lördag 14 juni 2008

Top 10 YouTube Secrets

YouTube, the dominant video sharing website, has many millions of visitors a month and many of them upload their own videos to the website. There are, however, many things that you may not have thought of if you are one of the good people who upload videos to YouTube (or other video sharing websites).

These are my top 10 YouTube secrets, most of which I have had to discover the hard way of trial and error. Hopefully you will learn something new that you can put to immediate use today.

With no further ado, let's reveal these ten YouTube secrets:

1. You don't have to create brand new content for your YouTube videos.

A common mistake that website owners make when they start making videos for YouTube and other video sharing websites is that they don't fully appreciate the amount of quality contents that they've already created on their websites. Almost any article that you have already written can be shortened and made into a video, containing either text or voice, or a combination of the two. Thers's no point in reinventing the wheel - start by converting to video what you have lying around.

2. You don't have to create very advanced videos to attract viewers.

Another mental hurdle that you may have to get over is the belief that the videos you upload have to be as advanced as some other professional videos you've seen online or elsewhere. In fact, it is often enough to have quality text contents in some niche that some people have an interest in in order to get your videos the attention of viewers. You can even do a lot with a very simple video editing program such as Windows Movie Maker that comes with most Windows installs.

3. Video titles matter a lot.

Just browsing the videos on YouTube (or any other video sharing website for that matter) will reveal lots and lots of videos with poor titles. Not taking a few seconds to come up with an appealing title for each of your videos is just begging for the videos to remain in obscurity, as no one will be interested in clicking on them to begin viewing them. This is just like writing an appealing title for a webpage or a blog post - most people realize the value of this, yet that realisation is often lost when it comes to video titles.

Try being as descriptive as possible and give the potential viewer some sense of why he or she would want to view your video.

4. Descriptions and tags matter too.

In addition to writing good titles for your videos, spendning a minute or two writing a keyword rich description of your video and adding relevant tags can mean the difference between your videos showing up as "Related videos" or not when people are viewing some other video on the video sharing websites.

If you want to you can add contact information in the description or, as we will see next, a link to your website.

If you are having problems coming up with good tags to add to your video, do a search for other videos in your niche and look at the kind of tags they are using.

5. You can link to your website.

Like I mentioned above, video sharing websites like YouTube allow you to add a link to a website in your video description. In YouTube this is easily done by adding a link in the full format starting with http://. If I would add a link to this website in a video description it would look like this:


You don't have to link to the root level of your URL structure either, as you may want to drive your visitor to some particular page deeper into your website.

My suggestion is that you add such website links at the very start of a video description and optionally at the end as well, so that viewers who read the description will be reminded to take action and visit your website when they are done reading the description.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can add your website URL to your personal page. On YouTube this is done through the Account settings.

6. Brand your videos to avoid video theft.

It is not uncommon that once a particular video becomes popular other people may come along and upload that very same video as their own, hoping to benefit from your hard work. Competition may be a good thing, but you don't want to have to compete with your own material for the eyeballs of viewers.

One techniques that is popular among those who have been around in the video sharing circles for a while is to brand your videos with either the name of your website or the website's URL. That way, if someone was to try to steal your video and upload it, at the very least you would have your website showing up when viewers watch it. It can also work as a deterrant, as those who would steal your video will be less willing to take it if it is already branded.

I suggest placing a URL or website name at the start and end of your videos, as well as including it at the top throughout the video.

7. Let the tape roll.

While we are talking about branding your videos, it is a good idea to let "the tape roll" when your main video contents has been shown to the viewer. This way you can display your website URL to a viwer who is interested to get to the end of your video and looking for what to do next. Adding 10-15 seconds at the end is usually appropriate.

8. YouTube videos (and personal pages) become more valuable over time.

As time goes on, the videos that your have uploaded will attract a higher and higher view count (how many people have watched it). This will make it more prominent in the video search results, attracting ever more viewers in a kind of snowball effect.

The same goes for your personal page on a website like YouTube - you will begin attracting subscribers and friends whose presence will help you promote your new videos, letting the snowball grow ever faster as you become more and more of an authority.

With more viewers, the traffic generated for your website through links will increase. In fact, this can lead to a reliabe stream of traffic to your website of highly targeted visitors.

9. Place your own videos as favorites on your personal page.

Another neat secret to greater viewership is to promote the best of your videos among the "Favorites" on your own personal page on the video sharing website. Even if you have a large number of Favorites that are not your own videos, you can still arrange the Favorites so that your own videos are displayed first.

10. Embed your videos on your website.

Lastly, make sure you take advantage of YouTube's "embed" option (also available at various other video sharing websites). Embedding means that people visiting your website can view YouTube videos selected by you without leaving the site. This is a good way to add contents to your website as well as keeping visitors on your website. You may even want to create one embedded video version and one pure text version of your contents, so that visitors to your site can have a choice between these two ways of absorbing your quality contents.

Having read through these ten YouTube secrets I hope that you have found some piece of practical information that you weren't aware of before. Please take a moment and write a comment or question below.