably never pay full price for your courses. You find these potential students on discount forums. You will have the best luck offering your courses to this group for FREE or at a severe discount (e.g. 65% off).
  • Enthusiastic Learners - They are unfamiliar with your brand but excited to learn about the topic you're teaching. You find these potential students reading blogs and taking online courses. You will have the best luck offering your courses at full price (if it's a competitive/affordable price) or partial discount (e.g. 30% off).
  • Dedicated Fans - They are familiar with your brand. You find them on your email list, following you on social media, attending your speaking engagements, etc. They trust you and will pay a premium to learn from you or will convert with a small to medium discount (e.g. 20% off for the next 72 hours).
  • Again: Bestsellers craft their marketing plans to target each group using the pricing scheme they are most likely to favor—anywhere from FREE to full price...because Bargain Hunters add value, too!

4. Think short-term and long-term.

  • Promotional strategies can be broken into two categories: Quick Wins and Long-term Funnels.
  • Bestsellers execute on both of these types on a regular basis.
  • Quick Win Example: Post a FREE coupon for your course on Reddit and get 500 students in 48 hours. See how Bogdan Milanovich did it.
  • Quick Win Example: Send an email blast to your 250 subscribers with a 50% off coupon for the next 72 hours and get 25 of them to enroll into your course. See this 10-day email campaign and crush your course sales.
  • Long-Term Funnel Example: Upload a few of your Udemy course lectures to YouTube and put a 50% off link in your description box. See how.
  • Long-Term Funnel Example: Create backlinks to your Udemy course from your website and automate a few welcome emails on your website so that new email subscribers receive a 50% off coupon to your Udemy course which leads to new enrollments each month.
  • Also, notice how each Quick Win and Long-Term Funnel strategy above pertains to a different audience bucket. The Reddit tactic is for the Bargain Hunters. The YouTube tactic is for Enthusiastic Learners searching the web for content on your course topic. The email blast and automated welcome emails are for Dedicated Fans.
  • Bestsellers execute on short-term and long-term tactics and address all 3 buckets of potential students in their marketing plans.

We have a 30-day course launch plan that you can use as a guide and checklist as you promote your course and go after your first 25 students in 30 days. Start on Day 1 now!
*If Udemy runs paid ad promotions on your courses, or affiliates sell your course, then you receive 25% of those sales.

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