7 Things to Consider When Starting a YouTube Channel
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If anyone tells you it’s too late to start a YouTube channel now, ignore them. The platform is booming, and while there have been some controversies over the years, it’s still possible for a new content creator to grow and do well from scratch.

But before you dive in, there are some things you need to think about if you want to maximize your chances for success. There are no guarantees when it comes to YouTube.

1. Motivation

Not motivation in the sense of “being eager to act and work,” but rather “the reason why you act and work.” What’s your motivation for starting a YouTube channel?

Maybe you want to teach others how to do something, like DIY home repair 17 Easy Home Repair Tips You Can Learn From YouTube Anytime 17 Easy Home Repair Tips You Can Learn From YouTube Anytime You can take care of minor home repairs yourself, instead of paying the handyman. These YouTube videos have all the DIY tips, instructions, and list of tools you need to get everything fixed. Read More or programming web and mobile apps The 17 Best YouTube Programming Tutorials The 17 Best YouTube Programming Tutorials In this post, we'd like to point you to some of the best YouTube programming series we've found. All of these are sufficient for getting your feet wet as a newbie programmer. Read More . Maybe you want to tell brilliant stories through short film 6 Mistakes Every Short Film Should Avoid Making 6 Mistakes Every Short Film Should Avoid Making To create your own successful short film, there are a few cardinal rules you can't afford to break. Read More . Or maybe you want to play and review video games 4 Gaming YouTube Channels You Need To Subscribe To 4 Gaming YouTube Channels You Need To Subscribe To We are going to take a look at some of the best general gaming channels that will keep you entertained for hours on end through engaging video game content. Read More . It can be anything, but it has to be something.

7 Things to Consider When Starting a YouTube Channel youtube makeuseof channel videos

Your motivation is the basis for three key elements shared by every successful YouTube channel: topic coverage, target audience, and reason for existence.

  • Topic coverage is WHAT your videos will be about.
  • Target audience is WHO your videos are intended for.
  • Reason for existence is WHY they should watch your videos.

For example, MakeUseOf’s YouTube channel includes gadget reviews and tech tutorials (what) intended for people who want to level up their tech-savviness (who) and we do it in a way that’s down-to-earth and approachable for even the newbiest of newbies (why).

Before you launch your channel, you must define these things. Otherwise you’ll end up with a hodge-podge channel that fails to capture any kind of meaningful viewership, and no meaningful viewership means no long-term success.

2. Frequency

Once you know what kind of content you’ll make and who will be watching it, you need to decide on a production schedule. How often will you release new videos?

It mainly depends on content type:

Be realistic and think long-term. You might have the energy to do one video per day right now, but can you keep that up for six months or a year? Do you want this to be a full-time endeavor or would you rather have some leeway for when wrenches are thrown into your schedule?

It may sound silly, but changing up your frequency later on down the road could really tick off your viewership — so much so that they unsubscribe. Even missing one day (or week or month) could trigger discontent with fans. When in doubt, go with a lesser frequency.

3. Style

Many people will tell you that success is all about “substance over style.” Well, they’re wrong. The true key to success is “substance and style.” YouTube viewers eat with their eyes, and if you serve up a dish that’s healthy but bland, many will turn their noses up at it.

7 Things to Consider When Starting a YouTube Channel youtube nigahiga channel videos

Of the many ingredients to a successful YouTube channel, three involve style:

  • Smart titles
  • Consistent format
  • Video thumbnails

If your channel will involve audio, then you need to work on articulation, confident voice, and getting rid of annoying speech patterns (like upspeak). If you’re going to be on camera, you’ll want to work on standing steady, looking into the camera, smiling, not fidgeting, and so on.

A few ways you can do this: confront and slay your fear of public speaking Slay These 8 Public Speaking Demons to Conquer Your Fear Slay These 8 Public Speaking Demons to Conquer Your Fear It's often said that people fear public speaking more than death. But it's something that many have to do regularly. Here are eight public speaking demons and how to kill them. Read More , then learn how an engaging speaker speaks by watching and studying notable TED Talks Become a Better Public Speaker by Imitating These TED Talks Become a Better Public Speaker by Imitating These TED Talks Imitation can be the best form of learning if the source is right. If you want to become a good presenter, the best TED Talks can show you the finer points of public speaking. Read More , and lastly, check out these free sites and resources for improving communication skills Improve Your Communication Skills with These 7 Websites Improve Your Communication Skills with These 7 Websites Good communication is a subtle force that will open doors professionally. These seven online resources will help you become better at this all-important soft skill. Read More .

But you also need to edit your videos well. No, I don’t condone joining in on the jump-cut trend for viewers with no attention span. It just means picking a good video-editing app (we haverecommendations for Windows The Best Free Video Editors for Windows The Best Free Video Editors for Windows Everyone takes videos these days. Yet powerful free video editors remain rare. We present the absolute best free video editors available for Windows. Read More , Mac The Top 8 Free Video Editors For macOS The Top 8 Free Video Editors For macOS The best video editors for macOS cost a lot of money, but what if your budget is $0? Read More , Linux 7 Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux 7 Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux Video editing on Linux is constantly improving. A good selection of open source video editing software is now available to Linux users, and we've got seven of the best for you to check out. Read More ), making sure the quality and framerate are high enough, and cutting out all the unnecessary bits.

Learn more with tips for editing video like a pro How to Edit Videos Like a Pro: 8 Tips You Need to Master How to Edit Videos Like a Pro: 8 Tips You Need to Master If you're just getting into the editing game, you may be confused as to what to do with the many millions of clips you have... well, we're here to help. Read More and tips for creating shareable videos How To Make Videos Your Friends Will Want To Share How To Make Videos Your Friends Will Want To Share What if you created the next viral video? Let’s say you want to create videos that spread like wildfire and are seen by millions. Where do you start? I'm going to list several elements that... Read More .

4. Equipment

Again, forget about “substance over style.” Drill it into your brain that “substance and style” is key to YouTube success — and this means acquiring the essential equipment necessary to create videos. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend much to get started.

At a bare minimum, you’ll want to have:

This is just a quick overview. If you want to learn more about each part, see our full article on what equipment you need to start a YouTube channel What Equipment Do You Need to Start a YouTube Channel? What Equipment Do You Need to Start a YouTube Channel? It's possible to start your own YouTube channel right now using your phone, tablet, or PC. But what else do you need? Read More . When you start getting serious with your channel, you may eventually want to consider building a YouTube studio at home 7 Things You Need to Build a Low-Cost YouTube Studio 7 Things You Need to Build a Low-Cost YouTube Studio You've been making some YouTube videos, and they're gaining popularity. Now you want to make a step to the next level and build a dedicated YouTube studio. Read More .

5. Promotion

“If you build it, they will come” — nope. Not true at all for YouTube. You can go five years producing a new video every single day and it’s entirely possible to never crack 1,000 views on any video.

If you want to succeed, you have to promote yourself — and there’s a thin line between spam and self-promotion. Here are a few ideas you might use:

  • Social Media: We’ve written about promoting a cause on social media How to Promote Your Cause on Social Media How to Promote Your Cause on Social Media In an online world full of people vying for attention, it can be hard to make your cause stand out – but these seven tricks should help your campaign to cut through the crowd! Read More , but the tips also apply to YouTube channel promotion.
  • Forums: These are great, especially the big ones like Reddit. Find a community for which your content will be relevant, then share your best content (not all your content). Don’t share too frequently though, else you may be banned for spamming.
  • Giveaways: People love free stuff. By running a giveaway that involves social sharing as a method of entry, your channel can reach a lot of people within days. Just make sure follow our guide to running social media giveaways 11 Simple Steps For Successful Social Media Giveaways 11 Simple Steps For Successful Social Media Giveaways Social media giveaways are a proven way to increase your page likes, interaction, followers, and the size of your mailing list. But what steps should you follow to ensure your giveaway is an astounding success? Read More and that you offer a prize that’s valuable to your target audience.
  • Collaborate: Working with others isn’t just a good way to network and expand your contacts — when they share your collaborations with their audiences, it exposes their audiences to you. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Bear in mind that promotion is a long game. It may takes months, or even years, for your channel to gain popularity. Perseverance is the number one trait shared between YouTube creators!

6. Monetization

Making money through YouTube is harder than it used to be, but it’s still possible today even if you’re just starting out.

While most people think YouTubers earn boatloads of cash through advertisements, the truth is that ads rarely pay well for the effort. As of 2016, the average revenue per 1,000 views on YouTube was about $1.50 (after YouTube takes its cut). That comes out to $1,500 per 1 million views, and users have reported that rates dropped further in 2017.

7 Things to Consider When Starting a YouTube Channel youtube advertisement revenue estimates

In short, don’t expect to get rich off ads even if your channel goes viral. So how do the top YouTubers make their money? A combination of many monetization methods:

  • Affiliate sales and product promotions
  • Consultation services
  • Direct advertisements that aren’t Adsense
  • Public speaking events
  • Support from fans who donate

You can learn more about this in our post on how difficult it is to make money on YouTube How Hard Is It to Make Money on YouTube? How Hard Is It to Make Money on YouTube? You can make money on YouTube -- but how hard is it? Is it something that anyone can do, or do you need a specific plan? We explore the possibilities here. Read More .

7. Goals and Milestones

The quickest way to grow discouraged as a YouTube creator? Compare yourself to others.

Before you even start your first video, lay out a few goals and/or milestones that you want to reach. Not only will these keep you focused on your own path, and not only will they give you a sense of progress, but they show you what to do when you feel stuck.

An effective goal has three core elements:

  • Measurable: The goal should have a quantified component that lets you know, at any given moment in time, whether you’ve reached it or not.
  • Timed: The goal should have a realistic deadline — not so far out so that you still feel pressure, but not so close that it’s overwhelming.
  • Controllable: The goal should be an action you can perform, rather than an outcome that you hope will come as a result of an action.

For example, you might aim to put out 10 videos (measurable) by the end of October (timed). Note that “putting out a video” is an action you can do, whereas “reach 1,000 viewers” is not an action but rather an outcome. “Earn $50 this month” isn’t a goal, whereas “find and negotiate a sponsorship deal” is.

Create a few goals, then keep creating more as you reach them. You’d be surprised how effective this can be at keeping you motivated and on track to success.

What Kind of YouTube Channel Are You Making?

I hope this post has been empowering and not discouraging. The main takeaway is this: creating and running a YouTube channel is easy, but building one that’s successful takes a lot of effort. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to practice, and a lot to keep in mind.

But if you take it seriously, there’s no reason why yours can’t succeed.

Tell us about the kind of channel you want to make. Which successful YouTube channels do you most admire? Share with us in the comments below!

Explore more about: Online Video, YouTube.

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  1. InvisableWarrior
    November 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    I'm thinking of making a channel about how I dont let a invisible illness stop me from living my chaotic life. I'm a stay at home mom of 5 rambunctious kids who also deals with ehlers danlos syndrome. Dealing with a invisible disorder makes you feel just that and I want to change it.

  2. Lmntrix_59
    October 15, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I’m thinking of making a fortnite YouTube channel but I don’t know how long the game is going to stay popular and I have a brother that j have to share the platform I use and I don’t have time to make good videos or to stream

  3. Sky Seiders
    September 2, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you for this helpful info. I want to make a channel I can share my love for gaming and lifting others up. It's gunna take a lot of work, but I'm not afraid. All you new creators I believe in you. I find markiplier to be one of my biggest inspirations on youtube.

  4. Hallie Holland
    July 23, 2018 at 2:52 am

    A must read for first time you tube vlogers. Thank you for the information.

  5. kalwanyi john
    June 8, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    I Like the tips thanks

  6. Charlie
    May 25, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Thank you. This page was enormously helpful. I am thinking of opening a Youtube channel and you really helped me gain perspective on the challenges involved.

  7. Zach Collins
    May 10, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    This is helping with a speech that I'm writing for my speech class on "Is Starting a YouTube Channel Worth it?" I also have a YouTube channel of my own @Zachcoll03 Vlogs.

    Thank You

  8. Rajesh Bhosale
    May 10, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Joel, excellent and to the point guiding article for YouTubers!!! Thanks for valuable insights. I am too thinking of starting YouTube channel of the following category:
    # How to use and review of digital products and apps......in nutshell something like knowledge sharing about the broad topics which I couldn't recollect all or may be able to tell in the course of time (few ones I have already mentioned).
    I have already started honing my skills with video editor apps like PowerDirector/Adobe Premiere Elements.
    I'll be happy to hear your comments on this as per your convenient time.
    Once again thanks a lot. Keep posting insightful articles.

  9. Maisako
    May 3, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I thank you for the information here, as I plan to make my gaming channel. I really admire Jack and Mark, not only do they really cheer others up but they are so confident and happy. I know I wont be exactly like them but I want people to relize that Everyone has a gift to share, weather it be helping others hold on to their faith in humanity, or a lifelong goal like being able to rid the world of the racist/hurtful words/phrases.. Also does anyone happen to know how to record the xbox with good quality and with audio?

  10. Anmynous Youtuber 11
    January 15, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    I`m making DIY videos, and since I`ll be in the video i NEED SOMEONE TO SHOOT FOR ME. But, my sister is always changing the time she wants to shoot the video for me which is ticking me off and my schedule. What can I do?

    • Anadella
      March 7, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Get a friend?

      • Ryder
        August 22, 2018 at 3:06 am

        I have some friends that are interested in making some videos with me

    • JD
      May 18, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      Use a tripod if you're doing DIY crafts or not moving around too much. That's what most people do that are solo.

  11. Ashok
    January 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm


  12. Abu Nauam Tonmoy
    December 31, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Thank you very much your information is so much helpful.

  13. Pari
    November 28, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Very much encouraging and detailed information. Thanks

  14. KwaK
    October 5, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    7 things to consider when starting a youtube channel: 1)Do you really have to?; 2-7)Don't;

    • hi
      June 20, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      no you uno reverse card