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The 10 Biggest Mistakes Every YouTuber Makes

21 Sep, 2023

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There are so many myths and misinformation floating around online about how to hack YouTube’s  algorithms that generate millions of clicks by readers. As long as there is demand, there will be people offering various courses and products, making a decent profit from their audience's trust.

Let's go through ten mistakes made by YouTube creators: five are common, and five are critical.

5 common mistakes that hinder your growth

Small disclaimer: The mistakes presented here are the professional views of the Prodvigate team. We have arrived at these conclusions through years of extensive experience and observation on YouTube.

Mistake #1 One of the most common mistakes is when creators consider success on YouTube is all about luck and completely random. Unfortunately, most of those who sincerely believe this have never really tried to work on their content to its full potential. Do not be disheartened if you fell into this way of thinking in the past.

Mistake #2 The next problem is having no clear purpose for your channel and content. You might argue that you have a cooking channel and it helps people learn to cook. Well, there are thousands, even tens of thousands of cooking channels. What makes yours better? Who is it specifically for? Why would it be more helpful than other channels on the same topic on the platform? If you can't define your audience, that's a sign your channel is aimless.

A good analogy shared by a foreign creator is that, “you are  trying to hit a target you can't see”. You have a bow and arrows, but where the target is located  isn't clear. And even if you can see it perfectly, there's no guarantee you'll hit it on the first try. That's how it works with YouTube. So, the more often you shoot your arrows and try new techniques, the more chances you have to hit the target.

Mistake #3 Moving on, it's already too common and trivial to say that you don't format your channel and videos properly. If you're familiar with our "Subscriber Channel Reviews" section, you know that among ten authors in the stream, only two or three will have proper formatting at best. And that's in the best-case scenario.

Understand that hoping people will want to watch an unknown creator’s empty canvas is pointless. Not enhancing the quality of your content is a typical problem for all channels that have hit a growth plateau or are on the decline. Even millionaire vloggers  strive to surprise and delight their viewers with something new. They enhance the quality of their content while preserving their main unique feature, the reason viewers watch them.

If you think that videos you've been shooting on your phone without a microphone for the past three years will be watched with the same interest as before, I’m sorry  to disappoint you. Time doesn't stand still. In your niche, many other creators have grown, producing content of significantly higher quality and certainly no less interesting than yours. So why would viewers watch your videos?

It's a different story if you're creating a channel for your own enjoyment. But then, don't deceive yourself and expect it to grow.

Mistake #4 Another common mistake is an inconsistent approach to channel tasks. Before starting to shoot a video, you need to decide what it will be about. Before deciding what the video will be about, you need to understand who will watch it. Before understanding who will watch the video, you need to find out what your channel is about and what its purpose is. And so on and so forth. In general, every process on the channel should be logical and consistent. Learn discipline and self-organization. Create a content plan or at least a list of tasks for your channel so that you can easily navigate what needs to be done.

Mistake #5 And as a final note on common mistakes, waiting for everything to work on its own. We have received dozens of questions like, "How to get subscribers?". And this is despite the fact that there's a whole channel with hundreds of useful videos that answer this question. We thoroughly explain how to gain subscribers, but some people prefer to ask in the hope of discovering some unknown secret that requires no effort. And then thousands of subscribers and tens of thousands of views will pour in.

What do you think a millionaire would answer if you asked them, "How do I become a millionaire?" If you want a knowledgeable and specific answer, learn to ask the right questions, stop looking for some secret cheat code or the easy path. Success takes work. 

We've already covered the most common mistakes that can hinder your growth on YouTube. They don't harm creators significantly, but they certainly won’t help you grow organically. Now let's move on to the five mistakes that can lead your channel into a dead end and even result in the removal of your channel from YouTube’s platform.

5 critical mistakes that can harm your channel

Mistake #1: mixing topics

This is indeed a critical issue. If you've been running a channel on a single topic for a long time and have built an audience around it, it means that YouTube has already categorized you as a representative of that topic and niche. Therefore, every new video you create will be shown and recommended to that specific audience.

If you suddenly change the topic of your videos, for example, from crafting to fishing, don't expect that the ladies who used to watch your channel will suddenly become interested in watching videos about catching fish. Your retained audience will lose interest in your channel, and YouTube notices this. It no longer understands who to show your content to, and after a few attempts to find your audience again, it eventually stops trying.

The outcome is quite simple: your channel no longer grows and doesn't evolve.

Mistake #2: mutual subscriptions

This may not sound that critical of a mistake but it can have costly damage to your channel. You might assume that a couple of people will come to watch your channel after seeing a comment under someone else's video.

Let's break it down step by step. Imagine you're the creator of a gaming channel, and you've chosen a tactic of posting advertisements for your channel under the videos of other creators, offering mutual subscriptions.

Some people will ignore the message, and this won't affect your channel in any way. Some might report the comment, signaling to YouTube that your channel is engaging in spammy behavior. This could potentially lead to the removal of your channel, as spam is against the platform's rules. This is the first negative aspect of this type of "promotion."

However, among young creators, this method is still popular, so some people will indeed subscribe to you but won't watch your videos. These "dead subscribers" will be uninterested in following your channel in the long run. This fact won't have a negative or positive impact; these subscribers will simply be unengaged.

Finally, some people will subscribe and watch your content. This will be great if the channel that subscribes to you is genuinely interested in similar content. However, the problem is that some may watch just for the sake of gaining reciprocal views. In reality, they might be interested in completely different content on the platform.

YouTube's algorithms will struggle to understand these viewers with seemingly unidentifiable interests. The platform will recommend your videos to a wide range of users to try to find an audience. However, the views and growth will be minimal. Eventually, YouTube may stop recommending your videos altogether.

Now, when you combine all these types of viewers, you end up with a chaotic mix on your channel. Additionally, don't forget about the chance of receiving strikes, negatively affecting your videos, and wasting a lot of time.

In this context, you can also include the once-popular "sub4sub" exchanges, where groups of channel creators come together in closed chats to exchange content to boost views and engagement. The creators in these groups have diverse content, and they end up cannibalizing each other's reach and views while sometimes even paying for it.

Mistake #3: Shorts will promote the channel due to easy subscribers

Many creators indeed write and talk about this extensively, and they are partially correct.

The truth is that it is easier to build an audience with short videos on YouTube. They are more likely to get recommended, easier to go viral, don't require a significant time commitment to watch, and this makes it seem like an excellent way to grow your channel with minimal time and effort.

However, there's a "but."

Yes, people may come to your channel, possibly in significant numbers, subscribe to your channel, and... only continue watching short videos. Unfortunately, creators often can't convert these subscribers into viewers of their longer videos on the channel. In reality, these subscribers are essentially "dead subs" who are not interested in watching your main content. They also don't influence the platform's algorithms regarding your longer videos on the channel, which means they don't help your channel or videos in any way.

If your channel's goal is to create short videos, and you only want to gain subscribers for that purpose, then this point may not apply to you. Also it’s important to note that YouTube will eventually officially introduce separate monetization for Shorts, making it even more relevant for creators focused on short-form content.

Mistake #4: Too much content or too little content

There are people who bombard their subscribers with videos daily, perhaps even multiple times a day. Then there are those who neglect their channel and upload content once a month or even less frequently. Both of these extremes don't help your channel grow. Let's break down the cases of too frequent and too infrequent uploads.

Imagine you've built an audience that enjoys watching your videos. You start bombarding them with notifications three to five times a day. They can't keep up with your new videos, feel like they're falling behind on your channel's content, and eventually get tired of the constant notifications. The result is that you lose viewers.

Furthermore, such frequent video uploads on your channel typically have a negative impact on the quality of the videos themselves. Low-quality content is rarely appealing to anyone. From the platform's perspective, this also sends a negative signal: people watched your videos, but each new video is getting fewer views, indicating it's not valuable to YouTube.

On the other hand, rare uploads have a different issue. Here, the problem is that you'll take a very long time to grow your audience on the channel, as infrequent uploads reduce your chances of reaching your audience. If it usually takes around a year on average for a channel to develop and establish itself, this situation can significantly prolong that timeline.

In conclusion, finding the right balance is crucial in both cases.

Mistake #5: Getting strikes

The main reason for YouTube channel issues often comes down to a refusal to learn and understand the platform's rules. If you're unwilling to learn, remember that there are many videos on our channel that cover information about copyright, fair use, and factors that can lead to strikes.

Most strikes result from violations of platform rules related to spam, fraud, and harassment. In some cases, Content ID claims can also affect your channel. If copyright owners file complaints requesting the removal of your videos, this can lead to a strike.

Many people think it's okay to use someone else's content on YouTube because they see others doing it without consequences. It's a big mistake to assume that "nothing will happen" to the creator. Typically, channels with stolen content are not monetized, their videos get removed, and the channels often end up with strikes, which can lead to their removal from the platform.

In reality, strikes don't directly impact your channel's promotion, but you could receive a strike on a popular video that was driving views. Consequently, the removal of that video can result in a drop in analytics, meaning fewer views on your other videos. Plus, strikes come with various restrictions.

Lastly, I'd like to highlight a less obvious but not critical mistake: avoiding mistakes. Yes, it might sound like we are saying the same thing twice – your mistake is avoiding mistakes. But it's true. When you strive for perfection and turn working on your channel into a race for perfectionism, you miss the most crucial and free opportunity to improve and gain experience – the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Don't hesitate to share your successful and unsuccessful experiences on our social media and in the comments under videos. We are happy to read all your stories, answer your questions to the best of our ability, and provide assistance !


Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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