April 11, 2015


This week we’re looking at the 10 things you can do if you want to make better youtube videos.


I’ve dedicated a pretty big chunk of my time towards making YouTube videos, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve picked up over the years.  I think the official YouTube guide misses the point, so here’s what I think is most important.



1. Thumbnails

While some people may watch anything that you upload, the chances are people (including subscribers) will have to decide if they want to watch your video or not. A huge part of that decision comes down to the title and thumbnail. It’s equivalent to the blurb + cover of a book, the trailer of a movie. Here’s a video I made which goes in depth into my advice for making great thumbnails. Click here to watch that video.



2. Tags can be longer than one word.

Lets say you’ve made a video about the song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.  In the tags, you could write “Bohemian, Rhapsody” which would separate each word into a new tag. So your video could come up when people search for “Rhapsody” or “Bohemian”. When searching for those words separately, people could be looking for something completely different to the Queen song. In this case, the words have meaning only when they are together, so it would be smart to also add it as a single tag, by typing in “Bohemian Rhapsody” (as seen below) then your video would be a direct match for people searching for the song. YouTube looks for people who are searching with both words and gives them your video.



3. Use less than 15 tags.

I’m not 100% confident about this one, because no-one completely understands the YouTube algorithm, but I heard that it favours videos that don’t use loads of tags. Limit yourself to about ten and YouTube knows you’re not trying to spam.

4. Use common tags in all of your videos.

By using common tags (eg. ‘dslrguide, dslr guide’) across all of your videos, youtube is more likely to put your other videos in the suggestions box. If your videos are good, people will likely watch others from the suggestions, and then you’ll get pushed up in the search rankings because YouTube sees that your audience are coming back for more.

5. Annotations!

When I’m watching a video and an annotation pops up asking me to check out other videos, that’s like someone walking in front of the TV when you’re trying to watch something. Check your analytics for annotation closes, and if people are closing them, it’s because you’ve annoyed them. Don’t plaster them all over the screen, just let your audience watch the video!


Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • Hi Simon, thanks for the tips, points 2 and 3 was new to me, id never think about it, but makes sense.

    What you think about the new “cards” youtube create vs annotation?

    Im evolving our videos @modaafoca:disqus in the last weeks and there is so much info to cross and choose (thumbnail, render settings, audio…), your channel is helping a lot.

    • You’re welcome! I’m not a big fan – I like to use annotations that link to my blog and my channel, not just to other videos. They feel too much like an advert popping up on the screen – I’d rather have an annotation come up on the screen very occasionally rather than having a ‘card’ throughout the entire video. Needs more customization.

      • I think that too. Id use only on one video, as we do unboxing and review i’d try a “card” near the end with link to the review on our forum. Maybe one more week and i can compare with analytics annotation vs card result. Keep the good work ;)

  • Johnny Jones

    Great article Simon – love your videos! We’re exploring how to be a YouTube intro maker on our blog this week, definitely check it out! http://www.captevate.com/2015/10/08/youtube-intro-maker/

  • Great tips..!
    Very useful for beginer like me.
    Thanks for sharing.