Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Vasco Lourenço
Are you looking for ways to make money on YouTube? Then you’ve reached the right page.
Here you’ll find my top 10 ways of making money on YouTube, while staying at home.
According to Alexa rank, YouTube stands as the second most viewed website of the entire internet, just after Google on the first spot. With 2 billion monthly users watching 5 billion videos daily, YouTube gets the attention of many people as a way to make money online.
Today, with the ease of video recording we now have (almost anyone can do it with their smartphone) everyone can literally start a YouTube channel. And if you want to leverage it, you should learn how to make money on YouTube.
Even a 7-year-old boy started making money on YouTube, bringing in $22 million with his videos in 2018. That’s pretty amazing for just reviewing toys for kids.
You might think that YouTube is already over-saturated and it’s impossible for newbies to gain views and start to make some money. That might be true if you’re only thinking about the revenue coming from advertising after you join YouTube’s partner program, for which you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of views.
But there are other opportunities to bring in some revenue without having to rely on advertising.
I don’t even have a YouTube channel, and I can still make money from YouTube!
Here’s a list of how to make money on YouTube in 10 different ways.
- Join YouTube’s Partner Program and earn from ads.
- Use affiliate links on your video description.
- Get funds from your fans in a subscription-based model.
- Link your YouTube channel to your blog.
- Join the Amazon Influencer Program.
- Leverage YouTube Premium for extra revenue.
- Crowdfund your next project.
- Sell merchandise.
- License your video.
- Claim the copyright of your content with Content ID.
How to Make Money on YouTube
With five hundred hours of video uploaded to YouTube every single minute, it’s not the easiest thing on earth to make money on YouTube.
With numbers rising, and the competition getting harder, earning money with YouTube is challenging and may also put you off along the way.
Nonetheless, there are some strategies that will lift you up and open your eyes to what’s possible (even if you don’t have a million views).
1. Join YouTube’s Partner Program and earn from ads
This is the typical revenue stream that most people think of when it comes to making money from YouTube.
On YouTube, advertising can be presented in different formats:
- Video ads before your videos.
- Google Adsense banner ads.
However, to start generating income from those ads, your channel has to meet the minimum requirements and be approved by their automated systems and human reviewers that will review your channel’s content to check if it follows all of their guidelines.
To become eligible and join the YouTube Partner Program, you must:
- Have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months.
- Gain 1,000 subscribers.
- Have a linked AdSense account.
- Live in a country or region where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
- Follow all the YouTube monetization policies.
Another way of leveraging the YouTube Partner Program is through channel memberships that allow viewers to join your channel through monthly payments and get members-only perks. For that, you need more than 30,000 subscribers (unless you’re a gamer, then you only need 1,000).
Having all those hours and subscribers might be disappointing to beginners, especially if your goal is to make money with YouTube.
Still, there are other ways to leverage the biggest video platform in the world, so keep on reading.
2. Use affiliate links on your video description
Using affiliate links on the first line of your video description is a great way to monetize your videos, especially when you’re reviewing products and the link guides the viewer to that product page.
In-depth tutorials and product reviews are the best type of video content for this monetization model. For each transaction that occurs through your affiliate link, you get a commission.
Now, don’t go overboard and dump a bunch of affiliate links on your description. That will look spammy, and your viewers will distrust you. Just like in a blog, people who are consuming the content must trust the person who’s sharing it.
The best way to gain trust from your viewers is to pose a problem, and then solve it (with the product you’re reviewing, preferably). Your viewers will trust you, and also the product itself. And if they have a similar problem, they’ll know how to solve it, thanks to your tutorial or review. This will increase the chances they’ll click on the link and buy the product.
Remember that people respond more to video than to text. Usually, when someone is inclined to buy a product, they go and look for a video review.
Build trust with your viewers and create honest reviews.
3. Get funds from your fans in a subscription-based model
If you already have a big following, you can leverage the platform to encourage your followers to fund you, like a crowdfunding project.
Since you’re producing content without forcing your audience to pay to access it, if it’s of good quality, your audience may feel disposed to support your channel regularly.
These platforms allow your most loyal fans to make donations for as low as $1/mo so they can have access to exclusive content made by their favorite content creators. They can even earn rewards they wouldn’t be able to get through YouTube.
On Patreon, The Conscious Kid has pledges from as little as $1 to $100. In their highest tier plan, they offer the possibility to speak to them over the phone.
A good practice to follow is to create transparency around how the money will be spent and what you have to offer in each tier. I believe people are more willing to support the artists they love directly rather than pay a platform that gives them access to the artists. When you have this direct contact, your fans will feel they are part of your creation.
Another platform where your fans can come and support you financially is Tipee. Here you can support your favorite artists with a one-off tip or monthly recurring tips.
YouTube also has a feature called Super Chat, which allows creators to create a tipping jar when they go live. Viewers will be able to pay to pin their comments on live streams. This way, content creators can pay attention to the messages of their most loyal fans, while making some extra money on YouTube.
4. Link your YouTube channel to your blog
To get the most out of YouTube, your channel should be linked to your website or blog.
This way, you can get more people to sign up for your newsletter, converting your viewers into buyers in case you sell anything on your blog.
Imagine you have a video reviewing a product. You can repurpose that content on your blog and include the video in it. Both your channel and your blog will have affiliate links, and you can leverage both platforms to generate commissions.
Your YouTube channel will build blog readers, and your blog will build YouTube viewers. It’s a win-win.
5. Join the Amazon Influencer Program
The Amazon Influencer Program allows you to have your own page on Amazon to showcase the products you recommend to your audience.
By recommending Amazon products through your videos (and affiliate links) you get a cut of the pie. Usually, the commissions range from 8-10%.
This is not a service only for YouTube, but for all social media. Therefore, the more followers you have the more you can earn.
However, social media followers and other metrics will dictate if you’re eligible to participate in the program.
If you don’t have a big following yet, you can always join Amazon Associates Program, wish is free for everyone. You’ll get the same commissions by recommending Amazon products, but you won’t have your personal Amazon page.
6. Leverage YouTube Premium for extra revenue
YouTube Premium allows users to view videos without any ads for $11.99/mo.
In this modality, channels get paid 55% of revenue by watch time. While there’s not much information if this model is viable to make an income, some report it’s really worth it.
For most channels, ad revenue may not be so consistent as watch time. For example, in January, companies may not spend much on ads, since nobody has money after Christmas. While watch time may be steady, ad revenue will be lower.
Keep track of your watch time and video engagement to find if YouTube Premium is worth the deal or not.
7. Crowdfund your next project
Crowdfunding is an excellent option to bring your ideas to life. If it’s only a matter of money, then crowdfunding will help.
People like to support what they value, and you could be surprised to find out how much some people are willing to give in order for you to create your project.
To start a crowdfunded project, be transparent about how the money will be spent. You can also offer a preview of the work as a way to get people excited about it.
If you have a trailer or other promotional material, upload it to YouTube and show the world your idea. In the description, put a link to the crowdfunding site so people can pledge what they want.
8. Sell merchandise
There are lots of merchandise to sell online, from t-shirts, mugs, and bags to socks, jackets, clocks, pins, and many more. With the right integration, selling merchandise can be a powerful way of making money on YouTube.
Merchandising will increase your exposure (or your brand’s exposure) in the real world, the offline world, deepening the relationship between you and your fans.
Channels with over 10,000 subscribers, like Lucas the Spider, can integrate their Teespring store with YouTube. This way, instead of having links in the video description, the channel can sell the merchandising directly under its video.
Teespring is a print-on-demand provider, which means you don’t have to deal with shipping, fulfillment, and customer support. You get to reap the benefits of a dropshipping business without all the hassle of managing an inventory.
9. License your video
Imagine you have a video go viral.
You can license it to the media and make money. TV shows, news, and online news sites are always looking for what’s trending, and they can reach out to you if you have a viral video.
With Jukin Media, there’s an easy way of safeguarding your copyrights, where your videos can be searched for and purchased. You get 50% of the shared revenue.
For example, several media outlets may be interested in using this video of a robot painting a portrait of a renowned Dutch painter.
10. Claim the copyright of your content with Content ID
If you create music or video, you can protect the copyright of your works.
Content ID is YouTube’s automated, scalable system that enables copyright owners to identify YouTube videos that include content they own. Videos uploaded to YouTube are compared against audio and video files registered with Content ID by content owners, looking for any matches.
When there’s a match, those videos receive a copyright claim. This is a way of preventing fraudulent copies and to reclaim your rights to monetize your creations.
If, for example, you compose and record a song, put it online, and someone downloads it and uses it on a video on YouTube without permission, you can claim ownership of the song by registering it with Content ID. The video uploader will receive a copyright claim, and if he doesn’t remove the song, ads may show up on his video. You’ll be entitled to receive the ad revenue since you’re the owner of the copyrighted content.
If you’re a musician or video creator, Content ID is a great alternative to make money on YouTube through unlicensed usage of your music.
I wrote an article about how I earned $912 from YouTube ads without having a YouTube channel. You can check it here.
How to make money on YouTube FAQs
Below is a list of the most common questions regarding making money on YouTube.
How do I make money on YouTube?
Here are the top 10 ways of earning an income through YouTube:
- Earn money by displaying ads on your videos after you join the YouTube Partner Program.
- Through affiliate links.
- Being regularly funded by your fans.
- Repurposing your content on your blog.
- Joining the Amazon Influencer Program.
- Monetizing your watch time by being a part of YouTube Premium.
- Being crowdfunded by your viewers.
- Selling different types of merchandise.
- Licensing your viral video.
- Through Content ID.
How many views do I need to make money on YouTube?
It all depends on the monetization method you’re using.
To be eligible to display ads on your videos, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months. Only after you reach these milestones, will your channel be reviewed.
The more views you have, the more you earn. It’s that simple. However, if you’re monetizing your video with affiliate links, you only need 1 view to generate a sale and receive a commission. There really is no rule here.
How much money do YouTubers make?
According to Forbes, here’s a list of the top 10 earning YouTube stars of 2018:
- Ryan ToysReview: $22 million
- Jake Paul: $21.5 million
- Dude Perfect: $20 million
- DanTDM: $18.5 million
- Jeffree Star: $18 million
- Markiplier: $17.5 million
- Vanoss Gaming: $17 million
- Jacksepticeye: $16 million
- PewDiePie: $15.5 million
- Logan Paul: $14.5 million
Those are big numbers. However, the answer the majority of YouTubers will give is “none” or “too little”.
Making money on YouTube through ads is not easy. Your channel needs to grow, and you need a very strong commitment to publish consistently and promote your videos over time.
To get straight to the numbers, Google pays out 68% of AdSense revenue, so for every $100 an advertiser pays, Google pays $68 to the YouTuber. Revenue also depends on the niche your channel is in.
Per 1,000 views, ad revenue can range from $0,30 to $5. But like I said, it depends on your niche. Probably, the most successful niche is gaming. Others include lifehacks, celebrity gossip, news, food reviews, animals activities, and spoof.
Here’s a great tool for you to get an idea of how much you can potentially earn through ads, based on video views and engagement.
How much can I earn with 1,000 views on YouTube?
The answer depends a lot of different factors. Such factors include the niche you’re in, how many of those viewers click on the ads, the ad formats (banner or video), and also the country you are located in. Your CPM will vary according to all of that.
Advertisers can choose different ad strategies, so you can get $0 for one view or $3 for another view if the latter clicks on a high-value advertisement. On top of that, advertisers only pay if the ad is actually watched, therefore if your viewers skip the ads, you’ll have a significant impact on your earning.
Is it hard to make money on YouTube?
It’s no easy task to earn a considerable income from YouTube. Besides reaching the threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months to be eligible to the YouTube Partner Program, you still need to consistently create videos to generate tons of views, and monitor your CPV (Cost Per View).
The best way to start making some money on YouTube is with affiliate marketing. You don’t need a lot of viewers nor subscribers to start earning some revenue. The videos that perform better for this model are product reviews or tutorials. You just have to place your affiliate links in the description.
To further increase earnings potential, consider starting a blog and embedding your videos on your posts by repurposing the video content on your blog. This will get you more views and improve your rankings on search engines.
That’s it for my top 10 ways on how to make money on YouTube.
While making money on YouTube might be a great way of generating some passive income, it may not be the best way to start making money online. That is, if you want fast results.
My main advice to you is to start a blog and use YouTube as a secondary way of generating traffic to your blog. Then, using affiliate links both on your blog as well as on your video’s description will increase your chances of earning money fast. This way, you don’t have to rely solely on YouTube ads, as you’ll have to walk a long distance to get there.
Did I forget anything? If you know another way of making money on YouTube that’s not mentioned here, let me know in the comment section.