31 Best YouTube Growth Tips for Beginners in 2023

YouTube growth tips if you’re a beginner

If you’re a beginner on YouTube, you need tactical, actionable tips to grow your channel. That’s what I’m hoping to give you in this list.

Here’s what this article covers

1. Know if your video is aimed at search, suggested, or browse

There is an inverse relationship between virality and intent.

Not all YouTube videos are created equal. There are dozens of types of traffic sources on YouTube, but the three categories you’ll want to know about are search, suggested, and browse.

You’ll want to create each video targeting one of these traffic source categories.

Traffic Source content strategy

Search – videos show up in Youtube and Google search results

Pros:

  • Evergreen content
  • Usually more steady & consistent views
  • Higher intent traffic

Cons:

  • Long-term strategy and YouTube SEO is important
  • Search traffic usually has lower retention

Browse – videos show up on the home page, subscriptions, explore, and trending

Pros:

  • Can generate lots of views fast
  • Virality on one video usually lifts your other videos

Cons:

  • Can be difficult and unpredictable to get in browse
  • Can be tough to replicate in subsequent videos when one video does well
  • Trending is almost impossible to rank for as a beginner

Suggested – it’s like a combination of search and browse

Youtube suggested traffic search as a combination of search traffic and browse traffic

Pros:

  • Usually the best traffic source you can get
  • Usually has the longest watch time
  • YouTube algorithm finds the right people for the right video
  • Works well when your videos relate to each other

Cons:

  • You need some sort of audience for it to work
  • Works best when you have more than one video
  • Works best over time, not in the beginning

For each video, ask yourself, are you creating content on a search-based strategy? Browse-based strategy? Or mixed?

The best route to take depends highly on your channel and the type of content you want to create.

2. Ignore channel performance for 2 months

Be comfortable without instant gratification. The goal is the activities, not the result, but I talk more about that in tip #6

Whether you’ve already posted or you’re working on your first video. Your first few YouTube videos probably won’t get many views, and that’s normal and okay.

In the beginning, you want to view yourself as learning, experimenting, and improving quality. Don’t expect results, expect to learn!

In other words, focus on your skills as a creator, not your performance as a creator. Regardless of what you’re uploading or how often, ignore the results.

Instead of measuring yourself on performance, measure yourself on how much you’re learning.

Your first videos aren’t meant to be perfect. They’re meant to learn what works, what doesn’t, get ideas for future videos, and see how you can improve over time.

3. Name your channel something that reflects what the content is about

I wouldn’t recommend naming it your name, or even your company, depending on your goals.

I’d name it something related to the niche you’re targeting. You want your channel name to make it easy to tell what your videos are about.

4. Show the result in the beginning of the video

Give the audience quick wins. Give them validation for clicking on the video.

What does this mean? Whatever you showed in the thumbnail that got someone to click, you want to show this again in the beginning of your video.

If you’re optimizing click-through rate with thumbnails, keeping the audience engaged is how to keep watch time high.

If you show a process, a result, something interesting, or you use clickbait to some extent, show what’s in the thumbnail again in towards the beginning of your video.

For example, if your video is on how to build a computer, and you have a fully or partially assembled computer shown in the thumbnail, show the completed computer towards the beginning of the video so your audience knows what they have to look forward to.

If you’re showing some kind of progress, transformation, etc. show the end result in the beginning to keep viewers hooked for the rest of the video.

5. Ignore subscribers, focus on audience growth

The Power of Storytelling

Your goal is to build an audience, not a number of subscribers. Having an audience is a byproduct of good content.  When someone watches your video, you need to provide value. Either entertain them, or teach them something.

It’s also harder to accurately measure audience, so you won’t check it the same as subscribers. Focus on good content, and the audience will grow itself.

6. Action Bias: Commit to the action, not the result

Just getting started is the hardest thing. You might talk yourself out of ideas that could be great by hypothesizing about the results.

In reality, until you’ve actually taken action and tried it, you have no clue how it’ll turn out. You can make a well-informed guess, but it’s still a guess.

In practice, this means your YouTube content goals should look something like this:

  • Post 1 video per week for 10 weeks straight
  • Have half of videos be 12+ minutes long
  • Film videos every Wednesday
  • Edit videos every Thursday

Not this:

  • Gain 100 subscribers in a month
  • Get 500 views on one video
  • Get 2,000 views across channel

See the difference? One set of goals is focused on the result while the other is on the activities.

Your success should not be tied to how many subscribers you have, but rather how consistent you are with your content and how you improve your content over time.

7. Have a vision of what your channel will look like in a year

Create a list of video ideas, and start connecting which ones are similar. Think about which order would make sense for someone to watch these videos. Aim to create videos that build off each other.

8. Double your frequency, 10x your growth

Want to grow your channel fast? Well, growth on YouTube is not linear.

If you post once a week, that’s 52 videos in a year. If you post twice a week, that’s 104 videos.

But posting 2x the number of videos won’t get 2x the results, it’ll get 4x, 10x, or 20x the results because it will compress your growth. Think about it this way:

If you post twice a week instead of just one, it’ll take 6 months to accomplish what would have taken a year.

But what about quality over quantity??

That’s a good point. If you’re reading this article and you’re a beginner, you’ll need to create a lot of quantity in order to be able to produce quality later on. Ideally, you want both.

But you know what?

After you’ve done the quantity to get better at quality, just go re-film your earliest videos and make them higher quality if the ideas you had are still relevant!

If you re-film your first YouTube videos 6-12 months later when you’re better at filming and editing, the information you deliver will land even better with viewers if it was good in the first place.

9. Experimenting with content = key to growth

As your channel grows, you’ll start to see opportunities in content ideas. This could be from suggestions people make in the comments, gaps you notice in competitor videos, and overall feedback you see when some videos perform well and people still have questions.

There’s lots of ways to innovate your content. Here are some:

  • Blend different topics that don’t go together
  • Add a spin on an already existing topic
  • Talk about things in different terms and from a different perspective
  • Jump on a trend before it peaks
  • Have a unique opinion where others are vague
  • Get ideas from niche communities like Reddit subreddits, Facebook groups, slack and discord channels

See what niche communities are talking about that isn’t mainstream yet.

10. Save some videos for a rainy day

I’m a big fan of batch-shooting content. Whatever type of video you’re doing, film multiple in one sitting. You’ll thank yourself later if you’re pressed for time and don’t have time to film a new video.

Build up your content and spread it out over a longer period of time. if you can sustainably do 2 videos a week, you might want to aim to post once a week, or once every 5 days, etc.

11. Set a posting schedule *IF it helps you*

Emphasis on if it helps you.

This is more for you to stay organized than anything about your audience.

Contrary to popular belief, it really doesn’t matter what day of the week you post videos. Setting a schedule is more to help you stay accountable to yourself.

Honestly, if you’re a day or two late because you didn’t think a video was ready yet, I would prioritize quality instead of posting on a certain day.

You’re creating videos that will stay online and grow for years. It’s not worth stressing over a few days or even a week if it makes your video better.

The day you post isn’t important in the long run of building a brand. Creating good content is.

If you really need to, spend that extra day or two editing the final touches.

12. Schedule auto-posting *IF it helps you*

Going back to tip #2 on ignoring your channel’s performance, if you think it will be difficult to stay consistent, schedule your videos to publish automatically.

How do you do this?

Finish 5 to 10 YouTube videos, upload them all into YouTube studio either all at once or one by one, do the titles, thumbnails and descriptions, and then instead of making the videos “public” or “private” click “schedule.”

Then schedule them out to post once a week for the next 5-10 weeks.

Now step away from your channel and come back in a month or two and see how it’s looking.

13. Be Selective with your first videos

Aim for wide appeal, broader and more generic that would land with the largest group.

Depending on your strategy, you might also want to target highly-searched (but interrelated) topics and then worry about niching down later on.

14. Create a visual identity on YouTube

Aim to have some consistency between your profile pic, channel art, logos, colors, animations in videos, etc.

This isn’t a big deal if you don’t have a visual identity, but in the long run it’ll help your audience recognize you quickly on YouTube.

15. Setup a Brand Account

A brand account is sort of YouTube’s version of a business account for Instagram or Tiktok. You need an email, so choose the email you want your YouTube channel attached to.

You can always change it later.

If you want to have a website, phone number, or other links, then add those too. If you want to post longer videos, verify account. Fill profile with keywords

  1. Have your contact info filled out
  2. Make sure your account and number is verified
  3. Fill your profile with keywords

16. Create YouTube videos with structure

There’s lots of ways to do this. You want to be intentional in how your video is structured. Here is a very generic outline for a video that could be 8, 10, 15 or 20 minutes long depending on how you do it:

Hook first sentence

  • Context to explain the hook
  • Explain the video outline and what you will accomplish in the video

Main point / argument #1

Main point / argument #2

  • Supporting point / explanation / context

Main point / argument #3

  • Supporting point / explanation / context
  • Add in another call to action

Recap: Bring it all together

Don’t say “thanks for watching” until the very end because people will tune out and move on the second you indicate the video is over.

17. Hook then provide value immediately

You want to hook them and retain them for as much of the whole video as you can. This means having a hook, and then continually building on it and providing more value, info, or entertainment. In the outline above, all the main points or arguments you make should build off the overall theme, argument, or explanation you want to give in the video.

18. Define your goals on YouTube

This might sound elementary, but think about why you want to be on YouTube.

Is this a passion project? Is this part of a bigger business marketing strategy? Do you want to build a business using YouTube to get sales or clients?

19. Analyze your competitors

Who are the biggest channels making content in your niche?

Watch their videos and pay close attention to the following:

  • What titles do they use?
  • What videos have the most views?
  • What thumbnails do they have?
  • How can you make a video like this better?

20. Jump on trends

Notice what is going viral on YouTube and other social media sites that could make it onto YouTube but haven’t done it yet.

Keep in mind tip #9 experimenting with content.

Following upcoming trends and exploding topics before they peak is one great way to accomplish this on YouTube.

21. Educate, entertain, or both

There are basically two types of YouTube videos you can make: ones that teach people, and ones that entertain people. You should ideally do both.

22. Create content that connects

This is a missed opportunity by a lot of aspiring YouTubers. Their content is disconnected and there isn’t always a clear connection from one video to the next, or an overarching theme between videos.

The YouTube rabbit hole of suggested traffic

Come up with a list of video ideas you could create content around, and start grouping them together based on what they’re about.

Eventually, you’ll want 3-5 buckets, or pillars of content that most of your videos fall within.

Have playlists for the biggest categories of content, then put these playlists on your channel page.

It’s totally fine to step outside of these content categories. But showing these as playlists on your channel can give people a quick and easy understanding of what content you cover if they’re seeing your YouTube channel for the first time.

23. Thumbnail and Title should not be the same

Your thumbnail and title should both be relevant to the video but draw attention in different ways. Your thumbnail and title should complement each other, not replicate each other.

Traffic Source content strategy

The thumbnail is the largest visual element that will drive clicks to your video, followed by the title. The actual video and editing are much less important in getting initial views from the click-through rate.

24. Use relevant keywords. Everywhere.

Identify keywords that apply to your channel as a whole → profile, upload defaults, channel tags, channel descriptions, and video playlists

Identify keywords specific to each video → include in title, description, tags, pinned comment, and say them in videos

25. Keep the video description organized

Organized YouTube Description to Optimize SEO rankings and performance on channel

Organize your description by breaking it down into sections with a clear separation. Also use emojis to draw attention to certain places. For example:

  • Summary of the video with keywords included
  • Breakdown of the video using timestamp chapters
  • Links to other videos, articles, websites
  • Any contact information like email, website, phone number

26. Pin your comment at the top and respond to everything below

Be the first to comment on all your videos and pin the comment at the top. Engaging with everyone who comments on your videos is a great way to grow your audience into an engaged group of followers.

Ask a question, say something interesting, whatever gets people to respond to the comment. Pin it at the top of comments so it’s visible.

27. Ask questions that create conversations

In your video, ask people questions they can respond to in the comments and tell them to comment the response. You could ask something like:

  • What did they learn?
  • What do they agree / disagree with?
  • Do they have a suggestion for future videos?

This is one of my favorite tips to build a community and engagement, PLUS if you use the tip above, you can reply to every person who comments and double the total number of comments.

28. Follow YouTube channels outside your niche

Even if you have the best niche on YouTube it’s always a good idea to get inspiration from people doing very different content.

I always love getting outside perspective and applying strategies from other markets to my own. This is another way of experimenting with your content to keep it engaging.

For example…

If you’re a beauty vlogger, why not take some call-to-action ideas from a loan officer talking about interest rates?

Maybe you’re an attorney making videos on tips & tricks with contracts. Why not get inspiration from a tech guru who has cool angles for videos?

If you’re a clothing brand, maybe you could take some thumbnail inspiration from a popular gaming channel!

Even if another channel does completely different content, you might be able to take ideas from them by paying attention to:

  • The way they talk in videos
  • Creative thumbnail designs
  • Interesting titles
  • Filming style & angles
  • Editing style
  • Unique calls to action

29. Make sure auto captions are accurate

Make it easy for viewers to read what you’re saying if they turn on captions. Plus if you use keywords a lot in speaking, they’ll show up in the captions for extra SEO juice.

If your video has stuff like specific names, companies, or places mentioned, you’ll want to double check all of them to make sure they’re spelled correctly in the auto-generated captions.

For example, YouTube auto captions always spell my last name incorrectly when I introduce myself, and I need to correct it every time. You’d think YouTube would learn after hundreds of videos, but it hasn’t 🙁

30. End videos and tell people what to watch next

End your videos by pointing viewers to a playlist or another video that logically makes sense for them to watch. Use an end-screen playlist or video element to make it easy to click.

This will help you plan how your videos connect to each other, it boosts session time, and it will get multiple views out of each person who comes to your channel.

31. You don’t need the right equipment

As long as the footage is clear, not shaky, and makes sense for the video, your film setup doesn’t have to be perfect or professional.

These days, most people won’t notice if you are using an iPhone vs. professional camera.

As long as the audio is clear, it does not have to be professional quality video. Good audio > good video. Phones work just fine for YouTube videos, but you may want to invest in an external microphone like a lav mic that connects to your phone for higher quality audio.