I very rarely blog for the sake of blogging.
You see, I’m a true entrepreneur at heart. I need every topic to be well researched, every keyword to be analyzed in-depth – I need guaranteed clicks.
Like many content creators, I always keep a close eye on my bottom line.
Clicks mean traffic. Traffic means ad views. Ad views mean money. Money makes Morgan a happy girl.
That’s why 95% of the articles you’ll find on this blog are geared toward self-help and small business advice.
Google likes that kinda stuff.
But today, I wanted to do something a bit different.
Today I want to blog about something personal and document my brand new journey, as Elsa might put it, into the “unknown”.
That’s right, today we are talking about my brand new YouTube channel.
Table of Contents
- A bit about me and my background
- Month 1 channel Stats
- Month 3 channel Stats
- What I’ve learned so far (and a chart of my progress)
- Future updates
A bit about me and my background
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I am constantly on the lookout for new sources of revenue for my ever-growing freelance/blogging empire.
For the uninitiated, I am a six-figure graphic design freelancer and blogger. I’ve made over $600,000 on Upwork between 2017 and 2022. My team and I produced over $250,000 in revenue in blog revenue in 2021 alone.
Having felt like I’ve mastered the art of both freelance and blogging, I wanted a new challenge – I wanted to figure out the Wild Wild West of YouTube!
I begin this journey armed with nothing more than knowledge of graphic design (not animation or video editing), a strong SEO skillset, an out-of-this-world partner (Alaina O’Neal, my right-hand woman) and a lot of spunk.
In the months that follow, I will continue to update this blog so that you, dear reader, can follow along on our journey and watch us learn and grow in real-time.
And while it might seem like an intimidating task to some – I also remember the day we launched our blog with zero traffic (which hit over 6 Million views in 2021), and the day I signed up for Upwork with $0 earned.
I’m no stranger to hard work. I am in this for the long haul.
Our early strategies
As a blogger, I know that consistency, and SEO, matter.
Like, a lot.
Relying purely on virality when you have virtually zero followers is the virtual equivalent of a dice roll. Only the dice are weighted and not in your favor.
So for my first few videos, I chose popular topics that I had already written about on this blog. Those blog posts were as follows:
- Upwork profile examples and tips from six-figure freelancers
- Freelance graphic design rates: How much should you charge?
- Upwork proposal sample: 11 tips from a $600k freelancer
- Upwork Readiness Test answers: Ace the quiz with this cheat sheet
- Can you make good money on Upwork? How I made $600,000 in 5 years
I knew these three topics were capable of attracting decent SEO traffic so we figured – hey, maybe those same topics and keywords will work on YouTube search as well.
Next, I made sure each video title matched up with its corresponding article and embedded those videos in my blog.
I also pulled quotes from those articles to help me fluff up the video descriptions.
Some descriptions even contained affiliate links as I am no stranger to the affiliate marketing game and already had some pre-established connections thanks to the blog.
Each week after a new video went live, I promoted video content using the following social channels:
I decided to make Thursday our post day for consistency.
My earliest videos were 20-30 minutes long. But I quickly realized these were far too long for our channel for a number of reasons:
- File sizes were huge
- Editing time was immense
- View duration was poor
For this reason, around videos 5-6 we started aiming for 10-minute lengths instead.
Now, without further ado, let’s dive in and take a closer look at my latest YouTube analytics.
Disclaimer: Before we begin it is important to note that I am using the same YouTube account that used to house my personal demo reels for work. So I’m not technically starting at 0. I am technically starting with an account that was launched in 2017, with two YouTube videos, a whopping 25 subscribers and no recent views. Let’s call it zero-adjacent.
Month 1 (May 1, 2022)
Month 1: Overall channel stats
After one month, my channel received 1,200 video views with 79.9 watch hours of video watch time. And I gained 71 subscribers.
As a reminder, video creators need 1,000 YouTube subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time to qualify for monetization.
I also achieved 6,600 impressions with an average click-thru rate of 5.1%.
For reference, the average YouTube click-thru rate is 4-5%.
Overall, I was pretty happy with those numbers until I got to the average view duration metric – which was an abysmal 3:56.
While that may seem high to some, it’s important to remember that most of my videos up until this point have been about 30 minutes long. That means very few people are actually watching through to the end.
Considering the fact that a good average view duration should be between 50-80%, I’m fairly disappointed, but unperturbed.
It just means I need to tweak my content tactics a bit to achieve a higher watch time.
My most popular video one month in – in terms of YouTube views – was my first video upload which garnered 607 views and 2,300 impressions with a click-thru rate of 3.3%.
Overall, I think 600 viewers on a single video for a brand new YouTuber is actually a pretty decent number. Especially with such a comparatively low subscriber count.
And here’s one of the most interesting emerging stats – 50% of my traffic is currently coming from external sources – mostly Twitter and this blog, MorganOverholt.com.
I admit that I suspected that my pre-existing Twitter following (with roughly 3,700 subscribers as of May 2022) and my blog (with roughly 25,000 monthly pageviews as of May 2022) would help drive traffic to my new channel.
However, I was blown away by the sheer amount of traffic those sources generated.
While I love that my established internet presence seems to be aiding me in these early days, I don’t want to use it as a crutch.
I realize need to study the YouTube algorithm a bit.
Month 3 (June 30, 2022)
Month 3: Overall Channel Stats
At the three-month check-in, my channel had received 5,805 video views with 443.4 hours of video watch time. And my subscriber count had climbed to 404.
I also achieved 59,204 impressions with an average click-thru rate of 4.8%.
My average view duration metric, while slightly improved from our last check-in, is still sorely lacking at just 4:34.
But the overall duration percentage is up slightly given that I started making shorter videos – which average at about 10 minutes each – so that’s just under 50% on most of our newer videos.
My most popular video one month – in terms of YouTube views – remained my first video upload which garnered 2,043 views and 31,000 impressions with a click-thru rate of 5%. Again, as far as engagement is concerned – I’m surprisingly happy with how this video is performing.
And the majority of my traffic is still coming from external sources.
What I’ve learned so far
Overall, I would say that I am happy with my stats three months in.
It seems that utilizing external sources like search engines, social networks and social media platforms – like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – can really great way to help a new YouTuber grow and I am excited to see how far that fan base will take me.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see just how easy it was to grab the top spot under the Videos tab for my targeted keywords in Google search results by simply embedding my YouTube videos in popular posts.
I think my click-thru rates are fairly strong for a new YouTuber. But considering the fact that I came from a graphic design background and am used to making thumbnails for my clients, I expected decent scores in that department.
However, while my watch time is decent, my watch duration is pathetic. And my understanding of YouTube’s algorithm is sorely lacking.
I do not expect to rank amongst the most elite YouTube stars like Mr. Beast, PewDiePie, Logan Paul, Jake Paul, Dude Perfect, Markiplier or Mark Rober (each with millions in YouTube earnings). However, I would like to at least make a decent amount of money – to the tune of a few hundred dollars a month – from this platform eventually.
I also know this goal is achievable as there are currently other YouTubers in my niche earning around $50k a year, usually through a mixture of AdSense revenue (advertisements), product placements, merchandise sales and sponsorships.
And so, in the coming weeks, I plan on educating myself on best practices and researching ways to better capture the viewer’s attention.
My study materials
In fact, I recently picked up a copy of The YouTube Formula, and have already been learning quite a lot about the inner workings of the platform. So I plan on following up on those recommendations soon.
In addition, I’m going to be doing a bit of YouTube-specific keyword research rather than solely relying on popular blog topics.
Until then, I remain comforted by the fact that even though I have a long way to go, I also know that the best way to learn is by doing. And if there’s one thing I’m good at – it’s doing things.
Progress & goals chart
Finally, here’s a table that details my growth so far, contrasted by my personal year-end goals:
As a reminder, I need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 total watch hours to be considered for the YouTube Partner Program.
|Metric||Month 1||Month 3||1-Year Goal|
|Total Watch Hours||79.9||443.4||4,000|
|Avg. View Duration||3:56||4:34||5:00|
|Most Popular Video (Views)||607||2,043||10,000|
Looking for even more stats? I have some good news for you.
I plan on updating this article quarterly going forward and sharing my stats as my YouTube Channel continues to grow. My next planned update will be on October 1, 2022. So be sure to bookmark this article and check back in to see how I did!
Youtube Creators: Are you a new or established Youtuber? How do these stats stack up for a newbie on the platform? Do you have any advice for me? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to connect with me on the following social media channels.