YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing platform with over 2 billion monthly users. Content creators can upload their content and earn ad revenue from the platform. However, raising your YouTube traffic is anything but easy.
Not only do you have to please your subscribers, but you also have to adhere by the platform’s strict content policy and please the YouTube algorithm. And in most cases, you are going to spend a lot of money doing so. But what if I told you it was possible to raise your YouTube traffic for free?
Traffic on YouTube is Inconsistent
Let’s just tackle one of the biggest issues plaguing YouTube from a content creator’s perspective, consistency.
You can post one video and see it get over a million views on the first day. On the flip side, a piece of content that takes the same amount of effort could only get a few thousand views. This means that the money you are earning is inconsistent.
And to be perfectly frank, no business can sustain itself on an inconsistent amount of income.
This is why most major YouTubers take part in advertisement deals to generate a more consistent amount of income. Many of them also run multiple channels to help increase their overall revenue.
Today, I am going to share 9 strategies that can help promote your YouTube channel for free. Keep in mind that the rate at which every channel grows is different. A brand new channel will not grow at the same rate as one with 100,000 subscribers.
So make sure to have realistic expectations.
How to Get YouTube Traffic for Free
1. Build A Community
The most successful YouTubers all have one thing in common, a loyal fanbase that regularly interacts with their content. And I don’t just mean on YouTube.
Most YouTubers have accounts on every major social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These are powerful tools that help bring your communities together and get exposure for your channel.
And most importantly, they are a great way to gather content ideas about what your fanbase wants to see. In fact, there are multiple major YouTubers like the king of YouTube, PewDiePie (100,000,000 million subscribers) who regularly get video ideas from these platforms.
Of course, building a community is easier said than done. To start out, you are going to need an identity that brings followers to you. This can be anything, but it needs to be appropriate for the platform and it needs to be the focus of your channel.
2. Collaborate With Other Content Creators
Trust me when I say that you are not the only content creator looking to grow a YouTube audience. One of the best free ways to grow your YouTube traffic is to collaborate with other content creators.
Many channels have similar content and that can create unique opportunities to create videos together. These are win-win situations when you are of equal size. Generally larger channels will not do this, or to be more specific, will not do this for free, at least in most cases.
A great example of this can be seen within the gaming section of YouTube. Many of these YouTubers will play competitive or cooperative games together to help each other grow.
However, this could be as simple as doing a collaborative review on a movie or something similar. Always be willing to work with other content creators.
3. Use Social Icons On Your Website
If there’s one thing that every website has in common, it’s social icons. These are the small images of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
They link back to the profile of the respective platform and help turn visitors into subscribers. Many new YouTubers often have a website that they do not use to properly advertise their channel.
This is a mistake. You should fully utilize your website as an advertisement space for your channel and adding social icons is the easiest way to do it.
They are extremely easy to add on a website and they’ve essentially become a standard. Seriously, almost every blog has social icons on the side or bottom of their content. And if you don’t have a blog, you should start one, the benefits are huge.
4. Make Quality Thumbnails
The first thing anybody will see is your thumbnail. According to the YouTube Creators Academy, which is a great resource for beginners, 90% of the most popular videos utilize a custom thumbnail.
These thumbnails are only available to channels that are in good standing. Thus, if you do not have this standing, your channel is at a serious disadvantage. But what exactly makes a good thumbnail?
One of the most important elements is the text you choose to use. It needs to catch the visitor’s eye. After all, they will see other thumbnails on the same page. Many of the larger channels do not use white text in their thumbnails because it is plain.
Instead, you should use BOGY as your guidelines. This stands for Blue, Orange, Green, and Yellow. These colors stand out from other videos and have a better chance of grabbing attention.
The other thing to consider is the image itself. It needs to help visitors understand what the video is about and be exciting.
Also keep in mind that if you try to trick a visitor with a misleading thumbnail, they are likely not going to come back.
5. Fill in Your Video’s Description
Remember how I said that pleasing the YouTube algorithm was important? Descriptions are not written for the viewers in most cases, they are written for the algorithm and not just YouTube’s.
As you probably know, Google owns Youtube, which is why you will often see YouTube videos appear in the search results. Adding a description helps your video appear not only in a YouTube search but also in Google itself.
And this information comes straight from the YouTube Creator Academy. Again, you should really check this out if you are serious. So what does the best description look like?
Unfortunately, they don’t tell you what the most optimal information to put here actually is. However, there are a lot of accounts that do descriptions very similarly.
Most start off with a short description that details what the video is about. Generally, 2-3 sentences and this should be followed by links to your various social media profiles. This is also a good place to link to other videos if this is a series.
6. Use the Same Tags As Competitors
YouTube uses your video metadata (title, description, and tags) for suggested video rankings. These are the videos you see to the right of the video on YouTube.
When you are trying to grow your channel from the start, you are not going to be leading the way. Instead, it’s all about using the algorithm to your advantage.
For example, let’s say you made a video “How to Get YouTube Traffic.” I can assure you there are a lot of videos like this, so you would not be alone. Thus, when someone watches a video on this topic, your video has a chance of appearing as suggested.
This is why you see similar types of content when viewing a video. It helps give your videos the exposure they need to grow. Thus, using similar tags can help you increase YouTube traffic through the suggested video feature.
7. Create a Channel Banner And Icon
As you might have guessed from the thumbnails, presentation is critical. And as such, you need to make sure you go the full circle and add a channel banner and icon.
The channel banner is recommended to be a 2560 x 1440 px image that appears at the top of your channel when a person clicks on it. The channel icon is a small image that appears under every video that should be 800 x 800 px.
Many YouTubers choose to hire a graphic artist to create high-quality images. After all, presentation is important, but you can do this yourself with photo editing software like Photoshop or free online platforms like Canva.
Viewers are less likely to subscribe to your channel when you do not have either of these because it looks low effort. Even if it’s not professional quality, it will help you.
8. Ask People to Like And Subscribe
I am positive if you have ever watched a YouTube video before, you have heard a statement along the lines of “Leave a like, subscribe, and click on the notification bell” and there is a really good reason for this.
Because it works.
Many people will watch a video once and if they like it enough, they will check out your other content. However, at no point do they actually have to leave a like or subscribe to continue doing well.
In fact, most channels have a large audience of viewers that simply don’t subscribe. However, due to the algorithm, you end up finding that channel’s content anyway.
But, there’s a chance they will if you just ask and it’s completely free to do.
9. Create Great Titles
Titles are extremely important on YouTube. It is how a YouTube visitor will find your video in a YouTube search. And if you do it right, it’s a great way to increase your traffic.
Of course, this raises the question, what does a good title look like?
A good title should be around 70 characters long (this ensures that it fits in a Google video recommendation) and should describe the nature of the video. While this sounds really simple, making a good title is important.
For example, let’s say you are making a video about mathematics, which sounds better to you?
Math Tips 101
How to Excel In Any Math Class
Both of these titles provide readers with the same information, there are math tips. However, the second title is stronger.
It tells the reader that this video will demonstrate how you can do better in math class, while the first just implies “math tips.”
BONUS: 10. Using Your Website Traffic
Probably one of the easiest and cheapest ways to grow YouTube traffic for free is by using your website. I know I touched base a little on this earlier by mentioning social links. However, you can go much further.
For example, you can create advertising banners for your YouTube channel and show them just like any other ad from your website. If you’re using WordPress to power your site, plugins like AdRotate make showing these banners easy.
This encourages visitors to click the banner to go to your YouTube channel, especially if they’re already interested in the content of your site.
YouTube Is an Investment
While there are plenty of ways to boost your YouTube traffic for free, there are also plenty of paid ways to do it.
If you are just starting out, doing it organically is the best route. There is no guarantee your channel will catch on, which makes it a risky move. This lets you see what works and doesn’t while also building a following.
However, once you have grown enough, it is a completely different story.
You can give your channel a boost, which in turn boosts your revenue. At this point, paid methods are simply an investment that tends to pay off really well.
Create Quality Videos
One thing I did not include in this list is the most obvious way to grow your YouTube traffic…
Create quality content.
If your videos are good, they will get discovered once the word gets around. Quality content is the backbone of every major YouTube channel and yours should not be an exception.
In fact, it’s just not possible to grow as a YouTube channel if your content is not great.
You will not retain subscribers and you will not grow if your content is not enjoyable.
Patience Is Key
Creating a YouTube channel is very similar to running a website. Both take time to build up and this requires patience. Trust me when I say, your channel will not grow overnight and you will not earn money at the beginning.
It takes a very long time to earn money due to YouTube’s Monetization model. It requires a channel to have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of public video watch time within a 12-month period. This could easily take over a year to achieve, so, do not quit your day job.
Do not be fooled into thinking that all channels grow like larger ones. They do not. As your account ages and you gain more views and subscribers, you get recommended more often. This gets your channel more and more exposure, which causes you to grow much faster.
Expect a slow grind when you begin.