Lydia Sweatt is a writer who loves balancing her article/blog time indoors with a healthy dose of nature. She bikes, hikes, and identifies edible plants along the way.
4 Common YouTube Mistakes (and How to Fix Them for Good)
One of the biggest traps we see small YouTubers fall into is making the same mistakes over and over again. These can be tiny missteps, like forgetting to write video descriptions, or bigger problems, like not optimizing YouTube videos for more views. In either case, mistakes pile up until they snowball into one big problem.
The good news is that these mistakes are temporary. You can fix what’s broken within your content, but the first step is understanding what you’re doing wrong.
If you aren’t sure what that is, don’t stress about it. You can start here by learning the most common YouTube mistakes, plus how to correct them.
1. Asking YouTube Shorts Viewers to Watch Long-Form Videos
Promoting a long-form video within a YouTube Short doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but it kind of is! Most people look for quick bursts of entertainment when they watch short videos — not lengthy, slow-burning plots.
In fact, viewers are in a different mode altogether when watching Shorts. They’re swiping from one video to the next, and pulling them away from this task is not easy.
So that’s mistake number one: Not respecting the audience you’re making content for.
Instead of guiding them to a different content type, focus on the Short at hand. Here are some tips for creating a superb viewing experience:
- Make a Short that’s 20-30 seconds long (or use a clip from one of your longer videos.)
- Communicate one point or overall theme. Maybe you can share an interesting fact or make viewers laugh!
If your Shorts are popular, YouTube might suggest your longer videos alongside your shorter ones to a broader audience.
2. Making Your Thumbnail Text Hard to Read
Do you add text to your YouTube thumbnails? If so, go to your channel homepage and browse the video section. Row by row, look at each thumbnail, and ask yourself a crucial question: Can I read the words easily, or does it take a few seconds? Because uploading a thumbnail with confusing text is a major YouTube mistake!
Here’s an example of what you want to avoid. The thumbnail below (from gaming channel Lil_P66) is readable, but only after you stare at it for a while.
Now compare that to the new thumbnail style for this same channel. Lil_P66 has switched to a thicker, simpler font. It’s much easier on the eyes!
Instead of using fancy fonts, keep these tips in mind:
- Stick to sans-serif fonts, and make your text big and bold.
- Choose colors that create a nice contrast between the thumbnail text and the photo's background.
- Never use red text (it’s hard to read).
3. Posting Videos with Bad Lighting
Another common mistake YouTubers make is not paying attention to video lighting. After all, a well-light environment doesn’t just look cool. It’s essential for helping viewers see every detail and understand what’s happening visually.
Want to see this mistake up close? John Nuer has a video with blue and purple lighting (it looks pretty cool, actually), but their face blends right into the colors. Plus, the room is pretty dim altogether.
To be fair, John has videos where you can clearly see the subject in the frame. But it’s something to watch out for if you want to keep viewers' attention every single time.
Video editing and production are complex skills, so correcting this mistake doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t hesitate to give it a shot, though. Plenty of courses will show you how to light videos properly, and you’ll feel relieved to have mastered that skill.
4. Making YouTube Videos that Anyone Could Copy
Posting unique videos is one is the best ways to stand out on YouTube. It gives you a fighting chance to catch people off guard and hook them with a concept they never saw coming.
That brings us to mistake number four: Doing what everyone else does. And this goes beyond taking inspiration from other creators. If you’re using a video idea that’s 10 years old with millions of people repeating it each day, what makes you different from them? What will viewers find in your video that they haven’t found in all the others?
Let’s play videos are a good example of severely overdone content in the gaming community. This is where someone does a walkthrough of a video game they’re playing while sprinkling in some commentary here and there. Everyone is doing this (because it’s easy and repeatable), yet only large creators seem to find success with it. Small gaming channels, such as Shubro Plays, have a hard time getting discovered with this strategy.
Here’s what you can do instead as a gaming creator:
- Start researching other topics that interest viewers in your gaming niche.
- Show them secrets in the game. Bring them along for challenges. Look for trends that will surprise and delight them.
That kind of content serves a specific viewer and stops you from competing with large, established creators.
Learn from Your Mistakes on YouTube
Everyone makes mistakes, especially video creators. There’s nothing easy about producing compelling stories in a visual format, attracting people through titles and thumbnails, and keeping it up until your channel grows. It’s hard work! You’re bound to make mistakes, but you’re also bound to get better if you learn from the blunders.
Would you rather learn about YouTube mistakes by watching a video? If so, here’s a nice guide for you!