How To Make YouTube Thumbnails (That Actually Get Clicks)

How To Make YouTube Thumbnails (That Actually Get Clicks)

How do you make YouTube thumbnails that actually get clicks?

This is a great question that all YouTube marketers have.

What are YouTube thumbnails?

Thumbnails are extremely important on YouTube. Think of a thumbnail as having a “billboard” advertisement for your video.

If you have a good thumbnail, you automatically increase the odds that people click to watch your videos, not your competitor’s.

So how do you set yourself apart on YouTube using thumbnails?

How to optimize YouTube thumbnails

  1. Having high quality, simple and easy-to-read thumbnail images

Today’s office hours covers this question in detail, as well as provides 3 basic tips and some additional free resources you can use to make high quality YouTube thumbnails that actually get clicked on.

Click here to join the FB group & watch now. 

How To Make YouTube Thumbnails for Free

The best resource I’ve found for creating thumbnail templates for free is Canva.com.

You can set up a free account and save your designs as templates for the next time you need to design new thumbnails.

Trust me, this will save you a LOT of time in the long run.

Canva is great because you can also download free templates from professional designers (some for free, some for $1), so you get to take out the heavy lifting of designing your thumbnails yourself.

That’s especially useful for newbs, because you need your thumbnails to look very professional and simple and what better way to do that than by outsourcing that job to a designer without the designer expense!

I also like Canva because it allows you to save up to 3 fonts, as well as standard colors for your “defaults.”

This helps to save time long term, because you’ll be making lots of thumbnails during your YouTube career.

The easier it is for you, the better!

Here are some simple tips for making sure the thumbnails you’re creating are high quality, easy-to-read, and branded.

  • Keep your channel branding consistent by sticking to the same 2-3 colors and 2-3 fonts
  • Do not use more than 5-7 words max on your thumbnail images
  • Use a relevant, eye-catching image that relates to the content of the video
  • Title your .jpg or .png thumbnail image the same thing as your target keyword to help with video SEO

In this video, I also cover 3 simple tips for how to revive a “dead channel.”

These tips could also apply if you’re in the process of setting up a brand new channel and want to do it the right way.

Leave your questions in the group if you’d like to be featured on next week’s Office Hours live!

Thanks for watching!

Happy filming,
Liz

Top 5 Tips for YouTube Domination

Top 5 Tips for YouTube Domination

Top 5 Tips for YouTube Domination


TIP #1

Audio Quality Is WAY More Important Than Video Quality

headphones

Think about your own viewing behavior… You might watch a video that has poor visual quality, but you will NEVER watch a video that hurts your ears.

Popping, scratching, excessive wind noise, and hard-to-hear vocals are a surefire way to ensure your video will not keep your viewer engaged.

And it will definitely ensure that people won’t come back to watch more.

You NEED to invest in a quality microphone.

I’ve outlined my recommendations below, based on your budget.


UNDER $100 – Get the Zoom Handy H1 Recorder (you will also need to get this memory card + adapter) OR the Rode Video Mic GO

The Handy H1 Recorder handheld mic can be hooked on top of your camera or set up on a tripod, and it also has a hookup to add a lavalier mic as well which I recommend for talking/interview style videos. I like this mic because it is compact and portable, yet still affordable, making it one of the best starter mics out there.

If you don’t need a handheld mic (i.e. you plan to place your camera in ONE spot very close to you, and you will NOT be moving around) then you can get away with using the Rode VMGO.

UNDER $300 – Get the Zoom H4N Pro Recorder next. For not much more, this is a significant upgrade.

It can record multiple audio tracks at once (4 total) and the processor inside is much better which will give you even better quality. Depending on how many people you need to record sound on, you’ll also need to get 1-4 of these lav mics if you intend to do interview-style videos, but keep in mind that these are NOT wireless receivers so you’ll have to be pretty close (and attached) to the recorder while filming.

If you don’t need lav mics, you can simply set the recorder up on top of your camera or on a tripod, using the built-in mic feature on top.

UNDER $1000 – Get this entire kit.

This is the best combo I’ve found, but it’s expensive. In this kit you get the Zoom H4N Recorder AND the wireless Sennheiser receivers (clip-on mic packs your subjects can wear and move around easily with) and the audio quality of these mics is superb.


TIP #2

Brand Yourself Consistently Across ALL Your Platforms

keyboard

Listen up, because this one’s a biggie! Let’s say your name is “Joe Smith” and you start making videos. People start watching them, but not many (yet)…

How annoying is it going to be for your tiny audience to find you on other platforms if:

  • your Facebook name is Joe Smith Junior,
  • your Instagram handle is @joe_does_life44721, and
  • your YouTube channel name is Joe’s Thoughts On Things In The World?

This is a silly example, and I doubt someone would ever be that dumb about branding (lol) but I share this to help make this concept crystal clear for you.

It’s incredibly important to brand yourself simply and consistently across all your platforms, even if it means you need to modify your name and/or handles to fit the bill.

When my sister and I started Super Sister Fitness, we wanted our brand to be called “The Super Sisters,” but that domain name was taken.

Believe me, we weren’t thrilled about it! But because we know how important brand consistency is, instead of settling for having a ton of different handles on our social media platforms, we just changed the brand name itself.

Changing our brand name from “The Super Sisters” to “Super Sister Fitness” allowed us to secure the same handle on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook — you can now find everything simply @supersisterfitness.

This means that our audience doesn’t need to scramble around or search forever to find us online.

And, using one consistent handle also helps boost your organic SEO.

If people are searching consistently for ONE name (as opposed to 3 or more), you’ll start to climb the organic search ranks faster, especially on Google, YouTube and Pinterest — which are currently the largest search platforms on the web.

When it comes to branding, simplicity is the name of the game. Remember this K.I.S.S. rule — Keep It Simple Sassypants!


TIP #3

Pick 1-2 Platforms at a Time, Learn
About Their Algorithms and FOCUS

I see far too many people out there trying to:

  • Be everything to everyone
  • Post every day, on every platform
  • Spread themselves across the entire internet, reaching way too wide, way too soon

What ends up happening is they get burnt out, they don’t get the results they’re after, and they usually end up giving up.

Don’t be this person!

When you consolidate your efforts to focus ONLY on building 1-2 platforms at a time, not only does your time become more organized, your message becomes more potent, your reach and engagement increases, and your growth increases faster too.

When it comes to choosing platforms, I HIGHLY recommend starting with platforms that DO NOT have a 24-hour turnaround time. What do I mean by this?

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and similar time-bound platforms are NOT a great place to start building your audience. Why? Because these platforms all have a 24-hour timeline feature that will basically render your content useless after the first few hours, unless it goes totally viral right away.

The algorithms on these time-bound platforms are set up to filter people’s content from other users unless they’ve recently engaged with you, or unless the content is instantly popular.

It’s much better to focus your energy on a longer term strategy, using search engine optimization as your friend. I recommend starting with your own website first, and building up your YouTube channel (YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world) and Pinterest account (especially if you’re trying to reach women).

Remember too — not everyone is going to like you. The same applies to each platform — not every platform is for every person or brand.

If there’s one platform you really don’t like (for me, it’s Twitter), then don’t even bother using it! The goal here is to make sure you are effective, but also enjoy what you’re doing, because otherwise you’ll give up before you get anywhere.

Focus your time on the 1-2 platforms that you most resonate with that also have the largest amount of your ideal customers on them.

For example, if I were trying to build a food blog and I wanted to help stay-at-home moms, I’d first start building up my Pinterest account with great content  because Pinterest has a huge demographic of women, plus they’re already on there searching for the content I’m creating.

If I wanted to give a bunch of makeup tutorials for fashion-conscious females over the age of 18, I’d head straight to YouTube. If I wanted to do technology reviews for men, I’d stick to my website and focus on building up YouTube as well.

Go where your desired demographic is, consolidate your efforts there, and focus on creating USEFUL, HIGH QUALITY content that lasts (and will stay searchable forever).

PRO TIP FOR WORDPRESS USERS: Use the Yoast SEO plugin to help yourself get used to writing content with SEO in mind.


TIP #4

YouTube + Social Media Without Sales Strategy Means Nothing

The other big mistake I see people making is putting way too much emphasis on the number of social media likes + followers they have, and not nearly enough emphasis on their followup sales process and email funnels.

If you don’t have an email list and followup sequences set up yet for your community, you are MESSING UP, big time.

This should actually be the very first thing you do, before anything else.

You may hear some (unqualified) coaches out there telling you that “email is dead,” but I guarantee you it is NOT.

If you don’t have a mailing list yet, sign up for an account yesterday. Having a list is all about relationship building and being able to provide a ton of value for your prospects once they “raise their hand” to tell you they’re interested in what you have to say.

The other reason you want an email list is because it’s the only thing that you actually own.

Every audience you build on other platforms (like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) can all disappear in an instant if those platforms decide to ban you or close down your accounts.

On the contrary, your email list is yours to keep – forever.

It is also the place where you can deliver your videos and announcements directly while you continue to add value and build trust with your audience. Email is one of the primary ways to form solid lifelong relationships with your audience (and soon-to-be customers).

Sometimes newbies get intimidated by email funnels, but listen — your followup sequences don’t necessarily need to be super complicated. They just need to help people connect deeper with you and get to know more about how you can help them.

Obviously just make sure you’re not spammy. People absolutely hate spam and if your emails suck, they’ll be just as pointless as an account that’s been shut down.

Quick rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t even want to read your own emails, then you’re probably better off not sending them.

Write emails people actually want to read. More on this later…


TIP #5

Cyber Security Is A VERY Real Thing,
So Get A Premium Password Manager NOW

security

I’ve seen people lose their entire livelihood overnight by ignoring this crucial aspect of becoming a blogger, internet business owner and/or video influencer.

You KNOW that hackers and scam artists also exist on the internet, so are you doing anything yet to keep yourself safe from theft or cyber attacks?

If not, let this be a HUGE word of warning to you. You can lose everything in an instant if you’re not using the proper online security.

You only really need 2 things to stay secure in this category:

  • A great Password Manager (I personally use Dashlane, but 1Password and LastPass are also good options)
  • To set up two-factor authentication on all your accounts (i.e. email, social media, banking, etc.)

If you don’t have two-factor authentication set up already on every single account you own (including BOTH your business and personal online or social media accounts), go do it right now. Yes, it takes a little while to do, and yes it adds an extra step (two-factor authentication means that any time a new device attempts to log in to your account, the software will send you a text message with a verification code you have to enter), but it is essential.

Skip this part and you’ll really kick yourself when the 12-year-old boy from some small town in Ukraine steals everything you worked so hard to build, and deletes all your content, replacing it with stupid memes that aren’t even funny.

I’ve actually seen this happen. Don’t let it happen to you.


BONUS TIP #6

Don’t Shoot Arrows Blindly Into Outer Space

When my sister and I started our blog, we did this for about a year and it was not only frustrating, it was downright naive.

Thinking you can just “figure it out” yourself is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

You’ll waste time, money and energy spinning your wheels in the wrong direction.

The sooner you can admit that you don’t know what you’re doing, the faster you’ll grow. How?

Because in letting go of that mindset, you’ll get out of your own way. You have to spend money to make money — there’s no way around it.

Be willing to invest in yourself. Be willing to
know that you sometimes don’t know.

Hire a mentor. Hire a coach. Take a course. Join a support network.

First you have to LEARN before you can EARN.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT shoot arrows blindly into outer space. You’ve been doing that already, and it’s not working for you. If it were, you wouldn’t have read down this far! 😉

If you’re ready to get involved, you can join the private Facebook support group here — this group is for up & coming video influencers who are ready to learn, grow and make money online using YouTube and other video platforms as their tool.

And since you made it this far, I also highly encourage you to join the comprehensive YouTube University course.

It’s time to separate the “dreamers” from the “doers.”

See you inside!