Whether vlogging is your livelihood, a new initiative for the company blog, or a hobby, making high quality videos is a must. This doesn’t necessarily mean using expensive hardware – that’s actually not as important as you might think.

Rather, you have to take into account a wide range of elements. From lighting to hyperlinks, special guests to authenticity, here’s a checklist of things all vloggers need to get right.

1. Rambling.

Consider what you want to say before appearing on camera. Learn the art of storytelling with The Secrets of Storytelling: 11 Ingredients for Better Videos.

2. Imitating your favorite vloggers.

There’s probably a long list of vloggers who have influenced you. But, coming up with your own content and style is by far the best homage you can pay to them. Be true to yourself and what you’re interested in, and you might just end up being someone else’s vlogging hero!

3. Failing to interact with your audience.

This doesn’t mean responding to each and every comment made by viewers, but from time to time it’s good manners to engage with feedback. Plus, it makes you more relatable. It’s win win!

4. Not being true to yourself.

If you try to assume a persona, your audience will know. The reason you started vlogging is because you have something to say, so focus on the message and your personality will shine through. The Best Way to Make Authentic Videos has lots of tips you won’t want to miss.

5. Inviting the wrong special guests.

These are guests who don’t have a message that your audience will be interested in. For example, if you’re a beauty vlogger, your best friend who’s a bug expert won’t have anything to say that’s of real value to them.

Super-vlogger Cassey Ho, who vlogs at Blogilates, understood the anxieties of her viewers and invited the ultra-talented musician and dancer Lindsey Stirling to make this vlog:

6. Not making time to set goals.

Decide what you want to achieve from vlogging and how you’re going to achieve it. A certain number of views? Becoming an influencer? Working with brands? Set milestones and deadlines to see if your content is achieving this.

7. Forgetting to include a CTA.

What should viewers do after watching your video? You could ask them to share it, signup for notifications of new posts, subscribe to a newsletter, or follow your brand on social media.

Whatever you ask them to do, make it as easy as possible for viewers to do it by linking to the relevant page right after your video concludes. Here’s how to include links in a post play screen using SproutVideo.

8. Following trends just to get views.

Unless you’re first to market with a breaking story or a really unique take, you’re unlikely to get traction. A wiser approach is to consistently make videos about topics you’re truly interested in. You’re more likely to attract a strong core audience.

Likewise, if everyone else is using a particular editing technique or special effect, ask yourself if this will add to your brand.

9. Negativity.

People want to be uplifted by video content. Vlogger Grace F. Victory creates hugely popular content that leaves viewers inspired and confident:

10. Poor lighting.

Because what’s the point if viewers can’t see you properly? Everything you need to know about lighting is in Video Production 101: Lighting.

11. Making long videos.

How long is too long? There’s no definitive answer, but evidence does show that people’s attention spans are decreasing – the average human attention span is now just eight seconds.

If you’re just starting out, we recommend making vlogs of a variety of lengths. Spend some time with your platform’s video engagement metrics and see how long most of your audience watch.

That analysis will give you the duration that is most appropriate for your viewer demographic. It’s possible it could vary by topic as well.

Our post Stop Right There! 11 Easy Ways to Grab Your Viewers’ Attention has some great pointers for engaging your audience from the outset.

12. Inconsistent posting.

If you’re going to be absent for a while, let your viewers know. Otherwise, they might assume you’re no longer vlogging and lose interest in your content.

13. Not making a vlogging plan.

This relates to the point above. Work out how many videos per month you realistically have time to make, then try your best to adhere to it. Have an idea of the content you want to cover on a monthly basis, leaving plenty of flexibility to address relevant topics when they crop up.

14. No social media plan.

Publicize new and older content on all relevant social media platforms. Don’t be shy about promoting videos that have been made some time ago, just be sure they are consistent with your brand.

15. Worrying about having the right tech.

You really don’t need to spend much to make great vlogs, we promise! Everything you need to know is in our post 6 Hacks for Making Great Video on a Tiny Budget.

The best vloggers are the ones who make it look easy, as if they’ve just turned on the camera and talked about what’s on their mind. But, it takes a lot of time and practice to make it look so effortless. Laying the groundwork with a vlogging plan, a solid understanding of your audience demographic, and great lighting will help to build your vlogging reputation.

Are you a vlogger? Share your top tips on making video with the SproutVideo community! We’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.