We’ve talked a lot about creating a platform for your Internetaining needs in the first two articles in this series, and we believe that you now know why it’s a good idea to diversify and spread your new Internetaining empire outside the borders of YouTube, but there’s still one more thing we have to teach you, our dear aspiring YouTuber, and that is:
How to make your own platform
Before we start, though – we’d strongly advise that you read the first two articles in this series if you haven’t done so. We’ll wait right here.
You’re done? Excellent.
This article will serve as a more “hands-on” guide, showing you all of the things you need to do to make your own platform on the web. We’ll start slow, by telling you the basics and the essentials, and then dive into a little more complex territory. Buckle up, YouTuber – and good luck!
Step 1: Before The Platform, You Need The Basics
The Channel You’re Basing Your Platform On
The first thing you need to start off your second home on the web is actually the thing that brought you here in the first place: a YouTube channel. You see, the ideal way to reach broader audiences on YouTube is to be consistent, steady, and put up content regularly so that you attract the fans you need.
When working on your channel, just try focusing on the things you’re passionate about, like gaming, or music. Our advice here is to simply be natural and take it easy, and you’ll be ready in no time. If you have a knack for filmmaking or a friend that is extremely good at video editing, you can make some pretty impressive content that will draw people to it, you just need to be patient and consistent.
Social Media Accounts To Channel Traffic
Of course, this is probably the main way of actually getting your content seen by other people, so we strongly suggest that you invest a little time into social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Guides like this one can really help you in making social media the main provider of content for your website. The main ideas are:
- Having engaging content (your YouTube videos)
- Making your posts short, sweet and interesting
- Hosting contests or giveaways
A good social media strategy will make sure you have a lot of fans that will visit your new website, and that’s what we’re after here.
Becoming An Internetainer : A Platform-building Checklist
How YouTubers Are Building Their Own Platforms Based On Sillicon Valley Technology
Are You Internetained? Why Youtubers Are Pivoting To Their Own Platforms
A Good Look And Feel Of The Channel
Your YouTube channel needs to be pleasing to the eye. Give the most popular YouTube channels a look, and you’ll notice that they work a lot on their thumbnails, headers and similar, and you should do the same.
To do this, simply try these things:
- Find your color scheme
- Use tools like Canva (or a designer friend) to make a cool-looking header image
- And make your thumbnails and video end screens stand out
Step 2: The Heart Of Your Future Platform
Now you got the basic things ready, you need to start building the page every other YouTuber will be jealous of. But first, some basics of website building for you. Each website consists of 3 main parts that you absolutely MUST have before you can even start thinking about themes and similar stuff:
- The domain
- The hosting service (the server where the site is located)
- And the CMS, such as WordPress
You’ll want to choose the best possible domain name for your new platform, and of course, we’d like to recommend the .ME domain. Aside from making your site address look cool, it’s also the most personal domain and will show the world that you really are invested in the platform you’ve created.
So what are you waiting for – reserve your domain now!
After you’ve found the URL of your dreams, it’s time to get yourself a hosting plan. There’s a lot of them to choose, and we recommend you to know what your needs are before you spend money on anything. This article provides you with a great roundup of US-available hosting services, so you can start there and work your way to the plan that suits you the most.
WordPress Will Be Your Best Friend
The CMS (content management system) you’ll use on your site will determine how the site will feel like and the themes you’ll be able to pick, among other things. Since you’re hosting content, you’re probably best off with WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS. Why, you ask?
- It’s free
- It’s easy to install (5 minutes only!)
- It’s insanely customizable with themes (hundreds of free and premium themes)
- It’s user-friendly and popular (half the Internet is using it!)
In order to get WordPress on your site, all you need to do is to simply download it from the WordPress.Org site, and it’s yours. To install it on your server and make it work, however, You’ll need a few things. Don’t worry, it’s not a job that requires you to find a professional to do it for you, and it will take only a few minutes of your day if you follow the quick instructions on the WordPress site:
- Access to your server (you got this from your hosting service)
- A text editor like MS Word
- An FTP Client (like cPanel) to actually communicate with the server and upload files, and
- A web browser such as Chrome
WordPress prides itself with a “5-minute installation”, so that’s really an easy task if you follow the steps the good people of WordPress compiled for you. And that’s it – you have a website!
Part 3: Good Looks Make Viewers Come Back
The best way to avoid having an eyesore for a site is to use a good-looking WordPress theme. These are pretty straightforward – you install a theme to your WordPress CMS just like you’d do on a phone or a PC, and the theme will determine how your site will look like while allowing you to customize it further.
What we’re looking for is a video-friendly theme, one that focuses on big thumbnails, a clean interface, and a minimal design. The best way to start your theme quest is by taking a look at the lists of the best selling themes and see if you find something that suits your style the best. Good luck!
There’s literally hundreds of themes that are aimed for video-centric websites for you to choose from but bear in mind: you’re building a platform, so the focus is on the content, not the theme. Pick something decent, smart and fresh, but not too edgy or full of needless boxes and features.
A lot of themes will let you customize them, and it’s probably better to invest some coins into a great premium theme that will let you do whatever you want with it and won’t bottleneck you in the future, than use a free one.
The themes themselves tend to cost $50 to $200, with a lot of great themes costing around $60 USD.
Learn To Choose The Right Plugin For The Job
Once you have the theme you want, get on and tweak it to fit your needs. We want the focus to be on the videos, with large thumbnails and an intuitive interface.
If you get stuck wanting a feature or two, it’s great that almost everything you need can be found as a WordPress plugin. If you want an SEO plugin – you get Yoast, and if you need a great contact form – there’s Contact Form 7. Easy.
Bottom line: make the videos you create the focus of your site, and try to draw attention to them, as they’re the reason you’re making this platform in the first place. You can also send your site to a few friends to test out and give feedback and then you can start working on the finishing touches, which brings us to…
Step 4: It’s All About You(Tube) In The End
We talked about your visual identity above, but now we want you to really focus that creative energy and make the site yours. The main part of your new platform is personalization, and the site really needs to convey the energy and the message of your YouTube channel.
Take Smosh.com for example. They focused their site on their video content, and it’s really the first and last thing you see there. Your site, of course, doesn’t need to look like the one Smosh has. Simply make sure that it shows what you want it to show, and you’ll be fine.
One interesting thing you could do to wrap it all, is a custom video player, like Smosh or The Chive are using. This way you can host your content on a remote server (such as Amazon’s services), and play your videos in your own player – without YouTube links.
Our Pick: Vimeo PRO
Our advice is to use Vimeo PRO, a tool that allows you to host videos on Vimeo but gets you customizable players right out of the box, as well as third-party player support. This is probably the best option because it gives you the robust customizability with the accessibility of a large video site.
All these things will surely combine to make your platform as great as it can be. Sure, it’ll take a bit of sweat and some time, but by the end you’ll have a fully-working website as a second platform, aside from your main YouTube channel. This’ll provide you with the possibility to blog, upload videos that you don’t think will work on YouTube and all sorts of great custom stuff.
So there you have it; creating your own platform is an easy, fun and cheap way to spread your influence online, and will surely be useful in the long run. All that’s left to do now is to start finding those domain names and WordPress themes, and get to work!
We’ll be right here through your journey!