YouTube will be adding mid rolls to eight-minute long videos at the end of July.
I’m going to show you how you can turn this setting on, so you can get the most out of your YouTube channel, boost your CPM revenue, making a little bit more money, especially just before Christmas and all of this US election stuff.
Add Mid Rolls To 8 Minute Videos on YouTube [From July 2020]
Now, for some of you that already have videos over 10-minutes long, you know how this works. You can either automatically place things in based on the YouTube algorithm, and it will generate adverts in seemingly the best places, but it’s not always perfect. Or you can add them yourself using the video editor.
I did a video on how to add to your own mid rolls. I’ll put it in the info cards up here.
Now, all it’s doing is moving from 10 minutes to 8 minutes.
So now there’s more videos that are relevant. It may even be that they’ve noticed on the platform that people are just under the 10-minute threshold.
How many videos have you seen recently that are nine minutes and 30-odd seconds?
So, this moves it a little bit down and four minutes with a mid roll seems about right.
What you need to do is go to your Monetization page and you will see a warning.
You can click here to see more information, which basically says that we’re going to be readjusting them for eight-minute mid rolls.
You don’t always have to use the mid rolls if you don’t want to, but there’s also this option setting where you can now choose between: “Yes, I want to opt in. No, I don’t want to.”
If you opt in, it will help you set all of your future videos from eight minutes on, and even retro set the old ones for you as well.
If you want to know how these mid rolls work, once again, there’d be an info card here, or if you want to make money outside, I’ve done a play list and a video that you can see here somewhere on this screen.
I highly advise against this and this isn’t the stereotypical thing. I’m going to twist it in a different angle, right? Because everybody knows that it’s annoying, right?
YouTube Sub 4 Sub [The Truth]
You may be growing your numbers. You may do fantastically well. Your name may be Tom or Tim or Ten, and if you know who that is recently and who can, he’s gone.
But sub for sub hurts you. It inflates your number. It makes you feel egotistically brilliant. Wait, but what it actually does is it means more time you publish that video, that sub or that person who’s not watching your videos doesn’t engage with your content.
And YouTube goes, “Oh, okay. He just got 20 new subscribers. None of them watched, maybe their content is not good enough. Maybe we weren’t right.”
You put out a video and it’s not engaged with. You don’t get that comment or that like, or any form of shares, so they are zombies, they are hopeless.
And if you choose to push out your content to a random percentage of your subscriber base, and you’ve inflated that subscriber base with a hundred really fantastic people at a million really crappy zombies, and 10% of that will go to mostly zombies that do nothing.
That’s a fantastic video, but nobody cares, so then YouTube’s going to go, “We don’t care either.”
It’s all in your heads, what you should focus on is the 10 or 20 that really focus and really care about you, than the 50 that aren’t real.
It’s a metric for vanity, only.
Now, if you want to see the full interview, click on this video here, remember to subscribe for regular tips and tutorials, and I’ll see you soon.
I can help you get more views on your video in just 15 seconds. This one little tip can help skyrocket your engagement and keep people watching for longer.
YouTube is based on engagement, how you hook people, how you keep them engaged and how quickly you can deliver on what you’ve promised. That is why you need to have a perfect hook.
Get More Views on YouTube in 15 Seconds
See, with the first 15 seconds of this video, I’ve told you what this video happens to be about, upset that expectations, and I will be delivering that value.
It’s the first 15 seconds of all of your videos that needs to set that expectation, then people will stay around for longer, they will engage for longer throughout the entire videos because they know that they’re going to get what they want.
Then that video will get promoted more because it’s been engaged with, it’s delivered exactly what they’re expecting and therefore it will get those comments, and those likes that YouTube looks to feed the algorithm.
So that’s the short version, but how does this actually work out?
Well, one, you’ve made a promise with your thumbnail and your title. In this case, I’ve promised you that I can help you get more views in 15 seconds, and I can. Just, it’s your 15 seconds, not this 15 seconds.
In the first 15 seconds of your video, you need to echo the sentiment of your title, your thumbnail, and promise some form of delivery.
I’m here to teach you that 15 second hook. You’ll notice in the first 15 seconds of all of my videos, I tell you what the video happens to be about. I’m going to show you an end screen. I’m going to monetize your Facebook page. I’m going to show you how to use the video chapters.
I deliver that in the first 10, 15 seconds, then that way, you know, “Oh, OK. So I did come for that title and it did come for what he’s promising, and he is now showing me that that will be delivered.”
Why is that so important?
Well, in any era of click baits and people having been cheated on so many times in the past, you’ve clicked on the title and that’s like, “Wow, you can’t believe this exploding car,” and then you’re 15 minutes in before they actually show it to you.
People have got used to that lie and people have got used to clicking away because they know they have the power to go and have a look at another tutorial in my case.
So, if you echo the sentiment of the title, they then know that, “Okay, I came here for chocolate cake and they promise that they will make a chocolate cake. They’ve echoed that chocolate cake within the first 10, 15 seconds.”
So effectively you’ve already told them, “Hey, you’re in the right place. Just hold my hand, sit down, get a cup of tea and I’ll deliver.”
Two, this helps you set the expectations you’ve promised at the start of the video. That even if the whole video is 7, 10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes long, that they will get the thing that they’ve asked for and the longer the video, hopefully the better explained it is.
Three, deliver that value, whatever you’re promising within the first 10 to 15 seconds, do that thing as soon as possible without padding out the runtime.
Now this is me explaining the first 15 seconds, but I also at the start of this video very quickly summarized exactly what it is, sort of the hook out. If you hook them, they’ll watch for longer. If they watch for longer, YouTube loves you. Bingo.
This is me expanding on that idea. This is me explaining every fine detail of the theory and why it works and how it works for people that want to hear the nitty gritty and understand the systems behind it.
But if the video only needs to be two minutes long, don’t make it 15 because people know that when they’re being conned these days. If it’s too long and it’s not delivering, people will click away and you really need to focus on retention.
Appearing on camera for some is like being asked to roll over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Not gonna happen.
But, you want to have a YouTube channel. You want to have your content out there for the world to see, and maybe earn a little (or a lot!) of extra cash from the YouTube Partner Program.
The good news is there are lots of YouTube channels with shy content creators who are making barrels of money without ever even appearing on camera. In fact, many of them don’t even use a camera to make their videos.
But how do you do it, and what kind of content could you make?
This article is perfect for you! I’m going to cover the types of content you could make, how to produce and edit it, then close with some finishing touches.
Ready? Read on.
Choosing a Content Niche for YouTube.
The most successful channels on YouTube produce content for a single, often narrow, niche.
Don’t make the mistake of producing random content on different topics. One day uploading a video on technology and the next day one about celebrities – it confuses viewers.
It’s easy to set up multiple channels on YouTube under the same Google Account. So if you have two passions you want to create content for, make two different channels.
Choosing your channel niche is a critical decision to make when starting out. It also helps if you have an enthusiasm for the topic, but it’s not essential.
Make sure you feel you can routinely produce content for it, without it becoming tedious. And what is most important is that the niche you choose has enough demand to make it worthwhile.
How do you measure demand on YouTube? You can use Google Trends tool to measure overall viewer appetite on YouTube and compare it against popular niches. Look at the image below – it looks like my Unicorn themed channel idea is a non-starter.
Another way to validate your idea is by searching for videos over the last month and sorting by view count.
Look at the view counts to see if there are lots of views for your chosen niche. How many views should you look for? Well, the more, the better, but you should be looking for several videos with at least 1 million views.
Once you have picked your niche, then decide next on the type of non-camera content you want to produce.
Content Types You Can Make For YouTube.
There is a wide range of content you can make that doesn’t require looking into a camera, fussing with lighting, or getting sound levels perfect.
Your chosen niche might already determine what type of content to produce. For example, if you want to start a tips and tricks gaming channel, then screen recording is the best way to go.
But for some niches will be possible to make different types of content, so let’s take a look at your options.
Editing together clips from other sources into compilations seems like an obvious choice for a no-camera YouTube channel.
There are some very successful channels making obscene amounts of money with this content type.
Here is a popular example. Fail Army have 14.6M subscribers and post compilations of funny videos collected from around the web.
There are plenty of niches to go at too, from comedy, gaming, and sports etc. But it is not as easy as finding a few clips, splicing them together and uploading a new video.
Copyright is the problem here. If you don’t own the rights to use the clips you select for your video, then you could face a copyright strike from YouTube.
Get three strikes, and YouTube could terminate your channel.
So how do the current compilation channels do it? There are online services like Jukin Media, where you can buy a distribution licence for clips, but these can be pricy.
There is a workaround, however.
Fair Use of Copyrighted Material.
You can use copyrighted material in your videos without the rights owners permission through a principle known as fair use.
Fair use is a legal concept that is common to many countries where you can use copyrighted material as long as your usage is transformative.
Transformative means that you change the work in a meaningful way. This could be by adding a commentary over it to explain, criticise, or to report on the clip.
One point to note is that YouTube doesn’t decide what is or isn’t fair use – only the courts can determine that. So fighting a copyright strike can be a thankless task, likely to cause stress and take a long time to resolve.
So if you do get a copyright strike, sometimes it’s better to simply remove the clip in question and move on.
There is a filter on YouTube that returns content where the copyright on a video is creative commons.
Creative Commons means that you can freely re-use the content of the video as long as you link back to the source in your video description.
Watch out, though.
If someone has uploaded a video marked as creative commons but used copyrighted material from elsewhere, your re-use of it could still attract a copyright strike from YouTube – it’s a minefield.
Much better to create your own copyright-free content. So let’s look at some of your options.
YouTube Videos Using Images and Stock Video.
This type of content requires you to record a voiceover track on a video made up of images and stock b-roll clips.
An excellent example of a channel that uses this method is Alux.
Focusing on luxury items and the lifestyles of the mega-rich, Alux uses stock photos, manufacturers product photos, and stock b-roll footage to create their videos.
They are the kind of videos that are easy to make, and the topic niches are only limited by your imagination.
Now if you’re extra shy and you don’t even want to even do a voice over for your videos, then you can use free text to voice apps. If you feel they sound a bit robotic, you could hire someone from Fiverr to do the talking for you.
You can even keep it basic and produce a presentation in Powerpoint or Google Slides. If you’re good at explaining things to people, then this could be the method for you.
Many people also use this method to promote affiliate programs in the video description, and make money right out of the gate before they get accepted to the YouTube Partner Program.
YouTube Podcasting Videos
If you have something to say and are already thinking about starting a podcast, then publishing it to YouTube is another way to distribute your content.
You don’t have to be a Joe Rogan or Tim Ferris to make a success of this. If you know a niche inside out and are enthusiastic about a topic, you can build up an audience. YouTube’s viewers use the platform for more than just visual entertainment.
Whether they are at work, relaxing, or doing household chores, people like to have some background audio as they go about their daily lives. Meet this demand by uploading your podcast to YouTube and display a static image for the visual.
Tim Ferris does it, so you don’t have to show a studio feed as well, provided you have something to say that people want to hear.
YouTube Animation Videos
Starting an animation channel is a popular way to have a YouTube channel without needing a camera or showing your face.
There are several ways to approach an animation channel.
If you are already artistically gifted, then you can use one of the many animation software packages available to create engaging content.
You don’t even need to create long animations either.
OneyNG has over 2.37M subscribers and 10s of millions of views from uploading short, funny, animations, which often revolve around a single gag.
If you are not so artistically inclined, then you can use applications that help you create simplistic animations for use in your videos.
Better Than Yesterday is a good example of this type of content. They are near 1M subscribers and have simple narration over basic animation.
YouTube Screenshare Videos
There are thousands of people out there, right now, who want to learn how to do something, that you already know all about.
Whether it’s an Instagram hack, learning how to configure WordPress, or getting cheap insurance online, they look to YouTube for help. Can you create short videos to show them how to do it?
The example below shows only the phone screen as the user demonstrates Instagram hacks. There is not even a voiceover explaining the tricks!
YouTube Gaming Videos
Another screen share content type that deserves its very own section here is gaming.
Sharing sequences from games showing funny clips, how to’s, and competition footage is immensely popular on YouTube.
You may already know the famous channels like PewDiePie, Total Gaming, and more recently, Mr Beast Gaming. But don’t think it’s too late to enter this niche today – it’s enormous.
If you choose this type of content, it’s best if you focus on only one game for your channel.
Creating lots of videos all about one game helps YouTube to see your channel as an authority in the topic. This means a higher chance of your content getting recommended by the YouTube algorithm for people to watch next.
Vanoss Gaming is just a bunch of guys talking and laughing over screen recordings of them playing games. With over 21.5 million subscribers, they are obviously doing something right.
YouTube Sound Channels.
As mentioned previously, there are plenty of people who have YouTube running in the background as they go about their daily lives.
Some people like an ambient soundtrack as they study and others use relaxing music to create a mood for meditation.
These kinds of channels are attractive to run. If you can get viewers to start watching your videos, then it’s likely that they will view to the end – something that YouTube looks for when ranking content.
Yellow Brick Cinema is one of the biggest channels in this niche. They have an extensive back catalogue of videos with millions of views and likely as much in the bank from the YouTube partner program.
Producing Content for YouTube.
Producing video content without a camera means using software tools instead. Depending on the type of content you want to make the cost ranges from free of charge to paying a monthly subscription charge of up to $40+.
Screen Recording Software
Whether you plan on recording gaming action or want to show people how to do something on a computer, you are going to need a screen recorder.
There are loads of free options out there. Some good, some not so good. The top ones are:
OBS Studio. This one is open-source software, meaning it’s made by volunteers and is entirely free of charge. It can be tricky to get up and running, with some claiming it has a big learning curve and can be complex to use. It has plenty of features and will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Nvidia Shadowplay. Nvidia, the makers of graphics cards, also provides free software that makes it easy to record gameplay. You can record video, make short GIFs, and even live stream direct to YouTube. One to check out if you are thinking about a gaming channel. For Windows PCs only.
Icecream Screen Recorder. Another screen capture software that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has a free version and is much easier to use than OBS Studio. The free version only lets you record for five minutes. But you can upgrade to Pro to get no time limits and more output formats for a one-time fee of $19.95.
Open Toonz. For 2D animation, Open Toonz is free software which is considered a good allrounder. There are plenty of tutorials available on YouTube, but if you’ve not used animation software before it will need time and practice.
It’s open-source software so you’ll never have to pay anything, and it works on Windows and Mac.
Doodley. Doodley is animation software more suitable to those who aren’t good at freehand drawing. You can quickly get up to speed and produce excellent and engaging how-to type videos.
You build screens with a drag-and-drop interface using the cloud-based software, which then animates the images together for you. It costs $39 per month to use, with an Enterprise version that gives you more templates and fonts for $69 per month.
There are lots of ways to put together a slide show — Google Slides and Microsoft Powerpoint to name two. Compiling images into a video is possible using inbuilt Windows software. But, to create a video slideshow, there are much better free alternatives.
Kapwing. Kapwing is an excellent tool for creating slide show videos for YouTube. Upload some images, add a few captions, and add an audio track easily. It also compiles the video for you in the right format for YouTube.
For shorter videos or if you are just getting started, then the free version will work just fine. To create longer videos and have a workspace that stores all your content then you can upgrade to the Pro version for $20 per month.
Vidnami. Vidnami is a good option for quickly building videos using little more than a text-based video script. Paste your text into the software, Vidnami reads it, then selects appropriate images and creates your video automatically.
It even creates an automated voice-over and on-screen captions. The voice is a little robotic but is an option if you don’t like to hear the sound of your own voice.
Editing Videos for YouTube.
Whatever kind of content you produce, it must look professional. There are many channels in most niches now all competing for digital eyeballs, so the content you create should be slick and polished.
YouTube Studio, the channel management platform provided by YouTube, does have a basic inbuilt editing tool.
It’s really best used for a little bit of trimming here and there. It’s not suitable for making the kind of high-quality videos you should be uploading.
There are, again, plenty of free options available, so don’t feel that you have to splash out for a high-end editing suite like Adobe Premier.
For those that have a Mac computer, the bundled iMovie is a really great option. Many successful YouTube channels use nothing more than this to edit videos.
With iMovie, you can use transitions to piece together multiple clips, add sound, titles, and backgrounds. It can do pretty much all you need.
For Windows and Linux users, and perhaps Mac users that want another option, OpenShot Video Editor is an open-source video editor, which is free to download and use.
Taking Your YouTube Content to the Next Level.
Along with proper editing, to make your videos as compelling as possible, add in extra touches. B-Roll clips, animated intros, and subtitles help make your content more engaging and accessible, and are all essential for growing a successful channel.
Let’s look at some tools you can use to add these kinds of extras to your videos.
B-roll is a term from the earliest days of the Hollywood movie industry. The A-roll reel was the main footage for the movie, and an identical B-roll reel was used for filler and cuts. Back then physical celluloid film was cut and spliced together to edit and make a movie.
Today, B-roll refers to any secondary material that you use for filler.
You can get free B-roll video from websites like Pexels and Pixabay. They offer short clips uploaded by amateur photographers which are copyright free and can be used by anyone.
The selection available is OK on these sites, but to have the best choice from an absolute mountain of B-roll clips, take a look at Story Blocks – I started using them in July 2020 and it has helped me level up my level game hugely, leading to great growth on YouTube.
Approaching 900,000 items of stock video, backgrounds, music, and video intros; there is plenty here for you to use to enhance your videos.
The cost varies from $10 to $80 per month on a subscription basis, depending on the amount and types of media you want to download.
Professional looking YouTube Intro/Outro
No self-respecting YouTube channel should be without a professional-looking intro/outro. It’s not just something to have for the sake of it either – your intro helps to develop and reinforce your brand.
Over time as your viewer subscriptions grow, your intro and brand serve to communicate trust.
If viewers like the content you produce, then as soon as they see your familiar branding, they will start watching your video with a positive view.
You can develop an intro/outro with Story Blocks mentioned above. But, if you don’t subscribe to that service, an alternative tool is Placeit.
I have used PlaceIt in the past for client branding – YouTube banners, channel intro and outros, even stock mock ups – I highly recommend you check out their templates.
With Placeit, you can create logos, animated intro/outros, and other branding graphics you can use on also use on sites like Facebook and Instagram. You can even generate slideshow videos for YouTube using the software.
Placeit costs $14.95 monthly for unlimited access to all the features. You could sign up for just one month and generate all the graphics you need. Alternatively, save 50% upfront with an annual subscription.
Add Subtitles and Captions to Your YouTube Videos.
First, we need some definitions.
Captions – These are the text displayed on your video that matches what is being said by the presenter or narrator.
Subtitles – These are like captions, but also carry additional information for the viewer, such as sound representations for the hard of hearing. They also refer to foreign language translations of the speech in a video.
Why might you add in captions or subtitles? It opens up your content to many more viewers.
Captions are useful for people who are consuming content on the go and aren’t in a position to listen to the audio. Or maybe watching on the sofa while their partner is glued to the TV.
If you subtitle your video into other commonly spoken languages, then you get to reach a wider audience from other countries.
Now you could add captions yourself, going through your content and painstakingly adding text one piece at a time. Or use a service like Rev.com.
They charge by the minute for speech that is captioned or subtitled, so you pay a variable fee per video.
I use Rev.com to help me caption my videos in bulk and I can even do it in multiple foreign languages to help maximise my international reach and get more views for my YouTube videos.
Setting up a successful YouTube channel without a camera is very possible. There are many people doing it already and achieving lots of views, subscribes, and Partner Program earnings.
But competition is increasing day by day, so to give your channel the best chance of success, you need to make sure that you produce high quality videos.
This means good editing, addition of intros/outros, b-roll, and adding captions too if applicable.
Get going with some of the ideas above and see what you can produce for your channel. Good luck.
I had a coaching call with a lady called Samira Alexander, and she was worried about being on camera. It’s something that many of you suffer from. So, I thought I’d take this clip to educate you, to hopefully reassure you the same way I do with Samira.
Scared To Be On Camera? [WATCH THIS!]
It’s time for you to get on camera.
Here we go.
I’ve said this so many times and this is the thing that people need to pay attention to, and you specifically.
When you’re recording, there’s no one around to judge you. It’s just you in here and it’s in here, right?
If you’re editing the video, who sees the video?
Just you, nobody else.
The difference is that I’ve been able to talk for hours and hours on end for years. Right?
My mom couldn’t get me to shut up when I was a toddler, I just kept going.
And the difference is that there is an element of my persona. There is my humor, right? And then, there is my professional point, so that the professional videos, there’s the quirkiness and no weirdness.
I’m not the thing that you get in a video that you can’t get into a top down.
I bet you, the only way you’re going to get used to being on camera is to be on camera.
You may say, “I just don’t feel comfortable.”
I’ve got a few videos, like the one’s called, “One’s flat out.” It just says, there’s no fucking excuses, right?
This is literally titled that, it’s in red, it’s in white, it’s obnoxious.
And there’s another one of me walking along my local canal. Exactly the same reason, you know, “The audio is bad…”
Fine, get a different audio.
“Oh, my camera’s shaking.”
Well, at least you’re on camera. Right?
People connect with the human face. You can get my quirkiness and my funniness and my sense of humor.
You can see the white of the eyes, it’s not perfect.
You’re an attractive lady, there’s nothing to worry about. So just have faith in yourself, remember that you can edit it anyway. If you fluff up, you fluff up. You just edit it.
It’s just that I am going to be talking about something that’s going to be valuable, and things like that, but I think I just have to speak from my heart.
I know that I’m right. There are always things that I talked to my clients about. There are always things that we need to talk about, and even if these people have heard this before, then maybe they resonate with me better than when it comes from somebody else or vice versa.
But I have to put myself out there because we’ve been forced to, and I always wanted, my dream was always having an online business. Right?
I live in Dubai, but I wanted an all global online business because that’s where I want to be. I wanted to be free. I didn’t want to be beholden to any place, and it hurts me right now when I hear, but I’m happy for everyone who’s got an online business and presence and they’re doing really well. So I’m not, and it’s pissing me off.
You can’t be the face of a brand if you’re not willing to show the face for your brands. If I’m promoting Alan Spicer…
You want to promote Samira?
I promote Alan Spicer.
If I didn’t have Alan the brand, if I didn’t have Alan the face, then I can’t do anything.
Gary Vaynerchuk about it. He’s got Gary Vaynerchuk, right? Still he promotes the person, the persona, the brands, the motivation.
I keep wanting to trust and rely on you make that connection with you, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get.
Yeah, okay. Thank you. You’ve been really amazing and I really appreciate this. Sometimes I get nervous about, because sometimes we’ll reach out to people we don’t know, but I just thought, “I’m going to reach out to this guy. I think he’s going to help me.”
I just googled, “I need a YouTube coach.”
Because I need someone to help me.
And then YouTube searching wins. It just goes to show that if you’re able to balance the two and do a blog and your video is brilliant.
In fact, you make your blogs, you write a fantastic blog of 1,500 to 2,000 words long, and you put a video that echoes that sentiment.
They both work with each other. Google suggests that video for YouTube, and people that want to read it, because some people read, some people don’t, some people listen, some people don’t, that’s why there’s a podcast, which is fantastic.
So yeah, take it to your full advantage.
Now, you know the brand: You.
You know that you need to be on camera. The only way you’re going to do that is by practice.
Right now, it’s a fantastic picture, the sound is great. That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. It’s better that you’re on camera than not at all.
There’s nothing wrong with that. The headphones are fine. If you have to, right?
This is a lapel mic that costs me 15 quids. The webcam, which before the world turned to crap was about 50 pounds. I’ve now, no word of a lie, 50 pounds on Amazon. Now, you have to pay $180 for that camera.
Oh my God!
It’s because they are like “Uhm… people need webcams.”
And it’s a Logitech C 920 Pro.
Yeah. I know that one.
It was 50 quids because my old one died. In fact, if you flip through some of my really, really old YouTube videos, the frame rate is like 15 frames per second, it’s because the old version of this started dying, so when I did my hands, it was a bit, and I’m very handsy.
Even then, even with the camera shaky, I was recording off a laptop that was on 17 books on a table and every time I stepped forward, it bounced, right?
I still delivered value. It should be first.
Now this, I’m sat in the corner of an office, which is a bedroom. The shelves are there, that I recorded. The light is the window. There’s no technical trickery.
And hopefully, I’m even gonna record a video after I’ve done this because I’m sat here anyway.
Any chunks you get, know that you’re creating content. Any chunks that you can create value, whether it’s on your phone and shaky, that’s fine.
Because if you have a look at my no excuses Vlogs where I’m walking on the canal because I felt like it, right?
And it doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as I can see and hear okay without painfully hurting them, and you’ll be fine.
Okay. All right. Thank you very much, Alan. I really appreciate it.
Now, if you are really helping to not being on camera, there’s 25 channel ideas right here that you can do without your face, or if you want to make your videos better, so you can be on camera, then there’s a playlist here: How to improve your audio, your shaky camera, just generally make better videos.
Getting together the necessary equipment for YouTubing can pose quite a problem for those of us on a budget.
After all, cameras are expensive, and lighting rigs? What about acoustic treatment? All of these things cost money, and buying low-quality equipment most likely won’t improve the quality of your videos, and may even harm your channel overall.
Still, YouTube is far from a sure thing when it comes to generating an income, so spending significant amounts of cash on cameras and microphones can be hard to justify. Fortunately, “budget” doesn’t have to mean poor quality—you just need to know what you’re looking for. Of course, if it were that easy, there’d be no need for posts like this one!
Now as long as you have mastered YouTube Equipment for beginners – maybe you want some cost effective ideas for some upgrades – let’s get into our guide to the world of YouTube equipment on a budget.
Let’s start with your primary bit of kit. Camera’s are not just essential if you want to record video, they can also be the only piece of gear you need if you are trying to make the most of your budget.
Here are three great options for YouTubers on a budget.
Starting our list off, we have the Logitech C930e, a webcam. Now, webcams are not the best option when it comes to YouTube… or any kind of video capture situation for that matter.
For reasons perhaps known only to webcam manufacturers, there has been very little improvement in the standards of webcam video quality for nearly a decade. In fact, the only thing webcams really excel at is live-streaming. Still, when it comes to budget video recording equipment, the C930e offers the best bang for your buck, and if you pair it with a decent budget lighting setup, you should be able to get some very respectable video out of it.
Obviously, there are some physical limitations with a webcam. If you want to shoot videos on the move, you’re going to need something that can operate standalone, and this isn’t it.
So, on to our next pick.
GoPro Hero6 or Hero7
GoPro has made a name for themselves in the sports footage market. They are typically the first name to come to mind whenever someone wants to strap a camera to their head and jump off a mountain, or something similar. What doesn’t always get as much attention is just how good it is as a pure camera.
You’re going to be looking at 3-4x the cost of the c930e, but that is still around half the half to a third of the cost of a Canon EOS 80D with a lens, which is a popular camera for YouTubers who aren’t on a budget. And the difference in quality is significant.
Furthermore, the Hero is much better at getting a great shot out of any environment and lighting situation.
We’re stretching the definition of “budget” here. Still, given that the next tier of cameras easily crosses into the four digits in the price department, we think it’s fair to include this one as a higher-end budget camera.
The Canon T7i is a fully-fledged DSLR, which is the top dog when it comes to camera quality. While this may be a budget DSLR, it will still produce better results than just about anything you might find cheaper.
It should be noted that DSLRs are a little more involved than something like a webcam, or a GoPro. For one thing, you need to buy lenses for your camera. If you hit eBay and find a T7i that’s heavily discounted over the average price, you might be buying one without a lens. Like the GoPro, these cameras are standalone, so you can take them out for shooting on location.
Cameras like this are designed to handle a range of additional components, such as camera-mounted lighting, and external audio sources, making them ideal for portable filming setups.
1080 @ 30fps
GoPro Hero 7
4K @ 60fps
1080 @ 60fps
For further cameras and equipment suggestions check out my equipment lists on my resources page – I list all my current equipment and some killer discounts on cheap starter gear.
It’s important to remember that all of the above suggestions for cameras have their own built-in microphone. Now, these are far from the best audio ever recorded, but they are more than serviceable if you can’t afford to pair them with a separate audio setup.
However, if you are looking to maximise your quality, you will want to get yourself a microphone.
Unlike our camera picks, all of our microphones are approximately equal in price. They are, however, considerably different in execution. Don’t worry; we’ll explain as we go.
Our first pick goes to the Blue Snowball, a distinctive looking USB microphone that produces excellent audio quality. The advantages of the Snowball mainly lie in its simplicity of use. You simply plug the mic into your computer, let the drivers automatically install, and you’re good to go. This makes it an ideal pairing with something like the Logitech C930e we mentioned above.
The downside is that you cannot plug a USB mic into something like the Canon T7i. If you want to go portable with the Snowball, you’re going to need to take a laptop with you.
The Snowball is available in a few different variants and supports several pick up patterns. If your YouTube setup never leaves your desk, this is a great microphone to have.
BM-Condenser Microphone plus Preamp
The BM-800 is a little tricky to explain. This microphone is actually an unbranded Chinese product. Sellers in various parts of the world buy this product in bulk, often with their own branding, and resell it. We’re explaining this because if you Google “BM-800 Microphone”, you could get a dozen different brands selling identical looking microphones. It doesn’t make a difference, however; they’re all the same product.
But onto the mic itself. The BM-800 is a condenser microphone that uses an XLR connection. That XLR connection means you will need other hardware to get the mic up and running, but don’t worry, the mic itself typically goes for a third of what the Snowball costs. What’s more, it often comes with extras, like pop shields and shock mounts. Once you have coupled it with a cheap audio interface or microphone preamp, then the price will level out at around the same as the Snowball.
Like the Snowball, you won’t be able to connect this mic to something like a GoPro or T7i, and while it can be portable, it’s not ideal.
This kind of setup is ideal for YouTubers who make music since you can easily swap out your microphone for a different style, or get an audio interface with multiple channels for recording more than one mic at a time.
Rode VideoMic Go
The VideoMic is an on-camera mic. This is a particular kind of microphone that sits on top of your camera, making it ideal for portable setups. Unfortunately, that means it only works with compatible cameras. For reference, only the Canon T7i would be compatible out of the cameras we suggested above.
Still, if you do a lot of filming in different locations and tend to hold your camera rather than set it on a tripod, a microphone like this (on a compatible camera) is the only practical solution. If you do get a camera like the Canon T7i, there really isn’t a compelling reason to go with any other kind of microphone.
After your camera and your microphone, lighting is probably the most significant piece of hardware you can buy for your YouTube setup.
If you feel your video quality isn’t what it should be, but you can’t afford to step up your camera game, take a look at your lighting. You’d be surprised at how much difference it makes.
Newer 18-Inch Ring Light
Ring lights, as the name suggests, are ring-shaped lights that are ideal for vloggers, and any situation where the subject is directly facing the camera. They cast a smooth, even light directly in front of them. This ring light comes with a stand and smartphone holder, as well as two different filters.
The CN-216 is a compact LED panel light that can be mounted on top of a compatible camera, making it an ideal camera for portable filming setups. Of course, you can still mount it on a stand or tripod. It has an adjustable colour temperature and a removable diffusion screen, and clocks in at a ridiculously low price.
It might sound like a bit of a cop-out, but natural light is one of the best lighting sources for your videos there is, and it’s free! Of course, it puts some limitations on when and where you can film, but if natural light is a practical option for your videos, it is by far the best option for YouTuber’s on a budget.
For those of us with a relatively modern smartphone—which is most people these days—our phone represents quite possibly the best quality video and audio for the cheapest cost: free. Well, not free, but unless you bought your phone just to film YouTube videos, it is effectively free.
The cameras in modern phones are something of a marvel, making use of various tricks on the software end to make up for the shortcomings of the hardware, a decent phone will blast most budget options out of the water. And some higher-end phones can even record in 4K at a full 60fps.
Of course, your phone isn’t ideal. You can’t see what you’re shooting unless you use the weaker camera on the front. You have to worry about the available storage space when most higher-end phones don’t accept memory cards anymore. Not to mention you may want to use your phone during filming.
But, for all of its shortcomings, your existing phone may well produce a better quality video than the best cameras you can afford. If you find that to be the case, use your phone for now and save up for a better camera, rather than wasting your money on something you can afford that is not very good.
And the Rest
There are plenty of other things you could be spending your money on when it comes to getting your YouTube setup ready, with varying degrees of importance.
For example – as I noted in my deep dive into soundproofing for youtubers blog – if the space you are recording in is extremely echoey, it might be worth a little of your hard-earned cash to put it right. Acoustic foam tiles are relatively inexpensive, and you don’t need to plaster the whole room with them to get the desired results.
With a bit of research and a little experimentation, you should be able to make a pack of twenty-four go a long way. Failing that, you could always borrow some thick blankets from the cupboard and put them to good use.
Another area that can sometimes get overlooked is the software department. If you are doing anything more than cutting up pieces of footage, you will need some software to do it in. There are free options available for several of the less complex tasks, such as transitions and titles.
However, Adobe is the industry standard for a reason, and its popularity ensures there will always be plenty of resources to help you get started. Before you panic at the thought of hundreds of pounds worth of software, Adobe has long-since switched to a subscription model, which is not as expensive as you might think.
Finding the best hardware is always a little tricky, as you might have noticed with some of our suggestions.
Be sure to weigh up all the features of any equipment you might be considering purchasing. Price is important, but even a cheap camera is too expensive if it is not suitable for your specific circumstances.
Internet security has never been as prevalent in the public consciousness as it is now. With significant data breaches a seemingly regular occurrence in the news, double factor authentication increasingly becoming a minimum requirement, and restrictions on how your passwords can be structured making them almost impossible to remember, it’s clear that security is important.
But staying safe online is not just about secure passwords. We have never been more visible than we are right now. We have pages and pages of tweets and Facebook posts and Instagram pics, and much of it is public. Now, be honest with yourself—do you consider the full privacy implications of your social media posts before you hit send?
This post is about YouTube, so you may wonder why we’re talking about Facebook and Twitter, but all will become clear soon enough.
Still, is it safe to have a YouTube channel? Yes, if you are careful. As you grow make sure you think of privacy long term. Always pick safe secure passwords and try not to post your entirely life on the internet – that’s when it gets extremely risky.
Let’s get into it.
How Can Youtube be Dangerous?
There are different ways in which YouTube could be considered dangerous to the YouTuber posting videos, and it is essential to understand what these ways are if you have any hope of avoiding them. Let’s start with the least sinister one.
Putting All Your Eggs in the YouTube Monetisation Basket
YouTube has a patchy history when it comes to monetisation. It has made a lot of people rich, but it is also notoriously unreliable as an income source. If you’ve been in the YouTube stratosphere for a while, you’ll have heard of the “adpocalypse”.
If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll have heard of multiple adpocalypses.
This is the label name given to the various times that YouTube has made profound, seismic changes to its advertising policies and algorithms. These changes tend to negatively affect YouTuber revenue across the board, and even wipe it out entirely in some cases. One of the more recent adpocalypse’s (the fourth one, if we’re counting) saw many political punditry channels lose all of their revenue more or less overnight. And we’re talking channels with millions of subscribers here.
More recent changes have hit channels whose primary audience is children, with offensive and hateful content being targeted quite early on.
Whether you feel YouTube is overreacting in any of these cases or not isn’t the point here. The point is that in each of these cases, YouTube made significant changes—often without warning—that wiped out entire revenue streams overnight, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen again. So what’s the danger here?
The danger lies in your YouTube success reaching a point where you can afford to go full time, and rushing into it. Many people would happily scrape by as a YouTuber rather than make a comfortable wage doing a job they don’t like, but if you take that plunge before you are ready, and YouTube makes changes that hit your channel, you may find yourself in a very sticky situation.
How to Avoid This
First and foremost, don’t rush into a fulltime YouTube career. Be sure to weigh up your options properly, and discuss things with anyone who is likely to be affected by your decision, such as a partner you live with.
If you decide to take the leap, take your time with the transition. Try to build up a reserve of savings if you don’t already have one—at least enough money to cover a few months of living expenses—and the more, the better. That way, if things go wrong, you’ve got a bit breathing room to decide what your next move will be.
Going forward, always be on the lookout for ways to diversify your revenue streams. If you are getting your income from multiple sources, then the sudden disappearance of YouTube monetisation will not hit you as hard. Consider things like Patreon and merchandise sales. Brand deals are another way to monetise your videos without having to worry about what YouTube is planning.
Affiliate marketing can be a great long term source of income but can be a little confusing. I wrote a huge deep dive into affiliate marketing for beginners which will help you with everything you need to know about to
While not strictly a YouTube problem, the opportunities to inadvertently give away potentially damaging personal data as a YouTuber are greater—especially if you are or become popular.
The kinds of personal data we are talking about here include any information that could be used to commit fraud against you.
Let’s look at an example.
You know those security questions you often have to fill out? Things like “What was your mother’s maiden name?”, and, “What was the name of your first pet?”. If you use the real answers to those questions, and you happen to mention that bit of information in a video, you could be providing someone with a vital piece of the puzzle if they want to break into your accounts. It is easily done. After all—what’s the harm in mentioning that your first pet was a cat called Fluffy, right?
Another example of this kind of danger would be inadvertently showing a password or other sensitive information in your video. One example might be doing an unboxing video and having a clear shot of the address label. Another might be signing up for something in the video and typing a password in clear text that you use for other accounts.
How to Avoid This
Try to avoid the possibility of situations like those mentioned above happening in the first place. If you are doing an unboxing video, make sure any labels are covered up, that way you don’t have to worry about whether they end up in the shot.
The best way to prevent any of this from getting to your channel, of course, it a watchful eye in the editing process. If you don’t have an editing process, it might be time to develop one. Even if you only watch the video through to check for problems like this, you should always give your footage the once over before publishing. If nothing else it is a matter of quality control, but it also allows you to make absolutely sure you haven’t inadvertently filmed a clear shot of your credit card!
We mentioned the word “sinister” earlier on in the post, and with good reason. It is an unfortunate reality of the human experience that there are deeply unpleasant people out there. These may be people you know from your real life, such as abusive family members or people who have a grudge against you, but the Internet has its fair share of unpleasant strangers as well.
It is one thing receiving a threat of physical violence from a stranger on the Internet when they know nothing about you, but it’s an entirely different prospect when that stranger has managed to piece together your home address from the information you’ve sprinkled throughout your videos. This is something that the popular YouTuber and Twitch streamer Sweet Anita has had to deal with recently. Her situation has progressed to the point that she even had to take a restraining order out against one unhinged individual who figured out where she lived and even moved to her town permanently.
Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is not nearly as uncommon as it should be, and while most threats of violence are just that—threats—it is something that every YouTuber should be aware of going in.
How to Avoid This
The kinds of people who behave like this are not particularly prone to reason, so there is no sense in attempting to moderate your content so as not to attract the attention of dangerous individuals.
Unfortunately, the only way to really protect against this kind of thing is to keep an airtight lockdown on your personal information. Don’t let any private information become public. Doing this means careful consideration of your actions outside of YouTube, but that’s where our next topic comes in…
Keeping Your Private Information Private
Okay, most of us know not to go sharing bank details through random links, and to use a password that isn’t easily guessable, but there are many ways to inadvertently give away your personal data that are not as obvious.
For example, when you register a domain name, the name and address you register it under is publicly available and easy to find unless you pay for domain privacy protection.
Another way you might not have considered is geotagged information. For example; location data on your pictures, or routes from your latest run. It can be very tempting to share your latest Strava personal best but have you considered what information your route gives away. If you started and finished at your home, that’s not going to take much deciphering. Still, any run in your local area will allow nefarious actors to narrow down your location.
Do you use your real name on YouTube and also have a LinkedIn profile that lists your current employer? What about pictures from your home where distinguishable landmarks are visible in the shot?
Of course, there is such a thing as being paranoid, and there is only so much you can reasonably do to keep yourself safe before it becomes more practical just to stop being on YouTube altogether. A significant portion of this is knowing the risks, even if you don’t plan to mitigate all of them.
Tips for Staying Safe
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, so we thought it would be nice to break down some of the more actionable tips for keeping yourself safe as a YouTuber.
This is not necessarily a “bare minimum” situation since every action you take should be subjectively judged on what is best for you, but these are some of the more fundamental aspects of YouTube safety. In other words, make sure you have a good reason for not doing any of the following.
Keep Your Residence Private
For most of us, our home is our set. Having a separate “studio” is a luxury that many can’t justify. Still, that doesn’t mean your home has to be recognisable.
Try to limit filming to areas where nothing distinguishable is around. For example, if you live in an apartment in New York with the Empire State Building behind you, avoid shooting with the window behind you.
Of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t give out your address.
Do Not Let Trackable Information Become Public
We have mentioned avoiding things like packing labels being visible in your video, but there are other ways information like that can get out. For example, if you accept packages from viewers, do not use your home address for the delivery of those packages. PO boxes may cost money, but they should be considered essential if you want to give your viewers a mailing address.
Consider using services like Google Voice instead of any landline phone numbers.
And, finally, while it may not seem like a big deal, consider keeping your birthday private, especially if your full name is public. A lot of information can be uncovered about someone with just their full name and a birthday.
Do Not Make Travel Plans Public
This tip is more of a general Internet safety tip, rather than a YouTube specific one, but announcing to the world that your house will be empty for two weeks is not a great plan.
Especially if you are a notable figure on YouTube. If you’ve handled yourself carefully, it won’t matter because no one will know your home address, but it’s better not to run the risk and come home to a ransacked house.
We know it’s generally considered vain and narcissistic to Google your own name, but you will be doing it for a good reason. Your aim is to try and stalk yourself and see what you can find out.
Remember, unless you’re a cyber-security expert, the chances are there will be people out there who can find more than you can. So, if you manage to uncover personal information about yourself through a bit of intensive Googling, you can bet others can as well.
Use this information to shut down any leaks in your online privacy, and keep you and your loved ones safe.
Having a great idea for a YouTube channel is only part of the battle, actually bringing that idea to life can be a rough ride for some, and an expensive one if you don’t do your research.
Jumping into buying equipment without doing proper homework is one of the worst things you can do when getting started in YouTubing. For one thing, you probably won’t get the best gear for your videos, but you may also end up spending more money than you would have done if you’d researched a little. More expensive equipment plus inferior results are no one’s idea of a good result.
And this post is one such example of that help. So let’s get helping!
What Equipment Do I Need?
Covering every possible type of YouTube video out there would multiple posts, so in the interests of brevity, we’re going to break things down into distinct kinds of YouTuber—on-camera and off-camera.
These terms are not referring to you necessarily, but rather the presence of (or lack of) a camera in your setup. For example, if you created a channel where you filmed people while you interviewed them, but you are never onscreen, that still counts as an on-camera video.
Regardless of the fact that you are not being filmed, you still need a camera to create your videos, and that is the only relevant detail as far as this article is concerned.
Examples of off-camera videos include any kind of video where the visual component is handled entirely in software. This could include news breakdowns, top ten lists, trailer reactions, and much more.
It would be easy to assume that the difference is one needs a camera and one doesn’t, but the truth is there is a lot of related equipment that you will have to consider if you are going to be filming.
I Can’t Afford Lots of Equipment, Where Should I Focus?
Not being able to afford all the fancy equipment that the best YouTubers use is perfectly normal. Most people can’t. As your time on YouTube progresses, you may find your circumstances allow you to invest more in your channel. You may even find that the success of the channel itself is such that it can pay for that investment.
However, the future plays out; you will understandably want to know where to put your time, effort, and money in the beginning. So let’s get the obligatory caveat out of the way first.
All the high-quality gear in the world won’t help your channel succeed if your premise is terrible, or your heart isn’t in it. Making YouTube videos is not as easy many believe, and if you don’t want to do this, you will almost certainly fail. Success—especially in the form of financial gain—does not come quickly with YouTube and is far from guaranteed. So, if you head into this without really wanting to do what you are doing, you will likely end up as one of the millions of abandoned channels that inhabit the unsearched depths of YouTube.
Similarly, no matter how good your video looks, you will struggle to get traction with bad ideas. If your channel doesn’t grow the way you’d like, don’t fall into the trap of assuming it must be because you need a better camera or a new microphone.
Another trap that new YouTubers can fall into is assuming that you need to upgrade your setup. It can’t hurt, of course, but once you get beyond the beginner tier of YouTube gear, the cost of that gear starts to skyrocket.
Contrast this with the diminishing returns that better equipment will net your channel, and you have a strong argument for not rushing out to get that new DSLR camera.
In the beginning, only look to improve things that are objectively below par. If you are recording at 720p through a budget webcam, by all means, look to upgrade as soon as you realistically can. But if your video is fine, don’t stress too much about making it great.
When it comes to equipment, your first priority should be audio. If you are making off-camera videos, then the audio will be your primary concern with regards to equipment anyway. However, even with on-camera videos, the sound is often more critical than video.
This is not an absolute statement, of course—if your video is unwatchable, that’s going to be a turn off no matter how good your audio is. But when you have below-average quality video and audio, it is quite often the audio that will make the difference.
I use a Boya By-MM1 Shoutgun microphone on my Canon 200D Camera. Its cheap, cheerful and very powerful. I did a full unboxing and review – youll be amazed how fluffy it is!
Consider this—can you think of a noise that rubs you the wrong way? Cutlery being scraped on a plate, for example. Or nails on a chalkboard. What about the sound of someone chewing with their mouth open? Most of us have a sound that cuts right through us. Now think about all the times you have watched a video in less than optimal conditions and been okay with it.
Your phone isn’t exactly ideal for watching video content. What about old 240p YouTube videos that you have sat through because the content is valuable to you?
Now, we’re not saying you should settle for 240p content, of course. But if your image is a bit fuzzy and dark, and your resolution isn’t quite 1080p, that might not be the turn-off you fear it will be. But if your audio is full of noise, artefacts, random background sounds, and unpleasant sniffles and lip-smacking, you will likely find viewers clicking away from your content very quickly.
One final thing to consider is your surroundings. If your recordings are picking up a lot of echoes, or you are getting lots of background noise from outside, you may want to look further afield than your microphone.
Things like acoustic treatment can significantly reduce echo, while a thick blind can reduce outside noise. If these are not practical solutions for you at this time, you could fashion some improvised acoustic treatment/soundproofing from thick blankets.
Video: It’s About More Than Just Your Camera
Once again, we’re assuming your camera is not absolutely shocking. If it is that bad, you should make that your next priority. If it is serviceable, however, but you feel you can do better, do not assume that buying a new camera is your only option.
Once you get deeper into filming techniques, you will quickly find that lighting is a crucial part of filming a video, and you may be surprised at how big a difference a fair-to-middling lighting setup can make to your video quality.
If you plan to continue improving your channel in the long term, you are going to need lighting at some stage. So, if your camera isn’t too bad, consider opting for lighting before upgrading your camera. It will almost certainly make a big difference to your shot, and you will be able to continue using the lighting rig when you do eventually upgrade your camera.
YouTube Equipment for Beginners: The Bare Necessities
So, we’ve talked about your microphone and your camera—two things you undoubtedly need to record video—but are there any other essential bits of kit you need when you’re getting started on YouTube? Yes! Well, kind of. There are essential bases you need to cover, though, like the thick blankets we mentioned above, you can probably make do with ingenuity if you have to.
Stability (Tripods and Stands)
Firstly, your cameras and microphones should be steady. If your camera shakes and there’s a mighty clang every time you catch your desk, it’s not going to make for a pleasant viewing experience. Consider getting a tripod for each, or even an adjustable arm if you can afford it.
Microphone shock mounts are very inexpensive these days, and many budget microphones also come with them. As for your camera, try to set it on something that isn’t likely to move while recording.
If you are filming in your bedroom and there are some questionable floorboards in there, don’t put it somewhere that will move when you shift your weight from foot to foot. You can make do with a pile of books or a shelf if you can’t get your hands on a tripod, the key is to make sure it’s a stable pile of books or shelf!
Again, you can absolutely make do with a regular room in your home as a backdrop to your video, just put a little time into making sure it looks good on camera. But if you’re not happy with any of the options available to you, you might want to get a screen backdrop.
These tend to be plain black or white, though there is no set rule to what you should put behind you in your videos. You can even go green screen and get fancy with the recording software, but that’s a whole other topic.
Whether you opt for a physical backdrop, a screen, or a green screen, make sure that the backdrop is not distracting. If viewers attention is being drawn to something that is not relevant to the content, not only could they miss what you are trying to tell them, but they could become annoyed at the distraction.
Lights and Pop Shields
This section is a little bit of a roundup. Two things you should consider essential pieces of equipment that need adding to your setup as soon as possible are lights and pop shields.
The lighting we’ve touched on already. It doesn’t need to be a professional studio lighting rig, of course. Even a single inexpensive LED light panel will do wonders. And pop shields—small filters that sit in front of your mike to dampen the harsher blasts of air from your mouth (“plosives”)—can make a massive difference to your audio.
The Secret Weapon
There is a device that most of us own that can, in a pinch, be the answer to all of your YouTube recording woes. If you own a relatively modern phone, you already have a device that is capable of recording both audio and video at a decent enough quality to get started on YouTube.
Is it as good as having a proper setup with lighting, acoustic treatment, and an expensive camera and microphone? No. But the quality of video a decent modern phone can output is leagues above most webcams on the market, and the audio quality is on par with a budget condenser microphone. You might even get a rudimentary lighting rig going with the flash on your phone, and the Internet is full of inexpensive stands, cradles, brackets, and holders for mobile phones. What’s more, you would have to spend a surprising amount of money on gear to match the quality of, for example, an iPhone X, or a Pixel 4.
Of course, using your phone is not ideal, but the takeaway here is that not having the best equipment should not be a roadblock to you bringing your ideas to life on YouTube. Success takes works and planning, sure, but you certainly won’t succeed if you don’t get started.
Having the right equipment is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of YouTubing. If you are on a budget, plan where you put your limited resources first. Think about the areas your channel would most benefit from improvement, and start there. You can also check out this list of YouTube equipment for beginners as a good starting point, as it includes a nice range of options spanning a broad range of the price spectrum.
And if all else fails, use your phone, and don’t let a lack of equipment stop you from bringing your ideas to life.
Just remember, having the best equipment will only get you so far, and it won’t be that far if your videos are not engaging for your potential audience.
In what might seem like something of a contradiction, 1080p has, for a few years now, been considered both the bare minimum and the peak of quality for YouTube videos. Brought about mainly by the plummeting costs of hardware capable of recording in 1080p, it is generally considered inexcusable to upload a video at a lower resolution.
But at the same time, so few people are viewing YouTube at a higher resolution than 1080p that it becomes impractical to move to something more.
But something more is on the table, of course. 4K video has arrived, and its popularity is growing. But how does 4K compare to our old friend, 1080p? And what does it mean for the future of YouTube?
What is Resolution?
Let’s start with a crash course in the basics. Both 1080p and 4K are resolutions. Resolution—in the context of displays, such as your phone screen, or computer monitor—is the number of pixels that screen can fit. A pixel is a tiny dot of light that represents the smallest thing that can be drawn on the screen.
The larger the resolution, the more detail you can fit on your screen. Think of it in terms of trying to create a picture using a fine pencil vs using a broad paintbrush, but both are on the same size canvas. You can get considerably more detail into your picture with a fine-tipped pencil.
1080p, also known as “Full HD”, has been the standard resolution for monitors and televisions for a number of years now, and we’ve come to expect it as a minimum. Many people who mostly grew up around 1080p are shocked the first time they see 480p—the resolution that televisions used to display.
4K, so-called because it has nearly 4,000 horizontal pixels (it also has exactly 4x the number of pixels as 1080p, but that is just a coincidence), is next standard that television manufacturers are hanging their hat on.
There are resolutions in between the two—2K is a thing, for example—but it is 4K that has been picked to succeed 1080p as the standard.
What is the Difference Between 1080p and 4K
Let’s start with the resolution since we’ve just explained what that is. 1080p is 1920×1080. That’s 1920 pixels across and 1080 pixels down, and it is the 1080 pixels down that gives this resolution its name. The “p” stands for “progressive scan”, which means all the horizontal lines of the pixels are drawn in sequence.
This an alternative to interlaced video, where every other line is drawn first followed by the remaining lines to give the impression of a higher framerate. Smaller resolutions are also labelled this way, with 720p and 480p being the main two resolutions below 1080p that you will find in televisions.
Let’s just briefly touch on aspect ratios. This is the relative size of the horizontal edge of the display vs the vertical. So for a 4:3 display, there will be four horizontal pixels for every three vertical pixels. This is relevant because it is possible to have a 1080p display that is considerably wider than 1920 pixels across. For the purposes of this post, however, we’re going to be referring to 16:9 aspect ratios unless otherwise stated, as that is the most common ratio found in televisions and monitors. Now, about 4K.
4K, on the other hand, is 3840×2160. If you’re wondering why it is not labelled 2160p, it’s purely a market thing. “4K” sounds cooler. There is a commonly used resolution (in PC monitors, not televisions) in between 1080p and 4K, which goes by both 1440p and 2K, depending on the mood of the person talking about it.
The numbers tend not to look too impressive when laid out as horizontal and vertical counts, but when you total up the number of pixels on screen, the difference is a little more apparent. A 1080p screen holds 2,073,600 pixels. That’s a lot of pixels. However, a 4K display holds 8,294,400 pixels.
That’s quite a difference.
In terms of direct differences, that’s about the start and end of it. However, there are further differences that come as a natural result of that difference in resolution. For one thing, the bandwidth needed to stream 4K content is considerably higher than that of 1080p, something that is particularly relevant when we’re talking about YouTube 4K Vs 1080p. The amount scales as you’d expect. Where 1080p requires somewhere between 8-12 Mbps to stream, 4K requires 40-70 Mbps. This is particularly important for the next section.
Another difference due to the increased size of the video is the computing power it takes to edit 4K content. Video editing is an intensive process at the best of times, and making that video 4x bigger requires a capable machine.
Compression is a complicated topic that would take a post the size of this one all of its own and probably still not do the subject matter justice.
To simplify it down to something we can fit in one section, it involves replacing repetitive information with more efficient ways of storing that information. For example, if the top row of pixels in a 4K picture is entirely black, that’s 3,840 pixels-worth of information, but each pixel is identical.
Rather than storing every single pixel, a compression algorithm might store data for the first of those pixels that include the colour, but then it would state how many pixels it repeats for. Using a simple method like this, the nearly 3,840 bytes-worth (1 byte per pixel) of information required for that top row of pixels could be reduced to something more like 24 bytes.
That’s 160x less memory being used to store the same amount of information!
Of course, when we’re talking about video footage, it’s not that common to get large areas of identical pixels, and as a result, the compression algorithms are far more complex than the example we just gave. Still, it helps to illustrate what is going on. But why is this relevant to YouTube?
Well, YouTube is in the bandwidth game, big time. In 2019, 500 hours of video were being uploaded to YouTube every minute, with over 250 million hours of video being watched every day. When you are dealing with that much bandwidth, even a tiny improvement in your compression algorithms can represent millions of dollars.
So, here’s the kicker. As you might have guessed from the woefully inadequate explanation of compression above, the busier a picture is, the less it can be compressed. In fact, if you had a frame of 4K video where every pixel was a different colour, it would be impossible to compress it without losing information. Now, 4K captures a lot of detail, and for the most part, a lot of that detail goes unnoticed. YouTube knows this, and so they tweak their compression algorithms to be a little more… keen.
If there is only a relatively small difference between two pixels, such as you might get from film grain, then it won’t make a noticeable difference to the video, but it could save an extra megabyte of bandwidth per frame. When you consider that a typical video will have at least 24 frames per second—with some videos being as high as 60 frames per second—you can see why YouTube might be willing to sacrifice a little of that detail.
Size Matters… With Your Screen
There is a thing called “pixel density” which refers to the number of pixels in a physical area and is measured in “pixels per inch”, or PPI. To understand what this represents in practice, imagine an iPad-like device with a 1080p resolution. Now consider a standard 21″ computer monitor with the same resolution.
Both devices are displaying the exact same number of pixels, but one of them is packing those pixels into a much smaller space. The higher the PPI, the more pixels there are crammed in, and the clearer the image looks.
There is a point, however, where pixel density becomes so great that the human eye is no longer capable of discerning the increased detail. This translates to a little over 300ppi. What that means, in practical terms, is that once you get above that threshold, there is no benefit to increasing it further, as our eyes literally cannot tell the difference.
As we’ve established, 4K has around 4x the number of pixels that 1080p has. This means that the critical pixel density we mentioned, where the human eye stops being able to tell the difference, is on a screen size of around 13″ for 4K, but is down to 6.5″ for 1080p.
What does this mean for YouTubers? Well, mobile phones—which often have screens between five and six inches—are the most popular way to consume YouTube content. That means that the majority of YouTube videos are watched on devices where there is no benefit to being in 4K since the viewer can’t tell the difference visually. Furthermore, only a tiny portion of computers running a 4K resolution are currently active on the Internet, meaning that of the people looking at a big enough screen to do 4K justice, the vast majority of them are not using a screen capable of displaying 4K content at all.
Recording 1080p Vs Recording 4K
What about recording video? By now, 1080p is ubiquitous in the sense that it is difficult to buy a device that doesn’t support 1080p.
Even budget webcams offer 1080p, and phones have long since moved beyond that barrier. 4K, on the other hand, may require you to buy a specific device (though you might already have one capable of recording in 4K).
It also requires more effort in setting up your recording space, more time spent encoding and uploading, and more power in your computer to edit that enormous video file.
YouTube 4K Vs 1080p
When you factor everything in, 4K begins to look like a lot of extra work for not much reward. Still, when comparing it to 1080p, there is little argument to be made against it in terms of quality.
While our eyes may have maxed out when it comes to mobile phone screens, computer monitors and TVs still have plenty of room to expand, and it is here where 4K YouTube content will make the most difference.
We can’t, in all seriousness, recommend that you take any difficult steps to move to 4K at this moment in time, but there will come a time when it is a necessary move. And, given that YouTube automatically scales video down to suit the device, there’s no downside to uploading 4K content if you can.
But if you can’t, and if you’re not thrilled about the idea of investing more time and money in your channel at this stage, don’t worry about it. 1080p will do just fine for now.
Finally, there is the issue of streaming. Internet speeds may be increasing all the time, but many homes don’t have a fast enough connection to stream 4K content, and certainly not at higher frame rates.
For reference, here are the different standard resolutions broken down.
Up to 30FPS
Up to 60FPS
2160p (4k) 3840×2160
1440p (2k) 2560×1440
1080p (Full HD) 1920×1080
720p (Std HD) 1280×720
480p (DVD) 720×480
4K represents something of an inevitability for YouTubers. Even if the majority of viewers didn’t care, PC gaming and television sales are bringing 4K displays into the mainstream, and once people have 4K, they typically want to use it.
Whether this represents any kind of significant opportunity to find new subscribers through providing that 4K content at a time when there isn’t much of it will remain to be seen. But it is undoubtedly something of a unique feather for your cap.
As for switching to 4K, there’s no rush. If moving to 4K for you would be a frictionless affair, it is certainly worth doing. As mentioned above, YouTube will scale your videos down when needed, so the only reason not to go to 4K is the added costs and inconvenience to you. If those inconveniences don’t worry you, make the switch. You’ll be giving your channel a certain amount of prestige while also future-proofing your content for such a time when 4K does become the standard resolution. When this happens, you will not only be providing 4K content for your viewers, you will be established as a channel which provides 4K content.
And, when you’re all set up and producing stunning 4K content for your YouTube channel, you can begin planning for the next big thing—8K
As a general rule, the better the quality of your video, the better it is for your channel. While channels can—and indeed have—succeed with lower quality video, there is hardly any reason at all not to opt for the highest possible quality you can manage when considering things from a viewers perspective.
As with most things in life, the practical reality of uploading videos in 4K isn’t quite as straightforward. 4K is nowhere near ubiquitous, yet the cost of a good 4K camera over a regular HD camera is not insignificant. The result of this being that you could end up putting considerably more time and effort into making your videos 4K, only to find none of your audience is watching in that resolution. But we want to go a little deeper than that, of course.
So let’s get to it. Should I upload 4k to YouTube? Kind of. If it is something you can already do—if you have a 4K camera, your set is nice and dressed up, you’ve mastered your makeup game, and you have a beefy Internet connection and a beefier computer, there’s no reason to not upload in 4K. If some or all of these things are not true, however, you need to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding 4K is for you.
What is 4K?
Let’s start with the basics. Before you decide whether 4K is right for your channel, you should know what it is you’re deciding about. 4K is a somewhat gimmicky name given to the latest standard screen resolution to hit the market. The name could come either from the fact that the horizontal resolution of 4K is almost 4,000 pixels or from the fact that there is exactly 4x the number of pixels in a 1080p display.
4K represents several challenges from a creator’s standpoint, from recording to editing and, ultimately, streaming. Not only do you need a camera capable of 4K, but it also needs to be a good camera, as poor quality video will be considerably more apparent at that resolution. You also need a computer capable of editing such high-resolution footage. As anyone who has rendered a video before can tell you; video editing is not light work.
You also need to pay more attention to yourself, your set, and anything that might be in the shot when filming. The increased resolution of 4K will bring a lot more detail into the light.
Finally, there is the issue of streaming. Internet speeds may be increasing all the time, but many homes don’t have a fast enough connection to stream 4K content, and certainly not at higher frame rates.
For reference, here are the different standard resolutions broken down.
Up to 30FPS
Up to 60FPS
2160p (4k) 3840×2160
1440p (2k) 2560×1440
1080p (Full HD) 1920×1080
720p (Std HD) 1280×720
480p (DVD) 720×480
Of course, the average Internet connection speed in most developed countries has risen in the 100s, but it is important to remember that averages can be easily skewed by a relatively small number of abnormally high connections. And there is also the possibility that all of a households internet connection will not be available, such as would be the case if someone were watching Netflix at the same time your viewer is attempting to stream your 4K content.
One final thing to factor in is your connection. As fast as Internet speeds are getting, upload speeds have always been notoriously slow in comparison. Having to wait 4x as long for your video to upload (plus additional processing time at YouTube’s end) might not be an issue for you, but it’s worth mentioning.
4K Represents a Tiny Slice of the Market
Finding concrete statistics on 4K as it pertains to YouTube is not easy. What we can safely say is that only a tiny share of computer users online have their resolutions set to 4K. As shown by screenresolutions.org (at the time of writing), only 0.12% of users online are using 4K resolution, with 2K just creeping inside the top ten, and regular 1080p (1K, if you like) topping the list by a wide margin.
“But what about TVs?” I hear you yell. Well, more and more people are indeed watching YouTube through their TV, thanks to the prevalence of things like Amazon’s Fire Stick, Smart TVs and gaming consoles with an app ecosystem. However, 4K TVs are still vastly outnumbered by 1080p, so even if every TV owner on the planet was watching YouTube on their television rather than their computer, 4K would still be in the minority.
To briefly touch on phones since, of course, mobile devices are the most popular kind of device for watching YouTube on. While it is true that many—probably most—modern phones can display 4K videos, it’s something of a moot point since our feeble human eyes can’t tell the difference on screens that small. It is estimated that a healthy human eye can discern detail up to 326ppi (pixels per inch). 1080p on an average mobile phone screen is already higher than that, so increasing the pixel density further won’t make a noticeable difference.
4K is Growing
Now that we’ve talked about how small a market 4K is for YouTube let’s look to the future. 4K TV sales are increasing exponentially, and the ever-hungry PC gaming market is driving the sales of 4K monitors. Furthermore, the cost of making a 4K device is dropping to the point that the Smart TV Effect is beginning to take hold.
If you’ve never heard of the Smart TV Effect before… that’s because we just made it up, but the premise is simple enough. The “smart” part of smart TVs is notoriously terrible. There are exceptions, of course, but most smart TV interfaces are clunky, slow, and generally unpleasant to use. So why, then are they in almost every television?
The answer is because it got so cheap to add to their product that it was worth it just to get that “Smart TV” sticker on the box, it doesn’t matter if nobody wants a smart TV, it became almost impossible to buy one without it.
4K is heading in the same direction. The cost of making 4K TVs is dropping, which means the cost of the TVs themselves is dropping, too. 4K is proving to be a powerful marketing tool, if not a particularly useful feature given the lack of 4K content.
So what does all this mean for YouTubers? Well, 4K is a significant minority now, but it almost certainly won’t be staying that way. So when you consider whether or not you want to record your videos in 4K, you need to think about how important having the best possible quality is to your channel. Right now, 1080p is good enough, but 4K is coming.
Should I Upload 4K to YouTube?
So, now we have laid out all the basic information, how do you decide? We can get one straight forward answer out of the way easily enough. If you already have the means to record in 4K, and the thing you are recording is ready (remember, every imperfection, be it on you or your set, will be 4x larger), your computer is up to the task of editing, and the additional upload times do not bother you, then there is no reason not to upload in 4K.
YouTube will automatically process lower-resolution versions of your video, which will then be delivered to those who are not viewing on a 4K screen, so nothing will change for them. But you will be future-proofing your videos. Not to mention; with the lack of 4K content available right now, you may even gain viewers just through virtue of having 4K video on your channel.
But what about everyone else? What if you don’t have a means of recording 4K, or your computer wouldn’t be able to handle the editing even if you did? Is it worth taking steps to get 4K video?
This will depend on your channel. If you are making software tutorial videos, you shouldn’t be in too much of a rush to switch. The important thing there is clarity. If your viewers can see what it is you’re doing on screen, that’s good enough. If you can relatively easily switch to 4K, by all means, do it. If it’s going to be too difficult or expensive, don’t worry about it.
The same can be said for most types of channel, actually. For the most part, the benefits of moving to 4K right now are not big enough to warrant the cost and effort involved. But are there any types of channel where switching to 4K should be considered a priority? As a matter of fact, yes. Any channel where the viewing experience is paramount should consider getting onto 4K as soon as possible. This is as much for future-proofing your videos as it is for capturing current viewers. Videos like this tend to be evergreen—that is, they remain relevant long after they are uploaded. An example of such a video might be nature videos or aerial drone footage.
In two years, if somebody wants to watch “3 hours of serene woodland ambience”, they are not going to care if your video is two years old, but they might care if it is only available in 1080p when everything else is in 4K.
Tips When Switching to 4K
So you’ve decided that 4K is a good move for your channel? Great! Here are some things to think about.
We’ve touched on it a little in this post. For better or worse, 4K video offers considerably more detail, which means your viewers will be able to make things out that they wouldn’t before.
If you like to look good on your stream, you might need to up your prep game. You should also take special care to make sure there is nothing in the shot that you don’t want public. This can include address labels, serial numbers, and any other potentially sensitive information.
You should do this anyway, of course, but the chances of a viewer being able to read the address on a label a few metres behind you in 1080p are pretty slim. Not so much with 4K.
Scale Up Your Text
This applies mostly to videos where text is a significant part of the content, such as with software tutorials. It’s important to remember that, while the resolution may be 4x larger than 1080p, the screens that your video is being viewed on are not.
Or, to put it another way, the same text that is legible on a 24″ 1080p screen will be 4x smaller on a 24″ 4K screen.
When you make the switch to 4K, you will need to rethink your various designs, such as end screens and lower thirds. Any text that would have been considered small in 1080p will need increasing in size when you switch to 4K.
Let People Know
If you are going to make the switch to 4K, be sure to let people know. This can be as simple as adding an “in 4K” to the end of your video title, and certainly tagging it and mentioning it in the description.
You will now be offering a type of content that is rare, so you want to capture that niche audience while you can.
The price of 4K equipment—both recording and watching—will continue to drop as it becomes more prevalent. There will come a time when the switch to 4K will not be as difficult as it is now.
That being said, there is an element of “getting in on the ground floor” about being a 4K YouTuber in 2020, and it could be a great way to gain extra subscribers that might not otherwise have checked out your channel.
Still, it is not a cheap transition to make. If that leap is too big for you at this moment in time, don’t sweat it. Most of us are watching in 1080p anyway.
There are plenty of tips and tricks on growing your YouTube channel, and all too many of them are subjective. That trick works well for this kind of channel, and this tip is better for that kind of channel. Unfortunately, there aren’t many hard certainties when talking about succeeding on YouTube. At least, not once you get beyond things like “don’t steal content”.
When it comes to intros and outros, the answer is a little more reliable—though still not absolute.
So, do you need a YouTube intro and outro? Yes! If you want to grow your channel and your brand on YouTube, you should consider an intro and an outro an essential part of your process. Just make sure it’s not too long and adds value to the video.
As always, we’re not going to leave it there. Let’s take a deeper dive and get into why these things are important, as well as how best to craft them to help your channel grow.
Why Are YouTube Intros and Outros Important?
There are different reasons for the importance of intros than there are for outros, so we’re going to take a look at both individually.
YouTube Video Intros
The primary reason an intro is important is new-viewer retention. If you are attempting to grow your channel, you will naturally be working to bring new viewers in all the time. Getting a viewer to your video is only half of the battle, of course—you want them to watch the video. And, all being well, subscribe to your channel.
Neither of which is likely to happen if you lose their interest in the first twenty seconds.
Your existing subscribers will have a certain amount of forgiveness about your not getting to the point in your video because they know what to expect from you. After all, they have already subscribed. But new viewers can have a tendency to click away very quickly if they get the sense that your video isn’t going to give them what they came for.
With an intro, you can quickly establish who you are and what the video is about, so new viewers will be more willing to keep watching.
YouTube Video Outros – End Cards – End Screens
As much as we hate to admit it, being reminded to click like, check out other videos and do all those other things that help the channel out, works. Viewers simply don’t think about those things a lot of the time, but a gentle reminder from you will help. Need proof?
Next time you go to the cinema, take a look around when the pre-roll ads inevitably ask the audience to turn their phones off. We all know that you’re not supposed to have your phone on—or at least have it on silent—when at the movies, but look at how many people are turning their phones off during that announcement. Reminding people works.
And it’s not like you saying “if you enjoyed this why not hit like and subscribe?” will make someone like and subscribe if they didn’t want to in the first place. Be a little wary of asking people to like and subscribe at the start of the video, however. Some YouTuber’s swear by it, but many viewers find it a little presumptive.
Beyond that, your outro is the perfect place to handle any channel housekeeping, such as thanking Patreons and recommending some of your other videos, but we’ll get more into how to put an outro together later in the post.
Should I Always Use Intros and Outros?
There will always be fringe cases where it is not appropriate to use intros and/or outros. However, these are so few and far between relative to the times when you should use them that we’re comfortable saying yes, you should always use them. In the interests of covering all the bases, however, here are some situations where intros and outros might not fit.
Extremely short videos
Videos where intros and outros would not fit stylistically
As with most things, try to use your judgement. There are times when a “members-only” video warrants an intro, or where meme videos could benefit from an outro.
How Big a Difference Do Intros and Outros Make?
Hard statistics are difficult to come by; however, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from YouTubers who have conducted their own tests. One such example is Real Men Real Style, who noted that engagement on their videos dropped by as much as 70% when they didn’t add a call to action in their videos.
Another thing to factor in is the kind of video you are making, and the viewing habits of people watching it. For example, an intensive video—such as a tutorial—will likely be a very active viewing experience. That is, it is more likely that the viewer will have sought that video (or one like it) out. For those videos, your likelihood of increased engagement will hinge on the quality of your video. But for a more casual viewing experience, the intro and outro are more crucial.
What do we mean by casual? If your video is more along the lines of entertainment, which can include things like history videos, punditry, and anything where the viewer might be just sitting back and enjoying the content like they would a TV show, then there is more of a chance they came across your video by happenstance.
Perhaps it was a recommended video in their feed, or maybe your video auto-played at the end of a different video. Perhaps they arrived at your video through social media and had no idea what they were watching at the time. In all of these cases, it is far more likely that the viewer will not be aware of you or your channel, or the kind of content you make.
By introducing your video at the start, you ensure that they at least know about your channel once they’re there. And, by placing an outro at the end, you can break the chain of auto-play, and divert your new viewer to more of your content.
Making a Good Intro for your YouTube Video
The first rule of making a good YouTube intro is not outstaying your welcome. There is no universal length of time that applies to every video but finding the sweet spot between getting enough information across in a short enough period so that your viewers don’t get annoyed or bored is key. As a general rule, fifteen seconds is a popular length for an intro.
It’s not just about getting all the information you want to get in there, however. You have to do it in a way that engages your audience. If your video kicks off with you jabbering at high speed trying to squeeze everything in like a pharmaceuticals disclaimer, it won’t go down well. But, if you take too much time, you risk your viewers clicking past the intro to get to the content. Or worse; clicking away from the video altogether.
A good way to structure your introduction is to set out what the video is about first then introduce yourself and your channel, then get into the content. This way, the viewer knows right at the top if the video is what they’re looking for, and are more likely to hang around through the rest of intro to get to the content.
One thing we can give you as a hard rule that should always be applied is this; never take longer than you have to get to the content. Be concise.
If you have branding on your channel—and, to be clear, you should have branding on your channel—make sure it features in your intro. The main point of branding is recognition. If your viewer takes nothing else away from your video, they should at least have seen your branding.
Making a Good Outro for Your YouTube Video
Outros are a different ballgame altogether. If a viewer is watching your outro, it means they have already viewed your whole video and are somewhat invested in you. While you should never waffle in your videos, you don’t need to have quite the same urgency about getting your information across in an outro as you do in an intro.
The outro is an obvious place to wrap things up, thank people, politely suggest that they like and subscribe if they liked the content and the rest. But the most practical use of your outro is to direct your viewers to more content on your channel related to what they have just watched.
This is also where end screens come in. The beauty of end screens is that they can be dynamic. You can link to a specific video or playlist, of course, but you can also have it show your latest video or the most recommended video for whoever the viewer at the time. And you can have multiple video links in your end screen.
The critical component here is that you have a call to action in your outro. That call to action could simply be liking and subscribing, or checking out another video, or even visiting your website. If you have a viewer who has watched all of your video, they are more likely to be interested in what else you have to offer. Not having a call to action, in this case, is a wasted opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of commonly asked questions around this topic, so we’ve done our best to answer some of the more frequently asked of those questions. If there’s something we missed, leave a comment below.
How do you make an intros and outros on YouTube?
Depending on your skill level, there are multiple options.
If you are a little savvier, you might want to create your own from scratch.
How do you make a YouTube intro for your phone?
While the level of control you have over your intro may be reduced when compared to intros made on a computer, there are phone apps that do a very respectable job.
One such app is Intro Maker, though there are other options available.
What should I say in my YouTube intro?
The most effective use of your intro would be to state concisely what the video is about, introduce yourself and your channel, and make sure any channel branding is shown.
How long is a YouTube outro?
When talking about an outro where you are signing off, the length is entirely up to you. Though we would always recommend being clear and to the point.
If talking about the length of time your end screen is shown, 10-15 seconds is the typical amount of time to show it before ending the video.
Having an intro and outro on your YouTube video may not be a necessity—channels can succeed without them—but we strongly feel you will be making life harder for yourself if you decide to not use them. They provide a great way to establish your branding, convey important information, hook your viewer at the start and direct them to more of your content at the end.
They are particularly useful for channels that get a lot of new traffic, as they play a crucial role in converting unique views into long term subscribers, and establishing your brand with that viewer.
Animated content for your intros and outros can be made with little-to-no experience in animation software, thanks to a wide selection of apps and web services. Be sure to make use of your end screen to drive your viewers to more content on your channel, not to mention providing them with a simple, one-click method of subscribing to your channel if they haven’t already.
If you need help with your graphics, branding, subtitles or anything else to level up your YouTube videos, I have a long list tools I used to grow my channel from 0 to 2 Million views in less than 2 years – check out my resources page.
And, remember, use this time wisely. Get the information you need to get across in as short time as you can, but do so clearly and concisely. You don’t want your viewers to feel like your wasting their time before they even get into the meat of your video.
Your intro is the first thing a new viewer will see. Make it count.
Growing a YouTube channel from scratch can be challenging and frustrating.
All that time, planning, recording, and editing content, and when you finally upload it to your channel – tumbleweeds. You may as well have filmed paint drying for all the good it’s done you!
Fear not. There are techniques and tips for growing your channel from zero. Methods you can use to pull in viewers, get more subscribers, and turn those tumbleweeds into roses.
This article gives you eight handy tips you can apply today to grow your YouTube channel, even if you’re starting out from zero.
Let’s get going.
Tip 1 – Make A Start!
To grow a successful YouTube channel from zero means you have to shoot, edit, and upload engaging, entertaining videos regularly.
Thinking about your channel is not the path to success, you need to sit in front of the camera, hit record, and start talking.
You won’t know if you are on the right track for your channel until you’ve uploaded several videos to YouTube, monitored feedback, and made optimised changes to your content.
And don’t worry if you are not that polished at the start. If you take a look at the earliest videos of now successful channels, you’ll see how rough and they were when they first began.
Uploading videos regularly is an absolutely critical step. The crucial factor of feedback comes in several forms; likes and dislikes, comments, and some vital analytics found in your YouTube account.
When you find out what works, you can use the information to make better videos.
But when you start out, resist the temptation to go on a filming frenzy pumping out one video after another. Think about the fable of the tortoise and the hare.
Long term consistency wins over unsustainable short term intensity every time. Slow and steady progress is much better.
Tip 2 – Focus Your Channel on a Single Niche
YouTube channels that jump from topic to topic often confuse people. Viewers are used to channels being about one subject only. So make sure that you make videos that focus around one niche and compliment other content in your channel.
For example, If you like both football and scary videos create a separate channel for each. But if your channel is about beauty, then it’s OK to have videos for nail polish, hair, or skin cleansing, as they all fit under the beauty umbrella.
One of the significant benefits of making your channel about a single niche is the possibility of building viewer feedback loops. That may sound complicated but actually refers to how YouTube works to keep viewers hooked on the site and watching more videos.
As a user watches content, YouTube shows a list of recommended videos (even autoplay them) to keep viewers hooked. YouTube wants to keep people on the site and is good at guessing what a viewer wants to watch next.
If your channel is all about a single niche, then you can take advantage of this.
When a viewer is watching one of my videos, YouTube determines that the user will probably want to see more videos about YouTube education. So other videos from my channel are displayed for them to watch next.
Tip 3 – Model What Is Already Working
Learn the rules of what makes a video successful and stick to them. Over time, through trial and error, Youtubers have learned how to best combine content, editing and presenting styles into winning videos. Model your self on a popular channel and don’t get experimental – understand the rules before you break them.
Emulating a successful channel does not mean copying one though. This famous quote illustrates the point nicely.
Find 10 popular channels currently uploading in your chosen niche. Next, look at the 10 most popular videos for each of those channels and start writing down a list of content ideas. Just because the concepts have already been covered doesn’t mean you can’t take the same idea then do a better job.
Think about how those channels present their content. Is most of the presenting face on, or maybe they have footage of their hands from overhead? Perhaps they have lots of computer screen recordings?
Take the best bits of the successful channels, mix them together, then put your own spin on it.
And you must try to make evergreen content. Evergreen content is videos that will be relevant for a long time in the future. Your aim should be to build up an extensive back catalogue of content that viewers find useful and compelling, even when they discover your channel a year from now.
If you made a gossip style video about the latest spat between your two favourite singers, you might get a short-term spike in traffic. Still, no-one will care in a year when everyone’s moved on.
Most YouTube videos fall into one of two categories – education and entertainment. If you can manage to do both, even better.
Tip 4 – Work Out How to Keep People Watching for Longer
YouTube makes money when viewers watch adverts. So YouTube strives to keep audiences watching content for as long a possible. It follows then that a significant factor for YouTube in deciding how to rank and recommend videos is by a metric called watch time.
Most people won’t watch a video on YouTube all the way through. There are too many distractions nowadays, and attention spans are at an all-time low. So YouTube wants viewers to watch videos that are proven to hold their attention.
As a result, they serve up search results and video recommendations from channels with proven good watch times.
There are steps you can take to keep your viewers tuned into your content, and you’ll probably recognise a lot of them from your YouTube browsing. Everyone uses them because they work and play a big part in keeping viewers engaged.
Keep Intros short and sweet. Try to keep your intro screen and any welcome message under 20 seconds.
Signpost content in longer videos. If your content is over 10 minutes, think about telling people what’s coming up in the next segment to keep them hooked in.
Tease the most compelling part of your video. Place the highlight of your video towards the end, but let the viewer know what’s coming and why they must watch the whole video first.
If you can get 50 percent of your viewers to watch over 50 percent of your videos on average, then you will be doing well, and your channel could be on its way to success.
Tip 5 – Create Clickable Titles and Thumbnails
Your channel can only start to grow if people watch your videos. Yet, people will only watch your video if you have a snappy title and a compelling thumbnail for it. Let’s take a more in-depth look at both.
Your titles need to present a promise to the viewer, usually in one of the three following categories:
Intrigue – Don’t give the game away with your title, use phrases like ‘why was this’ and ‘might surprise you’ to build a compelling reason to click on your video.
FOMO – Fear of missing out. This usually works best with new information. This type of title plays on the human desire not to be out of the loop. Or even better, know something that no-one else knows.
Best Top Worst! – Another peculiar human trait is our need to rank things. Everyone does it. From Tennis players to chocolate cookies, we all have an opinion or would like to find out what is best, top, or worst.
Don’t use a title like ‘My favourite digital cameras’ – ‘The top 10 DSLRs ranked definitively and which one you should buy?’ will outperform it every time.
Thumbnails need to be amazing too. It’s the shop window for your video. You’ll usually want to include a picture of yourself on the thumbnail, especially if you are going to be presenting on camera.
Add in text too – some people are more visual and won’t read your title. A short four or five-word headline that summarises the video helps people narrow down what to watch next. Avoid using fonts with fancy styles and keep your text clean and clear, so it’s easy to read.
Make sure you keep all the elements of your thumbnail big. Don’t forget that people also watch YouTube on mobile, so your thumbnail will still need to work on smaller smartphone screens.
70% of all the videos watched on YouTube are those recommended by the YouTube algorithm. YouTube understands what engages viewers and knows what videos to recommend next to keep them on the platform.
One of the significant factors for getting your videos recommended is how long the average viewer watches your content. Known as Watch Time, it’s an important metric that you should understand and keep a close eye on.
To improve average watch time, use audience retention analysis. This metric shows second-by-second when your audience stops watching your video. In the screen-grab below you can see the audience starts at 100% then quickly drops off to just around 55%.
This means that the video in question may have had a lengthy introduction that viewers found annoying, or the content didn’t live up to the promise of the title. So some users navigated away to find another video.
When you start getting traffic to your channel, there are several ways to hold on to that traffic and funnel it to your other videos. It’s better than letting to go to other channels, right?
Create a series.
If you have a content idea that is relatively broad, think about creating a series of videos for the topic, like in the example below for a Microsoft Teams software tutorial.
As long as you don’t give away the lion’s share of the information in the first video, viewers are more likely to watch the next in the series. Set up teasers about what’s in the following video in the series to help funnel the traffic over.
Make sure that the content in a series of videos works on a standalone basis as well. Briefly recap the lessons from previous videos before you begin the content of the next in the series, so viewers know the context.
If you don’t have content that works as a series but has a similar theme, consider building a channel playlist. 5-Minute Crafts’s channel has thematic playlists containing hundreds of videos with hours of watch time in each.
When a view hits play all, Youtube shows one video after another on the playlist – ensuring good watch time (and ad revenue).
Cards are the term given to grey boxes you can set to display in the corner of your video.
You can use cards to link to other channels, websites, or polls. But, perhaps the best use for them is to link to your other video content.
If you found a place in one of your videos that your audience retention analytics showed some viewers dropping out. Set up a card just before this point to funnel the traffic to other complementary content on your channel.
When a viewer gets to the end of your video, use an end screen to promote another video. It’s best if you only suggest one video. Having a single call-to-action is better than adding multiple links to lots of your videos and hoping the viewer clicks one.
This tip works even better if you plan ahead. Trail the video you will link to in the end screen of the video you’ll place it on.
It takes time and dedication to build up a successful YouTube channel. And when you get started, it can seem like you are trying really hard for little reward. YouTube is peppered with channels where the creator burned out and stopped after only uploading six or seven videos.
There is a concept for entrepreneurs that is illustrated by the ‘S’ curve. When a new venture begins, frustration builds as little happens. And it’s not uncommon to think that you’ve wasted your time and everything is destined to fail.
But there comes the point, known as the inflection point, where things start clicking into place. Suddenly the venture rockets away, and it becomes successful.
Most people quit before the inflection point, which is why it pays to stick with your plan and keep on working hard. Commit yourself to upload at least a video per week for six months.
Monitor feedback from the comments and analytics and use it to improve and make better videos. Don’t give up!
Growing a successful YouTube channel isn’t easy – but it’s not impossible either. Those that are successful know that achieving success takes time. It requires careful planning, listening to feedback, and interpreting channel analytics.
There are tried and tested techniques you can use to attract and keep viewers watching your videos.
Experiment using the tips above in your videos, and see what difference it can make to your channel. There are tens of thousands of people making a living from YouTube. Will you become one of them?