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Channel Review Am I headed in the right direction?

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
User name: skrach
Title of thread: Am I headed in the right direction?
Self review: First, the areas where I already know my channel could improve. I know my audio is awful, I recently got a microphone to fix that (second microphone I should say, the first one was less than helpful). Also, I film with a smartphone in my kitchen. So I'm pretty sure I don't have the best camera work out there. I've had a channel since 2017, but initially gave up after only five videos when YouTube changed their policy to the 1000 sub policy. I never really intended to pick my channel back up after that, but friends started asking for my recipes and it was easier to point them to a video than it was to write the recipes down. I would ask said friends these questions, but there is inherent bias among those that know you and I'd appreciate honest feedback. For the channel in general, my question is, is it well organized? Does it seem like if someone visited the channel, would they able to find what they are looking for? Regarding continuity, does it seem well put together? Or does my color scheme, including the color coded thumbnails, take away from or add to the user experience? For any brave enough to check out any of the videos, are the instructions clear and easy to follow? Or do I even sound like I'm dumbing things down too much and patronizing people? Regarding keyword optimization, am I using enough or did I just flat out go overkill on selecting keywords? I only picked my channel back up in March of this year, so I know views and subscribers will come with time. I'm interested in whether or not I'm doing a good job creating a satisfying user experience. Any feedback would be appreciated, even if it's not to a specific question I asked.
Channel review or Video review? Channel review
Link to channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLH0brIpt2SQNuBgd1x7vlg
Link to other review post: https://community.tubebuddy.com/index.php?threads/28443/post-82488
 

Dennyps

New Member
I like how you've got your channel layed out. Your colors look okay, your playlists are well developed and your video Thumbnails are very strait foward. Maybe a sentence about you or your mission on your channel art to explain scratch would help immediately let folks know what your about and what problems you will help them solve would help
Great job so far, I assume from your explanation that your SEO and keyword optimized on your vids, so I'll leave it there.
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
I'll take that into consideration. Now to come up with a mission statement I can explain in five words or less? "Helping you cook from skrach" is on brand but might be a little too gimmicky. I'll think about it over the weekend. Thank you for the input. I really appreciate you taking the time to review the channel.
 
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Dennyps

New Member
I assume you've done a keyword surrounding your "brand" name? If not remember that the reason we use "keywords" is to use the exact keyword phrases people are "actually" searching for. Otherwise you might have the best cooking show but people are not seeing it due to your SEO optimization decisions.
Just a thought and good luck to you
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
Usually I include the " how to make _______ from scratch" and "homemade ________" at least I have with the newer videos. I'll need to go back and check the older ones now that you mention it. Skrach is just a cutesy way of saying scratch, but I doubt anyone searches for that.

I'm assuming the fact I only get one sub per 200 views is because the videos are only mediocre quality. (That or my format is completely wrong). I plan on slowly increasing quality as I can afford equipment to see if that improves things and if that doesn't work, I'm praying I can just get more comfortable in front of the camera.
 

Diksha Arora

New Member
1
2
Hi, your channel is over all good, just work on the title and description a bit because i think according to youtube algorithm, that gets you views and helps your video to reach to more people, and maybe start your video title with a ΓÇ£howΓÇ¥ i guess most people search with a ΓÇ£howΓÇ¥ for example: how to make a cheese cake?
 

Stanley | Team TB

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
Administrator
TubeBuddy Staff
2,640
25
Subscriber Goal
250000
Ah, welcome to the nuances of being a YouTuber. To really nail it on platform you need to wear many hats; you are a chef, a brand ambassador and on-screen personality, you are a scriptwriter, filmographer, graphic artist, editor and SEO strategist... it takes a lot to master so many facets!

But that is where you are at right now. You can cook well and your on-screen persona delivers in a way only you can. Your editing is solid, although I would encourage you to use text overlays. You listed a lot of ingredients for your brisket, as a viewer I had no way to keep up if I was trying this at home. An on-screen list would have been immensely helpful.

I don't know what your CTR's are for your thumbs, but I would venture to say that is an area needing improvement. They aren't bad, but the photos are a little bland looking and I wonder how they stand out against their competition.

Also, there are different schools of thought on this but I'll mention it. I REALLY like how you mention the subscribe Call To Action and then that's it, the video is over. Good move. I would suggest using a visual overlay in addition to your audio cue. The easier and more attention grabbing you make it the better you will be for it.

I'm curious if you are doing it at the end for a reason. I do... I put 75% of my subscribe CTA's at the end of the video because I want that viewer who made it to the end to be the one subscribing. But I will add an overlay earlier in the video, and occasionally do my CTA there as well. It works, those get more subscribers. Just thought I'd mention that.
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
I'll take the text overlay suggestion to heart. A subscriber informed me early on to post the ingredient list in the description for the same reason, but it's become my understanding that viewers won't necessarily expand the description.

CTRs vary by video but never exceed 2.5%, nor do they drop below 1%. If you, or anyone, have more specific recommendations regarding that, I'd appreciate your thoughts. I really want to keep the focus on the food and avoid making anything that can be interpreted as a claim about healthy, etc. But CTR could, admittedly, be better, since I'm at the very low end of the 2-10% range.

I have experimented with the subscriber CTA at the beginning in a couple of videos, but I've also come to the conclusion that subscribers that respond at the beginning don't become quality subscribers. However, I have noticed that bringing up a like and share CTA at the beginning leads to more viewers... my idea moving forward is to do a split CTA, like and share at the beginning and subscribe at the end?

P.S. That's a very polite way of pointing out I can be a bit boring. Lol, I already know this. I've only been doing this regularly since March and I am NOT comfortable in front of the camera yet. Couple this nervousness with stuttering that I've battled since my teens (I only have to focus on my speech now WHEN I'm nervous) and I agree, you get a robot. In these situations, it's robot or broken record - robot is infinitely preferable. However, this should correct itself over time as I get used to the "spotlight."
 

Beanie Draws

Mythical Poster
2,883
27
www.youtube.com
Subscriber Goal
30000
You're on the right path, with a lot of room for improvement. for one, your banner does say what you're channel is about, visually but I think it would look better straight on so everything is even and not at an angel, that way you can show more of the kitchen, but really you could go with a more enticing photo I think.

With your thumbnails there's a few thing going on I don't necessarily mind the colour banners to the side, BUT the text with that alignment makes the text too small and difficult to read, rendering the text pointless. If you DIDN'T use those colour banners, your thumbnails would be very brown (as is the nature of what you're cooking)

I think what you should try to spice things up visually (hehe... spice) is use a bright colourful table mat, have a few colours, and cover the entire table, so you have some contrasting colour, instead of needing a side banner.

Alternatively, you could try enlarging your text by 300% and instead of having the colour banners take the entire side of the thumbnail, I'd limit the banner to ONLY the shape of the text, just in the top left corner, that way you still have a splash of colour, but the food gets a chance to shine even more.

I don't hate the thumbnails, but not sure if they're working to their full potential but if you say your CTR never goes above 2.5% that tells me there's lots of room for improvement in your thumbnails (if my thumbnails drop below 3% I change them. I generally start looking at changing my thumbnails if my CTR drops under 5%)
So again, I don't hate the thumbnails, but they're obviously not working, so experiment with those changes I've suggested.

You won't really be able to change your old thumbnails much (unless you saved them as original photoshop files?) but you can definitely apply these experiments to new thumbnails. Though you do have enough photo to work with where you COULD enlarge them to expand the photos right to the sides, and then use the square corner banner suggestion. Just don't completely delete your original thumbnails, make sure you have a backup of them.
 

Beanie Draws

Mythical Poster
2,883
27
www.youtube.com
Subscriber Goal
30000
To elaborate slightly more on what I mean by thumbnails... you can also look at Rosanna Pansino cooking only thumbnails. Look at how she photographs here cooking. she doesn't even use text in her thumbnails. You don't necessarily even need text on your thumbnails, that's what the title is for. So I'd experiment with a new style of thumbnail like that for a few videos and see if that improves your CTR.
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
@Beanie Draws I'll give some of your ideas a shot. I'm broke, so I use gimp instead of photoshop, but the same concept applies. I have color coded templates based on the type of dish (blue for main course, pink for sauces, etc.) and only the text and food layers get modified each time. So if I do experiment and something else works better, updates should be relatively quick and simple.

I may try your suggestions on thumbnails next week when I do green bean casserole.

Two things I can't change yet are the angle of the banner and the amount of brown. The stove is a new slide in bought in anticipation of redoing my countertops to granite. Any other angle and you can see the hole between the back of the stove and the wall because the old stove was a traditional one with a high back... while I'm not always successful, and there are some videos where you can see this, I am purposefully trying to use camera angles that minimize the gap or hide it completely. The amount of brown comes from the kitchen color scheme. I can't say that my place settings do much to mitigate it either. I have brown coffee themed table mats. That is something I can change when the old ones wear out though.
 

HikingWithGus

New Member
13
4
Subscriber Goal
250000
You listed a lot of ingredients for your brisket, as a viewer I had no way to keep up if I was trying this at home. An on-screen list would have been immensely helpful.

I agree with Stanley, keeping up with ingredients is always a challenge on cooking channels IMHO. Listing them in your description is a good thing! You might want to mention that the ingredients are listed in the description during your video ;) . Being a fairly new creator myself, I still have a "Viewer" mentality. I like your thumbnail lay out, they are easy to see and identify. I would do something with your banners text, it seems to blend into the background. BTW I love Ribeye! It's my go to steak! Brisket is next. Cheers!
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
Thinking maybe I can hide the stove and clarify the text of the banner if I can find a license free diner style chalkboard picture to "put" in the middle of my kitchen? I already went down that theme with my secondary font.... but it was very difficult to find one that didn't want a fee - anyone with more experience know where I should look for legal, license free OR VERY cheap one time fee clip art? @HikingWithGus that dog is cute.

@Beanie Draws checked out Rosanna from your second post, and, uh... I don't have the equipment and/or software she currently uses. Her older stuff looks doable on my budget but her hook was completely different. Realistic looking pastries for show.

My audience, or at least intended audience, is the budget conscious home cook trying to make restaurant quality meals at home.

The overall theme, whether or not I'm successful at it, is to mix scratch cooking with store bought items, when it makes sense financially, to provide families with tasty meals at the lowest possible price point. This is why you'll see me mix homemade doughs with canned tomato products and so forth.

I wish I was a better marketer because, I'm pretty sure, despite my viewership, I am indeed failing at projecting my overall message and coming across as purely a cook from scratch channel. I've seen many other channels with higher subscriber rates per views which leads me to understand that I am creating some confusion with my messaging. But that's another story that I've yet to figure out.
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
Okay, here is an attempt at applying your suggestion @Beanie Draws. I'll monitor CTR and see how the new format does. ::crosses fingers::
SmartSelect_20200706-152035_Gallery.jpg
 
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skrach

skrach

New Member
22
7
Subscriber Goal
5000
I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their advice. It really improved my CTR and channel performance and helped me break 1k when I only had a few hundred subscribers when I allowed for your help. Cheers! And thanks again!