The ultimate checklist to grow your YouTube channel

Growing your YouTube channel takes planning and some trial and error. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take that will make it easier for you to build a loyal community.


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Create an eye-catching thumbnail 

The thumbnail should be bold and depict the most eye-catching part of your video. You can deliver context by overlaying words in clear block fonts, but be careful not to go overboard otherwise it will distract from the picture and look messy. Tools like Canva provide easy and free templates that you can use to get started. 


Upload first, publish later

Upload your video to private first so that you can make sure that all the details are correct and that there are no technical issues. Scheduling them as opposed to putting them on ‘unlisted’ means that you won’t fall foul of the YouTube algorithm. The first 48 hours can be pivotal in deciphering your video’s success, and unlisted views will already be counted, potentially harming its popularity. 


Have a click-worthy title

Viewers see through click-bait titles, so try not to be too deceptive or sensationalize headlines by putting them in all caps or using excessive exclamation marks. We aren’t in 2005 anymore! Think clearly about the video’s message and what you’d like to convey, leading with the most important keywords. Try to keep it below 70 characters to make sure it’s displayed correctly. 


Put keywords in the description

Use the first sentence to highlight important keywords, and make sure to include any call to actions. This is an ideal place to put links so viewers can subscribe to your channel, check out affiliate links, and follow other socials. If your video is sponsored, it will most likely be requested that you put download links and discount codes in this section. 


Include relevant tags

After entering relevant terms that describe the topic you’re covering, you can use YouTube auto-suggestions to figure out what most people are looking for, and then find additional tags. It’s recommended to use a mix of generic and specific tags. For example you could tag it ‘#videoediting’ and follow it up with #premierprotutorial’. You can also use general descriptive tags, such as ‘#beginnervideoediting’ or the name of your channel. If you use the same tags in your videos, the higher the chance you have of popping up again in the suggested videos next to it.


Check the first 15 seconds

You need to get the viewer’s attention so this is the most vital part. Creatively introduce yourself and the topic. One of the ways to get viewers hooked is to explain how you’re going to help them solve a problem, or to share the funniest, most exciting scenes from the video. It does not have to be a cinematic work of art, in fact it is more important to have good audio quality. Bad audio is more likely to turn people off from watching the rest of the video. 


Include closed captioning

Adding captions have a positive impact on user engagement, watch time, viewership as well as SEO.  The auto-caption tool is correct only 70% of the time, therefore it is worth uploading accurate ones. Since search engines crawl the text (rather than the video), a transcript with relevant keywords can help boost the ranking of your content. If you want to open yourself up to an even larger audience, you can also add translations. 


Add to a playlist

Add it to a relevant playlist on your channel to enhance the odds of people discovering your video.


Pin a comment

Take advantage of the ‘pin a comment’ tool. It could be a viewer’s interesting observation, or it could even be one from yourself. It could be a question that provokes debate in the comments section increasing engagement. It’s also another opportunity to add any calls to action. For example you can link to newsletters, other social media accounts and videos. 


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