New YouTubers: Common Mistakes & How You Can Avoid Them
on Jul 15, 2019 (Last Update: Dec 09, 2020)
Unless you've lived under a rock for over a decade, you already know what YouTube is. This social media colossus dominates sharing and streaming like none other. If that's not enough - YouTube is now the second-largest search engine on the internet. If you want to learn more about something or if you're looking for entertainment, YouTube is your one-stop-shop.
All YouTubers (beginners & veterans) want to succeed, but the route of becoming a successful Youtuber comes at a price - mistakes. Truth is, a lot of YouTubers end up failing because they make crucial mistakes and never learn how to fix them. So in this article, we bring you the most common YouTuber mistakes with advice for new YouTubers on how to fix those mistakes.
List Of The Most Common New YouTubers Mistakes
Being a "YouTuber" is hard work, and believe it or not, but most YouTubers fail. We all recognize the struggles and pains of growing and maintaining a channel. Coming up with creative ideas, promoting your work, and staying interactive could wear anyone out. There are some errors that most (if not all) of the creators on the platform had done, are doing, or will do at some point. These "mistakes" might make potential (and existing) viewers and subscribers click out of a video - or unsubscribe from a channel altogether.
A while ago, we devised a secret plan to try and find out what irks people most when going on YouTube. In this blog post, we'll present some of the most common mistakes content creators on YouTube make (especially new youtubers mistakes, but not only). We'll also point out how or why they could hurt engagement and growth and offer ways to avoid making those mistakes.
The famous Clickbaiting phenomena is one of the most common mistakes new YouTubers make - Clickbait is the intentional act of misrepresenting what a person will actually find your content. Basically, clickbaiting means you’ll over-exaggerate things with explosive titles and thumbnails like “You Won’t Believe What Happened!” or “Shocking!!!”, etc. The goal is to spark your curiosity hard enough to want to click on the thumbnail/title, without actually delivering on your promises.
Clickbaiting is bad for both sides of the story - the creator and the viewer. For the viewer, being “clickbaited” is extremely annoying. No one likes to feel stupid, and clickbait makes people feel like fools time and time again. For the creator, clickbaiting can often result in high CTR (‘Click Through Rate’, which is good) and low retention rates (which is very, very bad). When a video has a high CTR but a low retention rate, YouTube algorithm deems it as “clickbait” or unengaging content and stops pushing and promoting it organically on the platform.
You don't need to exaggerate real-life situations for "storytime" views. No, nobody kidnapped you, and saying so in the video title will only annoy people when they find out you either lied altogether or made a video that has absolutely nothing to do with the title. Your sandwich isn't "shocking," and there's no need to gush over that brand new product you're reviewing and call it "amazing" or "holy grail"; especially when you're going to say the same thing about five other products in the same video.
Here’s an example of a classic clickbait title. It’s written in all caps and the “story” seems far-fetched and ridiculous.
Overwhelming Your Audience With “Challenges” And “Tag” Videos
We're well aware of the fact that social media is a popularity contest. If you want to be with the "in" crowd, you have to do whatever it is they're doing. You need to dress like them, talk like them, act like them - and create similar (or sometimes even identical) content. On YouTube, this means participating in “tag” videos (such as “Meet My Boyfriend!” tags or “What’s In My Backpack?” tags) and doing challenges (cinnamon challenge, ice bucket challenge, etc.).
If you liked someone's style and personality, try to hone in on it and give it your little twist. You don't have to do that challenge or tag. We mean it. It's perfectly alright to create content that has nothing to do with challenges and tags. There's no need to dump buckets of ice water on your head, have your boyfriend do your makeup, or put yourself in harm's way "for the views."
Bad Introductions And “Splash Screens” (Intro Videos)
Repetitive, Prolonged Introductions In Videos
While introductions and splash screens are legitimate to use and oftentimes necessary, many people take them to the extreme. If you open your videos with the same 1:20 ramble of who you are, what your content is about, welcoming old and new people to your video and babbling about what you had for lunch that day - people will either tune you out or click right off of your video.
Extremely Long And Boring Video Intros (Splash Screens)
The same goes for your video’s splash screen - if it’s longer than 5 minutes, people get sick of it and click off. Nothing grinds peoples' gears more than looking at the same "glamorous" intro - a winking cartoon of said YouTuber with swirls and generic House/Trap/Dubstep music in the background. You want viewers to enjoy your content for its uniqueness, not for having it look, sound, and feel the same as every other video on the platform.
Using Gimmicks And Lazy/Bad Editing
TTS (or Text To Speech) is an excellent accessibility tool found on most technological products for the visually impaired. It allows written text to be read out loud for those who can't see the words but can hear them. Therefore, TTS can voice-out text messages, articles, applications - you name it.
When YouTubers first started using TTS in videos, it was amusing. Then, as more people started using it in every single video, it became incredibly irritating. TTS is a great tool for people whose first language isn't English or if you have a sci-fi theme going on. But, when overused, it can get old relatively fast. Most people watch your content because they like you and your voice. Using TTS instead of doing the talking on your own is a bit redundant and very much overused.
Choppy editing is often confused with "jump-cuts."
Jump-cuts are sudden transitions in a film that make the subject look like it jumped from one spot in the frame to another. Sometimes, these are merely abrupt "cuts" between one scene and another.
Choppy editing, on the other hand, is like taking jump-cuts to an unpleasant extreme. With choppy editing, you have more than 5 jump cuts in the scene itself - making it very hectic and hard to follow up with. We get why people do this - they had a lot of “fillers” and “thinking spaces” in their videos and they wanted to edit them out, rightfully so. However, the end result is jarring and a bit chaotic.
To avoid this mistake, all you need is to refine your skills and write out a "script" or a plan for your video. A script or a plan will help decrease the "thinking spaces" tremendously and make editing your video more straightforward and less time-consuming.
This usually happens in vlogs. The vlogger is walking from point A to point B, but instead of showing the viewers what he or she sees around him or her (or themselves), they'll point the camera at their feet. So we, as viewers, are staring at the ground. You can imagine why - and how - this could get boring, fast. Imagine you're watching your favorite vlogger having a wonderful day - but all you can see is their feet. They might have some cool sneakers on, but you can only look at sneakers for so long!
Too Many Vine References
To those who may not know, Vine was a video-sharing app, released in 2013. Its' sole purpose was to allow users to share 6 seconds long videos. Each video uploaded to the platform would then play in a continuous loop. The app was discontinued in 2016, causing viners to migrate to YouTube's platform. Today, you'll find vine references in almost every YouTube video, whether you were a part of the vine community or not.
Vine, as a whole, was its own platform and entity. When it shut down, there was a significant flow of Vine creators turning to YouTube, and their fans soon followed. Naturally, they referenced their former Vine content at the beginning of their YouTube journey, but most have "grown" past that stage and gained an audience that had nothing to do with Vine. However, because those former Viners are now YouTube's biggest stars, a lot of people will "copy" their style and edit in Vine references to their videos. Let's say you never went on Vine or cared much for the platform. Having it shoved down your throat at every turn can get annoying. Vine is basically like an inside joke: you just had to be there. Otherwise, you probably won't get it. Jokes without context aren't that funny.
Bad Production Values
This is pretty self-explanatory - no one wants to look at a dark, blurry video. We want to be able to see what we’re looking at. If your lighting isn’t good, the image on the screen is no good, either. You can solve this problem by using the sun in your favor and filming during daylight or by investing in some lighting gear if you like filming indoors.
Unbalanced audio - meaning, being too soft-spoken, too loud, or too unstable with your volume - can hurt your chances of retaining your audience for longer than a couple of minutes, at best.
A good microphone is essential for obvious reasons. You want your viewers to be able to hear what you say clearly, and not have to rewind every few seconds because the audio quality is poor. While you're editing, make sure you use headphones or earbuds to get a "feel" of what your viewers will experience when watching your video. You don't like people screaming in your ear, right? Neither do they. If you're shouting into your ear - fix it before uploading. That's the purpose of editing.
YouTube is a visual platform. If what you’re producing is blurry, dark, and pixelated - you’re doing it wrong. People will click right off of your video if it’s too low quality. Invest in a decent camera or smartphone and get to work. Make sure you film in the highest resolution possible so your visuals are crystal clear and pristine.
Neglecting Video SEO
Bad Video Titles
Making a professional keyword research on YouTube is extremely important for many reasons, and one of them is Video titles:
Video titles are one of the first things people see when they find your video on YouTube. You want your video titles to be enticing and descriptive. Using keywords in your video titles is crucial if you want your video to be discoverable on YouTube’s platform.
This title is bad because it’s in all lowercase and it’s clickbaity. There’s no keyword here and while it’s very descriptive, it just isn’t good enough.
Bad Video Descriptions
Your video description is prime real estate. You can promote your brand and products there as well as other videos and playlists you’ve created. If you don’t use your video description wisely and properly, you’re missing out on some golden opportunities.
No Video Tags
There’s a common misconception that YouTube video tags aren’t important - but that’s extremely wrong. Video tags help the algorithms index your content better on the platform and using the right tags will even get you recommended on YouTube.
Here’s an example for good use of YouTube tags:
In this example, the creator put his target keyword first, followed by related keywords to support it.
Thumbnails are the gateway to your content. If you’re not making good custom thumbnails, you’re missing the whole point. You can tell whether your thumbnails are working or not by looking at your video’s CTR (Click Through Rate) on your YouTube Studio analytics.
Here’s an example for a good thumbnail. The text is legible, the graphics support the text to describe what the video will be about and the creator’s face is visible and clear in the thumbnail.
Now, here’s an example of a bad thumbnail:
The text is unreadable and the images in the thumbnail are too small and random for anyone to understand what the video is about.
Seriously, which one would you click on? The top or the bottom one? We all know the answer to that.
Not Interacting With Your Audience
Not Using CTAs Correctly
There’s a time and a place for everything. If you’re using your CTAs at the very beginning of your videos - you’re doing it all wrong. If you’re not using any CTAs in your video at all, you’re doing it wrong again!
Basically, CTAs (or Calls To Action) are verbal cues that you give to your audience by telling them what you want them to do once they’re finished watching your videos (or throughout the videos, in moderation). Ever wondered why so many YouTubers ask people to “like and subscribe”? Yes, that’s right. That’s their CTA.
Not Replying To Comments
Replying to comments is crucial for three reasons:
- To generate engagement and interaction with your content
- To rank better on the platform.
- To improve your brand and channel reputation.
The more interaction your videos generate, the better they look in the YouTube algorithms’ eyes.
Not Using The Community Tab
If you have over 1,000 subscribers, you can use the community tab to communicate with your audience.
Expecting Overnight Success
On YouTube, you’re not entitled to anything. Until you prove your value to your audience and to the platform’s algorithms - you’re not going to succeed. Proving your value, unfortunately, takes time (sometimes a lot of time), and buying real YouTube views won’t make you the next YouTube rockstar.
Of course it would have been fantastic if everyone could upload a video, have it go viral and achieve overnight success without working hard and putting in the effort. And of course, some people are that lucky and they do catch that lucky break with one video, even though the rest of their content sucks, while much better creators still grind and struggle to get noticed. Life’s not fair, and neither is YouTube.
Avoid thinking that you deserve success and work on earning it instead.
Deleting Content From Your Channel
This is bad for two main reasons.
- You’re seriously damaging the metrics on your channel. When you remove a video, you also remove all views and watch time gained on it. If you’re working towards monetization, every watch time minute counts and could be detrimental for your progress.
- Your progress and growth as a creator matters, too. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to old content. Especially not so embarrassed that you feel the need to delete it. Just look at Mr. Beast - he made hundreds of lousy videos before he became such a huge success!
Making “off topic” videos is a well-known failed strategy either for struggling channels or for YouTube channels that are very successful. Think about it: you’ve spent forever creating content for a certain audience, you finally got their attention - and then you go ahead and create something they couldn’t care less about. Or, on the other hand, that little off-topic video takes off and then you’re left with a dilemma: should you keep making that content or stay on topic again?
In addition, sometimes new YouTubers tend to get dazzled by profitable YouTube niches (whether those niche content types suit their YouTube channel or not), which causes them to create unrelated video content for their channel, making their audience upset and the YouTube algorithm confused.
We know how hard it is to create consistent content on YouTube. The grind and the struggles are real, and a lot of creators suffers from 'creator burnout' after a short period of time on the platform because they took too much on their plate. That’s when they start taking breaks and slacking off.
There’s also the opposite side of the story - when YouTubers take long breaks and pauses from their channel and come back after a few months. This is bad because during those months, your subscribers may have forgotten you exist and when you start uploading again, they won’t watch your content and become “inactive subscribers”. Then, the algorithms won’t promote you as much as they used to, and you’ll find YouTube to be a tough struggle to manage.
Bad Video And Channel Promotion
This is something a lot of new YouTubers struggle with. They are desperate to get monetized and grow on the platform, so they join “Sub4Sub” groups on Facebook. These groups are super harmful for your channel because they violate YouTube’s terms of service and could get you penalized and your channel terminated. Furthermore, getting subscribers through those Sub4Sub Facebook groups will give you inactive subscribers which can harm your channel growth in that they don’t watch your content or interact with it. When you don’t have enough interaction and engagement on your content, the algorithms don’t promote your content on YouTube’s search results, suggestions and recommendations.
As you can see, this phenomenon is more widespread than you would have imagined, with hundreds of thousands of participants in these shady Facebook groups.