Hackernoon logoRace to the Top: The Online Tech Teaching Hustle by@rocco-balsamo

Race to the Top: The Online Tech Teaching Hustle

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@rocco-balsamoRocco Balsamo

It’s been a month since I launched my online course on Udemy and it’s exceeding my expectations! Here’s how I got to the top of the heap.

This updates my last article, “The Online Tech Teaching Hustle w/ Udemy” which I wrote approximately two weeks after launching.

Search Results

Here are the results when I search for chrome developer tools. My course has the top spot with the “Bestselling” tag.

Find my course here, with a better price tag!

I honestly didn’t expect this, but I worked smart and my diligence paid off.

Quality Course First, Marketing Second

Before I get into the marketing tricks that I used to get here, I want to remind potential instructors to post good shit.

Quora: What is the best way to get traffic on your blog? SEO, SMM, PR, etc?

Google has tens of thousands of PhDs figuring out how to provide the best answers to search. All you have to do is post good shit, and let Google do what it does.
— Guy Kawasaki Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador

And that’s just what I did. I am proud of my course! It has added real value to the lives of real people.

But I wanted more!

I’ll explain how I got to the top of the list shortly, but first, I need some help with my next course about WebGL and Unity! Would you join my early access team to help me refine some lectures?

Limited to the first 15 signups. Get on it!

Anatomy of the listing

If you’re an instructor, know that the search results screen is where you should invest serious time.

Let’s take a look at some things in the listing

Attention Grabbing Image

It took me five minutes to crop and create this image, but I’ll guess that Google spent a 500K developing the Chrome logo — conducting dozens of A/B tests. It has bright colors and lines directed inward to draw your attention.

The image looks uglier and less refined than the other course images, but I think the attention grabbing nature is what’s really important here.

Search Optimized Title

Potential students will search for a couple of things

  • Chrome Developer Tools
  • DevTools
  • Chrome DevTools
  • Google Chrome Developer Tools

Every single one of those terms is embedded in the title, subtitle, and description.

I experimented with Udemy’s auto-complete when typing some of these terms to see exactly what potential students would be searching for.

I also added the term “2017” to signal that this material is current. And “Beginner to Expert” to signify that this will help a wide audience including beginners and professionals!

Premium Price

I am offering more content and (I think) a better class than the other offerings on the topic. If I was a student, I’d rather spend the bucks to get the right training than waste my time with a cut rate class.

And for the bargain hunters? There’s coupon links all over the web, just like this.

Great Ratings

Here’s how I got great ratings.

Most importantly, I followed the “post good shit” method (see above). But I also recruited some of my webdev friends to take the class early and leave their honest feedback. I did this with personal messages on Facebook.

Hey XXX- I am getting into the online teaching biz and I thought you could check out my class and leave your honest review. The review prompt occurs about 12 minutes in. Pro tip: Watch me at double speed with the controls in the lower corner!

For every 30m of video I have a 5 second interlude asking people to leave a review. Icing on the cake? I’ll donate $10 to Mission Bit for each of the first fifty written reviews.

facebook friends to the rescue!

You’ve Read this Far

I offered a $19 coupon above, but since you read this far here’s a $10 coupon for my devtools class. It’s the lowest price I’ll ever offer, and ends May 5.

Bestselling Tag


This one, I can’t control directly. I think the tag popped up about three weeks after launch. I was convinced that I wouldn’t get it, because I did not post free coupons online and my student numbers were lower than competing courses.

Apparently, the rate of sales is what’s key here, and not free users! Horray!

There are many reasons free students are not ideal, but I’ll write about that in a later article. Make sure to follow me on Medium to get the scoop.

Other Stuff

There are three other items that make my course stand out.

  1. More content: More than competing courses, but not too much! Comprehensive, concise information only.
  2. Fancy title: I don’t like fancy titles. But, especially for the inexperienced, this suggests some authority. I may change it to “Software Dude at tintup.com” someday.
  3. Appeal to Large Audience: I developed the course in such a way that it was suitable for beginners, but peppered in nuggets of information that senior developers might not know yet. Later lectures are advanced.

That’s all for Now

That’s how I used some smarts to build a great course listing and get to the top of the pack!

Please 💚 if you learned something new today. It gives lots of motivation to keep writing articles like this! And don’t forget about the advisory board for my WebGL class.


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