This article will most likely the most useful and complete resource you will ever need to increase your YouTube knowledge, content quality and, as a consequence, views and subscribers over time.
Bold statement, right? But it’s true, you will realise it once you read. So enjoy your read, and at the end you will be like “damn, this article was gold!”
This guide will be split in three parts.
The first one is a short, to the point bullet list of all the things you have to learn and keep in mind when growing your YouTube channel. It will be, in a way, your YouTube Commandments. 28, to be exact.
We will then break down and expand all of them, to learn specific tricks and tips – which is part 2.
And lastly, in part 3, we will discuss a holistic approach to YouTube growth.
Part 1, here we go. Quick but intense.
The 27 YouTube Commandments To Grow Your Channel
- Create niche-specific channel, to increase viewer retention, conversion, and engagement
- Keyword research on YouTube can make all the difference. Later in this article, we will learn how you can do it.
- There is no perfect topic. Just keep posting quality, relevant and updated content. You will see results gradually.
- Thumbnail is so, so important; invest your time to create the best thumbnails. A good thumbnail takes at least 20 min.
- Make the thumbnail with vivid color and great color contrast (to grab attention)
- Make a thumbnail that sparks curiosity of the viewers (and intrigue them to click)
- Finish it off with an intriguing, unique title, to convert the impression to a click
- A great title must spark emotion, intrigue, and possibly include the word “you” (personal involvement)
- Use relevant tags only. You want YouTube to suggest the video to the right audience, to have better performance
- Rename your raw file before upload using your video’s target keywords (not a game changer, but it takes just a few seconds and may improve SEO ranking a bit)
- Always keep the intro short, since 75% of users leave the video in the first 30 seconds. Be different, get their attention
- The first 20 seconds are by far the MOST crucial on YouTube. Make something very engaging yet short to get the audience’s attention.
- Use end cards. You may not have an outro, but it’s really necessary to have cards at the end of your video.
- Always put info cards in the most “dead” moments of the video, to eventually rescue visitors leaving and keep them on your channel
- Humans respond emotionally well to surprises, changes of rhythm and “rollercoasters”. Do that in your video, to -keep the visitor engaged and addicted to your next surprise.
- Examples of rollercoaster and changes of rhythm are, as per the audio: using many different background songs, removing background music to add it again, create audio sync
- Examples of rollercoaster and changes of rhythm are, as per the video: change clips/camera angles, change clips/camera zoom and crop, use effects, text and lower thirds
- Don’t be afraid to ask for likes, comments, shares or subs. Engagement and percentage conversion influence your ranking
- Asking for likes or subs by providing a reason, without asking too often, or after giving value (i.e. entertainment, at the end of a video) is the most effective approach
- A great video has a CTR of 7% or more and watch time of 40% at least, if 8-15 minutes long. If you are not there yet, that’s your goal
- A shorter yet more intense video, is better than a longer yet less intense video. Viewer retention and response is more important than how many ads you can put.
- As a fact, though, longer videos tend to get more views from the algorithm. Without compromising quality, aim to better length
- Upload regularly. Just do it. If your channel is inactive, your ranking and engagement will both tank
- If you don’t have money, make quality content and make money
- When you make enough money, scale your channel (or ideas) by outsourcing or creating a team
- Put visitors into loop views, by producing similar content in your channel
- Use analytics to your advantage, to understand what works, what does not. Reading analytics is the difference between who makes videos as a hobby, or as a real business that will succeed
A Practical Guide And Pro Tips For Each Of The 26 YouTube Commandments
Now we will take a dive into the second part of the article, which will break down each of the “YouTube Commandments”.
If you are planning to skip the article, you should know that each of the paragraphs that follow will include new knowledge and practical tips for you.
This is not simply about expanding each bullet point, but rather providing deeper knowledge and actionable advice.
Let’s get started. It will be a long ride, but worth every second…or word.
1) Create a niche-specific channel to get more views and better engagement
Just think about it. How often do you see generic channels, getting lots of views on every single video? Never. They might have some trending videos, but many will not perform.
The reason behind these, are essentially two:
- First, all the people that like, engage, and subscribe to a specific video, later on will not be interested in different content. There will never be loyalty and engagement, and new videos won’t benefit from the kick-off power of a fan base. Also, users in general will be less likely to spend more time on a generic channel and subscribe to it and, a little reminder for you, both conversion rate and time spent on a whole channel are ranking metrics.
- The second reason, is authority. A YouTube channel that makes videos about a specific niche, gains authority over time from the algorithm. And will become more and more powerful when providing fresh content about that specific niche.
So, to have a healthy channel that will get great engagement and potentially many views on every new video (or as many as possible), needs to be niche-specific. Having one niche means better engagement, conversion, retention of visitors, ranking and, therefore…views.
Tips on choosing a niche for you
Now, is there a specific niche to choose? Is there the “perfect” niche? Nope. Any niche can work.
We know people making millions of views per month on a Disney niche, others having the same results on a cooking niche. Pick a niche you are passionate and expert about it, where you are able to provide original and unique content.
“I should pick a niche I am passionate about…” yes, I know. This is a very cliché way to tell you what niche you should pick, I agree. But, it is also the truth.
Hence, step one: choose a niche and stick to it. And make something unique in that niche!
2) Keyword research will make THE difference
If you studied some SEO or owned a website, you surely do know the importance of keyword research. In SEO, keyword research essentially means finding keywords with a good traffic volume but, not too much competition.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world – just after Google – so keyword research must be a part of your growth strategy.
But, it is also true that views from search are a minor part, because most of the traffic comes from suggested videos.
That is why, keyword research on YouTube is a bit different.
The 2 YouTube keywords Strategies
The way we see it, there are two ways of searching for good keywords.
The first one, is the classic SEO one, and you can use different tools for that, such as VidIQ, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner. These tools are precious as they give insights on the volume of keywords and you also get an idea of the competition. It basically means using keywords that people actually search for, but which possibly are not over-competitive, and then optimizing the title and metadata for those keywords.
The second way, is more “visual” and “manual”. The second way particularly targets the YouTube suggestion algorithm, and consists of three phases.
- Find what channels or topics are trending in your niche
- Find the specific videos that are currently getting most views (you will also notice a pattern over time)
- The third step is about creating videos based on what you discover.
And to create videos (step 3), just follow the two guidelines listed below:
- 3.1 > Create similar videos, but even BETTER videos similar to those which are already popular, but make them better. Better quality, better script, better voice over. It’s not copying, but improving the content available on the platform, with a MUCH higher chance of getting lots of views, than by picking a random topic.
- 3.2 > Make a video that is somehow connected to the trending videos and topics, but not covered yet by anyone, and with a very intriguing title.
Confused about the 3.2? No problem. Let’s make an example.
A trending topic, is “Best Basketball Plays of the Year”. You will do something like:
– Underrated basketball plays of the year most people missed
– Nobody talks about these plays, but they were the most insane of the year!
– Plays that, if had a proper finishing, would have been year’s best!
– Break down and analysis of the best 3 plays of the year
Now, you get a bit of what’s going on here. We are making videos related to the main topic, which surely have way less competition. Just make sure to use very unique and intriguing titles.
Final thoughts on keywords strategy
Please note that keyword strategy must not be seen as a 100% effective recipe, that will get views on each video. Some, will fail anyway.
The way it must be seen as, is the following: A keyword strategy, over time, allows you to have a much higher chance of gathering views and going viral, then posting random content or content with no research.
Essentially, keyword research over time (let’s say 20 videos) will, in 99,9% of the cases, result in more views in comparison to not doing it.
If you are serious about YouTube and want to grow, if you take hours to edit a video, then you can surely turn into a detective for 45 minutes and find some great topic, and then come out with special content ideas.
3) There is no perfect YouTube niche
We mentioned this already in commandment 1), and now we will explain a bit further.
Now, of all the 28 YouTube commandments we shared above, this is the only one that says “not”.
But, it was very much needed as people, often approach us or think there is a perfect niche or niches that will make you more views and money.
It is true in a way, but there is no perfect niche.
The best niche, is the niche you are passionate about, where you have also knowledge or skills you can show off in your videos. If there is any perfect niche, that is the one.
Hence, it is different for everyone. One person should not go for the perfect niche, but for a niche he likes.
A big question: Is it true that some niches will have more potential traffic? Yes, definitely! But those same niches will have more competition and, often times, also lower CPM (earning per 1000 views) than more specific niches with less potential audience.
A niche with more volume, will also have more competition.
So once again, don’t scratch your head thinking what niche is best for your money journey, or if you are in the wrong niche. That is NOT the problem, unless you have zero interest in it. Then yes, that might be a problem.
Interest drives motivation and passion, knowledge and skills drive better quality content. These will reflect in better video and channel performance.
4) The importance of thumbnail
If you can spend hours for creating the video, why then “ruin” the hard work with an average thumbnail, that can be made in barely 5 minutes?
This is a recurring mistake people do, maybe because they just want to get that video, they worked hard on, published as soon as possible.
But, the thumbnail is so important.
Is the first thing about your video that people see. It is what may lead to grab their attention and eventually have them to click your video. (or not…)
Therefore, before you publish your video, make sure you have a great thumbnail. Relax and take all the time you need to make something great. It’s worth it.
5+6) How to make a great thumbnail that will drive more views
As we just mentioned, thumbnail is crucial. But what are the things that make a thumbnail effective? Let’s find out.
When it comes to the “design” part, these are the most important things you should add to your checklist:
- Color contrast
- Vivid colors
- Big subject, and big text (if any)
- Attractive design
When it comes to the emotional response in the people seeing your thumbnail, you should ask yourself if your thumbnails does the following:
- Sparks curiosity (i.e. “what is happening in that video?”, “wait, what is that even about?”)
- Sparks emotion (any type of emotion, whether it is laughing or sadness)
The viewer must feel intrigued, he should question the video’s content and have the thumbnail to spark emotions into him. If it does that, it’s a win.
Now, another tip – and this might not sound very ethical correct – but if you have been in YouTube for a while, you learn that if you want to “win” at the game, you have to play by the “winner’s rules“. And that is, using “clickbait” thumbnails.
Do not be afraid to push it a bit further, because, truth is, your video will just get a better CTR and therefore more views.
With that being said, your thumbnail should also always be somewhat relevant to the content. If you read our in-depth algorithm guide, you know that audience retention is another crucial metric other than CTR.
And if your thumbnail does not reflect the video content (hence what people are expecting to see) your retention will inevitably be not as good.
The problem is not a few bad comments or dislikes due to the clickbait. The problem is, low retention that follows from a misleading thumbnail. Long story short – Some clickbait is good, but too much can be harmful. So use it carefully.
Technically speaking, the best way to create thumbnails is to make them yourself using a professional program such as Photshop. There also alternative ways of course, such as Adobe’s Free Thumbnail Creator or Canva, both of them being web based and plenty of ready templates. For custom and express work, you may also buy them.
7+8) Write a good title to convert impressions to views
Before we even get started with some tips for the title, here is a quick formula for you: Thumbnail + Title = CTR.
If we were to put the video’s assets in chronological order, the thumbnail is what catches the attention – it’s the colorful, big thing.
Then, comes the title. The title is what gives a better understanding of what the video is about, and it has a major impact on whether the viewer will finally click your video.
Hence, be relevant. But it should also be a great title to convert impressions into views even more.
In this case, by impressions I mean the “thumbnail impressions”, meaning people that did notice our video already.
So, as you see, the title is quite important and when using a title, we must make sure of these two things:
- The title should be relevant to the video’s content
- The title should be intriguing and interesting
As always, our goal is to spark interest, doubts and emotions in the people who read it, because we want them to feel the “urge” or interest to click the video.
But we also want to stay relevant, to target the right audience and get a good video performance, from people who end up watching exactly what they were expecting when they clicked on your video.
Some more tips of a good title, are:
- Use the word “you” if possible, as it is intimate and speaks directly to the viewer
- Use numbers
- Use Uppercase initials or some words fully written with uppercase
- Rewrite normal titles and topics uniquely. (i.e. “my vlog in Paris”, becomes “amazing things I did in just 20 hours in Paris”)
9) Use relevant tags only
At this point, you probably understood how we should try to find the balance between intriguing and relevant.
Being relevant is extremely important to get a targeted audience and the best video retention and conversion.
After all, imagine clicking on a video that claims “Football match highlights from the latest match”, but then all you find is some old gameplay of a video game.
Engagement and retention might be terrible and, even though this could work to grab some extra click at the beginning, in the long run it will harm both the video’s ranking and channel’s health as a whole.
When it comes to tags, nobody sees them. Nobody!
Tags are something we are doing for YouTube, specifically to help its algorithm.
So, we want to use highly relevant tags that describe both what the video is about, and niches/topics of similar interest.
The tags you include in your video, should
- Be in order of relevancy (meaning you start with the most relevant, then you start using more genetic/related ones)
Therefore, these should be the tags to be used, in order.
- First, include keywords about your video
- Then, use more broad keywords, such as tags about your niche and related topics
- Lastly, you can include some tags of trending videos, topics or creators related to your channel or that specific video
80% or more of the keywords should come from the first two bullet points, and eventually just a couple from trending – yet relevant – topics, channels or videos.
There are also tools that help to find the best tags such as VidIQ, but we still suggest to double-check manually.
10) Rename your raw file before uploading it to YouTube
If you have been around YouTube and video SEO for a while, you probably heard this tip a million times.
And yes, this is a good tip but not a game changer, as we previously said. There is never been a confirmation by YouTube and, in a test we did, we did not see a difference.
That being said, it could still help, especially for videos targeting specific keywords or to increase ranking on the YouTube search traffic source.
And, after all, how long does it take to rename a file? Possibly 10 seconds. So, we’d always suggest renaming your files just before uploading to YouTube, with something relevant rather than the random output name which your file might have.
In case you don’t know how to rename a file, you just have to right-click on the file and then “rename” it. If you recorded your video on a mobile device (and you upload it to YouTube from there), you might have to go to your file’s archive.
11+12) Always keep the intro short and engaging
When we do SEO audits for clients, this is a recurring problem. People always are not engaging enough in the first seconds, or with slow, long intros.
The first 20-30 seconds of your video are – 100%! – the most important part of your whole video.
Even if your video is 1 hour long with some gem inside, the most crucial part will always be the beginning.
Because, many people actually leave the video in the first seconds and, even retaining a 5% more, will make a HUGE difference in audience retention and performance.
And if you have enough views to have a good sample of data, then I invite you to check the analytics of your videos, and I am 100% sure that you will see exactly that.
“Yes, I get that. But what should I do then?”
Well, first of all I tell you what you should NOT do, and then give you some tip of what you COULD do.
- Use animated intro longer than 5 seconds
- Or – do not use an intro at all, or
- if you use it, you could show it after a nice and engaging video introduction
- Do not leave more than 5 seconds with no voice over (if you use voice in your videos)
- Do not tell people to subscribe or like in the first 20 seconds
What you could/should do
- Be engaging
- Spark interest on what the video will be about
- Include short bits about amazing things that the audience will get to see if they keep watching the video.
- If the above, pick the coolest pics/clips/moments (always make sure they spark interest and at the same time curiosity)
13) Always use End cards
As per commandment 10 (renaming files), this really takes a few seconds, so please do it. Always.
The difference is, end cards are even much more important and impactful. They are an amazing asset that YouTube allows creators to use.
Why? Because it helps retain viewers in our channel, increase views and maximize conversion, which will not just mean more views.
They also are a ranking factor.
So, it does not matter if you are using and outro/end screen animation or not: always, always (did we say “always” already?) use end cards.
Now, these are some good things we should keep in mind when adding our end cards:
- Start using them just before the video “fades out”, meaning the main content is about to end. Same as intro, many people leave the video before it FULLY ends. They leave the video when the “content” ends, if you get my point. Put your end screens just a few seconds before that. (if you don’t know when that is, just read your video’s analytics!)
- Try to always use the most recent video end card. The reason to this is that, when you will start having a lot of videos, all your freshly published videos (which usually are also better in terms of quality than the old ones) will benefit from an extra push.
- Use the second end card with related content. For this, you can either “trust” YouTube or, if there is some highly specific video in your channel, I suggest you to manually pick it. YouTube algorithm is smart, but not THAT smart. Your manual pick can be more effective.
14) Always use info cards during the video, in strategic moments
Just like end cards, in-video cards (that’s what I call them, for better understanding) are also very powerful.
Info cards (cards that show up during the video), also serve a similar purpose to end screen: increase conversion, extend the time visitors spend on your channel, and get more views.
Info cards, are usually targeting different types of users and need to be used strategically.
While end cards are shown at the end of the video, to users who watched until the end (and therefore loved) the video, info cards are shown to all kind of users.
And chances say that a good percentage of them, regardless of the reason, will never make it until the end.
Whether their mom called and dinner is ready, while scrolling they found a more interesting thumbnail, or simply they did not feel enough interest in that specific video, a good portion of visitor will not watch the whole video.
Info cards come to our help. And that is why they need to be placed strategically.
Rule number 1: always use them.
YouTube usually allows up to 5 cards per video, and we need to use them all.
And rule number 2: Use them in a smart way.
And the smartest – and most effective – way to use them, is to place them in moments of the video which are “dead” and there is higher risk of visitors leaving your video.
Because let’s face it, not all the video has the same intensity and you surely are aware that some parts might be not as good. That’s where you will put some end card – which will promote some of your best videos – in order to rescue and keep engaged visitors which could potentially abandon your video – and channel – forever.
The concept is that if they want to watch another video, then let that video be one of yours as well.
It’s like someone who is about to leave your web page, and then a discount code or cross-selling product pops-up!
It surely will not always work, but it will surely sometimes work, too. And that is a win and something that your videos and channel will benefit, over time.
Therefore, use cards:
- In “dead” moments, to rescue visitors (eventually get help of analytics for that)
- Most of them in the first 3-4 minutes of the video, and one in the first 30 seconds
- Use cards that link to your best/relevant videos, or…
- Even better: link them to highly clickable and intriguing video titles
Last but not least, in-video cards don’t need to be just videos. Another card that we love, is surveys. They are a great way to engage your visitors, which you could occasionally use. But, remember that using a survey will remove the option to use video cards. Which one is better? 5 videos cards, for sure. At least for most videos or longer videos!
15) Create videos with changes of rhythm and “rollercoasters”, to boost engagement and retention
Humans are emotional animals. You need to spice up your videos and create an addictive emotional rollercoaster, to get better engagement and audience retention.
It may sound as advanced psychological skills, but the concept is actually very simple, and this special ingredient to spice up your videos is as simple as it is effective.
The thing is that you don’t want to have a “flat” video, that sails quietly for 10 minutes or so. You want your video to be intense enough, to keep visitors engaged and get a great audience retention.
It is also true that it is impossible to create a video extremely intense forever, so having what we call “normal” and quiet moments is normal. The important, is no not have “normal” moments which last too long, and spice up the videos with changes of rhythm and rollercoasters.
This, will have many benefits.
- Eventually rescue visitors from leaving, if the videos is being too quiet, or “boring”
- Trigger (and therefore boost) video’s engagement (likes, comments, subscribers)
- Have stronger emotional memory about your specific video or the concepts you said, which will benefit in the long run or in term of returning visitors
- Create a rollercoaster addiction, where the user expects (and eventually stays on the video) just to see the next rollercoaster. This can be very effective with recurring rollercoaster, such as special editing effects.
16) + 17) How to create rollercoasters on both your video clips and audio
We have just seen why rollercoasters are so important and how they can boost your video performance and therefore, get more views and subscribers.
And now, it is time to see how to create this awesome rollercoaster effect, both from an audio and on a video perspective – meaning using both visual and audio tricks.
Changes of rhythm on the video (visual)
Now, we will see more actionable and practical ways to create such rollercoaster during your video. But, the generic concept, is:
- Do not keep boring or “normal” moments too long
- Spice up your video with highs and changes of rhythms, with the end result being a rollercoaster video.
This process should mostly happen when editing your video inside your editing program, when you are reviewing all the footage, cutting clips, adding effects, and seeing the video timeline.
The following are some of the most common ways to create changes of rhythm and have an intense video that will keep visitors attached:
- Zoom in and out (crop)
- Changes of camera angles
- Frequency of the changes of the clip/footage (how often this should be, depends on your niche)
- Cool editing effects and transitions (but remember to not over-edit, user experience always comes first. Keep effects and transitions smooth and clean)
- Color grading changes (i.e. black and white)
- Text and image overlays
- Short clips or memes to enhance what is happening in an engaging way
Depending on your niche, some might be more effective and easy to use. See what works best for you and is suitable to your end-video.
Changes of rhythm on the audio
The audio is crucial in a video. It is nearly as important as the clips and, a great audio, will make a huge difference. There are surely some basics of a good audio output, such as a clean and clear audio, or smooth audio levels, and picking a good background track.
But, in this article, we will talk about something more advanced, which comes after the basics have been sorted. And that is, audio editing with a rollercoaster effect.
As with the video footage, when it comes to audio, similar generic rules apply.
- Do not keep boring or “normal” audio moments too long. (we will see in a second what this means)
- Spice up your audio with highs, lows and changes of rhythms, with the end result being a rollercoaster audio. (note that we do not mean volume pitch highs and lows!)
So, practically speaking, creating an intense, engaging audio with changes of rhythm, means the following.
- Keep silent moments for too long; we see this mistake quite often in gameplay videos
- Use the same background track for too long
- Speak in a bland (monotone) voice tone, which does not bring emotional changes (inflection)
- Always use background music, if possible
- Change the tracks used during the video, ideally to match the vibe of the moment (classic, suspense, happy, etc.)
- Completely remove background music for a few moments (i.e. when saying something important, or a fail; it gives uniqueness to that moment and at the same time, more value to music when it comes back)
- Have an emotional voice tonality. (inflection). It means that you should speak like a robot or like you are reading something. Instead, speak like you talk to your best friend, fully expressing yourself.
- Use different audio levels of the background music, depending on the course of the video. For instance, if a portion of your video does not have voice, it is powerful to bring up the music levels (volume of the track), and bring them back to low again once the voice is back. You might have seen this strategy in movies or documentaries too.
- Use audio sync with the video footage. This is even more advanced, but we love to see audio sync. Bringing that in your video, will surely increase its performance. People might crave for that next, satisfying audio sync and appreciate the editing effort.
18) + 19) You MUST ask for those likes, comments, and subs (and here’s how you should do it)
Many think that likes and engagement are not a very important ranking factor.
While they are certainly not the most important, they do matter. And this was also confirmed by YouTube, in late 2021.
Therefore, we need to try our best to influence people and motivate them to like, comment and, of course, subscribe.
Whether you use your voice or subscribe animations, just do it. It is something that takes barely a few seconds and will only benefit your channel and your growth.
We noticed is a recurring issue of people not doing it, doing it but not enough, or not in the wrong way. So, how to do it?
Before we see how to do it properly, we must acknowledge is that, no matter how you do it, asking for likes, comments, etc. will always improve the engagement performance of your video. This is because you are reminding visitors and your audience to do it. So, please do it.
The second thing we must acknowledge, is that the way you do it and the timing, will make a difference. And eventually, lead to even a better engagement response.
Therefore, if the first rule is “just do it”, the second one is “do it properly”. And I will now give you some precious tips to help you.
How to ask for likes and subscribers (the right way)
- At least twice per video
- But not more than once every 4 minutes
- Once always at the end, to target viewers who watched until the end, therefore enjoyed (not too late, else they might have left the video already!)
- Once after the “top moments” of your video. (There might be more than one). This is because after giving the viewer a positive experience and while his emotions are still warm, he will be more likely to accommodate your request and leave a like/subscription
- Eventually, provide a reason to subscribe. Effective reasons are what content they can expect, how it will be better, how it can benefit them, how it will be related to what just watched, and so on.
- Do it in your unique way. People hear the “don’t forget to like” a million times per day from different videos. While as we mentioned, the rule #1 is to do it and even the basic way is ok, being unique may have a stronger impact.
- Use like animations (even if you are using a voice, you should mix them, to create a stronger response with the help of visual effects)
We have a page with Free YouTube like and subscribe animations which you can download for free. Feel free to serve yourself! 😉
Bonus tricks for you
Then, there are a few extra tricks, which can occasionally be used to increase engagement.
- Tell that at XX amount of likes, viewers will receive a reward (such a new video, a sequel, or whatever that is)
- That the likes button does not work, or something silly like that
How to ask for comments (the right way)
While the way of asking and receiving likes and subs is quite the same, when it comes to comments is a bit different.
Commenting takes more than a click: it requires investment and effort from the viewers.
Also, commenting is usually used to express an opinion (whether it is positive, negative, reflective, etc.) and therefore, to trigger comments you need to act differently.
You need to work on the content, and not ask for them. You want to trigger commenting naturally.
And, these are the most common ways to do it
- Ask for a specific opinion
- Ask to pick between different options
- When doing the two things above, remember to give “power” to the user. He must feel that his opinion is important to you or your content
- Give a “reason” to comment. For example, user can decide what the next video will be, or be featured in it (i.e. funniest comment)
- Create controversial content
- Ask questions. The more, the better. This includes questions such as “I don’t remember now, so you could tell me, but…”
- Put “easter egg” content inside your video, and have users to spot them
A few “smart” tips for you
Then, there is a couple more ways. These are a bit more “shady”, meaning they have the sole purpose of increasing comments in a cunning way.
- Make minor mistakes on purpose, so users will comment just to correct you
- Add easter eggs in form of text, such as a few frames of text like “if you were able to read this, congrats and let me know in the comments. Most people did not even notice”
- Launch giveaways and contests
If you want to boost engagement and comments further, you can also purchase them, as long as you are sure you are relying on an organic service. For instance, organic comments should be hand-written and from real people.
20) CTR and Average Watch Time as your benchmarks for success
The content you produce matters. Engaging and quality content is what makes your channel grow, have your videos picked by algorithm, and make money. Or, as the good, old saying claims, “content is king”.
While there is a subjective degree to when a video is good, and different videos may target different audiences, but there are stats as well.
And stats are more objective, as they clearly state the video’s performance and how viewers react to it.
The two most important metrics that help understand the content and define success, are CTR and average watch time.
CTR is more about the “envelope” of the content. It depends on the ideas you pick, the title, and the thumbnail.
The average watch time is more about the content itself, how much people like it and how relevant is it to what people expect when clicking. (that is why, CTR must not be increased by tricking viewers, as it will backfire during audience retention).
Each niche has different benchmarks, but if we were to give a GENERIC target, what makes a video successful is: A CTR of 6% or more and watch time of 40% at least, if the video is 8-15 minutes of total length.
If you are not there yet, that’s your goal. And you must understand how to improve the content.
With that being said, this is advanced stuff. Meaning, you should analyze this only once you have enough data. At least, 20k video views.
By doing that when a video has less traffic, you might be misled by the analytics. Don’t stress about it until you don’t have enough views volume. But, remember about this!
21) Quality (and Intensity) over length
When it comes to YouTube videos, oftentimes people want to make videos as long as possible. The two main reasons are the fact that more ads can be displayed (1), and that the watch time will be longer. (2),
But, one thing is more important than length: intensity/quality.
And let’s also break down why, even if you decide to make longer videos for one of the above two reasons, it does not make sense to make longer videos if then you reduce your video’s intensity and quality.
When it comes to Ads, the earnings and CPM actually depends also on the average watch time.
On top of that, increasing the quality of your video – even if it reduces the length – will allow you to get more views and subscribers on YouTube, and eventually more earnings in the long term.
How? Because the video might get more views due to quality. Due to a better impression on the viewer, other videos from the same channel might get views afterwards, resulting in overall growth of your channel.
And when it comes to watch time, it is not just a matter of minutes, but also percentage. Because watch time is not an absolute metric only, but relative too.
The percentage of watch time related to the actual video length matters. A lot.
So, common mistakes that people do are:
- Having videos that have many “boring” (forgive the word, but it’s true) moments.
- Moments with no voice-over, nothing special going on, or which don’t reflect the video intent and the reason why users clicked on it in the first place.
If you analyze your videos, you will see there are parts with retention drop. Either a relevant percentage of users abandoned the video, or they skipped that part. Well, those are the “boring” moments which should not be there.
When you edit your video, think of engagement for the viewer and intensity, as the most important thing. Video length is meaningless, if it does not come with intensity.
22) But…try to make longer videos
Ok, I understand your confusion. We just told you that length does not matter, and now I tell you to make longer videos.
Well, the video length comes after the intensity of the video box is ticked. Also, video length can be increased by simply increase the amount of clips (in case of compilation-like videos) or top’s, in case of the classic “Top 5, 10, etc.” videos.
The reason why you should aim for longer videos, is not to make your pocket happier. (More Ads).
The real reason is that YouTube algorithm is more likely to pick and suggest longer videos, as proven in different case studies and confirmed by nevertheless than YouTube itself.
We consider a “long” video anything above 7 minutes.
23) Upload regularly
If you have read some quick YouTube growth guide online, you might have found this already.
And it may also sound so cliché.
It is so true. Uploading regularly is so important. It’s, probably, one of the 3 most important things when it comes to YouTube success.
Only exception is, if your content is so amazing, so unique, that you have a fan base that will be waiting for you for weeks or months, and the algorithm, as well. But such cases are super rare.
The reasons why you should (or even better, “must“) upload regularly, are the following,
- A simple mathematical reason. The more videos you have, the more views you can get.
- New videos mean (usually) up-to-date content
- New videos keep your fan base active. They remind them about you and increase your relationship with them
- On the other hand, not uploading new videos can be deadly for your audience. Engagement will tank, and some people will also unsubscribe if you are inactive
- Channels that are active (therefore upload regularly) are positively rewarded by the algorithm
- Consequently, uploading new videos will also benefit older videos
- On the other hand, being inactive or uploading rarely, will result in the channel being de-ranked by the algorithm.
But since we like to back up what we say with proof, here is why the above statements are true. [Coming soon, analytics show-off]
And if you struggle to produce content regularly, then why not use a YouTube video creation service that will do it for you, or hire people – such as video editors – who allow you to allocate more time in other tasks and upload more videos?
24) + 25) Start with making videos. Scale channels with outsourcing once you have earned some money
This section describes the rise of a content creator to success, economically speaking.
In this section, we talk about your YouTube journey from the point of view of a business. In the beginning, many people may just start their YouTube channel as a hobby and to showcase their talent or passion.
But in the end, it’s true that everyone wants to earn money, too. So it makes sense to see your YouTube channel as a business entity.
A business is about two things (if we were to be generic)
- Producing valuable products for the consumers
- Doing everything that is necessary to promote those products and keep the operations running with most efficiency.
The same goes with your youtube channel.
But here’s an advantage with YouTube. Unlike starting a business, starting a channel on YouTube requires little to no investment in the beginning. It’s really easy to start a channel!
So your YouTube business journey should go like this:
- Make a channel and start producing quality content for the viewers. At this stage, you need to invest more time (your time) and creativity to deliver value to your viewers, and therefore get views and earnings as a return. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest at this stage, it’s totally okay, as the YouTube entry barrier is open to anyone. In this stage, you will also learn the ropes and see what works, what doesn’t.
- Then there is the second stage of your journey on YouTube, where you take things more seriously and with a businessman mindset. The videos you uploaded on YouTube may overtime help you earn some money, so even the second stage, can be reached by anyone. And this is the time you use that money (or your own money) to invest in your channel and scale it. This means outsourcing your video production process and marketing to a team of workers. It’s like hiring people for your business, while you manage it.
Of course, if you have a lot of money, you could skip step one. But, we suggest anyone to go through it – at least to some degree – because you need some “direct” YouTube experience to understand how things work on YouTube and therefore, be able to successfully manage an outsourced YouTube channel. Yes, Elon Musk; you too!
This is, simply, basic business applied to YouTube. We know a few brands having multiple channels which they manage with the help of outsourcing it, and they are generating millions of earnings in $ of profit each month, from YouTube.
Millions of dollars per month from YouTube, that is correct.
We ourselves, we generate 5 figures income from our channels combined, each month, on average. And anyone can eventually get there one day.
The online world – and YouTube is one of its greatest representatives – is a world where anyone can be an entrepreneur, with no need of investing money. You “just” need to put your time in.
And when it comes to time, here something you heard already. But, which is very true and sums up very good what we explained in this section.
- Time is money
- Money makes money
So, once you know your way around YouTube and you created your successful channel(s) by investing your time and learning how things work, it’s time to scale it. Scale what you are doing by using your knowledge and money, to build more online properties (channels) and content, via outsourcing.
Your Time > Your Money > Scaling (Via Outsourcing)
By the way, we also have a video creation service with additional bulk discouts, in case you are already in a position to scale and outsource. Check it out! 😉
26) Put visitors into loop views. Keep them hooked into your channel
Having visitors to watch more than just the first video from your channel that they happen to see, is quite important. For three reasons mostly
- You get more views (and earnings)
- Avg. view per visitor is an important ranking factor
- It increases fidelity (hence subscriber conversion)
Hence, you want people to stay on your channel after they first engage with it, rather than leave (and maybe forever).
You want to retain visitors.
And to achieve this, there are a few things you should do, which can be quite effective.
- Create a niche specific channel (we have seen this also as standalone point earlier)
- Use end cards and info cards strategically and with relevance (we talked also about this earlier, more specifically)
- Seed other content of your channel
- Have “series” or content split into different videos. The goal is to create videos that have their next part. This may encourage the viewers to watch the next video as well in order to complete what he started in the first video part.
These are the 4 main strategies to keep new visitors hooked into your channel, and get them to see more than one video. If applied correctly, your views and channel will highly benefit from it on the long run.
Another thing we suggest is to create highly specific playlists.
The main purpose to this is not to get playlist traffic, but to help YouTube understand how our content relates with each other, in order to have the YouTube algorithm to suggest the best and most relevant videos from us, when visitors are watching a video from our channel.
27) Use analytics to your advantage. Reading analytics is what turns a YouTube channel into a successful business!
Think of trading, finance, or even big companies. Reading data is a crucial part to their success and economic growth.
Even if you are not into money, YouTube success can be measured also with popularity and views and, if you want to get more views, reading analytics is something you should start doing anyway.
Reading data from YouTube studio helps to understand what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, what to change in order to reduce mistakes and maximize performance of our next videos.
And let me be a bit cynical, but reading YouTube analytics is what differentiates someone who does videos for fun and a real professional, a YouTube hustler and businessman.
But before we dive deeper into this with some technical advice, let me give you a pro-tip to not make this too boring.
See reading your channel’s analytics as something not boring. Reframe it to something cool that will tell you the deepest secrets about your videos, reveal data that only yourself can access and ultimately, after being a detective, will lead to more views, which is something that for one reason or another, we all crave. Cool, isn’t it?
So, let’s see how to play this analytics game.
Note, this article is still in progress and will be updated soon. Meanwhile, keep reading…
Extra: Persistence & Frequency
Persistence and frequency of uploading. Being active and uploading with a good frequency in recent years has become an important factor for YouTube, to the point that YouTube even deactivates monetization for inactive channels, which have not uploaded videos for too long.
So, even if your channel doesn’t generate views, don’t get discouraged and persist , because sooner or later the work will pay off, especially if your content is quality and curated.
This might sound as very cliché advice, but is probably the most valuable of this article if you actually listen to it. Most YouTubers (of course!) do not get the traffic they were expecting to and quit their YouTube journey too soon. Enjoy the process and enjoy creating content even if not many people are watching it. Over time, you will have more videos, the channel more authority and the views can only go up.
I talked about editing, algorithm and organizing the channel, but in my opinion persistence and upload frequency are the most important aspects on YouTube . Look at it like this, each new video increases the chances of reaching new viewers and “making it” on YouTube, on the contrary, stopping uploading or doing it sporadically reduces the chances of going viral.
It is normal that after a few months that a channel has been opened it does not receive thousands of visits and subscribers. It’s very rare for that to happen. And if you think that you need just a lot of luck to become big on YouTube, you are wrong!
In a practial way: This does not mean “upload video at full throttle” and to prioritize quantity over quality. But avoid periods of inactivity that are too long and above all have a regular uploading schedule . For example “once a week on Monday afternoon”, also letting subscribers know when videos are uploaded to increase their loyalty and view velocity.
Answering a common question…
How often should I upload on YouTube? (minimum)
It depends on the niche and how long does it take you to create a video. (For exemple, gameplays take much less than animations).
But try to upload at least once per week. 2-3 times per weeks is great. Uploading everyday is good too, if you are able to do so without lowering quality.
We have discussed a lot of ways to boost the growth of your YouTube channel. We also know that a major part of your growth comes from the recommendations that YouTube algorithm makes. In summary, these are the aspects that are taken into consideration by the YouTube algorithm to recommend videos to users (and which therefore allow you to receive new visits, subscribers, and grow quickly and organically):
I have listed them in order of importance.
- User loyalty – the time they stay on the channel after the first visit, browsing the channel and watching other videos.
- Watch time of a video and the average performance of all videos
- Active channel – no need to post videos every day, just avoid long breaks
- Conversion of new visitors (views) into subscribers or new views
- Engagement rate, mostly from shares of the video and secondly comments
From a practical point of view, these are some of the tips I talked about in the article to improve the authority of the channel.
Practical advice recap (not in order of importance)
- Curate video thumbnails
- Curate banner and profile picture
- Having a channel with a well-defined type of content (niche specific)
- Good quality video editing
- Call-out and call-to-action, both vocal and graphic
- Immediately attract the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds
- Avoid intros that are too long
- Take advantage of the final screens
- Organize the channel into playlists
- Use banner and description to make channel unique and attractive. You are the seller of your channel
- Regular uploading frequency
- Let subscribers know when new videos will be uploaded
- Avoid long periods of inactivity (2 weeks max)
Let’s finish our article by replying some common queries that people ask related to “getting more views and subcribers”.
How to get more YouTube views for free?
To get more views for free, the 3 most important factors are the quality of your content, the amount of videos you upload and the frequency, and the correct pick of niche and keywords. After that, it comes all the SEO optimization and free promotion. These include,
- Title, tags and description optimization
- Use of end cards and info cards
- Sharing the video on social media
- Promoting the video on niche-related forums and blogs
Should I buy YouTube views?
If you want to increase your YouTube views, buying them is certainly the fastest method. But, you should avoid buying fake and low quality views, as these will just harm your organic growth in the long run. If you really want to purchase them, make sure to buy real YouTube views only from transparent traffic sources.
How to get more YouTube subcribers for free?
To get more subscribers, you clearly need more views, so your man focus should be to get more views and produce great content.
At the same time, it is possible to increase the conversion rate of viewers to subscribers with a few tips and tricks, which are listed below,
- Make use of subscribe animation and call-to-actions
- Remind users to subcribe and give them a reason to
- Make niche-specific channels, so users know they can get the same type of content they are currently watching from you
Should I buy YouTube subcribers?
Generally speaking, we do not recommend to buy subscribers unless you want to increase your social proof or reach the 1000 subcribers threesold required to monetize on YouTube.
The reason for that is because, even if the purchased subcribers are real, they will engage less (or none at all) with your channel compared to organically driven subcribers.
For this reason, if your purpose is to get active and genuinely interesed subscribers, it makes more sense to buy real YouTube views, and then hope that some users will decide to subcribe your channel.
But, if you want to buy subcribers for one of the reasons mentioned in the beginning, then avoid bots or cheap subscribers as YouTube might shadow-ban you or they might all drop from one day to the next. To prevent these scenarios, buy real subcribers from trustworthy companies only.
That’s all! I hope this article has served you and you can apply the advice to your channel in the future and improve its ranking over time.
If you want to know better how the YouTube algorithm works, read this updated guide about it.
If you want to not wait any further to grow your channel then we have a few beautiful ‘subscribe and like animations’ (call-to-action) which are free to download. With just a few clicks you will increase the performance and quality of your videos!
Thanks for reading, and best of luck for your YouTube journey! 😉