A Blog About YouTube

How To Grow A YouTube Channel In 2019

(Last Updated On: January 6, 2019)

Your YouTube Dream

You see what other people do on YouTube and think to yourself, I can do that! Yes, you can. However, it does take work, education and creativity.

Most important is patience. YouTube for 99.99% of the people who upload videos to the platform don’t find instant fame and fortune. Depending on your niche, it can take years to earn your place as a successful or full-time YouTuber. 

With that said, there is good news and opportunity for you. Yet, there is information you need to know and people who can help. This blog, the YouTube educators listed in this post, and the tools YouTube provides can help guide you to success. 

My YouTube Experience

I opened my first YouTube channel account in 2006. Since, I’ve uploaded over 1000 videos through the years on various channels. From November 2016-November 2017 I spent the year uploading to my business and marketing YouTube channel daily.

Once the year ended, I slowed production down and then I started another business channel for photographers, not to mention consultation and support to help run client channels.

Yes, I have a little experience with YouTube. I’ve learned a lot from my channels and the success and failure of clients. I’ve also absorbed the knowledge of other successful YouTubers, some, who have become friends. 

If you want to grow your channel, this article is a good starting point for the beginner and an excellent stepping stone for those who want to take their channel to new levels.

The Power of YouTube

Unlike other social media platforms, much of the power of YouTube is in its search engine. When you start a new YouTube channel, search is your friend. Search is not the only way to grow your channel, however, until your channel earns a little authority and traction, its one of the quickest ways to get your videos in front of the right people within the YouTube ecosystem.

The fact is, people use YouTube to find information, be entertained, solve problems and discover how to do things. People use YouTube search so much, it’s now the 2nd largest search engine, behind its owner, Google. Some estimate that YouTube will eventually be the number one search engine within a few years.

Other social media platforms depend on regular interaction or engagement to get your posts noticed. This is also true for exponential growth on YouTube. However, as you may be aware, traditional status updates fade quickly for most social media.

In the case of Facebook, you may need to pay to play to get anywhere on your business page. Yet, YouTube offers a special opportunity, like a blog, to share evergreen content and earn new subscribers years after you hit the publish button.

How To Grow

So, how do you grow your YouTube channel? Well, let me get the basics out-of-the-way. If you have already started your research about YouTube growth, you have heard many of the same themes from the YouTube guru’s. There are many foundation concepts to consider, and most I do share on this blog. Concepts, such as, create great content, be consistent and engage with your audience. These points are important to understand at a high level, however, sometimes you need to dig a little deeper. We do that on this blog too.

It’s also important to understand that not every channel grows at the same pace. It depends on your niche, audience, quality and how often you upload. For example, my business and marketing videos audience is an older group and I offer a wide variety of business topics. It’s what I like to share and create, however, this means my channel grows slower than some.

On the other side, a channel focused on a younger more engaged audience, with videos on a hot niche topic can explode a channel to millions of views and subscribers in a short period of time. 

Every channel is different. I share some thoughts on what you should expect and how you can gage if you channel is a success later in this article. But, first, I want to share the advice of other professional YouTubers. 

Professional YouTube Advice

Despite the fact I have a lot of experience with YouTube, SEO (search engine optimization) and social media. There are many excellent YouTubers and channels which share complementary and insightful information and angles on YouTube. In some cases, these educators focus most of their teaching on the topic of YouTube.

I believe the following channels contain excellent advice for you to consider, especially if you are serious about growth on this platform. I’ve learned from many of these educators and certainly share their influence in my YouTube teachings. Over time, some of the YouTubers below are now mentors, professional consultants and friends.

Below are some professional YouTubers I recommend you follow, I’ve linked their name to their YouTube channels. Make sure you check them out.

You can find a more complete list of YouTube Educators Here.

  • Video Creators: Tim Schmoyer is a veteran YouTuber with over 400,000 subscribers. He shares great insight on how to grow your YouTube channel. His series on how they got to a million subs is a valuable insight into how the successful YouTubers do it. He also has a helpful Video Creators Podcast full of good information. Tim regularly offers valuable live question and answer sessions, so keep an eye out.
  • Brian G Johnson: Learn how to AMPLIFY your voice with Brian’s helpful YoTube tips on how to increase your views, grow your channel and community.  As Brian likes to say, stake your claim and discover innovative video marketing strategies. 
  • Roberto Blake: Roberto is a creative, like many of the people who subscribe to my blogs. This fact alone gives Roberto my attention. He is blunt and straightforward when it comes to his YouTube recommendations. He continues to grow and evolve to help creatives and small business owners with business, life and building a YouTube channel.
  • Creator Insider: Get it direct from YouTube. YouTube employee Tom and other YouTube team members share updates, insight, behind the scenes and interviews with other YouTube employees working on product features. It’s about as close as you can get to YouTube inside information.
  • Derral Eves: He is a powerhouse in the YouTube growth field. Derral has multiple high-value channels and gold play buttons. He has the experience, knowledge, and resources to pulls excellent helpful data to share with his YouTube community. He is one of the best when it comes to analytics and insight as to how YouTube works on a technical level. Derral is also the host of the powerful Vidsummit conference.
  • Nick Nimmin: Nick hails from Thailand and shares great insight on various topics related to growing your YouTube channel. He collaborates with other YouTubers such as his brother Dee, Brian G. Johnson and Owen Hemsath. Nick also has helpful YouTube tools available under his Tubber Tools brand.
  • Owen Video: Owen Hemsath focuses on Live video, video for business as it relates to YouTube and Facebook.  I enjoy his regular question and answer sessions. I also appreciate the tools he shares to help you grow your audience. Some of his tips are the most powerful ideas I’ve used in the growth of my channels. Like many on this list, Owen offers his services as a consultant.
  • Video Influencers:  Benji Travis and Sean Cannell share insights on how they have grown their YouTube channels. They also upload helpful interview posts with other successful YouTubers. These insights can really be powerful for your YouTube channel growth.
  • Jeremy Vest: Thumbnails are very important for YouTube success. Jeremy Vest has deep experience working with brands to grow their YouTube channels. He shares tips on how to improve your thumbnails on his channel. He also works with VidIQ and is the organizer of the video marketing world conference. 

There are certainly more YouTube and video professionals online. I recommend you look for more information from YouTubers who you feel a connection and have success behind their back. I have discovered some of the YouTube gamers and vloggers share a few videos with good YouTube growth insights and advice. However, be careful, there is a lot of poor and outdated information about YouTube on YouTube.

What Makes A Channel Grow?

If you really want your channel to grow, it’s all about watch time. Like Facebook and other social media platforms. YouTube wants visitors time on site to be as long as possible. The more you keep people watching videos on YouTube, the more YouTube rewards you with opportunities to earn more views and subscribers.

It’s true YouTube is a big search engine. However, most channels don’t grow big by depending on search alone. Especially entertainment channels. Growth on YouTube depends on YouTube placing your videos in front of the right person, at the right time.

If you make YouTube happy, this is done by uploading videos people want to watch and continue to watch additional videos after yours either more of yours (helpful) or other related videos. 

If you do this well, the YouTube algorithms will help promote your video through its network of suggested videos. For many YouTubers, this is their main source of traffic. If YouTube believes your video will earn more watch time, it will show your video to as many people as possible. This is one way small channels earn viral hits.

The YouTube Magic Sauce

Topic, Title and Thumbnail. Outside of creating a watchable video, which I’ll address in a moment. The topic of your video is the most important element. Is it a topic people actually want to watch?

Niche is very important on YouTube. You want people to find one of your videos in search or through YouTubes suggestion engine. Once they watch your video, you want them to have a hunger for another of your videos. 

However, if your next video is on a completely different topic, or style or doesn’t extent the experience the person had in your last video, they will not click or watch the full video. 

Yet, if the viewer continues to have a great experience watching your videos, and watches more to the point of binge watching, YouTube will promote your videos to more similar profile people who it thinks will also enjoy your work. If your audience clicks every time they see your new upload and you bring people back to your channel through notifications,  YouTube is going to reward you even more.

Title is the second most important item of the golden three T’s. People look at the title to see if the video is a topic which interests them.  However, you need to think of the title in two parts, especially for your first videos. 

First is the keyword rich portion, at the beginning of the headline. It states what is the video about or what can the viewer expect from the video. The second part is an attention grabbing statement to encourage people to click.

For example: How To Build A Dog  House – You will not believe how we did it. Think of it like this, the first part of the title is for search engines (and humans) and the second section is mostly for capturing human emotion. 

So why don’t some big YouTubers do this all the time? It’s because they have an audience. Once you have a certain level of audience, you can title your video guess what? and an audience will come as soon as the video is published. YouTube will see the audience which like the video, and send that video to a similar audience to earn even more videos. 

The important lesson here is that it’s about audience. Titles help define and attract the audience which like your videos. 

Number three is thumbnail. Thumbnails, like your title grabs attention. The thumbnail supports the topic and title in a big way. Make your thumbnail tell a story in an eye catching way. A video with with a great thumbnail, will beat out another even when if the other video is better and the same topic.

The thing is, if no one is clicking on your video, despite the quality level, YouTube will promote other videos which earn clicks and gain watch time. 

YouTube Subscribers

Subscribers are milestones in the YouTube community. As you gain more subscribers you can earn helpful YouTube features, such as a custom URL. For many, they covet the YouTube play buttons awards, such as the silver button for 100,000 subscribers. This is one I have my eye on.

Earning subscribers is helpful, because many of them will watch your video soon after its uploaded. As a result, you receive more early watch time. Which is a signal to YouTube that this is a video worth watching.

YouTube cares little about how many subscribers you have, however, it does care about how much time people spend on your videos and YouTube as a whole. 

Early on, when you don’t have subscribers, it’s more important to focus on YouTube SEO (search engine optimization) to help people find you. However, once you have 1000+ or more subscribers, you can depend a little more on catchy headlines to earn early views and improve your view velocity. A metric which measures the rate of views over a period of time. It seems YouTube considers variations of this metric when promoting videos.

After You Launch

Think of it this way. When a video is first uploaded, YouTube considers basic SEO factors to test a good search ranking location. This is where a good SEO keyword rich headline comes into play, description and at a lighter weight tags.

Once time passes, YouTube depends less on the technical information and more on reaction, results and viewers profile. How many people and what type of person watches your video. YouTube considers how much of your video do people watch compared to similar videos. These considerations happen during different periods of time during the first hour, twenty-four hours, week, and month form the launch of your video. 

This is why having supporting social communities or a strong email list can help boost your channel and give your videos traction early. 

Why Some Videos Pop Later

Sometimes you launch a video to little fanfare, no one really watched your video. However, maybe a year later your video gets some suprise traction. Why? 

How and when YouTube shows your videos to certain people is always changing. Currently, when you launch your video, the platform shows it to some of your subscibers (not all).  Just the ones who seem to recently care about your work. If the metrics look good, YouTube will show your video to more of your subscribers. 

The thing is, YouTube will continue to test your video with different audiences over time. Eventually, the discovery system may find a receptive audience down the road and off to the races you go.

In some cases your video may complement a popular video from another YouTuber.  So, once someone is done watching the big video, some of the audience with continue to watch yours.

However, if another video comes along and earns more attention, traffic can eventually drop off or stop from that traffic source.  

Videos can be discovered because an influencer shares it in social media. YouTube videos are embedable, so, it’s possible to get picked up by a popular blogger or media outlet. There are many senerios as to how your work can earn new life. That is a big YouTube advantage.

The Technical Side Of YouTube

If you keep in mind Google owns YouTube, you should be able to apply some good SEO knowledge into the mix. It’s not exactly the same, however, I’ve actually taken what I learn from YouTube SEO and applied the lessons to my tradition SEO, with excellent results. YouTube is a video search engine, you should adhere to standard YouTube search guidelines. This is true, no matter the size of your channel.

When it comes to YouTube SEO, you should follow the best SEO practices. Consider the title tag as the most important real estate on your YouTube page. Everything should be related to the title. Your video should fulfill the promise of the title. Make your title interesting while still containing your keywords. Trust me, it takes practice.

You should use the description section to expand the idea of your video. It  carry as much SEO weight as the title, yet it can be helpful to encourage people to watch your video. You can also use the description area to list your social networks, channel information and affiliate links. However, do this with caution.

Remember YouTube likes to keep people on its platform. If your video is sending too many people off of YouTube, then why would YouTube want to promote it?

Tags are like keywords. They carry more weight in YouTube than keywords on traditional websites. Make sure you fill them out well. Especially for words related to your video. YouTube says they use tags for spell check.

YouTube Tags for growth

Although, there are hints tags are devalued over time. Most likely for the same reason website keywords were devalued. In your early YouTube days, when your channel has less authority, I recommend using longer tail keywords to help you rank. Ranking helps your videos get found in search results.

There are some helpful tools which make researching and setting up your videos easier and more effective. Tube Buddy , VidIQ and Morning fame all have valuable features to support your efforts. It’s also important to note once you publish your video, it’s not over.

You can always go back and rework the information on old videos as you learn which keywords and techniques work best for your channel. However, if your video is doing well, especially viral videos, I wouldn’t change any information. Unless your video isn’t getting any traction or views, never change the title. Actually, I suggest you wait 3-6 months before you make any changes. It can take this long for a video to catch. 

One powerful tip, which I don’t do enough, is transcribe videos. YouTube does do this automatically, however, sometimes their are incorrect spellings, with you can fix right on YouTube.

You can also upload your own transcription to YouTube. This gives YouTube a little more accurate data to help place your videos in front of the right viewer. You don’t have to do it yourself. I recommend you outsource transcriptions. There are a number available online sources, such as rev or you can even look for a freelancer on fiverr.com

Analytics

Make sure you learn and understand your YouTube analytics. YouTube analytics is found in the creator studio, which YouTube has resently overhald. It gives you a peek into what works on your channel and the videos your audience appreciates most.

If you are wondering what type of video to make next, take a look at what people are viewing on your channel over the last 60 minutes or 48 hours. If there is a video which dominates watch time, consider making a follow-up video.

The data suggests that there really isn’t a best time of the day to publish. However, the more consistent you are with your publishing the better for your audience.

My favorite analytics to regularly review are click-through -rate (CTR), retention and traffic sources. Click thorugh rate tells me how well my titles and thumbnails are gettng people to click, retention tells me how much my audience likes my videos. If people are leaving early, watching or not watching much of a video, these stats give me clues as to what my audience wishes to see.

Traffic sources are important to me because my goal is to have more traffic from suggested videos. If you have a how to channel, search is still very important. However,  when I earn a lot of traffic from suggested videos, this means YouTube is finding my videos valuable to met its goals.

Happy viewer + happy YouTube = success.

Rentention

Retention is an important factor. If you have a four-minute video and your average viewer watches three minutes, that is 75% retention. Anything over 50% is good, in my opinion. Your channel as a whole should be over 25%, I would aim for at least 30%. Of course, higher the better. As a reference, My channel currently sits at a 45% average retention for the last 28 days.

Longer videos tend to have lower retention. However, YouTube would rather promote a 20 minute video with 33% retention than a 10 minute video with 50% retention. Why? because it fits with YouTube’s goal of more watch time and keeping people on YouTube longer.

Not only should you consider the average watch time, but how many visitors do you have watching at the end of your video. If 40-50% of your audience is still watching at the end of your video can offer a powerful result. Especially, because there is a greater chance they will watch more of your videos, click on cards, end screens or suggested videos. These are all actions YouTube rewards you for when visitors to stay on YouTube. Especially, if they started with your video.

I stress that it’s important to get as many people to your video immediately after you hit publish. View velocity is an important factor for YouTube to promote your video on other channels. This is why big YouTubers seem to win by default, yet, if you understand the concept, you can win too.  Promote your video hard within the first hour and continue over the next twenty-four, with additional promotion over the following week.

I go deeper into to Analytics in my YouTube Analytics article. 

Your Videos

It’s usually impossible to really know what videos will be a hit. Honestly, shooting for a viral video is not the best long-term YouTube plan.  As mentioned, your topic, title and thumbnail are really important to get attention. However, you need a video which keeps people’s attention.

Videos which extract emotion from the viewer often win the day, when it comes to viral hits. However, that may not be the purpose of your channel. It’s important to get the point of the video quickly, usually within the first 10 seconds. A good recommendation for vloggers is if you have a high point in the video, share a clip of it in the beginning to pique interest.

Once you establish the topic your video needs to deliver on the promise made in the first ten seconds. Although, keeping people watching your video as long as possible is important, your video should be no longer than necessary. It is better to have a three-minute video in which viewers watch, on average, two minutes than a ten minute video, in which people watch two minutes. Retention is much better for the three minute video with the same watch time. YouTube will reward the three-minute video.

Look to your community. It’s good to ask your community what they are looking for from you as a creator. Review your comments and the comments in similar channels.

How To Get To a Million Subscribers

I created a video (below) which explains much of my philosophy. My stretch goal is to reach 1 million subscribers over the years. I started with a video a day, which was a great experiment. However, I’ve backed off to spend more time creating better videos which people watch longer. Am I guaranteed to reach 1 million subscribers in 4-5 years? Absolutely not. However, I’ve done the math and if I can grow an average of 20% compounded per month, I can get there.  Currently, one channel is a little behind my goal and one is well ahead. Please note: it took many of the big YouTubers you appreciate 3-4 years to reach large audience status.

Sadly, many who try, will not achieve their YouTube goal. The reason is most people are not willing to do the work.  When I tell young YouTubers it might take up to two years of weekly (3-7) video uploads to reach 10,000 subscribers — they do not want to go for the ride.

To grow a YouTube channel takes work. It is very rare for a YouTuber to make the big time in a few months. It is possible, yet, most have to work hard for the big goals. Chances are, those who are looking for quick money and internet fame will drop out of the race in a mater of months. Every year, YouTube breaks hearts and dreams.

Below are some additional ways you can increase traffic to your YouTube channel

  • Consider search within the Google search engine. Google shows YouTube videos in their search results. Over time this can be a good source of traffic to you videos and channel. Try a few longtail keywords in which Google might show results (hint: check the bottom of Google search results page).
  • Networking: Network with other YouTubers of similar size to help each other grow. This can be a powerful, especially if you grow together. The YouTube algorithm can actually support your efforts if you are similar channels. It’s helpful to share each others work in social media, comment and champion each other.
  • Collaboration: If your networking partners channel is similar, you can collaborate and create videos as guests or ask each other questions. In other words, introduce each other to your audiences. Again, once YouTube realizes you are good channel companions, the algorithm can support your effort.
  • Social Media: If you have a good social community on other social media channels, make sure you share your videos. Urge your followers to subscribe and become active in your YouTube community.
  • Blog: My blog is an excellent source of visitors to my videos and channel. I write blogs around my videos and add videos to relevant blog post. People find your blog through social media and SEO, a blog fan base can lead to new YouTube subscribers.

YouTube is more than possible fame and money

The development of a YouTube channel is a journey. I know this well because I’ve embarked on similar journeys over the last ten plus years on social media. I found success with some channels,  I’ve abandon others and I’ve outright failed a few times too.

It’s nice to earn rewards for your good work in social media. Google does reward you with income if you do a good job. The Google  AdSense program can add some coin to your bank account. Revenue is available to you once your channel reaches 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours annual watch time (starting Feb 2018)However, there are many more ways to earn money on YouTube, such as merchandise sales, sponsorships and affiliates. Savvy YouTubers leverage their audience, often leaving AdSense as a small percentage of their total income.

My goal is to earn more authority as a digital marketing professional, speaker and author. From my experience, there is more money in speaking fees and consulting opportunities than AdSense. However, every channel is different. I’m a rather straight shooter and I don’t expect to win any comedy awards or rise on trending topics with a crazy viral video. I have to work for every subscriber and opportunity.

I do know this, those who win in social media are active, create value, commit to the channel and persist. Those who last the longest, often win. The same goes for YouTube creators.

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