How to Revive a Dead YouTube Channel

If you’re getting little or no views on YouTube, you might be feeling disheartened. You’ve put in so much time and hard work only for your video content to not perform as you expected!

Or maybe you’ve got an old channel that you haven’t uploaded to in ages…

Either way, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to revive your channel or if it’s best to start over with a completely new YouTube channel.

Important: When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

In this guide, we’ll help you decide which is the best next step that will help you get MORE views on YouTube.

You’ll learn whether you should start a new channel AND be able to easily optimize YouTube videos to revive old videos on your dead channel.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Let’s get started.

Is it possible to have a dead YouTube channel?

Yes! If you’re trying to grow your YouTube channel but just aren’t seeing those YouTube views or subscribers coming in, there’s a good chance your channel is dead.

Or if you haven’t uploaded in ages and have abandoned your channel, this can also mean you have a dead channel. But don’t worry – we’ll share exactly how you can give your YouTube channel a second chance at life.  

How to revive an abandoned YouTube channel
Even if your channel is dead, it can be revived!

What happens when a YouTube channel dies?

If your channel is dead, you have two options.

You can start from scratch with a new channel. Or you can start implementing a solid strategy on your existing channel that includes optimizing your content and uploading YouTube videos regularly.

But how do you know whether you should start again or keep going with your existing channel?

We’ll answer that one now…

Should I create a new channel on YouTube?

This is a question we get asked a lot! If you’re not seeing growth on your channel or haven’t uploaded in a while, you might be wondering whether you should just start a new channel on YouTube.

Our advice on this varies depending on the direction you’re planning to take your new channel.

So, ask yourself whether the new content you’re going to be uploading is the same as your existing content.

YouTube on a computer screen
The first step is to ask whether it’s worth starting a new YouTube channel

If You’re New And Existing Content Are The Same…

If the audience and content are the same, it’s going to be a lot faster and easier to revive your existing channel. In this case, the key thing you need to do is begin uploading new content. Try and establish a consistent content schedule.

This way you’re learning, improving and feeding the algorithm so it knows what your content is about and which viewers to push it out to.

It’s also beneficial for your return viewers. They’re able to get into a rhythm and know when they should be checking back in on YouTube to consume your content.

A content creator filming a video
Will your new videos be similar to your existing videos?

If You’re New And Existing Content Are Different…

If you’re planning on releasing a different type of content and taking your channel in a new direction, you can go either way.

You can definitely revive your channel and change the topic of your channel at the same time. There are plenty of big YouTube channels that have done exactly this.

A woman filming a yoga video
If your new direction is different, you can go either way

But this is usually a longer process. Since you already have videos up, YouTube already has information about who your ideal audience is and the type of content they’re interested in.

When you start uploading different content that might not be a fit for your current audience, it can take some time for YouTube to learn that and work out the new direction of your channel.

So if you are changing direction, it could be worth considering a new channel. This way you’ll have one specific niche on your channel from day one.

A man at a cross roads
This will come down to your own specific channel and situation

But if you’ve got a decent following on your existing channel, it might make more sense to transition to the new direction so you can retain that following.

Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong answer – it’s up to you and your personal situation.

We’d recommend weighing up the following things:

  • How many subscribers are on the channel?
  • How many views is the channel currently getting?
  • What’s the likelihood that your existing subscribers will be even remotely interested in your new content?
A couple looking at a YouTube channel on a TV
You’ll need to assess your YouTube channel to make an informed decision

Answering these questions should help you decide whether or not it’s worth starting again from scratch.

If you decide to stay with the same channel, here’s how you can revive it…

How to revive your dead channel!

Being successful on YouTube requires more than creating random stuff and hoping it works. There’s a specific strategy to follow if you want to learn how to grow on YouTube.

There are three key areas you need to focus on. If you’re not doing well in all of these three areas, it’s going to be very hard for you to grow on YouTube.

A man at the gravestone of a YouTube channel
These three strategies we’ll share will help a dead channel

#1 Be Strategic With The Content You’re Creating

This means going into each video with a plan and research. You don’t need to just create a random video and hope it goes viral. You can be strategic and intentional.

For every video we plan to create, we do some simple keyword research to make sure we’re creating content that we KNOW people want.

Be strategic with the content you're creating
You need to make sure there’s demand for your content BEFORE creating it

To do this, you can start by using the YouTube search bar. Type in three to five words around the video’s topic and see what comes up in the YouTube auto fill.

Those suggestions aren’t random. They’re topics that people have searched for – topics that people want! Remember that YouTube is a search engine.

Doing this can help you refine your topic. You can tweak your first idea for a video to make sure you’re creating a video on a topic you know people are interested in.

You can even take a step back and ask yourself ‘what would I search in YouTube to find my video?’. This is a great way to assess other videos on a similar topic and see if there is demand and search volume for that type of video.

Youtube search bar
The YouTube search bar is a great way to start some keyword research

Once you have some key phrases you’ve found during keyword research, you can use those relevant keywords in the video titles and in the first couple of lines of your video description.

This does two things:

  • Tells your viewer what your content is about
  • Helps the YouTube algorithm understand where to place your content on the platform

Helping YouTube understand where to place your content is really powerful. It means you could start showing up in search results for the target keywords you’ve optimized for. But it also means your content can show up in Browse, Recommended and Suggested videos.

A Primal Video video showing up #1 in YouTube search results
If you optimize for a keyword, you’re more likely to show up in the search results

PRO TIP: If you optimize your YouTube video it can even show up in Google search results for that keyword!

#2 Make Sure Your Video Gets Clicked

This is where having an effective thumbnail strategy comes in.

A lot of YouTubers don’t give this much consideration.

But even if you’ve nailed the first step and YouTube is placing your video all over the platform, if it doesn’t have an awesome thumbnail – no one will click it.

Make sure your video gets clicked
You need to make sure your thumbnail is attention grabbing

This tells YouTube your content isn’t a fit and it stops serving that content out.

Viewers have SO many options to choose from when it comes to clicking on a video. You need to make sure that your thumbnail is grabbing their attention!

Make sure it stands out and that viewers can work out what the video is about just by looking at the thumbnail image.

A range of YouTube thumbnail on YouTube
Viewers see a TON of thumbnail so yours really needs to stand out

#3 Keep Viewers Watching

If people click on your video and leave right away – it’s no good for you, your viewer or YouTube. Your watch time is really important! You want to keep viewers watching your video for as long as possible.

This doesn’t mean unnecessarily dragging your videos out. Your videos should be as long as they need to be and no longer!

Keep viewers watching
Having a low watch time sends a bad signal to YouTube

Make sure your YouTube videos are engaging and deliver value to your viewers – this is the best way to increase watch time.

Want to learn more about increasing your YouTube watch time? Check out Complete Guide.

PRO TIP: Using cards and end screens are a great way to improve your viewer’s experience and is a great way to send them to another relevant YouTube video they might want to watch.

Can you optimize an existing YouTube video?

If you’ve already got videos on your channel that aren’t performing, it could be that some of those inputs need some adjusting.

You can go back and do some keyword research for those videos that would help you re-optimize your YouTube video title, description and tags. Again, this will feed more information to YouTube so it can put your content in front of the right people.

Youtube video title and video description in YouTube Studio
Updating your video title and video description can re-trigger the algorithm

Changing these elements for a YouTube video can trigger a refresh of the YouTube algorithm. It will reassess your new inputs and place your video accordingly.

There are videos that we’ve released, they’ve gotten a little blip of traffic and then they’ve disappeared into the YouTube abyss.

So we went back in, re-optimized them and some of them ended up being the biggest videos on our YouTube channel. Eight years later and they’re still bringing in hundreds of views each day!

Because we went in and made those changes, these videos have been able to continually show up in search results, help people AND get affiliate link clicks for YEARS afterwards.

Realtime views on a YouTube video in YouTube Studio
We have videos that are eight years old and still bringing in hundreds of daily YouTubeviews

Imagine if we just left them. But that’s what a lot of people do. They think…

  • “Nobody wanted that video”
  • “YouTube is squashing small creators”
  • “I’m not good on camera”
  • Or some other similar BS!

But the truth is, there’s a good chance YouTube couldn’t understand your content.

So if you’re trying to revive your channel, re-optimizing your YouTube videos is an awesome way to kick your channel off again.

But, the most important thing you can do is to focus on your new content.

Yes, you can reoptimize your old content when you have some spare time. But in our opinion, you should never prioritize old content over new content.

So implement those three strategies we covered in this guide and commit to consistently uploading new, high quality content.

A man editing videos on a computer
The most important thing you can do is upload new optimized content consistently

Other tools for growing your channel

We also recommend checking out any new tools you have access to that can help promote your YouTube channel. Some fairly new tools on YouTube include:

  • YouTube Shorts
  • YouTube Stories
  • YouTube Community tab

If you have access to these, you can use them to drive more interaction, traffic and engagement on your channel.

Primal Video's YouTube community tab
Look at what other tools you can use to promote your channel

Now you know how to revive a dead YouTube channel! Following these steps will help you make videos that show up in YouTube search results, get more YouTube views, YouTube subscribers and grow your channel.

If you want to learn more about how to rank and get more views on YouTube, check out our FREE YouTube Ranking Guide.


Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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