YouTube is a big deal. I’m sure you’ve heard the stats trying to explain just how massive YouTube is. In fact, before you finish reading this post, nearly 1,000 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube. But here’s the truth: Most of those minutes are awful. Boring, horrible quality — and painful to watch.

If you want to stand out from the crowd and create high-quality videos that people actually want to watch, I have good news. By following just a few simple tips, your videos will improve dramatically, resulting in more views, more sales and more recognition.

Related: 12 Strategies for Promoting Your YouTube Videos

 The best part? It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg either. Here’s how:

1. Your sound quality matters.

Surprised that my first tip involves sound? Don’t be. Sound is probably more important to achieving a high-quality movie than video. I know, that seems odd, but stay with me a moment. People can forgive mediocre video quality. But if the sound is low, distorted or sounds like it was recorded inside a cave, your viewers are quickly going to click next.

Spend some money on a Lavalier microphone. Even an inexpensive one, like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 — $25.00 on Amazon — would do the trick. Then, after recording the video, run a basic noise-removal filter to the recording. You’ll be shocked at how much noise it removes. Nearly every semi-advanced audio editor has this filter, and a quick search on YouTube will show you just how to do it. Or, hire someone on or to remove the noise for you for a few dollars.

2. Lighting

Lighting doesn’t need to be complicated, but it needs to be there. Lighting will make even a low-quality camera produce much better video, and people just enjoy watching videos that are well-lit.

If you are recording at your computer, stick a couple desk lamps behind and around the screen. You also may want to invest in an inexpensive lighting kit, which can be obtained for as low as $150 from Amazon, like this one that includes the backdrop setup as well. It also helps to place a light behind you, pointed away from you. This will help you stand out from the backdrop and give more depth to the final look.

3. Editing with jump cuts

One of the easiest and fastest ways to record a video is using the jump-cut method. A jump cut is when your video is actually made up of dozens (or hundreds) of short little clips all placed together to form one cohesive video.

The benefit of jump cut videos is two-fold:

  • It saves time when recording, as you will not need to memorize any long scripts.
  • It keeps the video pace moving along quickly, thus keeping the viewer engaged.

To record a jump-cut video, write out your entire script beforehand, but break it up into simple, easy-to-say sentences. For example:

“Have you ever wanted to invest in real estate but lack the down payment? My name is Brandon Turner, and on today’s video I’m going to show you three simple steps for buying real estate with little to no money out of your pocket. The first step is going to be what I call house hacking. House hacking is the process of ….”

Notice how each line is broken up, on it’s own, into short, simple sentences? This will make your recording so much easier. After I’ve scripted the entire video, I simply grab a friend / spouse / kid to help. We click the record button on the camera, and my helper reads one line out loud. I then repeat that line while looking at the camera. Then, my helper reads another line, and I say that line out loud.

This continues all the way through the video, and the other person’s voice is later just edited out, leaving just one continuous, fast-paced narration.