Are you struggling with getting views and growing subscribers on YouTube? There’s a lot of buzz surrounding YouTube. We see dozens of videos in our feeds daily talking about why we should create a YouTube channel, how to attract millions of views and followers, the best ways to monetize a channel and whatnot.
It’s all good to see the glitz and glam behind having a successful YouTube channel, but not every YouTuber is going to realize the dream of living the laptop lifestyle.
The bitter reality is that several factors weigh into making a channel so successful that it earns a living for its creator.
In this blog, I’ll go through 13 common mistakes new YouTubers make, how to hack the algorithm for explosive growth, actionable strategies that are working now, and a lot more.
How Does The YouTube Algorithm Work?
First things first. If you want to win big on YouTube, you need to figure out how its algorithms work. This will help you understand the key opportunities you can tap into and grow your channel by building an engaging audience. YouTube has two basic algorithms that work to match the users with the videos they are most likely interested in.
The first algorithm, that most users are aware of, is the ‘search’ algorithm. This comprises a set of rules and instructions designed to show videos a user is most interested in against a search query on the app. YouTube reads the keyword in the query and uses automation to find the best relevant results.
The second algorithm, though not quite obvious, is the ‘suggested videos’ algorithm. This algorithm uses the systems to find out the most relevant videos about the same topic a user is currently watching.
Let’s say a user is currently watching a vegan recipe video. This user will most likely get recommendations about vegan recipes for big families, vegan recipes for weight loss, vegan recipes for high protein, etc.
13 Common Mistakes New YouTubers Make
1. Not Choosing a Specific Niche
While it’s very tempting to go after every viral video and create one around that topic and theme, it simply doesn’t work. YouTube isn’t just a video-sharing social app, it’s the second-largest search engine after Google.
That means people come here to get their questions answered, find ideas, and learn valuable skills. The YouTube algorithm favors niche channels covering a specific topic or niche and covering that comprehensively.
It kills their efforts in two ways: one, they fail to attract a niche audience and build their authority, and two, they can’t get the attention of the algorithm and so their channels don’t grow.
2. Architect Content Strategy that Builds Authority
This is a big ‘Yes’ to YouTube's growth and success. Most users subscribe to a channel perceiving the expertise and authority of the creator in a specific industry, topic, or niche.
Thanks to the massive opportunities this platform offers, most aspiring YouTubers are lured into creating a channel and start publishing videos for the sake of gaining quick views and subscribers.
They ignore the importance of building authority in a niche and becoming a go-to voice for people interested in that market vertical. This behavior can be attributed to several reasons; they want quick results, lack the resources and patience to get the growth, or they simply fall prey to ‘imposter syndrome’.
The last one is very interesting. It relates to the self-doubts people have when they think of sharing their expertise or specialized knowledge with others online or offline. They say in their heads: I am not an expert or that people will not believe me.
So, what do they do? They try to emulate every viral video that has gotten a lot of views and appreciation from the viewers. Instead of focusing on a niche topic they try to cover every popular subject under the sun. Doing so, they can’t get the attention of the audience to being an expert in a specific topic. As a result, you don’t get many subscribers for your channel as well as the views are never going to grow.
While some of the viewers might bite your arm by leaving hateful comments on your videos, a vast majority of your audience will straightaway appreciate you for your efforts and thank you for sharing the valuable knowledge with them.
3. Optimize Your Videos For More Visibility
As we have seen above, two video recommendation algorithms on YouTube are used to match audiences with the most relevant videos they might love; the “search” algorithm and the “suggested videos” algorithm.
If you want to get the maximum visibility on the platform, you need to master both so that you reach more people on the app and grow your audience.
You should start with keyword research. What are the keywords your audience is searching on the app? You should use these keywords in all vital places - your video title, thumbnail, at the beginning of your video, and in the video description, etc. You should also use relevant keywords as tags when publishing a video.
This will tell the algorithm what your video is about and show it to the users most likely to be interested.
4. Design Click-worthy Thumbnails
Your video thumbnails are the first thing viewers see when they search for a term on the platform or scroll through their feeds. You have to hook their attention within a second and persuade them to click on the thumbnail and watch your video.
Being new on the app as creators, new YouTubers ignore the value of designing thumbnails that get clicks. The algorithm notices how many times users click your thumbnails versus how many times they have seen them.
If you get more clicks, your videos will be promoted higher on the search results as well as in the suggested videos - inevitably gaining more views, comments, and subscribers.
You can create winning thumbnails by using interesting or weird images, problem-solution based text in bold capital letters, or simply making big claims with the text (it should be backed by the video content, of course).
5. Boring Video Titles
Titles are one of the most vital components that help get more clicks on a video and attract more views. After the thumbnail, your video title is the next reason why users click and watch your video.
Using intriguing terms, facts, or niche-relevant keywords combined with big numbers are great click magnets that get clicks and drive views on your videos.
On the flip side, most YouTubers use boring and uninviting titles that don’t get the attention of users and they scroll through to the next video in line. This discourages the algorithm to push your videos in the search results and the suggested videos section, so, your videos lose rankings.
6. Inconsistent Publishing
You might have heard this a million times, “social media is all about consistency”, and it’s still true to this day. Social media has seen a massive evolution in the past few years and its reach is simply mind-boggling. But, the essential ingredients stay the same.
With an attention span of just 7 seconds, social users will forget about your channel sooner than you think, if you don’t stay in front of their eyes for some days.
There are so many content creators or your competitor businesses ready to take over your spot and ‘steal’ the attention of your subscribers.
So, whatever is comfortable for you, stick with it - if you can publish one YouTube video a week, fine. If you can post more, that’s even better.
Whatever your resources allow you, stay consistent with that schedule to keep your existing subscribers engaged as well as attract new ones.
7. Clickbait Strategies to Get Clicks
This is a huge turn-off for your viewers and perhaps the biggest mistake new YouTubers make. Someone new to YouTube content creation is certainly looking to grow their channel as fast as possible.
So, what they do is they use fake claims on the thumbnail to entice more clicks and gain more views on their videos. While the video itself doesn’t support the claim, users feel utterly disappointed and cheated. They simply click ‘back’ to never come back again on your channel.
This does more bad than good. Since the YouTube algorithm notices that users are leaving your videos within a few seconds, your videos lose rankings and views, as a result.
Your channel loses credibility and appeal in the eyes of users as well as the algorithm - diminishing your chances to grow your channel and build an audience.
8. Falling To the ‘Perfectionism Trap’
A lot of people want to start their YouTube channels, but they simply don’t do that as they fear facing the audience’s rejection or thinking they are not yet ready. This is generally termed the ‘perfectionism trap’.
These aspiring YouTube stars think that their videos are not yet perfect or praise-worthy. Others may think that users will criticize them for not making the ‘perfect video’ with professional lighting, crispy voice-over, and captivating visuals.
Interestingly enough, the reality is quite the opposite. We have heard this again and again from successful YouTubers saying the first thing they did when starting their YouTube career is that they started publishing right away. They did not wait until they had the ‘perfect YouTube video’ and for them, ‘this is the key to success on the platform’.
Publishing content on the app gives valuable data about what’s resonating with your audience and what’s not, helping you attract some followers and build an audience, and get vital feedback from the viewers to optimize your videos for maximum engagement.
9. Publish More YouTube Shorts
If you are struggling to scale your channel with gaining views and attracting more subscribers, it’s time to embrace the latest YouTube content format - YouTube Shorts.
These are short vertical videos similar to TikTok videos that are getting insane reach and views on the app. A Statista study of 2022 showed that as of June 2022, 1.5 billion monthly active users were using the Shorts feature with an estimated 30 billion monthly views. That’s a lot of eyeballs, isn’t it?
With the exploding popularity of short videos on TikTok, leading social platforms have shifted their focus to this new content format king. Social users are spending more time watching short videos than on longer videos.
A few months ago, Google said that YouTube Shorts have crossed 50 billion daily views. While Shorts present a huge opportunity to massively grow the reach of videos, grow and engage the audience, and boost revenue, a sound majority of new content creators are not utilizing them. And to me, this is one of the deadliest mistakes they are making today.
10. Posting Thin Content that Repels Audiences
Nothing repels a viewer from your channel more than a video that provides no value or an authentic piece of information. Such videos come under the term ‘thin content’.
An overwhelming majority of new content creators make the mistake of publishing content for the sake of it, without even realizing that it is taking people away from their channels.
Social users are more selective and conscious today than ever before. With an attention span of just 8 seconds, you need to hook their attention right off the bat. If they don’t see “anything for them”, they will simply click away.
With frequent bounce-offs of your viewers, the algorithms will take notice thinking that people are not finding value in your content. So, your videos will lose rankings, as a result.
11. Not Having A Clear Goal In Mind
We have seen new content creators on YouTube making this mistake again and again. They start creating videos for their channel without having a clear goal in their heads. A YouTube channel might be geared toward generating leads for a local business, boosting online sales for a fashion retailer, or can be a source to generate revenue for an individual content creator.
Having concrete goals in mind helps architect content strategy accordingly and measure the KPIs (key performance indicators) to see if you are getting results or not. If you are not hitting your benchmarks, you may decide to pivot your content strategy and move closer to your goals.
12. Just Ask For It
YouTube content creation and engagement are inseparable. If you are not inspiring your viewers to like your videos, leave comments, or subscribe to your channel, you will have a hard time on the app.
A big mistake made by the newcomers is that they assume that viewers will engage with their content and tap the ‘subscribe’ button, anyway. While some do, most of the viewers don’t.
The reason might be the one-off information a user might be looking for. When they know what they were looking for they simply click away. Or they don’t bother to take these little steps, that could fuel the growth of a channel, simply because of a low attention span.
Whatever the reason might be, it’s a recommended practice to ask your viewers to like, comment, and share, and to subscribe to your channel to stay in the loop for similar amazing videos.
13. Building A Team
When you are starting out on YouTube it’s fine to do everything yourself - video ideation, keyword research, script creation, video shooting, editing, creating thumbnails, and publishing.
As your channel grows, you will get more comments under your videos and you must respond to them if you really want to take off your channel. Why? This will keep the conversation going, build your credibility as an authority, and make you a real deal so that people can seek advice from you.
Your best chance to win is to outsource time-consuming jobs like video creation, editing, scriptwriting, etc, and focus 100% on research and other key business areas.
Building a team of professionals is key to scaling your channel, attracting more subscribers and views, and building a thriving brand on the platform.
Why Do Some YouTubers Fail?
Did you know that 95% of the people who start a YouTube channel quit after some time? You might wonder, why. Simply put, they lack the passion and drive to create content when they are not rewarded for it.
These are the people whose main goal is to make money off of their videos. If they don’t earn anything, it simply doesn’t make sense to them to continue with that.
Of course, there are other reasons like the ones we have covered above, but lacking the real passion for content creation and providing value is probably the most possible reason why so many people stop posting videos after some uploads or when they don’t see results after a couple of months of publishing on their channel.
Success on YouTube is not a few random videos away, it’s a long-term process that demands passion, commitment, and consistency.
Is It Hard To Be A Youtuber Now?
The short answer is, no it’s not. Becoming a YouTuber is perhaps one of the easiest things to do these days. But, becoming a content creator who is extremely successful is an entirely different story.
While anyone with a smartphone and internet connectivity can launch their YouTube channel, to appeal to an audience that admires you and engage with your videos, you need to bring forward something that’s uniquely yours.
There is no shortcut to YouTube's success. You need to have consistency, and authority and have to provide no fluff value that wins the hearts of the viewers. So, if you are someone looking to use the platform for growing your personal or business brand, YouTube might be the best thing that you will ever try.
How Do YouTubers Lose Subscribers?
One of the various reasons why YouTubers lose subscribers is that you might have a lot of fake or bot accounts following you. YouTube runs audit checks quite often, thereby removing suspicious accounts from your list of followers.
Another reason might be that your subscribers are facing viewer fatigue. After continuously watching videos on a channel for a long time, a viewer might lose interest over time for no reason at all. If you’re starting out your YouTube journey, bear in mind you might face the predicament more than once.
A lot of users unsubscribe as they don’t find your content of any value anymore. Let’s say you are teaching beginners to do Facebook marketing and grow a brand. After they have learned the basics, they need advanced strategies and tactics to scale further. Right?
What if your target audience is only beginners who need to get started? You will lose subscribers once they have gotten the basics and don’t find the advanced strategies on your channel.
While YouTube is a lucrative social platform to start and scale a personal or business brand, building and monetizing an audience takes the real struggle to achieve success. In this guide, we have covered the most common mistakes made by new YouTubers and we have also explored how to avoid them. If you follow the strategies outlined here, you will dramatically increase the odds of your success on the app.