Scotch.io's Real-World Vue Book is launching! Get 50% Off
We're live-coding on YouTube! Join us!

A few months ago, I started live-coding and streaming on Twitch. It was an experiment to get closer to the community and give back to let people see my coding/writing/editing process. I wanted to show off all the things I do when building scotch.io in the hopes that I could help others build their own awesome projects or start writing technical blog posts online.

Check out the YouTube channel!

I believe the time I spent on Twitch was successful in my main goals:

  • Let developers see my process building Scotch.
  • Let people see that all developers make mistakes AND how they get around to problem solving bugs
  • Hopefully inspire others to write articles, build demo apps, or even livestream
  • Build a stronger community and meet more developers
  • Get more exposure for Scotch.io as a learning platform

Here are some stats from my time on Twitch:

I recently streamed on YouTube for the first time as an experiment. I have found that there are some big much better features on YouTube that I can't do without. They are:

  • Easy interface
  • Ability to promote my other YouTube videos like Beginner JS Course and Beginner Vue Course
  • Videos don't expire or auto-delete like on Twitch! This is a big one
  • Scheduled streams

Let's dive into why I'm switching.

TLDR: In a nutshell

YouTube Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Everyone already on YouTube
  • Easier interface that everyone already knows
  • Ability to schedule streams (make events)
  • Ability to promote my other YouTube videos like courses
  • Linking to an individual stream right when the stream starts
  • Linking back to my site and my Twitter

Cons

  • Not as strong of a community
  • Less discoverability
  • No notifications for streaming unless you explicitly opt in

Twitch Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Amazing community of streamers are there
  • More laid back feel
  • Email notifications for when someone goes live by default

Cons

  • Very confusing interface
  • Overwhelming number of features
  • Videos expire and delete forever
  • Weak scheduled events
  • Really very confusing interface
  • Some workplaces block Twitch

Let's dig a little deeper into the reasons I am switching.

Everybody is already on YouTube

A goal of this streaming game is to get subscribers and bulk up those numbers. In that regard, YouTube will win since they are the bigger platform and everyone already has a YouTube account.

It's easier to get a follow on YouTube than on Twitch.

Here's a little breakdown of how many followers I got in my time on Twitch vs YouTube

  • Twitch: 800 followers in 2 months
  • YouTube: 100 followers in 3 days

YouTube is Easier to understand for both viewers and me

While I think it's great for the gamer community, I don't think this stuff is the greatest for coders.

Coders want to get in and out. Gamers are fine with being immersed in the experience.

I was on Twitch for two months and still don't understand all of its features:

  • bits
  • raids and hosts
  • subs
  • prime subs
  • cheers
  • game sales
  • product sales
  • video broadcasts
  • dragons what?!

I've found that some coders even watch my streams while they are at work. With them in mind, I want to give them the simplest stream interface so they can focus on the content and not worry about the platform nuances.

Here's a comparison between Twitch and YouTube interfaces:

YouTube doesn't automatically delete my streams

This was one of the biggest reasons to switch for me. I never thought people watched past broadcasts but I've been told recently that many people can't make the livestream so they watch it after. With that in mind, the 14-day expiration for Twitch videos is unacceptable.

Twitch videos expire and disappear after 14 days!

Another big factor is that when I tweet that I'm streaming, the link that I share there will be the FINAL link where the video lives. This means that all my old tweets will point users to either the livestream or the video of the livestream. This is huge for my use case.

Let's compare tweets for a YouTube stream vs a Twitch stream. Notice how the link on the YouTube one still points to that stream:

This link only goes to my Twitch profile and you have to go hunting for the video, which is dead now.

I wrote up an article on The 10 Things We Built on Twitch in March. The links in that article are dead now!

With Scotch living as a blog, I need all the links to streams to live on forever. It's unprofessional for me to share links to a stream just to have Twitch invalidate that link in the near future.

EVENTS! This is a big one for me

I like treating my streams as mini-webinars. This means that users should be able to add something to their notifications or their calendar.

YouTube excels at setting times and providing notifications and a countdown.

YouTube even has a feature where they let people join a waiting room. It will say "10 people are waiting" and they can all chat with each other.

Twitch events feel like an afterthought on Twitch while they feel like a first-class feature over on YouTube

Linking back to Scotch.io and my Twitter

My main goals for live coding were to:

  • Let developers see my process. Let people see that all developers make mistakes AND how they get around to problem solving bugs.
  • Build a stronger community and meet more developers
  • Get more exposure for Scotch.io as a learning platform

While Twitch did a great job for this, I feel YouTube did an even better job. After the first YouTube livestream, Scotch got five paid signups! I definitely can't attribute that directly to the livestream, but that number of signups never happened over on Twitch. Coincidence?! Maybe.

Why you may want to stay on Twitch

YouTube won't work the best for everybody's use case. YouTube will work well for my setup since I have a funnel that can get users to my stream. I throw up a banner on Scotch that says I'm livestreaming. I'm lucky in this regard since we have a strong way to push people to the stream.

Discoverability

YouTube can't be relied on to push traffic to your channel. There's too many channels out there and YouTube is saturated at this point. If you don't have a vehicle to push people to your stream, then Twitch will be great for you.

Twitch is better at discoverability.

Everyone is already on YouTube. It is much harder to be discovered through YouTube's recommended links.

I got a bunch of traffic from Twitch's discover page. For those that don't have a vehicle to push traffic, I recommend looking at Twitch more than YouTube.

Community

There's a better sense of community with other live-coders on Twitch. This is one main thing that I'm gonna miss.

Twitch excels at building community not only between streamer to viewers, but from streamer to streamer.

Brian Clark raided my channel (brought his viewers over to my channel mid-stream) and there was such a cool sense of community there. Shoutout to Brian for being so welcoming on Twitch. I feel that is lost on YouTube.

Twitch has a more laid back atmosphere. For some reason, I feel that streaming on YouTube, I'll have to be a bit more professional. On Twitch it felt like I just had people in my living room hanging out with me.

This is only an experiment

I tell people that are learning JavaScript to build the same exact app in React, Vue, and Angular. I'm using this same approach for streaming platforms. I tried Twitch for two months; now I'll give YouTube a try.

I may return to Twitch after a month or two. Experimenting, evaluating, and taking new actions is what this is all about!

Recap and biggest reasons

The big reasons that I consider deal-breakers on Twitch are:

  • Less people on Twitch: Everybody already has YouTube accounts
  • Confusing UI
  • Unable to handle scheduled events well
  • 14-day video expiration

See you on YouTube! Check out the channel

Like this article? Follow @chrisoncode on Twitter