Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
5 Mistakes That Stop Your YouTube Channel From Growing
No matter how long you’ve been a YouTube creator, you’re bound to make mistakes. You might upload a video while your core audience is sleeping. Or you might choose the wrong title for 50% of your content. There are dozens of ways to mess up, whether you have one subscriber or one million.
Of course, the steepest learning curve is at the beginning. New creators want to know how to make better videos, get more views, and attract subscribers.
To do all of these things better, watch the video below. In it, we discuss five mistakes that stop your channel from growing.
As a quick summary, here are the top five mistakes:
- Not paying attention to video thumbnails
- Only thinking about views and subscribers
- Never experimenting with your content
- Blaming failures on a lack of equipment
- Creating a video without researching its topic
Are you guilty of these blunders? Here’s how to overcome each one and succeed on YouTube.
1. Not Paying Attention to Video Thumbnails
The thumbnail you choose for each video matters. Alongside the title, it’s the first thing viewers see before clicking on a video. If the graphic is colorful but simple, it’s likely to be clicked. Anything that looks cluttered or takes more than a second to understand won’t make a good thumbnail.
Remember, your experience on YouTube is not the same as the viewer’s. They want to skim past thumbnails and find a video to watch – quickly. That’s why your thumbnail should have three, easy-to-understand qualities:
- Minimal text for fast reading
- Bright colors to catch viewers’ attention
- A clutter-free design the brain can process
Read More: How to Make YouTube Custom Thumbnails
There’s a trick you can use to instantly grade your thumbnails. Derral Eves developed this strategy, and he describes it in his new book, “The YouTube Formula.” To start, open the YouTube mobile app and type your channel’s name into the search bar. Notice how the results show two to three videos at most on your screen.
Now close your eyes for five seconds. After that, open them for one second. Now close them again!
Which thumbnail stood out more? That’s the one you should study as you strive to make better graphics.
2. Only Thinking About Views and Subscribers
Every creator wants more views and subscribers. In fact, some will go to Google and type “how to get more views and subscribers” into the search bar. But that’s the wrong way to think about YouTube. Views and subscribers are a long-term reward – the result of doing lots of little things correctly.
To get your first 1,000 subscribers or repeat viral success, you need to understand the dozens of steps that come before those milestones.
Spend some time learning about these key YouTube metrics:
- Impressions: how many times people saw your video’s thumbnail
- Click-through rate: how often viewers watched a video after seeing its thumbnail
- Average view duration: how long viewers watched a video, on average
- Watch Time: the total amount of time viewers watched a video
- Traffic source: where people discovered and watched your video on YouTube
- New versus returning viewers: a comparison showing the number of new and returning viewers on your channel
If you can improve or understand these behind-the-curtain metrics, you’ll get more views and subscribers over time.
3. Never Experimenting With Your Content
Listen up, creators. Your YouTube channel is not made of glass. One mistake won’t shatter it. In fact, the biggest mistake you can make is never experimenting. The more you hold on to past success, the less you grow, adapt, and improve.
Take YouTube Shorts, for example. This content type of vertical, less-than-a-minute videos was introduced last year. It’s the opposite of what most creators are used to, which are lengthy, horizontal videos. But for creators willing to experiment with Shorts, the payoff has been huge.
Jake Fellman is the breakout star. His channel features video game Shorts, which contain 3D scenes from titles like Among Us and Minecraft. Those custom animations attracted more than 4 million subscribers to his channel, plus 3.46 billion views.
Fellman was an early adopter of Shorts. As a result, he didn’t have much competition – which is why you should always try new things on YouTube.
4. Blaming Failures on a Lack of Equipment
You don’t need expensive technology to grow a YouTube channel. It’s better to expand your creation and promotion skills in the beginning – learning how to do keyword research, creating better videos, making awesome thumbnails, and more. So if you see a $1,000 camera or a $500 softbox in your local department store, keep walking. You can do a lot on YouTube with natural light and a smartphone.
It’s OK to upgrade your gear when you can afford to and your channel is growing. But until then, don’t blame your failures on any piece of technology. MrBeast, a creator with around 60 million subscribers, never did. In a Twitter post, he explained how he used his YouTube revenue to slowly invest in his content.
“Never had any money and literally saved up the dollar a day I was earning at the time to buy equipment," MrBeast wrote. "I got 100,000 subscribers with an iPhone 5 camera.”
5. Creating a Video Without Researching Its Topic
Researching isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary. If you want to become the top creator in your niche, whether that’s gaming, cooking, beauty, or another topic, you need to explore those types of channels. Open the YouTube app and do some basic searches. Then ask yourself three questions to narrow your focus:
- Who are my competitors?
- How would I improve my competitors' content?
- Which topics are viewers searching for?
This is where vidIQ can help. When you download our free browser extension, you’ll get access to YouTube competitor tools. You can add competitors to a watch list and keep an eye on the content they’re uploading. Or you can export a list of their top-performing keywords to improve your search rankings.
It’s easy to correct common YouTube mistakes, but some errors are hard to come back from. As you grow your channel, avoid these eight legal pitfalls on YouTube.