5 practical tips to start & grow your YouTube channel

The 5 pillars of success for YouTube channel: Create good content; Video metadata & thumbnail; Video upload consistency; Encourage subscribe & engagement; Discovery ads & external traffic.

YouTube is like a gold mine for video content creators, it is no doubt the best platform for solid creators to generate steady income and compensate for their efforts.

Just take a look at the top 10 richest YouTubers in Malaysia, with AdSense earnings of 5 to 6 figures in a month! While it is not an easy feat, YouTube gold is achievable provided you put in your blood, sweat and tears!

YouTube gold mine

You are at the right place if you are just starting out, as we list down some easy-to-understand, important criteria to grow your YouTube channel.

First of all, you need to understand "Video SEO" and "Channel SEO". SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, it is important for your videos to be discovered and recommended by the YouTube algorithms so that you stand a chance!

  • [message]
    • What determines Video SEO?
      • Click-through rate: Clicks from the listing to your video.
        Watch rate: Watch percentage and duration of the video.
        Engagement rate: Like / dislike, comment, reply.
        Traffic source: Link from external, embedded, within YouTube?
  • [message]
    • What determines Channel SEO?
      • Total watch time: Total combined watch time of all videos in your channel.
        No of subscribers: Total YouTube channel subscribers.
        Publishing consistency: How frequent are you releasing a new video?
        No of videos: Total number of videos in your channel.
All the following tips are meant to boost the Video SEO and Channel SEO above.

Tips #1: Create good content

Top 4 content categories on YouTube

This is by far the most important, make-or-break criteria for any YouTube channel. If you are not creating interesting content, your channel is not going anywhere no matter how hard you optimize it.

If you are just starting out, it is good to first find out the top 4 content categories on YouTube:
  • Comedy
  • Music
  • Entertainment / pop culture
  • How-to
Here's the expanded top 10 most popular types of video on YouTube:
  1. Product Review Videos
  2. How-To Videos
  3. Vlogs
  4. Gaming Videos
  5. Comedy/Skit Videos
  6. Haul Videos
  7. Tag or Challenge Videos
  8. Favorites/Best Of Videos
  9. Educational Videos
  10. Unboxing Videos
If you are planning to produce content in one of the categories above, then great! It is ultimately important to choose a topic that you can master otherwise you can forget about starting a YouTube channel.

Tips #2: Video metadata & thumbnail

YouTube metadata example

After you upload your YouTube video, make sure to update the video metadata like title, description and tags. This is for both YouTube and the audience to understand what kind of video you are publishing before even watching the video itself.

You probably need to research yourself on what kind of text keywords to use, just don't try to outsmart YouTube by stuffing and spamming your content with keywords.

From my experience, third-party tools like vidIQ is very helpful especially on which tags to use, and how your video would rank for a particular keyword as you can see from the screenshot above.

While you can pick a scene from the video and set as the thumbnail, it is best to prepare an interesting thumbnail to boost click-through rate from the listing.

Tips #3: Video upload consistency

YouTube consistency is the key!

Unless you are PSY with Gangnam Style, the more videos you have the better in most cases.

Similar to writing articles for a blog, starting a new YouTube channel is easy but the consistency and persistence to keep producing good video content is where most people would fail.

It is even more challenging as you are likely to start a YouTube channel on part-time basis so you probably have to juggle your time and commitments carefully.

Therefore, it is important to find a topic that you are passionate about, as you need to keep creating video content for this topic in the long run.

Tips #4: Encourage subscribe & engagement

YouTube end screen example

In contrary to Facebook where page fans / likes can be boosted by advertising, it is not easy to grow your YouTube subscribers especially when you are just starting out.

As explained earlier in this article, both subscribers and engagement are important factors for your video's ranking on YouTube.

Therefore, don't be shy about asking your viewers to engage (like, comment) and subscribe to your YouTube channel, which can be done easily in the end screen.

Also, try not to be too flat during the start of the video otherwise your audience will lose interest and leave! Remember the watch rate factor?

Tips #5: Discovery ads & external traffic

YouTube analytics: Traffic source

How to grow your video views? YouTube advertising (with various formats available via Google Ads) is the easiest way to get your views up on YouTube.

In my opinion, In-stream ads work better for commercials, while you might want to focus only on Discovery ads if you wish to promote your video content.

With relevant target placements, you can get the audience to watch your video independently instead of being a "skippable" part of someone else's video.

While you can start off with Discovery ads, I don't think relying solely on YouTube ads is a good way to grow your YouTube channel in the long run.

Imagine even if you boost your video to 1M views with most of them coming from ads, YouTube would know that almost all your views are "bought" and this is not a strong signal to boost your SEO.

Therefore, try promoting your videos outside of YouTube, or embedding them in the website. Ultimately, you want to aim for more organic traffic coming from YouTube search, suggested videos and external.

In conclusion, there is no shortcut in growing a YouTube channel as it might take months or more than a year to start seeing results. It takes a lot of trials and errors, persistence and patience to YouTube success!



Silver Mouse: 5 practical tips to start & grow your YouTube channel
5 practical tips to start & grow your YouTube channel
The 5 pillars of success for YouTube channel: Create good content; Video metadata & thumbnail; Video upload consistency; Encourage subscribe & engagement; Discovery ads & external traffic.
Silver Mouse
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