My YouTube experiment is bringing visitors to my site
Just over a week ago I managed to publish my first YouTube video to my channel.
I'd had the channel for two years (as long as the niche site) but had never published anything to it and, to be fair, had only published seven posts to the actual website.
What better test for the effectiveness of a YouTube strategy than a mothballed site that never took off?
So, I managed to steel myself to publish my first video and got it uploaded.
The reception was muted, to say the least.
This was hardly a surprise - my video will no doubt have been lost in the noise of hundreds of thousands of other videos uploaded to the platform on the same day.
So, I started posting on the niche site's Instagram account (also empty for two years) and Twiiter account (not quite as empty) as I uploaded each video.
One week later
A week in and I've uploaded three videos, all reviews with no affiliate links or hard sell.
I've decided to add affiliate links in retroactively when the channel has gained traction as I don't want to appear that I'm only doing it for the money. The truth is, I'm not (more on that below).
The most recent two videos have start and end titles with my niche site's URL and I've also placed it in the description. I also start the videos with a brief introduction of my name and the name of the web site.
Basically, I'm trying to establish a brand right from the beginning.
Signs of success already
Already, things are getting exciting.
I've received two unsolicited discussions on the videos and gained two subscribers.
The fact is that two people have left comments on my channel videos that I didn't seek out. These are genuine comments!
This may not seem much to seasoned YouTubers but for me, with limited expectations of success when I started this exercise, it's a truly exciting start.
One of the cool things about YouTube is how much information it offers you to help you understand how well your videos are doing and where your traffic (to your channel) is coming from.
In my case, 46% of my traffic is coming from outside the YouTube platform.
Of that 46%, 63.8% is coming from Twitter. This is really cool too - it shows me that my Twitter strategy is bearing fruit.
I've also been pleasantly surprised at the number of likes I've been getting in such a short space of time... and so far, no dislikes.
I'm completely okay with getting dislikes - I've seen the most amazing videos that have just oozed quality information with no fluff getting dislikes so I'm not naiive enough to believe I won't get any. It's just nice not to get any so far! :)
How has it affected my niche site?
What has truly surprised me is the effect this experiment has been having on my niche site.
In just week, I've seen my non-existent stats start to rise.
I know traffic well enough to know that you should never judge traffic stats in such a short space of time but even a limited snapshot like this can be meaningful.
This snapshot shows me that people are coming to my website, they're staying on the website for an average of ten minutes and my bounce rate has plummeted from the 80s to the 50s.
The change in stats is also interesting because it reflects how I delivered the videos on my social media channels.
For the second and third videos (published on the 29th and 31st of July) I created a basic post with some introductory text on my website, with the video embedded at the bottom.
The Tweets still linked to the YouTube video (not my website) but traffic was still coming to my website too.
This is far too small a data sample to draw any real conclusions on, other than that I'm suddenly getting more visitors. In a month, or even three months, I'll have more meaningful data to draw from.
I'm not going to be making money from YouTube for a long time.
YouTube require you to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched minutes of your content before they'll allow you to enter the YouTube partner program.
This was a surprise when I read this on their help page as I believed the requirements were much higher. That was a nice surprise.
When you're starting a channel, it's easy to think that's not achievable but with only three videos, I've acheived 2 subscribers and 185 minutes of watched content.
If I had 100 videos, I can imagine the numbers would be much higher.
I hadn't considered monetisation when I started this experiment because honestly, I didn't think my videos would really be that popular.
I could be wrong.
There is one aspect that is more important than monetisation, however. Once you're accepted into the partner program, you can start linking directly to your website from your videos.
By creating three videos in a very short space of time, I've found it's now easier to make myself do them and I'm becoming more comfortable creating them.
I now have a set-up (lighting, camera-mount, etc) that seems to suit me and I can get up and running with a new video within minutes.
Over the next week, my plan is to publish at least two more videos to keep the momentum going.
I have a stockpile of twenty or so items to review that have built up over the last two years so I'm not short of subject material!
I'm really excited about the reception to my first attempts.
I still need to get comfortable enough to create videos with my face in so that I can start creating videos for my SAC website.
So far, all of my videos have been top-down demonstration/review videos which require far less confidence in front of the camera!
Over to you
If you've been thinking about trying YouTube videos, you should give it a try. Once you get over your initial production hurdles, you'll be surprised how easy it is to create them.
My set-up is quite simple. I record my videos on mobile phone, edit them in iMovie on my laptop and then upload them. It takes me longer to upload them than it does to make them.
Here's my equipment:
- Huawei P20 Pro (essentially, it's my camera)
- Huawei P20 Pro hands-free kit (my microphone)
- Mobile phone desk mount (to shoot overhead videos)
- 2 x LED lights (to illuminate each side)
- 1 x LED ring light (to illuminate from above)
If you have any comments about this post or tips about how I can grow my channel, please comment below.