How To Start a Video Streaming Website Like YouTube
Video streaming has been growing in popularity over the last several years.
In December 2019 alone, people have watched more than 1.1 billion hours of live streams.
In combination with an industry value of $42.6 billion for 2019, this means there are countless opportunities for people with an entrepreneurial mindset.
The purpose of a streaming website is to deliver on-demand content to its users, regardless of their location.
All they would need is access to an internet connection and a suitable device.
If you’re wondering how to go about starting a video streaming website, you’ve come to the right place.
First, let’s outline the steps you will have to take:
- Pick a niche
- Buy a domain and hosting
- Choose how to build your streaming site
- Don’t forget mobile users
- Find a theme
- License content
- Set up a revenue model
- Market your video streaming website
Let’s go through each of them in more detail.
Pick a Niche
First, you need to pick the market niche you would like to enter.
That is a crucial step that will outline your streaming website’s general direction.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a niche refers to a particular subset of an industry.
To give an example, first-person shooter (FPS) and real-time strategy (RTS) games are separate niches of the gaming industry.
While it’s possible to create a video streaming website with a broad scope, it’s not advisable.
That is because you will have to compete with established giants like Twitch and rising platforms like Mixer.
You have a higher chance for success if you focus on a particular audience with laser precision and cater to its specific needs.
Of course, as you grow, you will have the possibility to widen your reach. Still, you should first focus on building a loyal user base.
Buy a Domain and Hosting
After you pick a niche, it’s time to buy a domain and find a hosting provider.
It’s important that your domain name and your niche match each other.
That will make it much easier for people to understand what your streaming site is about even before they visit it.
Furthermore, it should be simple and easy to remember.
After all, you want people to quickly identify your site’s name in a conversation and remember it so they can check it out later.
It might be hard to use the name you like with a top-level domain like .com, but you should still try.
If it’s not possible, experiment with extensions like .tv, .stream, and many other options.
Afterwards, you need to get yourself a reliable hosting provider.
Due to the nature of streaming sites, you will need a VPS plan with:
- high bandwidth
- a lot of SSD storage
- at least 100 Mbps uplink speed.
An offshore host is sure to fulfil all of these conditions, due to the higher standard such hosts usually need to meet.
Still, there are many companies out there, and it can take a long time to find the right one.
If you’d rather use that time to set up your website, you should get in touch with AbeloHost.
It offers excellent support and flexible content policy.
Meaning, even if you decide to stream porn, for example, AbeloHost will welcome you with open arms.
Choose How to Build Your Streaming Website
Next, you must choose how to build your streaming website.
There are two options available to you — make it from scratch, or use a premade theme or script.
If you want to create your streaming site from the ground up, be prepared for a few thousand hours of work.
If you decide to hire a development company, the cost can reach several tens of thousands of dollars.
Of course, depending on what you want, expenses can be smaller.
Still, you should expect to pay a few thousand to the developers.
If you don’t have the budget to fulfil these requirements, you can easily create the website yourself.
Of course, no coding knowledge is required.
You have two options — use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, or find yourself a ready-made PHP script.
WordPress is an excellent choice because of the thousands of available themes and plugins.
While there is also a large number of free themes and plugins, their utility is often questionable.
Meaning, you will have much fewer headaches if you choose the paid options.
Still, you should expect to spend a significant amount of time setting up your WordPress video streaming website.
YouTube clone scripts are great if you prefer a turnkey solution.
You will have almost all the features you might need along with an appropriate design.
Needless to say, that will save you quite a bit of time compared to WordPress.
All you will need to do is personalize the design.
Don’t Forget Mobile Users
Regardless of the method you employ, you must not forget about mobile users.
That is because 52.6% of all internet traffic comes from handheld devices.
Furthermore, video is expected to reach 78% of mobile traffic by 2021.
Thus, you will miss out on a lot of potential customers and revenue if you don’t take mobile device users into account.
Still, it’s usually a challenge for a newly made video streaming site to have a dedicated app.
However, you should at least provide an adequate mobile version of your website.
To do that, make sure the theme or script you employ has a responsive design.
Licensing content can be a daunting task.
To do that, you can contact a distributor or the creator to buy a license.
However, if you want to stream popular content on the level of Game of Thrones, for example, you should expect to pay a fortune.
Alternatively, you can pull in content creators to your website from competing platforms.
If you choose this method, you should create an extensive Terms of Service that cover the proper ownership rights.
Otherwise, this can turn into a potential legal nightmare.
Such a situation can easily destroy all your work.
Therefore, make sure to contact a lawyer to help you make a draft.
Set up Revenue Model
Now that you have a functioning streaming site, it’s time to make it work for you.
There are three popular ways to monetize a streaming website.
Ads are straightforward and easy to set up.
You simply have to join an ad network and wait for the money to roll in.
Despite the earnings being on the low side, it will pay off in the long-term.
Depending on your content, a pay-per-view model can be an excellent revenue stream.
However, make sure it’s something your user base will appreciate.
If you’re unsure about their preferences, experiment, and ask for feedback.
Subscription plans are by far the most profitable.
After you build a loyal user base, you can expect a stable and continuous revenue stream.
Market Your Streaming Site
The last step towards starting your video streaming business is to market it.
There are several ways you can do that — search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and paid ads.
SEO is an excellent marketing strategy because it will attract those that are already interested in your content.
Yet, you will likely see the fruits of SEO over the long term.
If you’re using WordPress, Yoast will also help you a lot.
Social media is a useful tool if you want to interact with potential users directly.
It might seem like a good idea to make a profile in all the popular social networks, but it’s not advisable.
You likely won’t have the time to manage all your accounts at once.
Therefore, it’s best to focus on a single platform at first.
That will ensure you forge a stable relationship with your audience.
Then you can expand your reach as you grow.
Paid ads are the most effective marketing tool.
That is because you will likely have to wait a long time before you reach the first page for your targeted keywords with SEO.
Google Ads will be your primary advertising tool.
Your social media of choice will also have paid advertising, so make sure you take advantage of it.
Great work, you are now equipped with the foundational knowledge to create a streaming website.
All that’s left is to put it into practice.
Still, don’t expect to see results in just a few days or even weeks.
In fact, it can take several months up to a year until you break even. Of course, that’s not a guarantee.
Despite that, patience and dedication will take you a long way.
If done right, your streaming website will grant you the financial freedom you deserve.
Let’s summarize what you just learned.
First, you need to pick a niche.
Afterwards, buy a domain and find a reliable hosting provider.
Next, choose how you want to build your site.
Don’t forget to meet the needs of mobile users.
After that, ensure you have the proper licensing rights for the content you want to have.
Finally, you need to monetize and market your site.
After all, you need to spend money to earn money.