How to Grow a YouTube Channel Fast: 13 Tips to Getting More Views and Subscribers on YouTube
Did you know that more people use YouTube than Facebook?
YouTube is the second most visited site in the world. The average person logs over 21 minutes per visit and views more than 11 pages.
Given that YouTube is accessible on almost any device, from smartphones to television screens, it’s no wonder that people continue to flock to the platform. Whether it’s to learn a new skill (86% of people have turned to YouTube for educational purposes) or watch a music video, YouTube’s draw is ever increasing.
So, how do you get a piece of this giant pie? In this guide, we’ll share 13 proven tips to optimize your YouTube channel for growth.
- Build Videos Around a Single Keyword/Topic
- Be Searchable
- Link to Yourself
- Make Playlists
- Use Your End Screen
- Engage with Your Audience
- Get Branded
- Promote Your YouTube Videos on Other Social Channels
- Post Great Thumbnails
- Leverage YouTube Cards
- Push for Subscriptions
- Upload More
- Use Analytics
1. Build Videos Around a Single Keyword/Topic
YouTube is the second largest search engine (Google is number one), and people use keywords and phrases to search for the information they need.
To put it in perspective, there are more than 3 billion searches on YouTube performed every month. And, given that 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute, the competition is fierce.
By creating videos that focus on a specific keyword or topic, you’re providing a clear signal to the YouTube algorithm, increasing your videos’ chances of getting found for the keyword most relevant to your subject matter.
You probably already have a broad topic in mind, but you’ll also need to plan future content and videos around your overall channel theme.
There are both free and paid tools to help you do this, but we’ll focus on the two most powerful, which also happen to be free.
Use the YouTube Search Bar
Let’s say you have a channel teaching people how to edit video. If you type “how to edit video” in the YouTube search bar, you’ll be prompted with longer search phrases that people are using.
Use these for ideas when it comes time to create new content.
Use Answer the Public
For a deep dive into topics, Answerthepublic.com collects all the questions people are asking about a topic and is a goldmine of inspiration.
Focusing on a keyword or main topic for each video is an important first step, but to be searchable, you’re going to have to take things a step further.
In addition to choosing the right topics, you’ll have to incorporate your chosen keywords in the video.
There are several ways to do this:
- Include the keyword in your title.
- Include the keyword in your description, preferably in the first sentence.
- Include the keyword and variations in the tags. You’ll be prompted to create tags when you upload your video. If you need inspiration for tags to use, go to a competitor’s channel that has a lot of subscribers and see which tags they’re using. Then consider using similar tags.
YouTube creators, from novice to expert, often make the mistake of treating each video as a standalone piece of content.
They fail to realize that there’s a huge opportunity to promote your other videos and even your other online properties by linking to them in your video and your description.
We’ll talk about ways to add end screens and cards in a bit, and there are even more effective ways to grow your channel and your other social media properties.
Here’s a big one: in each video description, include any links to your Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles, as well as your blog, landing page, website.
The Netflix era has introduced us to binge-watching, and YouTube has adapted to this cultural phenomenon perfectly by adding the playlist feature.
When you upload a video, you’ll have the option to create a playlist. This allows you to group related topics. Viewers will automatically be taken to the next video on your playlist without having to think about it.
End screens are a golden opportunity to capture the attention of people who made it to the end of your video. These people are going to be the most engaged. They watched your entire video! Now, they need to be told what to do next.
You have a lot of options, but the best end screens tells your visitors to do three things:
1. Subscribe to your channel.
2. Watch a recent video.
3. Watch a video that’s automatically recommended to the viewer based on their preferences.
You’ll have to do the initial step of creating your end screen, but after you’ve done it one time, you can keep using the same template for each video.
For example, here’s a blank template that you can add to the end of your video in your video editing software:
When you’re done uploading your video into YouTube, you’ll be prompted to add an end screen. You can handpick the videos you promote here or let the algorithm do the work.
Here’s what the end product looks like:
Even if your channel is new, you’re bound to get comments. Make sure you reply to all the comments. Not only does this encourage future participation from your viewers, but it also doubles your comment count!
It’s also a good idea to encourage your viewers to comment, question, discuss, or share ideas. For example, if your channel is about editing software and you’re giving a tutorial about adding music, you could ask people to share their favorite source for music or discuss the merits of having music in a video at all. Don’t be afraid to be controversial and encourage (friendly) debate.
Marie Forleo, a channel with nearly 700,000 subscribers, still manages to reply to many of her comments, showing that this tactic is used by the pros and can still be done on a large scale.
Consistent branding is key to ensuring that people who land on your channel know who you are. Have a logo and color scheme as well as a font family.
If you stylize your video with a filter or animations, those elements should also be consistent.
HubSpot illustrates this concept perfectly. Their professionally edited videos feature their brand colors and fonts throughout the video. Check out these screenshots from a video taken about working remotely.
Just like you can share your social media profiles in your YouTube videos, it’s even more powerful to share your YouTube videos on all of your social media accounts. Post your latest creations anywhere you hang out online, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Telegram, podcast show notes, etc.
You can also embed the videos on blogs and other websites where you have editor access.
One of the best places to do this is in your video descriptions. Not everyone bothers to read the description in a video, but those who do are true fans. You can also let your viewers know that they can find you on social media by clicking on any of the links in the video’s description.
Think of a thumbnail like a book cover. When you pick up a book, it’s natural to judge it by its cover (even though an antiquated saying advises not to do that).
Your thumbnail immediately conveys to someone browsing YouTube three things:
1. Quality – a professional thumbnail suggests a professional video
2. Relevance – does the thumbnail convey the topic of the video and is that a video your viewers want to watch?
3. Relatability – people want to feel a connection with the thumbnail. Does it speak to their mood or style?
While there’s some debate about thumbnail best practices, there are some rules of thumb that you should follow, especially as you’re working on growing your YouTube channel:
- Consider using text in the thumbnail to help you stand out and show what the video is about.
In the example below, compare the performance of these two videos, which were both published around the same time. The top video has a much more compelling headline and a “pretty” thumbnail, but the second video has almost ten times more views.
People tend to look at the thumbnail images first. Then they look at the title and description. By communicating in the thumbnail that there’s going to be an “epic salad dressing recipe,” the promise is clear.
The top image, although pretty, doesn’t speak to what the video is about.
- But, don’t use too much text!
Here are a couple of examples of thumbnails that induce a headache. Don’t be these guys…
- Use bright imagery that stands out.
Entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, demonstrates this concept best with bright thumbnails that beg to be clicked on.
If you’re looking for a free tool to create great thumbnails, check out the PhotoDirector Essential image editing app! It’s packed with easy-to-use effects, masking, and title creation tools perfect for creating eye-catching YouTube thumbnails!
Cards are interactive clickable links that you can place in a video. They’re an ideal way to keep viewers on your channel, but that’s not all.
You can place cards at any point in your video, and there are four different actions that the cards can instruct viewers to do:
1. Click to watch a different video on your channel or any video on YouTube.
2. Click to be directed to a playlist on your channel.
3. Click to be directed to someone else’s channel (or maybe another channel you own).
4. Click to be directed to a link that you own, like a website or blog.
In addition to controlling these options, you also have the choice to create teaser text. This text will provide more information about what the card is and where clicking on it will take you.
In the example below, when the creator gets to a point where she discusses a tailor, a card appears suggesting a prom dress fitting video. When the viewer clicks on the card, they’re shown various related videos they can watch.
This strategy might seem counterintuitive at first. Why, you ask, would you want someone to leave your video to watch something else?
The answer is that it’s not unusual for people to drop off at a specific portion of your video. You can view your analytics to see when that part is. Then, instead of risking them closing your video altogether, this strategy gives you another chance to redirect them to something that might interest them more.
There are two ways to add YouTube cards to a video:
1. Add the card when you upload the video.
2. Edit a video that’s already been published. This can be done directly on the YouTube platform.
Having that second option available is powerful because it means that even if you didn’t create cards when you first uploaded a video, it’s never too late to go back and do it.
Further, if you want to change the call to action or link on a card, you can do it at any time. Let’s say you recently launched a course and you want to promote it. By temporarily switching out a YouTube card, you can do exactly that.
Expert YouTube creators know that the best way to grow their subscriber base is to ask people to subscribe.
One of the best places to ask for the subscription is at the beginning of the video. You can say something along the lines of, “If you like this topic and want to be the first to know when I release new videos, make sure you subscribe to the channel and don’t forget to like/thumbs up this video.”
There are a lot of creative ways that people make this request. Perhaps our favorite is Davie504. His catchphrase is, “Slap Like Now,” and he finds creative ways to tell people to like his videos several times in a single piece of content.
The “slap” wording is especially clever because Davie504 is a slap bass player (a type of bassist that creates a different, almost percussion-like sound by altering the hand and finger movements when playing the instrument).
The more videos you upload, the more views you’ll get, and the faster your channel will grow. While frequency is important, consistency is perhaps even more so.
By uploading a video at a specific day and time each week, you’re telling the algorithm that you’re showing up. This predictability comes with benefits. Plus, your subscribers will appreciate knowing when they can look forward to a video.
When you’re just starting out, the idea of creating a lot of videos can seem intimidating. You might feel like you need the best camera, expensive sound equipment, and a fancy set.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Today’s smartphone cameras do an incredible job. And, editing software is easier to use and more economical than ever.
CyberLink PowerDirector 365 Essential is packed with features, and it’s free! Or, upgrade to the premium version for one incredibly low monthly fee.
Each YouTube channel comes with an analytics tool that has tons of data to give you insights about your channel’s performance so that you can accelerate your growth and learn what’s working with viewers.
You can view reports based on specific time periods or over the life of your channel. Find out which videos earned the most subscribers, where people stopped watching your videos, and even if your audience is male or female.
Based on this information, you’ll learn more about your audience and begin to figure out what they like and don’t like. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll have even more tools to help make your channel go viral.
The work you put into your YouTube channel now will pay massive dividends down the road.
Unlike a video that you publish on Facebook or Instagram (that gets buried in a newsfeed), your YouTube videos become more valuable the longer they’re online. They’ll continue to accumulate views, and if you follow the advice in this article, you’ll get a steady increase in likes and views the longer your video is available.