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Earn a living teaching online courses — a successful Udemy teacher offers advice

Com platform, which is the I think, the biggest online platform for courses or, I should say the biggest place for online courses and Udemy has anything over nine million students and Ken Wells is has like uh I’ll. Let me introduce himself, but he used he’s making a living teaching courses on udemy and so we’re here to ask him.

Some questions me and my friend Adam, is here to ask him some questions about how he’s making it work. So Ken thanks for being here, yeah. Well, thank you so much for for having me know my journey on udemy started in a in June of last year, and really only so, it’s been less than a year yep. I didn’t realize that okay, so it’s it’s, there was a substantial amount of work in the beginning, yeah I scaled it much faster than what I’ve seen you know, other other instructors having contact with yeah so yeah.

I mean I’m happy to answer any questions that you guys have so yeah. I guess the first one is just to give us a sense of your track record on you to me how many students you have. I made courses. You have that kind of thing sure. So right now I have ten ten courses that are live. I have two that are about to go live next month and I also have like right now. I have about almost 26,000 students in 157 countries, Wow yeah yeah yeah, and it was okay.

I’m just going to share your your course page. I guess I have 11 courses, 11 courses, yeah yeah, yeah, he’s kind of like loose trash, don’t create a bunch. So that’s cool best-selling udemy. So this is your your title. I guess on udemy yeah, okay and then this is kind of your your normal or your course profile page. You got at bolding the sort of the some of the keywords that that you want people to know.

Your course is about okay, cool and then Co shows here: 25,000 students, 11 courses, 550, almost 55 reviews and your courses are priced so so right now udemy’s course. Pricing is between, is it $ 10 at the minimum or the minute, it’s their pricing structures between twenty to fifty dollars, twenty to fifty? Okay. So what I am um now: okay, yeah twenty is the minimum yeah. So, basically, what I do there is depending on where I’m ranking and the size of the course I will.

You know, price it. I will look at my competitors and see like if my two closest competitors are at $ 20, but I’m out ranking them. Mine $ 5 higher, or something like that. Oh I see okay, so you you that’s one of the market. Research techniques you use is to look at your your and how do you? How do you even find your competitors? Well, it really. Everything starts with keyword, research. Okay, so that’s that’s who my competitors are is who is competing, for you know, keywords with me.

Okay, so let’s say – and maybe we could even I don’t know Adam if we want to use your topic as an example or if you want us to use a different topic. What if what? If we did it like a like a little exercise Adam, are you interested in trying some keyword, research on your topic or no? Oh? Maybe we could do the course that I’m kind of thinking about later this year, any researcher sure, and what is the topic? It’s the art software that I use the for creating comics, it’s called manga studio or clip studio paint, but basically like, of course, teaching how to make comics.

Okay awesome. So I’m just thinking about whether that example would be useful for everyone or for myself, and maybe a few others who might be reading this. Let’s use a general topic, or maybe Ken do you have a topic that you’re going to be working on? I really don’t have any in mind because I’ve already created some courses that you know so, let’s say: let’s, let’s let me give you an example. Then let’s say that I’m a relationship, coach, okay and I’m wanting to create a course on how to have better.

You know better relationship with your partner right, so what I would do is I would go to. I would go to an incognito window interesting and why? Why incognito? Oh well for Chrome, yeah, oh so you’re going to okay, let’s just say: I’m not going to use incognito, I’m just going to use this window sure! Just I I mean I don’t know how that is on other browsers, but it’s just simply because you know. Obviously, your search results are skewed.

Based on your your personal browsing history, yeah. Okay, let me actually let me actually do shit, but let me actually do share an incognito window, then that might be easier to okay. So I’m just going to share this screen, which is an incognito window, cool yep, and what I would do is I would you know I usually just go to youtube.Com and I would have like another doc open like you know, Google Doc or whatever right first thing.

I would do is like right here in this search bar. I would just start by typing like a single letter like let’s say it’s relationships right, so I would type in an R and then an E okay, and then I’m looking in this drop-down menu – and I don’t see anything yet so now put in an L, hmm And we have relationships so, even though that’s not like you know, it’s still pretty general, I’m going to I’m going to take those two keyword, those two keywords: yeah hips in relationship now, the order that they appear in is based on how much theirs mmm all those Ones that say you know you see the little icon with the the page and it says course on the far right.

I don’t don’t. I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff, just those key words: a bomb okay, just these yeah, so I would take probably I would put those three relationships – relationship in relationship building and I would put them in that order on a Google Doc. Okay, yeah I’ll put in another a mm-hmm, okay and still nothing new. So then a t relationship, no relationship, coaching just popped up.

I would throw that at the bottom of my list. Okay, okay, now you know Yankees, I write just keep going still nothing to you. You just want to keep going until we see something new here. Yeah, let’s see, relationship marketing, you know ships, coaching versus relationship, coaching, I guess, okay, when it comes to these kinds of differences, where there’s like an S versus no s. What is your take on it? Well, I just this is just the preliminary like this is where I’m just getting ideas later on I’ll.

Do some other things to kind of condense it down and focus on which keywords I’m going to target, got it just giving me ideas. So I just kind of like type out relationships. One letter at a time like that yeah doesn’t let me actually you know what I’m going to do, I’m actually going to start a Google spreadsheet and I’m going to just as a as an actual exercise share. This share my screen that you can see everything.

Okay, so we had relationship. We had ships, relationship, relationship, building, building, see what else we had relationship coaching relationship coaching. Well, it looks like there’s ship and ships coach teaching right. Okay, I think it was on this. One came first coaching poaching, yeah and then and then what so do you actually like order them? Sorry I I do I do, but you know at this point we’re just kind of getting ideas.

So then, then, if we go back to that that search, so I would just go all the way through and you know see if anything else, pops up doesn’t look like there is now. If you want to get more. Oh here, here’s interesting some interesting yeah there. You go happy relationships, happy relationships, bad relationships, relationships, diagram, that’s weird, yeah, okay and then, interestingly, there’s two types of personalities that are especially interested in relationships enfjs, which I’m on the borderline.

Actually all right, I’m assuming usually I’m assuming that I have a more specific idea. Right and so if it doesn’t relate to personalities and relationships and obviously I’m not going to put those down, I’m just putting down you know happy relationships, bad relationships and then, like let’s say you know, let’s be more specific. You mentioned that the idea was how to have a better relationship yeah, let’s, let’s actually be get even even more specific.

Let’s write how to have a better relationship when you have kids – okay, maybe marriage, that’s pretty specific! So you know I might start with how to you know, and so that’s very interesting, um yeah. So I just H: wait slow down, though cuz okay, you might get ideas as you go along, but you just kind of do each letter, just like we did before and just see. What’s popping up it’s interesting. I think I think, given that there’s probably too many H’s there they’re not showing it or maybe you have to refresh yeah you just you just got ta keep going like H.

Oh oh, go till you kind of start seeing stuff pop up right. Just start spelling out like and how to have a good relationship see nothing so far, so we put the W in okay. This is weird. Look look at these, so what is what is this? Do you know what those numbers are? No is that a course number man honestly. I have no idea what that is. Okay, it’s weird! Maybe it’s a udemy bug, maybe they’re, showing us how many people are searching.

It yeah: okay, how to have okay, how to hack a computer? Oh yeah, okay, all right! Yeah you’re having kids how to have school, how they have school, that’s weird: how did it have less fear more power and pain you can? Maybe you should teach a class on that you could teach a class on that. I have okay, so this is weird. So how to have better – let’s just say better people – are really interested in that first one, yes yeah! I don’t think this is just on you to me how I became much more productive to how you can that’s interesting right, and you can do that.

Yeah write that down how to have it, how top start can have a void business? Okay, I think a good course title would be how to have fun sex because that’s clearly near the top. This also is helping you, you know, maybe refine your idea like, for example, if you look midway down through the list, it says how to be a better lover. So maybe maybe you started off with this idea that you’re going to help people have a better relationships, and you decide based on this, you say: well, maybe I can focus this on just how to help someone become a bet.

You know be a better lover as and then house will also have how to be better loved, interesting right right. So I kind of use these to help me define my idea and I’m just kind of putting everything down yeah so how’d it be a better loved. Oh, that’s probably just a Miss just a typo, that’s weird, okay! So all right. Let’s say that we’ve done! We’ve done this keyword, research and we kind of try different questions or different yeah.

So you go through and you think of you know what do people type in like they it’s how to dot dot in relation to whatever your thing is, how to you know a parenting. Yeah got it techniques, you know parenting techniques or relationship skills or relationship techniques, and you just find the most relevant keywords that are showing up in the list yeah and you make a list of those once you kind of define which ones you know most fit.

What you’re trying to do yeah and I head over to you – know: Google Keyword planner. Ah, okay, and this is really the litmus test uh-huh. So then I start plugging those words into the keyword planner right now. Let me ask you this: do you do you ever click on any of these and look at what courses are available? Sure? Ok, so if I click on parenting, for example, parenting, okay, so let me just kind of let me login a Google Keyword planner here while we’re doing this.

Okay. So but but what I’m hearing you say, is you don’t do this next? That’s not that’s! Not your process is to look at the courses. Are there, you don’t do that. You don’t do that. That’s you. You actually go to a keyword planner. Next, I’m doing I do the keywords. First. Okay, so I mind: once I have my keywords targeted then I go. Look at the competition on udemy for those specific okay. So so I’m, obviously we don’t have a lot of time.

So I’m just going to speed up the process and, let’s just I’m just going to pick a random one. That seems good alright. So in the keyword planner, obviously in this article I’m not going to teach people how to use keyword planner, but I’m just going to say, relationship, happy, happy relationships, you know yeah, I wouldn’t I mean, even though it’s on you to me, you know if you look At the search results here I mean it’s 170 yeah.

But what is your litmus test for? What would you go for in terms of numbers? Look at the ones that are the most targeted, but you know it’s got ta. It’s got ta have at least you know a few thousand, a few thousand yeah yeah, I’m going to just say: I’m just going to go down and quickly pick one from the list here and do you have an upper limit like you? Don’t you don’t try to go for competing on it? I try to find the ones that are towards the top of the search result, but that are like, if you have a scale between very targeted and low results and very general with high results.

Yeah, I try to find the ones that are like right around here that are more targeted, but still have a healthy amount of results. Right: okay, for example, marriage, counseling, marriage, counseling. Oh, if your, if your course was focused on that, that would be a good one right. There yeah marriage, counseling, okay, so um well, but then people taking a course on marriage counseling might be wanting to become a marriage counselor and I’m guessing like if they type in marriage counseling like they wanted the marriage counseling degree.

Maybe I don’t know. I think that that’s probably more people that are interested in getting counseling for their own marriage, I would think, and unless it was like marriage counseling certificate, or I mean I know like if they type it into Google – I I think that’s true, but if they type It into you to me, though, you know what I mean like they type into you to me: marriage counseling. I imagine well at the end, at the end of the day, I’m just using that to get a sense of if the keywords that are showing up on you to me also have decent amount of search results on Google right.

There’s. This guaranteed correlation that there’s going to be a ton of people on you to me, I mean really the the courses that you know everybody does seems to do very well on you to me, are like programming courses and business courses, yeah, that’s really their bread and Butter – but this is just to give me a sense of really even some yeah, so I’m going to say healthy relationships, that’s you know quite targeted and it’s thousand and you know two dollars, so that’s commercial viability.

So let’s say that that’s the keyword, healthy relationships and, of course we can look. You know I would just search that and search that and what you notice here is. So if you go to that top result, mmm click on it. They have 2300 students and 32 ratings. Okay, though that’s they have a little bit of traction. Okay doesn’t mean that you can’t beat them, but those 32 ratings. You know you’re not going to be number one overnight.

If you’re competing with this person. Now there’s some things. You can do with keywords to be more relevant like, for example, they started there. They started their title with build right, whereas I would probably start it with the keywords of healthy relationships and then put a colon right and then put some things after that. Now, what what is udemy probably doesn’t reveal this, but what is your feeling of what is most important in the search results on udemy? Well, it’s keyword, relevance which is again putting it at the beginning, but that alone won’t get it to that.

That alone is not going to help. You beat that top yeah because, like for example, codependent No More has no nothing. I mean, there’s, there’s no keyword. Okay, so one little side note so you to me it keeps testing a lot of different things. So yeah perfect, you know and look I even show up on the first page, even for an anger management course. Oh, but you do oh there, it is! Oh hey you there’s not even one that I’m trying I’m not even trying for that keyword yeah.

So why do you show up here? What do you think big? I honestly, maybe because the course has a lot of students and it’s got. You know it’s. It’s very well rated, there’s, probably a lot of minutes consumed for that course. It does have the word better relationships. If you look in the subtitle there there it is yeah mm-hmm, okay, there you that that’s part of the reason, okay, what udemy is looking at is.

Yes, you want to do things from an SEO perspective of you know putting your keyword at the beginning of the title. If you want to you know, if you look at my title and subtitle here, so anger management was the main keyword, so that shows up first yeah how to control anger was the second thing that I wanted. Oh, I see got it right and then better relationships was one of them and then reduced stress was another.

I see I see so if I type in reduce stress, maybe you’ll come up we’ll see you know there. You go so number two well yeah both of my courses. Oh number, one! That’s awesome! That’s really good! Okay! So what do you do next? Now that we let’s say we? Let’s say we pick the title and a subtitle? What’s your next step, so once we’ve identified how so my strategy is always to rank high and let you to me carry the the brunt of the marketing for these courses.

Yeah right, I don’t do a lot of outside marketing, so everything that I do is about getting these to rank as high as possible, got it mm-hmm. So what I would do next is what else we do yeah. What like? What else do you do to get them ranked high as possible? Well, another factor that udemy looks at is enrollments. Now, here’s here’s where a lot of people, especially when they’re starting out they’re so afraid to give their course away for free because they’re afraid that like if they give it away for free, then nobody’s going to buy it right and the reality is, is that’s not The case we have to always remember that the Internet is a very, very big place, though I give out a lot of free coupons.

I have a virtual assistant that has a schedule where she’s constantly giving out free coupons. Now I have her: do it you all with them yeah? What do you want for the free coupons, um Facebook groups? There’s certain sites, I’ve identified that I also give them out for free okay, so that works really well for you that you’re giving out the paper funds it does. But you have to you, can’t just go to the same places you kind of have to mix it up now.

One of the one thing that I do different than some instructors is that some instructors will basically like they’ll. Do a post with all their courses for free. I don’t think that’s a good strategy, because what I want is I want someone to come in for free on one right: they’re going to now start receiving promotional announcements from me for paid courses right. So I give out select courses to select areas to get people enrolled, which not only helps my rankings on udemy, because again udemy is also wanting you to build their email list, which is why they still honor.

That’s why they look so heavily on enrollments. Is you know, you’re building their student base, yeah yeah, mm-hmm, okay, so so the three! So you really, you emphasize on giving free coupons for specific courses in the relevant Facebook groups and other websites yep got it and what what else do you do to rank so high? What else what’s another well? Another thing is, is um and you know udemy’s changed a lot of things recently.

Okay, so where it stands right now, is you really need their prompting students three times to leave a review, prompt them right when they start so after they’ve? About 10 %, okay, rocked yes, so you need to really come out of the gates, really strong and fast, and that’s actually been a challenge with the most challenging course that I have with rate ratings is what you just saw in the last pages of the stress Management course: okay, it was identified that it.

You know, I just got off to a slow start there, so I need to reconfigure that so that they get kind of like a really strong start in the course. The servers ten percent of the course needs to be really good. Yeah, exactly yeah got it God. You know I’m going to I’m going to see Adam. Do you have any questions you want to ask the the only question that I thought of beforehand was essentially like what what is the benefit of selling through you to me, as opposed to you know through your own website, and is that exclusive, like you, if you Put something on you to me like: are you limited to just you know, music exclusive, excellent questions? To answer your first question, you know, the benefit of you to me is the fact that they market your course for you so, and they also walk you through step of the they basically give you a roadmap of how to create your course.

What to do next. So it’s very plug-and-play, but whereas, when you’re creating it on your own, the main thing is you’re responsible for your own marketing and there’s a lot of decisions you have to make to you know: how do you want it branded? How do you want your sales page set up? You browse on you to me, you just fill in the the column yeah fill in that she wants to do both. Is that like in their terms of agreement, and I think, yeah, your second question had to do with? If I put my course on udemy, does that mean I can’t sell it somewhere else and it’s your content so you’re not violating their terms? You can sell your course every you know anywhere else.

You want well Ken. I want to respect your time. So what what is the? If, if, if you were starting over on udemy today, what would you do differently or what would you keep doing? Besides? What we’ve talked about, of course right, I think, and in some of this you just I mean it just you just learn how to do it. I mean like one thing that I do differently today than when I started. Is it used to take me like a month to create a course hmm, whereas now I create smaller, more targeted courses that are shorter mmm, because what’s the ideal length and you’re in your mind before you? Actually, what do you call? I mean like, for example, also look for ways to really leverage.

My time like, I did a webinar yesterday, which I recorded mmm on a topic that I also did keyword research on right. So I already did all that before I recorded the webinar so that webinars about an hour and a half right and I’m going to turn that into a course yeah which I’m going to pay someone to do the article editing right. So it saves my time and then I’m going to put that on you to me mmm, so that it can start earning me a residual income as well yeah.

So then you have to so that’s great, so the entire courses an hour and a half right, okay and then the udemy has a limit of 20 minutes maximum per per lecture on udemy. So you just chalk up the hour and it happen to what 10 minutes 20 minutes. What’s your suggestion for ideal length of each lecture, apparently through you know, according to research, I guess like two to three minutes for length per lecture is good.

Okay. You know you can’t always adhere to that, but your average lecturer needs to be, I think, less than ten. You know the average length of lecture needs to be like ten minutes or less okay, oh yeah, so so two to three minutes is really kind of people’s attention span on you to me, and probably elsewhere too. I know it’s not on YouTube. Like my two minute, articles tend to do better than the other ones, but I I’m kind of I kind of don’t care and just kind of like whatever, but but yeah and one one more thing is: I mean you’ve got beautiful graphics.

Where do you get your graphics, oh great question, so you to me does that for you? Oh wait. Wait a second! I just say that you to me gives you the option, but you can also upload your own graphics, right, yeah. You can upload your own, but I I since the very beginning. I let you to me do that because they have a vested interest in your course doing. Well so they’re going to provide you with at least as good a graphic is, you know, you’re probably likely to find on your own, but even this article thumbnail graphic that that was from you to me yeah, it’s um.

They do that part automatically once they create your thumbnail, they throw that on the on the front end of your right – and this is your: this – is your current brand yeah. So so then, basically you you recorded this article. Well, you do this and then udemy threw up. You need me, put up a throw up a thumbnail, graphic, yep, okay and the thumbnail graphic. Oh, the thumbnail graphic is the course graphic.

It’s the course logo graphic you got it got it: okay, okay, God! Okay, awesome! Man, well Ken, is there anything else like you want to say before we address? I, I think you know you could make you to me a full-time business if you treat it that way, I would say this. You know also look at as with anything you do online look at multiple different income streams. Yeah you, you know, because you to me is a they are a marketplace.

They do. They can change their rules at any time. Yeah, you know, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but it is a great. It is a great platform for someone starting off to really just quickly put a course together, get it online and start making money. Awesome man. Well, I I hope, those who are reading this. If we do share it, will follow you and buy your courses and I’m kind of see how you do it, how you promote your courses from the student perspective, I think that’ll be useful.

Yeah awesome dude! Thank you. So much I appreciate your time and thank you soon. Yeah yeah all right. So I guess I’ll end this article now and here we go


 

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