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Illustration for article titled Should You Start a YouTube Channel in 2020?

Is it easy-to get started on YouTube today? Technically, yes. You can shoot a quick video with your smartphone camera, register an account and upload to the platform in a few clicks. Perhaps, that’s why roughly 500 minutes of video are uploaded to YouTube every single day.

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But if you want to attract views to your videos, promote your business or just make some money off advertising, getting the Youtube thing started may be a bit more difficult. So let’s unpack this!

Why YouTube is Nowhere Close to Losing Popularity

Instagram, Twitch, Snapchat and more lately TikTok are also heavily video-centered. So why YouTube? First of all, it still remains a prime avenue for desktop video traffic:

  • According to Cisco, 92% of consumer internet traffic by 2022 will be online videos
  • 78% of people online watch videos every week, 55% every day.

Secondly, most people already have a strong habit of watching YouTube:

  • 86% of vlog content comes from those who create YouTube videos; 44% of those online view a YouTube vlog every month, according to Google research. This percentage will continue to increase.
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Lastly, YouTube videos also rank in Google search results, meaning that your content can be organically discovered by someone outside the platform (with or without an account), unlike Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

So if you are running some sort of business – product- or services-based – getting on YouTube can help you get some good additional exposure.

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And the best part? You can create great videos even on a small budget!

When Getting on YouTube Makes for Solopreneurs

Suppose you are a small business entrepreneur who is in the lawn and garden niche. You have a wealth of products for consumers to enhance their outside spaces – everything from plants and shrubs, to tools, and decorative items. You want a blog that provides great information to the DIY types as they try to make their lawns and gardens great spaces. You have expertise and you want to show how your products will provide value.

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You also want to give these consumers expert advice on everything from types of grass, to best flowers and plants for specific spots, to fertilizers, to aerating, to creating patios and deck spaces, and more – going beyond just those products that you offer.

Just explaining all of these things via a blog, with some photos perhaps, is not always enough. You need video. You need to show these consumers how to create the lawn and garden spaces they want.

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When a consumer conducts a Google search for building a great patio, for example, look what shows up at the top of the page:

Note that these are all YouTube videos created by specific businesses. They come from YouTube channels that have been set up by these businesses.

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When you decide to set up a YouTube channel to publish all of your videos, you will be setting up a way for consumers to find you, if you do it right.

How to Set Up Your Channel – The Basics

YouTube is the second largest “search engine” to some extent, with one billion visitors every month, you have a lot of potential exposure...and a lot of competition. Just posting random videos on YouTube will not get you the exposure you want. You’ll have to set up a channel and invest some time and effort into it.

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If you are brand new, here are the essential steps you should take:

1. Choose a Niche

YouTube is an ocean of random videos, and you do not want to be a part of that ocean. Thus, pick a well-defined niche and stick to it. For instance, you can specialize in:

  • Makeup tutorials
  • Skincare reviews and routines
  • Home improvements
  • Gaming
  • Product unboxing videos
  • Web design
  • Marketing
  • Book reviews
  • …pretty much any other subject that has a ton of interest.

2. Create Your Channel

Sign in to YouTube and click the link to “Create a New Channel.” There are also easy videos showing you exactly how to do this. You will then need to choose a business name and the simply click “create.” You will have options to add a cover photo and/or profile picture. Then, you can write your channel description – focus on your niche and your expertise within that niche.

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3. Start Uploading Videos

Remember this: once you start creating videos, quality is really important. Sound should be very clear, and add subtitles if you need to. You want a creative and engaging title that will include the right keywords for searchers. These keywords should also be imbedded in the video description and your tags. And don’t forget about those all-important captions, which can be crafted in a variety of languages, depending on your audience.

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4. Add a Catchy Thumbnail

Thumbnails serve as quick video teasers and entice clicks. YouTube can create one for you randomly, but it’s best to always create a custom one and upload it manually.

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Optimizing and Promoting Your YouTube Videos

No one finds any of your content unless you promote it, and that includes your YouTube videos. Here are some tips for doing just that.

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SEO – Yes, YouTube does have it

YouTube has SEO algorithms and, like Google, does not disclose exactly how these work. But, based on what some experts have been able to glean, here are important ranking factors:

  • Tags – title, description, and others
  • Title and description length
  • Video length
  • Audience retention
  • Earned subscribers after watching a video
  • Viewer reactions – comments, likes/dislikes

Optimize Your Video Descriptions

Your description should be longer than for most videos you see – preferably about 150 words. Use it to engage your audience:

  • Ask a question
  • Ask them to upvote, like or comment on your video
  • Direct them to other helpful videos or information on your website
  • Link to the mentioned products and tools.

For better discoverability, also use your primary keyword (the one you want to rank for) 3-4 times in the description. Hashtags will also help.

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The Title

The title should be catchy with no more than 10 words, and put your keyword/phrase in the beginning if possible.

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Nudge Viewers

You want them to like and share your video; you want them to subscribe to your channel. So, there is nothing wrong in saying, “If you liked this video, you’ll love our channel – subscribe now.”

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Length is Important

It seems that the shorter the better, because viewers may start to bounce after 4-5 minutes. According to Wistia, in fact, 75% will stay with a video of 1-2 minutes, but only 60% if it goes more than 4. Get your “juicy” stuff up front, and don’t wait until the very end for your calls to action, if your video is long.

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If your “how-to” video is long, break it up into smaller logical pieces. This gets you more views too. Keeping viewers and getting hits are important SEO matters.

Add Clickable Annotations

These are small boxes that contain a link to your website or a specific page.

Have a Very Short Intro

This introduces a viewer to your channel as a whole and they great information, entertainment, etc. they will find there. It helps to identify your brand.

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Choose a Color Scheme and Font and Stick with Them

Over the long run, viewers will come to recognize your brand through these, and they will choose your videos over the competition, if they have liked you in the past.

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Wrap Up

So should you start a YouTube channel in 2020? The short answer is yes, if you really want to. The longer answer is that it will take some work, most of which will be crafting amazing videos that will be liked and shared as they educate, entertain, and inspire. The other task will be to stand out in the ocean of videos, not just with that amazing content, but through clear SEO optimization.

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