How can I increase my YouTube subscribers legally?
Written by: Dexxter ClarkEven the biggest YouTubers start out with 0 subscribers. It takes them “only” perseverance, studying how to grow on YouTube and a lot of videos.
In this article a shortcut: what is the fastest way to grow a YouTube channel in 2023 with no subscribers.
1. Improve watch time minutes by making longer videosMake longer videos that keep people hooked.
More watch time minutes means more promotion in the YouTube algorithms.
Aim to make interesting videos longer than are longer than 10 minutes.
I say “interesting” because the video must have meat, bringing 2 minutes of content and 8 minutes of fluff won’t get you there.
Your video needs to be interesting from the first to the last second.
I know, this is easier said than done.
There are several studies done about the ideal video length and funny enough those studies contradict each other.
Some say 5-8 minutes, others say 10-12 minutes.
Most of my best videos are 9-10 minutes long, with some of them being 20 minutes and 50 minutes long.
I noticed that shorter videos (4 minutes or shorter) are bad in terms of ranking, so I am going to avoid that in the future.
When you would ask me what the ideal video length is: as long as you can make them without getting boring.
Check out my article: “How long should a youtube video be in 2023” on the ideal video length.
To improve watch time tremendously, you should tell a compelling story (yes even in tutorials, documentaries but especially vlogs), my article “#1 technique to get more views 2023: tell the perfect story” helps you to get far ahead of the competition.
2. Improve session watch time,
Try to convince people to watch more of your videos.
get people to watch more videos per session
Binge watching your videos will mean that more videos of you will be recommended to this viewer (and other viewers) in the future (even if they are watching other videos).
This will increase watch time, YouTube sees more videos within one viewing session as a signal to promote more videos to that viewer.
With more videos in one session, the chances increase that someone will subscribe to the channel.
You can do this by:
- mention other videos in your current video
- refer to other videos in your video description
- using cards
- using end screens
In the end screen refer to other videos.
You can even let YouTube choose the best video for the viewer.
- Linking to a playlist
If you link to other videos (end screen, cards, video description, email, social media) always link to the video in a playlist.
If people click on the link than they will be send to a playlist with that video in it.
They see the video with a playlist on the right side of your video watch page (on a desktop computer).
They are more likely to click on one of your videos because you ‘bumped’ the competition with recommended videos to the bottom of the watch page.
- making an official playlist with the video
If you make a playlist, you can check an option called ‘official playlist’.
With this option enabled YouTube considers videos in this playlist as follow
- ups of each other.
This will increase the chance that the next video in the official playlist will show up as the first recommended on the right of your video watch page.
- Commenting on your successful video You can pin a comment so it stays on top of all the other comments. Successful videos have a lot of views, the ideal place to do a referral to another video in a pinned comment.
3. Improve audience retentionThe longer viewers watch, the more watch time minute you will accumulate.
My article: “How to improve audience retention on YouTube” explains 15 ways to improve audience retention.
I won’t repeat myself here.
4. More views from other sourcesAsk people to share your videos on social media.
Try to link from other websites like Reddit to promote your content.
If you don’t have a website with your videos, make one, so you can make Google happy too.
5. Improve CTRImprove Click Through Rate (CTR) by uploading custom thumbnails.
If you are doing that already, learn how to make more engaging thumbnails.
Dive into your YouTube analytics and try to see if you can detect a pattern in thumbnails of videos that have a high CTR.
Go over your existing video library and see which videos have a low click through rate (< 4 %).
Look if you can improve them.
Keeping track of your changes helps to see if your changes have a positive or negative effect on your views.
If they have a negative effect you can revert them (you know what you changed on which date), if they have a positive effect you can see how much it impacted your views.
You can download a free spreadsheet to keep track of changes in the download section of this website.
Also make sure that your thumbnail image is suited for the tiny screen of a mobile phone.
Texts on thumbnails especially need to be readable on a phone.
Basic image editing skills is a must when you are running a YouTube channel.
If you are lacking that skill, there are plenty of image editing tutorials on YouTube.
The other way to improve CTR is to write compelling video titles. Basic copywriting skills is a must for improving CTR.
In my article “Sure-fire YouTube video title ideas that actually work” I give you proven video title templates.
You could also check out the free video title generator on this website for video title ideas you never had thought of.
It is super obvious, but I want to have said it anyway: No clickbait!
YouTube will kill your video directly!
6. Increase upload frequency and release consistentlyUploading once a week is an unwritten rule in YouTube land.
But there are channels that get away with uploading once a month and be very successful at it.
Uploading once a day is the most optimal upload schedule for fast growth.
Keep releasing content at least one video per week.
YouTube is a hungry beast that needs to be continuously fed and will starve if not.
If you upload once a week for a year and then stop all of a sudden for 3 months, the same videos that performed well in the past will get recommended less.
The channel will slowly die like a flame of a candle.
The other side is the human part: if potential subscribers see that you don’t upload regularly, they are less likely to subscribe.
Luckily you can schedule videos ahead.
You can make content in a batch that you can release in the upcoming weeks or months.
I recommend having extra videos as a backup to maintain a consistent release schedule, even if you are ill.
7. More engagement on videos (likes and comments)Videos with a lot of engagement are considered good videos.
Also a bad video is considered “good” by the algorithm if people leave nasty comments.
You can increase engagement by:
- asking people to like the video.
- asking people to leave comments. Ask a specific question that viewers can answer in the comments: “Which of there 5 tips resonates with you the most, leave it in the comments below”.
- doing a poll in the cards of your video.
- replying to comments, especially for channels with less than 10k subscribers. You create a tighter community when you engage with your them.
- filming yourself in a bikini
8. Be patientA lot of creators give up when they notice how much work it takes to make it on YouTube.
Perseverance and patience will help you in the YouTube game.
9. Research & discoveryIn order to be found on YouTube, you have be discoverable
When you start, you might think (myself included) that YouTube will automatically promote your content.
But, that is not how YouTube works.
In order to be promoted/recommended by YouTube, you need to have some reputation in the form of accumulated watch time minutes.
Research your topics and research your YouTube Analytics.
Research your competition, so you don’t make videos you could never rank for.
In my article “YouTube ranking factors” I’ll tell you step-by-step how you can rank #1 on YouTube.
10. Keep making contentHand in hand with discoverability goes the amount of content.
If you have more content that can be found, you are more likely to be found.
If you quit before you actually got started, what most people do, you have no chance of succeeding.
YouTube takes time and patience.
I noticed on my gaming channel, that viewers who become subscribers are going back in my video library and binge watch episode after episode.
This leads to a high session watch time, which sends a strong signal to the YouTube algorithms that my content is solid.
11. Niche down & stick to a topicIt is said that you have to niche down to blow up.
Broad topic channels tend to do not very well.
If you make a cooking video, then live stream a game you are playing, and in the next video you model miniature trees … subscribers get confused: “what is this channel actually about?”.
As you will see in your Analytics, you will lose a tremendous amount of subscribers over that.
A YouTube channel is not a television station where you can deliver a broad range of programs.
Viewers return for your content if they know what to expect.
When you have a gaming channel and make a trip to the Formula 1 races, make sure it has connection to games.
The viewer is going to watch the because he (or she) wants to see a connection with video games, for example an interview with a Formula 1 driver about the reality of computer games.
From the notification algorithm perspective:
“your subscribers are skipping 3 videos, why should I promote it to non-fans if even your fans aren’t interested”.
You can come far with discoverability, but niching down is key to fast growth.
When you start a YouTube channel, you need to focus on a niche.
When you get big, than you can broaden your topics.
People know you and you can afford to lose a couple of subscribers.
12. Exploit your successesWhen you have a video that does well, see if you can make a follow-up for that video with the same topic or make a series of videos about the same topic.
By accident I stumbled upon the topic: computers for music production.
That video did well, so I made a follow up: laptops for music production (niching down), that did about 5 times better!
In the comments I noticed that people wanted low budget laptops, so I made a mid-range and a low-budget laptop video.
If I want more views, I just need to make another laptop-for-music video.
I made a video with hidden tips and tricks of a DJ software package.
Apparently, people were searching for this software, so I made a step by step tutorial series (10 videos or so), that are still performing well.
13. See what works for the competitionHunt for competition in the same niche as your channel.
Look at their “videos” tab and click on “sort by popularity”.
You see their best performing videos.
Are there videos that you can do as well?
Think if you can make an improved video about the same topic in your “flavor”.
14. Evergreen contentEvergreen content is the best way to grow your channel.
In my article “How to get more subscribers on YouTube? Evergreen videos”, I’ll tell you exactly why.
15. ConsistencyWith a consistent upload schedule people know when they can expect a new video.
Publishing 3 videos a week and the next week just one, is not a good strategy.
16. Lift on a trendIf you are responding quick to a trend, you can piggyback ride on the success of that trend.
Slime and fidget spinners were once a trend on YouTube.
Try to see if you can make a related video in your niche.
In case of the slime, a music producer can make a tutorial on how to use a slime sound as a sound sample.
One day I received an email in the morning from a DJ company that released new DJ software. This was not announced in advance. There were no videos on YouTube online about the software.
I downloaded the software, reviewed it, made a video and uploaded it in the evening. By the time I uploaded there were still virtually no videos on the topic, I was the first.
That video skyrocketed my views for days.
17. Collaborate with other YouTubersCollaborations (preferably in your own niche) have proven to be a solid strategy to grow subscribers.
With a video on the other channel and yours (both linking to each other’s channel), leads to more subscribers on both channels.
The hardest thing on YouTube is to get discovered, and this is an ideal way to get discovered.
Being roughly the same size channel is convenient, but not necessary to gain both from the collaboration.
But if you have only 1000 subscribers, reaching out to a channel with 5 million subscribers is probably not working out, because it’s not worth their time.
There has to be something in it for the other channel, it’s not a one way street.
A collaboration can be 2 persons in the same shot, or you give the spotlight to the other person who takes care of his part of the video.
When you reach out to other creators, suggest a concrete proposal.
Saying that you want to collaborate mostly doesn’t spark any enthusiasm, but it might if you have a cool idea.
After all, that person probably doesn’t know you.
18. Reply to commentsThe amount of comments on a video is a ranking factor, and is especially critically during the first 24 hours of a video.
Reply to every comment; clicking the heart icon helps, but is a comment is better.
A comment can be as small as just an emoji face.
Replying helps to build a community and strengthen the bond with your fans.
If you show you care about them, they are more likely to care about you.
19. Channel nameMake it unmistakably clear what your channel is about (especially a small channel), for example by good channel name.
Take all the guess work out of the equation for the viewer what you channel is about, so their decision process to subscribe to your channel is short.
A channel name like: “Brian Whatson" says absolutely nothing about the content.
The channel could be about petting kittens, running a nuclear plant, explaining aviation rules or making fun of politicians.
If you comment on videos of other creators, your channel name shows up.
If you deliver value in that comment, viewers might check out your channel and subscribe.
Never promote your channel in someone else’s comments, only deliver value.
If a viewer searches for content, YouTube also searches channel names.
A channel name that represents your content doesn’t hurt your channel, you have only “free” promotion to gain.
Don’t get me wrong, a channel with a name like “Brian Whatson” can become very successful, but it won’t be because of his channel name.
If you are looking for a great channel name, take a look at the Free Channel Name Generator on this website. You can find the generator here: https://www.socialvideoplaza.com/en/tools/channel-name-generator
20. Channel artYour profile picture and the banner above your channel page are channel art.
Just like you channel name, make it unmistakably clear what your channel is about.
Make sure that your channel art is relevant to the topic of your channel.
It is wise to include in your channel banner:
- the topic of your channel
- a graphic that represents and fits your videos
- the types of video you make (vlog, tutorial, review etc.)
- your upload frequency (once a week or 3 times a day)
- the days and time you release new videos.
People are more likely to subscribe to a face than a logo.
Your face is personal and is also your brand.
21. Subtitles / closed captionsIf you supply your videos with closed captions in foreign languages, your video gets priority in countries that speak that language.
22. Content strategyHaving a content strategy is a good way to plan and make your content.
It gives your content focus, which is good for your growth.
- What (kind of) videos are you going to make in the future?
Videos about topics x,y, z
- Who are the videos for?
Besides knowing your demographic it’s useful to know in what stage of their life are they in.
Moms that recently had a baby or music producers at the beginning of their career.
- What is the personality of the videos?
Serious, happy, mocking, bitter?
Some people present themselves as a character.
There is a music production tutorial channel where the creator talks to the viewer with a hand puppet.
Another hilarious music producer YouTube channel makes tutorials with the most ridiculous farfetched music production analogies of the real word.
n my case, I want to have a positive attitude in all my videos and can crack a joke sometimes
When you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my video training program: Viral Strategy.
The program takes you step-by-step through the process of getting views, subscribers and going viral.
For new creators I included a module that guides you step-by-step through the process of starting, creating and setting up a YouTube channel.
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