How to use YouTube to make money

YouTube is the biggest video-streaming service with over 1 billion active monthly users. This means that there is a huge number of people constantly watching all kinds of videos and looking for new content that they will like. If you have a great idea about what others would want to see (original content), you could use Google's streaming service as a global-reaching platform and make quite a lot of money in the process. In case you've always wondered how to do that, here's a short guide to take you through your first steps.

Before we begin, let me lower your expectations a bit. I know that, at first glance, making money from YouTube seems easy and fun, but just like every other income source in this world, it takes hard work, patience and perseverance. There's a lot more work to do than simply creating and uploading videos, and you need to be ready to do it before you can think about making the big bucks.

Your YouTube channel

The first step is actually quite simple: create a YouTube channel and set it up as best as you can. In order to make a channel all you need is a Google Account, so you can easily use your existing Gmail or OneDrive credentials to login into YouTube. You can also create a new account, it's not that much of a hassle and doesn't cost you a thing. Furthermore, making a new account gives you the chance of coming up with a name that will be original, short and easy to remember by the people who watch your videos.

A detail that not many people take into consideration, but that is actually quite important, is the fact that you can (and should) add keywords to your channel, thus making it easier to find. This can be done from the Advanced section of your channel's settings. My advice is that you only add keywords which are related to the content of your videos, otherwise people may stop simply ignoring you even if your videos are worth seeing.

Your channel's content

There are a few unspoken rules when it comes to the content that you add to your channel. The first thing that you need to remember is that constant, regular uploads are the mark of a good YouTuber. Once you've gotten an audience (even if it's a small one) always let them know when your next video will come and, in case you miss the term, always apologize and tell your viewers why the video didn't come on time. I know it may feel like you don't owe them anything, but that's just how it goes.

The quality of videos you upload is very important, so make sure you're constantly looking for a way to improve it either by making plans to invest in a better camera or better video editing software. Lighting and camera work are also aspects which, if improved, could help your audience grow. As far as the content of the video goes, don't despair if you're first few videos don't have too much of an impact. Just keep at it, and things will most likely get better. Rome wasn't built in a day either.

Lastly, make sure you've added as many tags and keywords to your videos as possible, while also keeping them relevant to the content. Creating a striking description text for your video can also be very helpful.

Your audience

Audience is paramount, it's the key to actually making money from your videos. Unfortunately, audience doesn't just instantly appear, you have to build it one step at a time. Another bad news for the readers of this article, is that there is no magic way of increasing the audience, so you will need to find a niche and make the best videos in that segment to make people want to watch more.

If you need a little boost, try promoting your videos on other media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook or on your personal blog, as that should probably bring you a few more views. Another thing that actually matters, but many content creators ignore, is interacting with the community. Once you get to a certain amount of viewers, you will no longer have time to answer each of them, but replying to the comments you receive and even making a video in response to one or more of the comments (from time to time) can be really important, especially when you're just starting out.

Your ads

I know we all hate them, but ads are the way to make money on YouTube. This means that if you want to start earning the big cash, you will need to allow YouTube to start placing ads in your videos. If you want to monetize a video that is already on your channel, you will need to open the Video Manager, press the $ sign next to the video you want to add ads to, then tick the box named Monetize with Ads. In case you want to insert ads in a video you're currently uploading, simply click the Monetization tab and check the Monetize with Ads box. (Never try to monetize if your video contains copyrighted content.) You should also set up Google AdSense to make more money. (Sign up from the AdSense website with your personal data and your PayPal or bank account so that the service knows where to send the money. You need to be at least 18 in order to have an AdSense account.)

Your analytics

Another part of your success will be to constantly keep an eye on your analytics, as this will give you a better insight into what people like and, more importantly, what they dislike. Simply click on the Analytics option in the menu of your channel, and you will see a bunch of useful info such as total number of views, demographics, ads performance, estimated earnings, etc. This will give you the option to adapt either your video's content or your marketing strategy, in case things aren't going as well as they should be.

You're a YouTube Partner

Once you've gathered a large enough audience and made money from your videos, you will be able to become a YouTube partner and gain access to more creation tools, a larger community, better tips and the possibility to win prizes. You can apply to become a YouTube a partner at any time (simply go to the YouTube Partner page), but in order to get the most powerful Partner programs, you will need to have gathered 15,000 hours of total watch for your channel in the past 90 days. 

Now you know the theory about how you could make money form YouTube, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee that you will, so don't quit your day job just yet. If you're a YouTube fan, you should also check out these hidden features and tips for the video-streaming service.

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