My first course on Udemy took less than a month, from idea to creation, to going live. And since I was working from home during that time, I was able to work long stretches on the course – sometimes 6 or 8 hours non-stop in an afternoon and evening. Having the course live in 30 days was an accomplishment, and I was a “winner” in the Udemy October Challenge for doing that and finishing all their milestones.
Of course, knowing a lot about Google Analytics from my life in corporate web development, shortly after launching I added the Google Analytics tags to the site, and started to watch the traffic. Fortunately for me, Udemy was running a promotion immediately after I launched, and I was able to get in on it and be on the “New and Noteworthy” page of that promotion.
And then, I started thinking of conversions. How was my course title doing? How’s the image? How many people see the course and go, “yuck!”, versus those that say, “want!”? I wanted to improve the course, I wanted to market the course, but I also wanted to put my “best foot forward” as they say, and ensure my landing page was a great salesperson for me.
Tracking conversions meant having to set up goals in Analytics for my course. And that meant understanding Udemy’s URL structure. What did the funnel look like?
Fortunately, the way Udemy treats URL’s while navigating its main site is different than the way it passes them to Google Analytics. I say fortunately, but the desktop website uses the same URL for students that have signed up for the course, and students that have not signed up for the course. And has an “interactive video player” that operates inline without reloading the page. But behind the scenes, it constructs a quite sensible “fake” URL to send to Google Analytics that helps with tracking. Each video play sends a pageview event to Google, even if the web page doesn’t refresh. Nice job, Udemy tech folks.
Once I figured out how it worked behind the scenes, I wanted to explain it to some friends who also have courses. I believe in sharing knowledge to others that might be valuable to them. I screencasted a little tutorial on setting up goals, and posted it to Facebook. I realized, then, that it was 15 minutes of video. Whoa. “If I could talk for another 15 minutes, I would have a course”, I commented on my own post. That was 2:12 PM on a Sunday.
I spent the afternoon recording some screen-share sessions of me running through my own Google Analytics account, and how I set up the goals and funnel. Several hours was spent editing the video, adding annotations, and cleaning it up.
By 9:00 PM that day, I had my second course published on Udemy, “Google Analytics for Udemy Instructors – Hassle Free Reports”.
I don’t want to trivialize the process of creating a good, deep, rich course on a topic. If you goal is to teach a subject (i.e. How to make your first iOS app), that can’t be done in a day. The more time you invest in creating a course, in general, the better the course will be, the higher you can charge for it, and the more satisfied your students will be.
But I had a very specific subject for a very specific audience. How to set up Google Analytics for Udemy instructors. I already had the knowledge. The number of things you can do in Google Analytics as a Udemy instructor is limited since you don’t control the website code, and your students can only do two things – buy the course, or watch the lectures. So I was able to make a complete course on that subject, encompassing all that they needed to know, in a short time period. This did not need to be a 6 hour course. In 30 minutes, you will have your Google Analytics configured and you can just look at reports from that point forward.
In terms of reviews, it was well received. Several instructors left great 5-star ratings. In terms of sales, it’s paid for dinner. But I still have big plans for it.
In a future post, I will get into more detail into how I was actually able to create a course in a day. And I’ll talk about the process of creating my other course which took a lot longer.