Should You Start a YouTube Channel in 2021?

There are many ways a creator can make content on the Internet. And starting a YouTube channel is often one of the first many think about. But, is it worthwhile to start a channel in 2021? I suppose that depends on what you want to create and how motivated you are.

For the most part, starting a new channel is as simple as hitting the record button and uploading. However, being successful and actually getting views is another story.

There’s actually quite a bit that goes into setting everything up and creating content people want to watch.

Why a YouTube Channel?

I am a strong proponent for using YouTube. Not only does it give you the chance to be creative, but it’s also one hell of a marketing platform.

When I started the channel back in 2018, I was only planning on using the videos to augment the blog posts. This way, people could either read or watch the content on WriterSanctuary.com.

However, it turned into its own platform generating a specific audience focusing mostly on video content.

In other words, WriterSanctuary.com literally doubled its reach for an audience.

People who don’t read blogs but will search YouTube find the video content. People who search Google without knowing there’s a YouTube channel will read the blog post.

And YouTube is so much simpler to get started over a self-hosted blog. First of all, it’s free and requires little more than your mobile device.

The hardest part is creating something people want to view.

What You Need to Get Started

As I said, you can start right now just by uploading a video directly from your phone. Especially since YouTube announced the “Shorts” feed.

On a side note, my short videos often do better than the full-length tutorials and what-nots I create.

But if you want to set up a successful channel and start building up your online reputation, there are several things you need to consider.

A Prefered Niche

First of all, most of the successful channels on YouTube focus on a specific niche. This means if you want to create a gaming channel, adding a video about your favorite pork recipe probably wouldn’t help.

It’s all about engaging an audience interested in a specific set of topics. Otherwise, you could find gaining subscribers and viewers much more difficult.

A Target Audience

Who are you making videos for and are you able to help or answer their questions? Perhaps you just want to entertain.

Like blogging, a YouTube channel owner needs to keep his or her target audience in mind. It’s repeat viewers who are going to make or break the channel.

A Unique Take on Topics

It’s possible to create videos based on common topics and still perform fairly well. It all comes down to your personality and unique take on those topics.

Because people are watching the videos because they like you and what you deliver. So, you’re banking as much on yourself as you are on the actual content of the video.

A Regular Publishing Schedule

I’m a big fan of publishing schedules for a reason. In the case of YouTube, it helps the algorithm show your videos to a wider audience. This is because YouTube, like Google search, loves active channels.

Many experts say once or twice a week is enough to feed the algorithm. Personally, I try to do at least three serious pieces and two shorts throughout the week. But, that really depends on what’s going on.

And, you also need to consider your niche. Maybe one video a week is just not quite enough. It all comes down to what your audience wants to consume and how often they consume it.

Everything Else Can Come Later

Those are perhaps the most important aspects of setting up a YouTube channel. Well, at least in the beginning. Over time, you’ll want to put more effort into other aspects to really experience a great deal of growth.

The YouTube Partnership Program

The YouTube Partnership Program is how creators make money from AdSense on the platform. In order to join the YPP, you’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time. This can take several months to several years depending on your overall success on YouTube.

My point here is that you can’t expect YouTube riches to start rolling in on day one.

Channel Banner Art

Your YouTube channel needs to be attractive to really engage an audience. In fact, the channel banner art and flow are just as vital for YouTube as a theme is for a blog.

Do your artwork, graphics, and images really connect with a new viewer? If not, he or she might not hit that subscribe button.

Thumbnails and Titles

The thumbnails and titles of your videos play a vital role in click-through rates. If the thumbnail is unattractive or the title confusing, it’ll be difficult to tempt someone to watch.

The thumbnails are probably the more tricky of the two. This is because every channel and audience is different. And you’ll have to experiment with different visual styles to find which improves CTR for your videos.

Video Improvements

Over time, you’ll want to improve the video quality. This includes things like a better camera, microphone, adding b-roll, the layout of your content, and much more.

This is when YouTube channel analytics can play a crucial role. In fact, I am experimenting with a few video improvements this week myself.

Intros and Outros

Intros and outros are tricky elements. You could have an intro that annoys viewers to the point of abandoning the video or an outro that really doesn’t resonate with your audience.

There’s a lot of online methods that can help you create both intros and outros. In fact, Canva has a lot to offer for creating all of your visuals for free.

Calls-to-Action

A call-to-action is when you prompt someone to do something whether it’s on a video or a blog post. For example, asking someone to like, subscribe, or comment on your videos are all CTAs.

However, not all of these are going to work well with your audience. You’ll probably have to experiment a bit to see what works best.

But a good call-to-action can make all the difference for viewer retention and engagement.

Common Misconceptions About a YouTube Channel

Starting a channel can be incredibly exciting. In fact, managing mine is one of the things that makes me incredibly happy. Even if the videos don’t do well, it’s my own little slice of the Internet where I am the host.

And, I love being able to help people.

With that said, there are a lot of misconceptions people have about starting a YouTube channel. I’ve seen many people quit because it didn’t meet their expectations.

Making that Mad YouTube Money

YouTube uses the AdSense platform. Now, I can’t say for certain how much each video will make because I’m not in the YPP yet. However, I do have quite a bit of experience dealing with AdSense.

By the time I hit 4,000 hours watch time, I estimate I’ll pull in about $10 per month from YouTube. That’s right…$10.

This is based on my current averages of how much I make from the blog version of AdSense multiplied by estimated views I’ll have by the time I am accepted in the YPP.

In order to make a significant amount of money through YouTube AdSense, you will need an incredible amount of traffic. We’re talking tens of thousands of views per video.

I know…that’s probably what you don’t want to hear. And I admit, until I see AdSense for YouTube on my channel, this is a very rough estimate.

However, I can imagine that YouTube will pay out comparably to blogging.

I am looking forward to actually crunching numbers once I am in the YPP, though. It’s going to give me a slew of blog post content.

Becoming an Influencer

When you first start your YouTube channel, don’t expect to become an instant influencer. It can take a great deal of time before your videos gain traction.

Not everyone is capable of becoming an overnight sensation. If they were, everyone would be.

Focus more on what you can provide for your audience and less about making that Tik-Tocker, Instagramer money. If you create great stuff people want to watch, the rest will fall into place.

Overnight Success is Rare

As I said, instant success is ultra-rare, especially when you consider how many people start their YouTube channels today.

It would be nice to create something that instantly goes viral, but that doesn’t mean viewers are going to subscribe to the rest of your content.

Also keep in mind that you have to fight the YouTube algorithm, which is often more relentless than Google. It may take months before one of your videos seemingly randomly goes viral.

For instance, three of my videos picked up some heavy traffic three months after uploading.

Immediate Sponsorships

Just because you have a YouTube channel doesn’t mean sponsors will come knocking down your door. Sponsors want creators with a wide audience because there is a greater chance to make money.

If a sponsor wants you to join when you have less than 20 subscribers, they’re most likely trying to rip you off. This is why I laugh at sponsors when they like my Instagram posts.

Yeah, if you want me to hawk your watches to my 10 followers, they’re probably not very good watches.

At any rate, don’t expect awesome brand deals to come rolling in until you are in the thousands-of-subscribers benchmark.

You Can Start a YouTube Channel Today

Video is the most consumed content on the Internet. And YouTube is the most prominent place for those videos. Even though the algorithm is a bitch and the payout is often craptastic, it’s still a great place to get your content out to the public.

As long as you go into it with the right mindset, you’ll avoid burn-out and frustration. You may even become surprised when you start hitting milestones more frequently over time.

Yes, start a YouTube channel. But don’t set yourself up for failure. Go into the process knowing you’ll have to put in the time and effort to grow the channel into something amazing.

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Michael Brockbank

I've been a freelance writer since January 1, 2012. I've worked with a myriad of clients and currently the Content Marketing Team Lead for GreenGeeks web hosting. My fingers are also in a lot of different industries such as gaming and fitness.

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