By now, you know how you’d like to present yourself in the online world. You have figured out what you want to say, how to say it, and your image is sorted out thanks to some wicked branding. But all that hard work goes down the drain if you don’t follow through and actually create your YouTube channel. To spare you from further menace and googling, here’s the guide to start your first YouTube channel.
Checklist: Before you create your YouTube Channel
- Are you clear on the name of your channel?
- Have you worked out what you want to say, and have your content all planned out and ready?
- Did you work on branding? Is your visual identity all sorted out?
- Do you have a profile picture?
- Do you have a cover banner?
- Is your equipment in line?
- Video editing software?
- Ready for an adventure?
If you ticked off all of the boxes, we can proceed. If not, seriously? Aren’t you the one who wants their voice heard and stardom achieved?
Not to be mean, but pull yourself together. After all, we can’t wait to discover your content on YouTube!
Start your YouTube Channel
Youtube is a great platform where you are given a space to have a voice, share what you have to say or show, and build communities using video. We bet you’ve already known that.
YouTube is also a great platform that allows you to do what you love, and profit in ways more than one. But that may be going too far for now.
Let’s start with baby steps. We get you are impatient, but it would be wise to set the foundations right from the very beginning. You know, for those many ways in which you can profit later on.
To cut to the chase, here’s step by step guide on starting your YouTube channel.
One more thing, before we dive in, don’t skip on checklists, hints and bonus points.
Not to sound old and boring, but one who masters patience, masters everything else. 😉
The first and the most basic step: log in to your Google account
To create a channel go to your account settings on the YouTube page and click create a new channel.
The name of the channel will be set by default to your first and last name, but if you’d like that changed and have some different name, click on use business or other name at the bottom of the pop-up window. This way, you’ll be able to create a brand account. The great thing about creating a brand account is that you can choose a specific name, and allow your teammates to access your channel as managers.
The second step: Fill in the “About” section
If you have frozen upon a mere thought of writing about yourself, we get your pain. But look at this as a necessary evil and a great learning opportunity for each time you’ll be asked to present yourself in the future.
The very first thing you’ll be asked to do after you have created a channel is to fill in the about section. Here it is best to describe yourself or your brand and let your viewers know what they can expect from you and your videos in the future.
Make sure you link all your social media accounts here and put a link to your website if you have one.
#Hint: The description you put here will show in more than one place on your channel, so think about how you’d like to be recognized by others.
The third step: In the business they call it Channel Art
If you haven’t heard the term ‘channel art’ until now, don’t worry. When you hear other YouTubers say channel art they are referencing profile pictures and banners.
Banner or the cover photo will be the first thing that greets anyone who visits your channel. SO, make sure it is memorable and impressionable! In case you need a quick touch up on branding, here are tips on branding we covered up before.
Although not that visible, your profile picture or channel icon will show up underneath each of your videos, in the comment section and once your video shows up in search results (later, of course, in recommended section as well).
We are sure, you are well aware that YouTube has a different outlook depending on the device you are accessing it from. In order to avoid funny looking banners due to the size of the picture you’ve uploaded, check out the exact specifications and guidelines on the size of your channel art.
The fourth step: Everyone wants to check out the trailer first
Trailer, right. Without further ado, admit it, you first check out a trailer of a movie before deciding if the movie is worth watching.
Whilst the same logic almost entirely applies to the channel trailers, these are a wonderful way to introduce your viewers to your channel. But keep in mind that, while the movie is made and set in stone (until the yet-another-remake), your channel will evolve and will keep on evolving. So, film something short and sweet, be funny – if that’s your thing, and know that you can always put up a new trailer if you decide to expand your channel or change focus later on.
The fifth step: Upload a video
Once you have filmed, edited and had fun with creating your first video, it is time to upload it and show it to the world! Of course, this is not the end to our to-do list. It would be too easy if it was.
Anyhow, keep on reading if you want to have a successful YouTube Channel.
Admit it, you want to.
Characteristics of a Successful YouTube Channel
Listen up. You’ve done a tremendous job so far. Your filming skills are awesome. You are willing to go down the trenches and respond to every single person that leaves the comment. The content is top-notch, and damn right it is engaging. And yes, you are ready to win the hearts and souls of the YouTube world.
But, there’s one last hurdle before the stardom: we need to prep you for the standoff with the almighty – YouTube Algorithm.
So, head straight, your spine nice and tall. Take a deep breath, and focus like never before!
The sixth step: Title of the video
Write the title of your video carefully. While people might get attracted visual components of your video listing in the search results, YouTube’s algorithm won’t do such a thing. More importantly, the algorithm can’t read the images, so it will base its decision (among other things listed below) whether to place your video in the list of the search results, on your title.
Make sure it is accurate and includes searchable keywords. Title shouldn’t be too long, so keep it short – somewhere between 70 and 100 characters.
Keywords are the search words your potential viewers might type into YouTube’s search box when looking for what they want to watch.
The seventh step: Description of the video
Yes, we know you’d rather write something short, but here’s the thing, viewers and the algorithm would like something written underneath the video too.
The description of your video should start off with something positive and engaging, inviting the viewers to comment, like your video and of course become subscribers! (But please, don’t simply put LIKE, SHARE, SUBSCRIBE).
Secondly, make sure you include a timestamp of your video. This is a great thing to have for all those who are impatient and would skip over some parts that might also interest them! This way, they will stay for a longer time and might even watch your video till the end.
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Write a summary of the video. This paragraph should include the most most important points of the video, and of course the relevant keywords.
If you’d like to leave links to the sources you’ve spoken about in the video, list them here!
Don’t forget to leave a word or two about yourself and your channel.
At last, but definitely not the least important, don’t forget to link all of your social media accounts, where you’d like your viewers to connect with you. If you have a website, or you’re thinking of creating one later on, link it here too.
Final words on description and title before moving onto the next step:
Description is also known to be a part of metadata – just like title, tags, and keywords are. This allows your video to be discoverable, and this is a big deal.
We mentioned keywords multiple times by now. These are the search words your potential viewers might type into YouTube’s search box when looking for what they want to watch. In order to discover what keywords to use, great tools to use would be YouTube’s own autocomplete search bar. Also, check out YouTube Trends as well as Google Trends and you’ll find which keywords and tags to use. Don’t use too many, but just enough.
The eight-step: Thumbnail
A word of advice – choose your thumbnail carefully, since not everyone is going to read your video title. (We speak from experience. #guilty)
Thumbnails are the first impression someone makes of your channel. So, choose the one that best represents the video you are uploading.
You can upload custom thumbnails once you get verified. After that enable the option custom thumbnails in the settings.
#Bonus point: If you are making a custom thumbnail, don’t put any of the vital information in the right bottom of the thumbnail, as this corner is covered with the timestamp.
The ninth step: Creative and engaging End Card
We can’t say everyone is using this great trick up the sleeve, but many are. End Card or End Slate is the last slide that pops up after your video finishes. While people are inclined to just put their logo there, this would be a great shame, since a valuable promotion space would be lost.
Think of it this way: you have watched someone’s video (randomly) and are ready to move onto the next one, when the end card appears and it showcases what else this YouTuber uploads. You find the titles and thumbnails interesting. Either you click on it and watch it right away, or you subscribe and get notified of other videos as they upload them.
Isn’t it a great way to attract more subscribers and viewers?
The tenth step: Create varying content, but be consistent!
We believe that this one is self-explanatory. When we say varying content, we mean stay true to your theme, but don’t be afraid to make something that is within the context of your theme, but would appeal to the larger audience.
In other words, create some videos that are specific and go in details, while others appeal to themes that are trending and appeal to a wider audience.
Step 1: Channel Sections and Playlists
Channel Sections and Playlists make your channel look more personable, while allowing the viewers and subscribers to navigate easier and get a better sense of your channel.
To make a playlist, go to your channel and click on the three dots next to the video title, and click create a playlist. Then name the playlist and add other videos to the playlist as you upload them. Creating playlists may lead to the increased watch time – we’ll talk about this later on.
As for Channel Sections, you may have noticed that many of the channels on YouTube on their homepages have grouped videos according to a chosen theme. These help you organize and brand your channel. If you want to add a section, click customize channel on your main channel page. Then scroll to the bottom and click add a section. You can choose a content and layout option. When you click on content you’ll be given an ample of choices. If you want to create a custom section from the videos you have already grouped in the playlist, choose the option single playlist. Then click on the layout and choose the horizontal layout. After that, you can choose the playlist that shows below.
YouTube allows you to create ten sections for your homepage for horizontal layout, so personalize it the best way it suits your content!
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Step 2: Engage and Involve your viewers!
Alright, we’ll be short on this one. Don’t forget to engage with your viewers and subscribers! Think about how you feel when a YouTuber on whose video you have commented on response? It feels good. Not to say that you are more likely to subscribe then, right?
It would be wise to involve your viewers in your content too. Talk to them directly. Once you gain a large viewership, think of filming meet-ups and listening carefully to your audience.
Now, the checklist before the end of Round 1.
Checklist: When you create your Youtube Channel
- Did you put adequate video title? Is it keyword rich and sweet and short?
- How about the description?
- Did you write a line encouraging interaction?
- Are time stamps lined up properly?
- A paragraph about the video?
- Additional links?
- A line about yourself?
- A little something about your channel
- Please do not forget to link your social media accounts!
- How’s that thumbnail looking?
- What about the end card?
- Did you create categories and playlists?
- You are consistent, right?
- And always engaging with your viewers!
The secret ingredient of the YouTube success
You know how some videos simply take off and become popular overnight, while others never do?
Here’s the thing – #noBStalk, we all know that YouTube uses an algorithm that helps each viewer find what it is they would like to watch.
If viewers watch your videos and enjoy them, the algorithm makes sure it recommends other of your videos too.
While the algorithm looks at a plethora of factors when deciding which video to place in the search results or in the recommended section (among which are the ones we listed above), watch time appears as one of the most important details to look out for.
Demystifying YouTube Watch Time
In a nutshell, watch time is the amount of time a viewer has watched your video. The more people watch your videos, the more time YouTube clocks for you. It is that simple, yes.
So: the more people watch your videos, the better. The more videos they watch, the better your chances are of making it to the recommended list!
One more thing: Subscribers!
Let’s break it out gently – the subscribers are vital if you want to make it big on YouTube.
Why? Well, if a viewer subscribes to your channel, they will potentially get notified when you upload a new video, and are more likely to watch your content, than the other viewers.
Now, for the home run: IF you get 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the past 12 months, you are eligible for the YouTube Partner Program.
What does this mean? Simple, you can earn ad revenue for your channel. Neat, right?
Take notes from these YouTubers
Here’s the list of YouTubers that have done a great job overall! Check their accounts to pick up a few tricks on how to engage with your subscribers and viewers, to get inspired about what content to produce, how to produce the content and much more! It will give you a better idea how to start your first YouTube channel.
Our favourite travelling journals. Besides great tips on travelling, they will teach you how to grow your audience, expand your brand across multiple platforms such as Instagram, but create your own website and have your own online shop.
Here comes a YouTuber you surely have heard of before. Known for his hilarious comic sketches, this YouTuber actually began his career on Vine. After Vine had shut down, his main platform became YouTube.
This vlogger has a strict posting schedule, his content follows will bring you to tears, so make sure you take some notes.
#Tip: This is a great example of how having your own website beside a profile on an online platform (such as Vine) is a good idea. Since the platform can cease to exist or your account may be shut down, but your personal website will remain.
Most likely the very first vlogger out there. Although there are several titles you can attach to Casey’s name, he remained vlogging to date. Make sure you check out how he personalised his channel, and take a look at his format.
Now, here’s a thing that will make you laugh. Go take a look at his website – just a blank page with a note that the purpose of the website is to redirect you to other platforms he uses. Handy, huh!
We are not entirely sure how no one had thought of this before, but Binging with Babish is created by a phenomenal filmmaker who recreates meals and recipes featured in movies, tv shows, cartoons and video games. Awesome, right?
While millions of foodies enjoy this guys content and cooking skills, if his channel takes you by storm (chances are it will) check out his website, where you’ll find more #inspo for how to create a wholesome content.
He’s funny, has great puns, and will surely teach you a thing or two about cooking and YouTube.
If you haven’t heard of them, we’ll eat a chilly pepper – scouts honour!
But until we settle that dispute and you hand us a proof of not having the slightest idea who these people are, please watch, laugh, cringe, learn, and of course take notes. You’ll thank us later.
We dare say classic-gamer on YouTube. Don’t believe us? Check out his content, and here’s the thing his current channel trailer is about wisdom teeth removal, as requested by his subscribers.
His content, channel art and online persona are absolutely hilarious!
And of course, here’s his website showcasing his online store!
So, are you ready to start your first YouTube channel?
Write to us if you need more tips and advice!