As a content creator, I’m a YouTube newbie. I’ve made the occasional video here and there, but I’m more of a consumer than a producer in that field. And maybe that’s a good thing for a post about what you should and shouldn’t do on YouTube.

youtubeOf course, different viewers are going to like different things, but there are a few general mistakes that I see a lot of YouTube-ers making. Today, I’d like to share with you the seven deadly sins of YouTube – seven mistakes that will prevent me from subscribing to your page, checking out more of your videos or even finishing the video I’m currently watching.

Pride

Pride may be a cardinal sin, but I do think you should take pride in your work! It only becomes a problem when you have an inflated sense of how awesome you are. Confidence is cool. Arrogance is not.

On YouTube, this pride manifests itself when a vlogger takes for granted that people will still know who he/she is. Sorry, but no one is that awesome. Every fan you have was a first-time viewer at some point, and even if your stuff is really cool, they probably aren’t going to Google you to find your blog or other non-YouTube profiles. If you’re lucky, they’ll subscribe, but unless you encourage them to find out more about you with a link in the description, that’s probably as far as it will go. Visitors to sites you own are much more valuable than viewers on YouTube, since you can get them to sign up for your email list, make purchases in your store, and more.

The Bottom Line: Don’t assume people know who you are. Give newbie links to find more information about you.

Envy

Whenever someone has anything resembling success on YouTube, about 500 other people try to replicate this success. It’s not going to work. Unless you’re doing a spoof (which can be quite funny), taking too much inspiration from another vlogger just makes you look like a copycat. Envious of another person’s success? You can have it too! You just need to come up with your own idea.

The Bottom Line: Be original.

Wrath

YouTube is the bottom of the comment barrel. Seriously, I have no idea why, but on that site in particular, people leave the most vile, nasty comments! It’s easy to get sucked in by the trolls. Wrath takes on a whole new meaning when you virtually wrestle with someone calling you racist or homophobic names.

But if you stoop to that level, it reflects on you too, not just the initial immature commenter. I’m not saying to avoid defending yourself, but before you respond to a negative comment, give it a few hours of thought. Often, people will come to your rescue so you don’t have to step in at all! But if they don’t and you feel compelled to reply to a troll, make sure the comment you leave in return is classy.

The same goes for other YouTube videos. If you uploaded a cool video, I might click on your name to see where you’ve left comments on other videos. If you’re acting like a troll elsewhere, I’m not going to support the work you do.

The Bottom Line: Mind your manners in the comment section and avoid feeding the trolls.

Sloth

There are a lot of lazy YouTubers out there. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but YouTube is one of the biggest search engines out there. Take the time to title your video well, write an accurate description with links, and add tags. More importantly, do a little research on how to make a good video. Here are a few places to start:

If you’re not lazy and actually take the time to do your research, your video content will be much better.

The Bottom Line: Everything is better if you take the time to do it right.

Greed

Few things annoy me more on YouTube than those silly little bubble links popping up every two minutes. I know that you want more viewers and subscribers, and I can appreciate how important it is to remind people to check out your channel…but I don’t need this kind of crap interrupting the video I’m trying to watch. I’m less likely to share or subscribe if links keep popping up, because it makes you seem greedy – like you’re only interested in me watching your videos if I’m also going to check out all of your links. Save the linking and subscription messages for the end of the video instead. I just want to sit back and enjoy the content you’ve created before I make decisions about that kind of thing.

The Bottom Line: Let me watch your video before trying to upsell me.

Gluttony

Traditionally, we think of gluttony as eating too much, but this term can be used to describe any kind of excess. In videos, the excess that bothers me the most is length. If you’re creating videos, you need to learn to edit them well.

This definitely doesn’t mean that every video you make needs to be under three minutes long. What it does mean is that you shouldn’t take 12 minutes to say something you could have said in half that time. Nothing will make me click the back button faster than someone rambling. So as you’re creating videos, keep this in mind and cut out anything that isn’t essential to the goal of your video. Shorter is better if you want people to watch to the end.

The Bottom Line: Learn to edit your videos to keep the time as short as possible for your content.

Lust

Lastly, we have everyone’s favorite sin: lust. In videos, I actually think most creators don’t have enough lust! Okay, not that kind of lust. More loosely, lust means passion, and I see a lot of videos where people just don’t really care about what they’re recorded. The reason someone like Jenna Marbles, for example, is so popular is that she is passionate about what she’s talking about. You don’t even have to be covering a controversial subject to show passion for your topic. Even a how-to video on someone boring can be made better by a host who’s clearly excited about the topic. If you don’t care about what you’re doing on camera, why should I?

The Bottom Line: Be passionate about your video topics.

Photo credit:  Rego Korosi via flickr