Since it first launched in 2005, YouTube has quickly become the number one destination for video content online, attracting over one billion regular users. The Google-owned site gained popularity by enabling people to share their videos with others all over the world, whether it’s an amusing clip of their pet, or footage of them dancing in their living room.
It’s not all about cute cat videos and funny home movies though, as YouTube has also helped people launch careers. For example, pop star Justin Bieber was first discovered when a talent scout saw videos of him singing on the site, and Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, has got her own book deal and range of beauty products as a result of her popular video blog, or ‘vlog’. You can even earn money directly from YouTube too, as the site shares some of the revenue it makes from companies who pay to run adverts before or over your video.
The popularity of YouTube is mainly down to how easy the website is to use. Videos in a range of file formats can be uploaded as YouTube converts it into its Adobe Flash video format, with the file extension .FLV, for you. This enables the video to be played using YouTube’s Flash player, which can be installed on your computer or smart device for free.
Another benefit of YouTube is the ability to embed videos on other websites. By simply copying and pasting a bit of HTML code, you can enable people to watch a video on your own website using the YouTube player. This saves you having to host the video on your site which requires a lot of bandwidth. Bandwidth is the range of signal frequencies needed to transmit data over the internet and you have to pay for the amount you use. YouTube streams vast amounts of data each day, carrying the bandwidth burden for other sites that want to display video.
Although embedding is great for spreading your videos further across the internet, most people will actually find them simply by searching. To help connect users to the videos they are looking for, YouTube uses a complex algorithm made up of over one million lines of code. When you search for a video, the algorithm decides which search results it will show you and in what order. One of the main factors used to rank the results is video metadata. This is the title, description, thumbnail and tags that you give your video when you upload it, so you should make sure they are relevant to the content of the video and what people might search for to find it. However, the other ranking methods YouTube uses are out of your control. The site used to rank its videos by how many times they had been viewed, but this presented a few problems. It often meant that new videos were pushed to the bottom of the list as their view counts had not yet had a chance to grow, and it also enabled people to manipulate their ranking by clicking on their video repeatedly, as clicking the play icon counts as a view.
To combat these problems, YouTube has switched to a new system of measuring a video’s quality by the length of time it has been watched for. If several users have stopped watching after a few seconds, this suggests that the video had a misleading title or thumbnail and didn’t give viewers what they were looking for, whereas if they stayed to watch until the end it was most likely appropriate for the search terms used and therefore worthy of a high ranking. The rest of YouTube’s ranking tricks are a mystery though, as the company is very secretive about its algorithm and changes it all the time to stop people manipulating it.
Enough about the technical side! How do YOU actually use it?
How to get started with your own vlogging channel
1) Think of a topic to make vlogs about. It can be anything, as long as it's not boring, insulting, or illegal. Take other video bloggers as an inspiration, such as Katersoneseven, Charlieissocoollike, Nerimon, Frezned, Italktosnakes, or Vlogbrothers. But you have to be unique and true to yourself. Don't be a copycat - don't do what everyone else does.
2) Get a YouTube account, and give your channel an attractive name. Make your channel interesting. Make sure you think over your username, though, because it's nearly impossible to make it big with a jumbled, unreadable username with a bunch of numbers!
3) Make about ten or more really good videos. They really have to be good, and interesting. Post one or two daily for a little while, and then go daily or every other day after that. Really try not to skip two days, because what you give your viewers becomes their standard
4) Post one of those videos to a related, well-known video as a video response. You will get at least a fifth of the views of the original video! Awesomeness TV on YouTube allows you to post video responses to their how to be a YouTube star series.
5) Keep being active - nobody is going be interested if you don't post any videos for years. If possible, try to set a specified day that you will upload videos. For a vlogger, at least three or four times a week. If this is too much, try to do one per week.
6) Edit your videos! This means the difference of viewers scrolling past you and clicking on your videos. Look at tutorials on using the software you have. Windows has Windows Movie Maker preinstalled, and all Apple products have iMovie available. Android has Movie Maker preinstalled.
7) If you learn to edit, you can also set your banner, video thumbnail, and avatar. If you're a YouTube partner, a whole new world of options opens up for your videos. Setting an avatar is easy, but if you want a banner, you'll need to pick a picture and edit it within computer margins. If you're a YouTube partner, you can also have the option to create a custom video thumbnail. Make sure that, when you edit, you have text, a closeup of your face, and a really cool background.
8) Once you have a good reputation in the Youtube community, try to become a Youtube partner. You will need to have at least a few thousand views to do so. Youtube gives you money for allowing ads to be displayed on your videos, and that's how great vloggers earn money with their videos! Your videos will appear often in search results as well.
9) Communicate with your followers. Don't shut them out or ignore them. Take time to respond to comments, messages, and video responses you receive. This leaves a good impression and your followers will appreciate it.
Now the real question, when does Youtube start paying you ?
Whether your business started a YouTube channel as a primary source of income or as a form of marketing, one question that always arises is, "when will I start getting paid for the videos my business puts up." After setting up your YouTube account for monetization, linking it with an AdSense account and driving traffic to your channel, you will start getting paid once your earnings pass Google's payout threshold.
YouTube videos are not monetized by default. Before you can start making money with YouTube, let alone getting paid by YouTube, you have to enable monetization in your YouTube account's settings. Once you enable monetization, you will be able to enable monetization for each video you upload to your YouTube channel. Keep in mind that only the videos for which you enable monetization will be eligible for ads from which you can make money.
When you do have monetization enabled for your YouTube account and individual videos, you have to associate your YouTube account with an AdSense account before you can start receiving payouts for your YouTube revenue. You do not automatically have an AdSense account just because you have a Google account. It can still be under the same account as you use for YouTube, but you must set it up with a bank account and mailing address. After setting up AdSense, go into your YouTube monetization settings to associate your YouTube account with your new AdSense account.
Once your YouTube account is all setup with monetized content and an AdSense account, you will be paid at the beginning of each month for the revenue you earned in the previous month. This assumes, however, that you have met the payment threshold of 100 dollars in unpaid revenue by the last day of the previous month. You will also need to provide your tax information after you pass a certain revenue threshold before you receive payouts.
YouTube pay is performance based, and if you want to get paid by YouTube you will need to drive traffic to your videos to see and click on Google's ads. In addition to generating great content that will make people want to subscribe to your channel and keep coming back to see your videos, you will need to advertise your videos as widely possible. You can do this by posting links to your new videos on your blog or website, as well as posting video links across all your social networks.