Don't Make Your First course Free. New Free Courses Are Not Getting Students

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Don't Make Your First course Free. New Free Courses Are Not Getting Students

Hi there,

I am a new instructor on Udemy. But i am late! I am so much disapponted to see that new free courses on Udemy is not getting much students. I was researching and trying to find out other new instructor first free course and i got very bad result. Udemy must have changed the algorithm. Here is an instructor that you can see "" He published his first free course 1 week ago but got only 100 free students.

I am not going to make courses on Udemy anymore! Because what's the point? After working hard i will get very few students. Good Luck old instructor...

55 Replies

Hi @Mona364, it sounds like what you've been noticing are tests that we're running on our search and discovery algorithms. We're always looking for ways to optimize our search experience so that learners can find the courses that they will love and keep coming back to Udemy for more.


One of the things that we have been testing is the impact that the free course filter has on our search algorithms and student enrollments. We're not getting rid of free courses and believe that free courses are an extremely valuable tool to help students get acquainted with a new topic, instructor, and learning online in general.


As with all of our experiments, these are not permanent changes and only a portion of our users see the test experience. We will be reversing the search filter back to allow filtering by “Free” at the end of the experiment.


While we're running an experiment on the free course filter, I do want to reiterate that there are a lot of factors that influence a students decision to enroll in a course, free or paid, on Udemy including course topic fit, video quality, topic demand, existing supply, etc. We are an open marketplace and can't guarantee that any course will be more or less successful than another. I've also shared your feedback with the team.

Hello @JocelynH,

I wanted to teach on Udemy. I like to teach people! But after doing some research i found out Udemy is making it harder for new instructors to become more successful. I just gave you one link. There are several new instructor's links that i have and i can share with you. So many people are working hard and publishing their first course as free so that their account can get a few students. May be the next time they are planning to publish a paid course. Students do like to pay for a new paid course if the instructor at least have some students. But those instructors are getting ver bad result.

I think the problem is not about "Free Option" in the filter. It is the problem with "Udemy marketing boost". Udemy is not doing "marketing boost" for new instructor's free courses.

Actually i want to teach on Udemy, Can you answer some of my questions?

1) When will Udemy start doing "Marketing boost" for new instructor's free course?
2) Is that thing only happening to those instructors who are not perfect in english speaking, such as: instructor from India/Bangladesh?
3) When Udemy will stop doing tests related to free courses? Can you give a time frame? (new instructor will get more students - test)
3)  How can i publish my first course as free and get more students? (i am excepting that you will give me some tips/tricks)

I know Udemy is an open marketplace and they are not able to force people to buy. But at least Udemy can try people to buy. Most of the instructors don't have any kind of following. They are so much busy in getting degrees and other educational materials that a few of the instructor have good following. Their most follwoing are generated from Udemy. As a new instructor i am not going to spend money to give ads. And now after seeing all those test, i won't. Because i have no idea, what will happen to my paid courses. Thanks for sharing it with the team, may be they will think about the situation of new instructors.

Have a great day!

Hey @Mona364, if you're opted into Udemy Deals, then your course will be included in our promotions. It doesn't matter what language your course is in or where you're located.


I'm unable to share when experiments related to free courses will end. You can expect this particular test to run for a couple more weeks.


The first step to getting students is publishing your course! There are also some really great resources in the community about how to best market your course. I'd recommend using the Search bar and looking up key words like "marketing". You can also look at our Teaching Center which has a 30 day marketing plan.

My last question @JocelynH 

1. So anybody on Udemy who is giving a free course only getting 100-200 students. Udemy is not doing the marketing boosting anymore.
2.Or anybody who is new to Udemy giving a free course only getting 100-200 students. Udemy is not doing the marketing boosting anymore.

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Why would Udemy spend money on promoting free courses?
They will NEVER make any money on that course. 

Thor Pedersen - IT , Project Management, and Cyber Security trainer

My mom don't give me food if I won't work.... Smiley LOL

did you publish your course? On which topic? Why you want to sell it for free? 

No i didn't publish my course. I want to teach free because i want to attract some students on my account. I have 0 students. Now may be Udemy is making new rules that free courses will not get much students. A free course shall get 50-100 students only.

I love it when someone posts that they are "through with Udemy", like Udemy failed them, and they don't even have a published course on Udemy. 


Have you considered that when courses fail to attract students maybe it is not Udemy's fault. Maybe it is because their course is not good, does not appeal to students, and is in a very crowded marketplace where there are excellent courses. There are a lot of courses that should never have been published. That is the fault of the instructor, not Udemy. I looked at the course you referenced, and to be very honest, it is terrible, and it is up against dozens of very good courses on Python. It has no reason to succeed.


Stop asking to be given something. Udemy is not in the business of making you successful. That is your job. If you develop an excellent course, and if you do the things that YOU need to do to market it, you can build a business here. But, most people fail because they want to blame someone else, the marketplace, instead of looking in the mirror. 


Show us your course and maybe we will say, "Gee that is great! It really should sell." Or we may give you some honest feedback that could lead to success.


Lawrence M. Miller

Hello M. Miller,

Udemy is making it harder for new instructors to become more successful. I just gave one link. There are several new instructor's links that i have and i can share with you. So many people are working hard and publishing their first course as free so that their account can get a few students. But it is not happening. There are new changes on Udmey algorithm and it may have bad effect on newly published paid courses as well.

Kio Raj
Mechanical Engineer.

Forget about changes to Udemy. Show me a course by a new instructor that is well done, that has been developed with some degree of excellence, by an instructor who has credibility, experience. Then you may have a point.


Do you think that anyone who wants to write a book, get published and make money, succeeds because publishers and bookstores are supposed to make them successful. NO. Most people can't write, don't have good ideas, arent' willing to put in the hard work, etc. Developing courses is the same. You have to do research, develop you presentation and course development skills, and you have to do some marketing yourself. That is how it works. 



Lawrence M. Miller

Hey @LawrenceMMiller ,

Every good instructor start as a 0. New instructor. course link "" Have a rating better than you 4.7. Teaching one of the most valuable topic "Java Script". Course published month 7/2019 and got only 30+ students so far! I shall give you some free course link as well. But Udemy is always testing and testing and not allowing to search for free course.
Selling books and selling online courses are totally different thing. You can not just give an example about their similarity. Do you know there is a thing like "Udemy marketing boost". If an instructor publishes course he needs that to reach more people, if he don't do that his course will not work well. It is not possible to attract a lot of people by just giving ads and uses of other self marketing strategies. If the target is small like getting 1000-2000 paid students then self marekting is good. But if you want to get 100k students in your course then it is impossible to do that as own self marketing. There are a lot of new instructor who are not getting "Udemy marketing boost" for the first free/paid course. Will you say, all of them are bad and can not make courses. Do some research before making any point. You are an old instructor that should not let you think "i don't care about new instructor, new instructor can not make good courses". That's why i care about the changes and i will do care.

Kio Raj
Mechanical Engineer.

You are just gettting rid of your clothes and wanna jump in swimming pool, which is far far away from you. 

Hello @Sijal_Ahmed ,

Same to you! I think your swimming pool have a long distance than my swimming pool. Because i am not teaching CFD.

The course you showed this time looks like a good course, although I know nothing about that topic. However, it was published only last month. It takes time. You don't build an audience over night. 


We were all new instructors at one point. It took me at least two years and six or seven courses before I was making any significant money. I also went back and completely re-recorded my first two courses because I realized how bad they were and I had learned a lot about creating quality videos. 


Look carefully at this graph of my earnings. The actual numbers are not important. But look how long it took me to get decent results. I worked at it over time. I didn't quit after a month of not getting sales. Don't tell me to do research or try to tell me how Udemy works. I have been studying how the Udemy system works for almost five years. 
Reveue history.JPG


Lawrence M. Miller

Miller it is indeed very impressive track record. 

@LawrenceMMiller ,

You will never get it! I have made my point that you asked for. New instructor can be good/ can be better than old instructors. Earning and actual number are related. I am saying it was very much easy to get students 2 years back but now it is becoming hard! I am not that kind of person who says "let it be what it is" I like good changes. Udemy should improve, don't be downgraded. If it was 2 years yearlier this instructor shall have 1000+ students. It is downgrading of Udemy like 2016. New instructors like me would not like to continue. 

Why? Becuase now every one wants to be inscturoctor as everybody knows that online eduction is the future and you can earn good money. 

But this also means you will face furious compitition in marketplace. No average course will beat the existing best sellers or highest rated courses. You have to bring best of best in the market. 

I know what you are saying. Everybody knows that.

You seem to know everything, so you should do very well and you don't need the opinions or experience of experienced instructors. 


good luck. 


Lawrence M. Miller

vey true, I completely agree even I was facing some difficuly earlier but have gradually started gaining students. And now I am happy and actually started working as a full time instructor at udemy. And i Love making couses and love to answere my student's queries. I actually enjoy it.

Yes! Looks like a future course though! However I honestly feel looking back at my previous experience while establishing a youtube audience so so forth, I will look back at concurrent feedback up of what audiences indeed will like about me! And also somewhat this will be a magnitude of experience up if selling techniques within my industry up of hairstyling while I perform online as well as within the workplace, allowing me a substantial income !!

FYI: The course ""  mentioned in the above comment that it only has 30 students, now got 3250+ enrollments :-). Happy to see a happy ending.

Not applicable

I agree.....some people feel like the world owes them something, and they wonder why they aren't becoming millionaires a week later. Things are actually working EXACTLY as they should. If something isn't excellent, then it's MEDIOCRE.

Hello sir 

I published my first free  course yesterday but I'm not getting any enrollment.

Can you please help me? 


Those who have ears, let them hear and understand. Well said!

I am a new instructor on Udemy

No you are not... Yet! 



 I am so much disapponted to see that new free courses on Udemy is not getting much students. 

  •  How did you find it without publishing a single course? 
  • There is no point of making low quality free courses. Free low quality courses, does not mean people will like it. 


 I was researching and trying to find out other new instructor first free course and i got very bad result. 

How did you research on it? How authantic your research is? Any data to support it? As I have already said low quality garbage will not attract any one! 


Udemy must have changed the algorithm.

Well again you have no data, as you have never published a single course... But why are you looking on something which is out of your contorl? Why dont you pay attension to publish your course? If you are not interested in publishing a course, then this discuission has no point to continue... 


He published his first free course 1 week ago but got only 100 free students.

Who is he? Whether he is failure or sucess, will it affect you? No!!! Then there is no point of discussing about someone else. Rather pay atttension to yourself. 


I am not going to make courses on Udemy anymore! 

What A joke! You have never published a single course and you are saying ANYMORE!


Because what's the point?

Whats the point of this post then, if you are not interested to publish any more courses here? 


After working hard i will get very few students.

But you motive was to spread eduction and not earning money. So it does not matter if you have low or high number of students. Dont leave the noble cause.  


Good Luck old instructor...

Whom you are talking to? Coz you are saying insturctor xD 








Ha ha ha. Everything that you said i can prove wrong. But i don't have free time to waste on you.
Kindly work on your IQ.

You raise a valid point.


New instructors have long used the technique to get a presence on Udemy through this technique.


If Udemy remove this option, then I suggest thinking about creating a Free Course and putting it in a Facebook group and on YouTube.


That way you can still generate free students and then push the traffic where you want to.


Udemy is not the only place you can put free content if you want to launch an instructor business.

Excatly. For free content YouTube is much better place and has reach of billion of people on the go. 

Why don't you also reach billion by it? 😄 Billions of people will love you ❤️

I have 6 years old channel on udemy and more than 300 videos are already on it. 

How much do you earn? Can you make more than $5 per month? If you can make it more than $5 from udemy per month that would be really great!

Dont ask it from @LawrenceMMiller  @PhilEbiner @ScottDuffy @JasonDion about this as they are already making more than $5-25 per month (sorry I forget to add K at the end). 

I have already crossed 1K months ago on udemy. Hoping to cross 2K within few months.  

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I don't know if any of this is really "changed".


So you're saying it's harder to be successful on Udemy than it was 5 years ago? Yes it is.


Harder to be successful on Youtube than it was 5 years ago? Yes it is.


Harder to be successful on Amazon FBA / Amazon Kindle / Facebook ads / Google Ads / Making money from Adsense / ..... yes. All that is true.


Udemy is not "making" it harder. It's harder as more people enter these markets looking to make money.


Yeah, a JavaScript course will have a hard time being successful. You can learn Javascript for free all over the Internet. Pick a better topic.

@ScottDuffy Well said.


@JocelynH Thanks for keeping everyone in line. Can we ensure only "Published Instructors" are part of the Published Instructors club? 


Someone who has not published a course or is not Udemy staff should not be part of this group.


An aspiring instructor can certainly be part of Studio U.

Hey @RajGupta, this conversation is currently happening in Studio U. Only published instructors have access to Published Instructor Club. while published instructors have access to both.

Hey everyone, please remember to be respectful of one another. There are many ways to create a course and get it in front of students. There isn't one correct answer, and that's okay. 


Let's also keep our community values in mind, specifically "be a learner" and "be open minded," as you continue this conversation. Thanks!

@JocelynH  I asked you a question and didn't get any answer. Can you reply?

@Mona364 What is your question? I will try to answer it if I can.


Lawrence M. Miller

You think, All you have to do is to create some xyz course, and Udemy and entire universe will work relentless in filling your pockets !


@sachinites If i create my courses by closing my eyes i shall create a better course than your CFD courses... 

Please be respectful of one another. This is my final warning.


If I see any more taunts or jabs from anyone in this thread, that person will receive a community violation. For reference, here are our community guidelines which all participants of the community must follow.

@JocelynH I was not doing anything, he @Sijal_Ahmed  started it again. Now i am stopped... 😄

@Mona364  you are replying to @sachinites and not me. Seconly @sachinites teaches Network, Linux etc. 





I am now in my second year in a very competitive field: finance. Here is my advice for you.


Your Java course must be the best Java course on Udemy. Because you are a new instructor. If your course is not as good as the best courses on Udemy why will students buy your course?


if you were a student would you buy the tenth rank course or the best course?


My first course was 2.5 hours. It sold about $20/month atleast better than 0. Then I updated it and now it is 10 hourse. It is doing better. And my course has content that other courses on Udemy and elsewhere dont have. And I make that very clear to students.


As a new instructor you have to be better than existing instructors to succeed. Dont put up an average course and expect it to sell above average. It will not work.

Wow, this thread turned into a heated discussion. I see several good points being made here. @Mona364 is correct that publishing one free course is not a great strategy, and Udemy is not going to take an active role in marketing free courses. So therefore, it is not reasonable to expect to become successful with one free course.


That said, I think having a free course can be part of a larger success strategy (I have one free course, out of 12), but that strategy must also include having multiple courses that are really well done and bring real value to students, youtube videos, FaceBook group, etc. 


And Lawrence Miller is definitely correct that success takes time to build. I've been teaching on Udemy for less than 2 years. I didn't start out successful. I'd say it took me around a year and maybe 8 or 9 courses to build up to what I'd consider "success" (this will mean different things to different people). It was a HUGE amount of work and all done next to my regular job. I've also completely re-made 3 of my already-published courses, because I was unhappy with the structure and because my original AV setup was crappy (poor sound quality, etc).


I believe that success on Udemy can be deceptive for new instructors. When you watch a great course, it's easy to get the impression that the instructor just sat down, recorded the whole thing start-to-finish, and then published and become a millionaire. What isn't apparent is the huge amount of time that goes into each lecture to make it good. A 20-hour course will easily take me months to create. I'd estimate that each 10 minute video is around 2 hours of work to produce (for me; others may have different experiences). 


So, should you forget about making courses on Udemy? It takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience. And there is no one but yourself to give you deadlines. To be honest, if you are so easily frustrated before even getting started, then perhaps you are better suited for other kinds of work. But if you think you can have a positive attitude, work towards long-term goals, and stay focused to create a really valuable learning experience for students, then it's definitely not "too late" to start making a successful career on Udemy.

Good morning from Singapore. 

I came here to start my journey as an instructor and read this... WHOA!


I've been learning from udemy on and off for a few months, and I've signed on to a few free programs. 


The free programs, in my opinion, are starters or introductions to trainers. If we look at it that, way perhaps we won't be as pressed to hurrily make thousands of dollars. 

I'm a teacher and I'm an educational company manager. My addition here is to switch focus from worrying of making money (I'm not saying money is not important) but focus on your content. Your product. And you.

Watch your language skills, grammar and vocab. 

Your attitude to your possible students. 

Produce materials to help others build themselves. Business will then come. 


I'll have to disagree with you. I put a class out there on Business Analytics a few weeks ago and on Saturday, I made it free for 2 hours to get initial students. It picked up 270 students within that time. 

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