Top 10 Ways to Make a Great Web Video

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
As WatchMojo inches closer to turning 10 years old, we thought we'd finally shed some light onto what it takes to make our videos. Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down ten ways to create great web videos.

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As WatchMojo inches closer to turning 10 years old, we thought we’d finally shed some light onto what it takes to make our videos. Welcome to, and today - you guessed it - we’ll be counting down ten ways to create great web videos.

#10: Recognize Your Passion and Interests

As the saying goes: if you don’t enjoy doing it, it will probably suck… Or something like that. Everyone from traditional media organizations to basement-based upstarts vie for online video supremacy. To succeed, you need to recognize what you’re interested in and focus solely on that, otherwise you won't enjoy what you do and it will affect your product. That also comes with the responsibility of recognizing the kind of people you will need to successfully create your videos: Smosh needs people to write scripts; Let's Play videos don't necessarily require more than a one man setup; our videos require researchers, voice-over specialists and video editors to come to fruition.

#9: Choose the Right Filming Equipment, Lightning & Accessories

News flash! The Internet is a big place. So, if your videos don’t look good, there’s less of a chance they will put up the numbers you’re hoping for. Your needs will vary depending on the kind of videos you will be producing, but here are the basics: an HD camera, a way to record high quality audio and some lighting – natural or otherwise – so your viewers can actually see you. While some accessories may be unnecessary or overkill, basic lighting kits can save you some major headaches in the color correcting aspect of postproduction. Over the years, we have created our own recording studio to increase the quality of our audio recordings, but you’d be amazed to hear what you can achieve with stuff that’s laying around your house!

#8: Choose the Right Video Editing Software

So you’ve got some great footage and some crystal clear audio recorded. Time to Frankenstein this sucker! But you need software to pull it off. Mac or PC, either operating system will do. WatchMojo has used Apple's Final Cut software over the years, but products like Avid Media Composer and Adobe’s Premiere Pro are also great options. In our case, as we blend multiple types of media, codecs and audio, Final Cut has been a good fit for our needs. But, for those who are new to editing video, simplified programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker are a great starting point. And that’s not even touching upon mobile video editing!

#7: Research and Practice Techniques

To avoid having to spend more time than needed on set or in post-production, it's best to plan properly. If you are producing scripted entertainment, storyboarding the video is a must. If you're doing talking head content, practice your delivery. Your mouth is basically an instrument in this case, and believe it or not, speaking takes practice to pull it off naturally on camera! In our case, we spend hours upon hours researching our topics, picks and rankings to ensure that we don't have to make changes once the video has been completed. Multiple quality staff members also fact-check and proof-read the videos for quality control purposes. And if you don’t have employees at your disposal, bouncing your research or script off of a friend or family member helps too! Nonetheless, mistakes will happen unfortunately... and in our experience, the viewers are quick to highlight those!

#6: It's More than Just the Content

As many of our entries on our lists require a decent explanation, we can’t afford to cut corners for the sake of the video length. But as Internet viewers have relatively short attention spans, we can't create excessively long clips either. Our length has increased from a couple of minutes to about 10-15 minutes, which we feel is the right length to give each entry enough consideration. If you're creating a fake news segment, a skit, a drama or producing Let's Play videos, it's important to think about the right style, format and length of your videos. For us, we found the appropriate length for top 10 lists, others like Epic Rap Battles or the Fine Brothers' React series found their own structure. The key is to find a format that you love, get close to perfecting your craft, and duplicate, duplicate, duplicate... Even if some say you’ll run out of ideas!

#5: Add Some Stock Media to Get a Professional Edge

The million dollar question: Where does all of that background WatchMojo music come from? Depending on the nature of your clips, you may need to produce or license media, be it sound effects, video or music. Shooting everything yourself may be ideal, but often times impossible. As such, stock media sources like Pond5 provide millions of royalty-free HD and 4K footage, as well as music, sound effects, illustrations, photos and motion graphics templates, all of which you can license for use across multiple medias without having to subscribe. Basically, you pay for what you need, as opposed to a subscription. WatchMojo relies on Pond5 and other sources for a lot of its stock media needs.

#4: Pick the Right Platform

Producing your videos is half the battle, but it's just as important to think about publishing, distributing and marketing your clips. When it comes to publishing and distribution, back in the day producers had to worry about content management systems and content delivery networks. Over time, online video platforms like Brightcove, Ooyala or the JWPlayer – which you can see in action on’s website - bundled many of these components to simplify things. What further streamlined this? YouTube, as it became the de facto platform for publishing video. WatchMojo gets over 200 million views each month on YouTube while only getting 1/100th of that on our own site. While it doesn’t hurt to have your video living on a site of your own, having a presence on YouTube is extremely important and paramount.

#3: Use Accurate Video Descriptors

If a video gets published online with no metadata, does it actually get published? Metadata includes descriptors like the title, description and keywords to describe your material so that search engines can properly identify, describe and find your clip. On YouTube, thumbnails are also increasingly important. Together, the right metadata and thumbnail will be the difference between your video becoming popular or getting the tumbleweed treatment. However, thankfully YouTube discourages false and misleading descriptions, so it's best to stay on point and avoid trying to game the audience. It takes years to win over an audience, but a few misfires to lose it.

#2: Distribute Via Social Networks

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, people found videos via search engines or video curating websites such as eBaum’s World, etc. Eventually, people found their content through social media websites, and today, people discover and recover content when it is shared. If people like your content, they want to be the first to show it to their friends and family. As such, it's important to focus on YouTube first and foremost, but not overlook the importance of Twitter and Facebook to build a community around your content. Hey, by the way, have you followed us on Twitter? Liked us on Facebook? Get to it!

#1: Be Realistic and Patient

You can hope for a viral video, but don’t depend on it. To grow your community, you can't just publish and market your videos and expect them to become popular; relying on analytics to understand what is popular, why people watch and who those people are is critical. When WatchMojo launched 10 years ago, our videos touched on many different topics, and as such reached many different audiences. Over time we focused on topics and formats we were interested in, including top 10 lists on comics, video games, movies and more. This resulted in a shift from an extremely diverse audience to a predominantly male audience. Today with nearly 10 million subscribers, we again have a very diverse audience, hence the varied nature of lists we publish. But perhaps the most important key to success is patience and persistence: it took us 8 years to reach 1 million subscribers, but in the past 2 years we have added 9 million more!

Do you agree with our list? What else do you think makes for a great web video? For more informative top tens published daily, be sure to subscribe to