How to Start a YouTube Channel (Complete Guide) – 10+ Best Tips
YouTube is a media platform that is part of our daily lives like eating, sleeping, and breathing. Everyone knows about YouTube, and everyone uses it for pretty much everything nowadays.
With over 2 billion users on the platform that watch up to 1 billion hours of video every single day, it’s the social media platform that we all depend on.
There is close to 500 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute, and many YouTube users have replaced cable TV with YouTube as their medium of entertainment.
With such enormous opportunities and prospects, creating a new free YouTube Channel is a business and easy choice to make. If you are thinking about being a content creator, why don’t you want a piece of the action?
But something to keep in mind when thinking about building a YouTube channel is that you need to go in with no expectations. There is no recipe for success, no matter what people on TikTok will tell you.
Achieving huge subscriber counts, ad revenue, and astronomical viewing figures only happens to the chosen few, and those that are successful have had to put in a lot of hard work to get to that point.
But don’t let that sway you from trying it out. Even the best of the best had to start somewhere.
Have you ever thought about building your own YouTube channel but never started building one because you feel like it’s inaccessible?
While starting a YouTube channel requires a little more work compared to starting an Instagram or a Twitter account. But all you need to get started is a guide to help you along the way to successfully building a YouTube channel.
That’s where this article comes into play. I struggled at the beginning to build my YouTube channel. I went through hours of research, along with trial and error, to slowly get my YouTube channel to where it needed to be.
It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a start, and that’s where these simple steps come into play for those who are new to the platform and need some guidance to build a YouTube channel. Keep reading to learn more, you might find an answer that you might be looking for.
How to Start a YouTube Channel (Complete Guide)
Most Important Question Is To Ask Yourself Why
How to Start a YouTube Channel – Just like anything in life, you need to ask yourself why.
In this case, why do you want to start a YouTube channel? Is it because you have knowledge in a particular niche that you are passionate about and want to share it with the world? Are you skilled at DIY projects and want to help people create new things? Do you have ideas to entertain or inform people? Do you want to become famous?
If you know the reason, then the next step is to make sure you’re clear on your goals and why you’re setting out on this journey. By a goal plan and why you are setting out on this journey, it will help guide you through the process of starting a YouTube channel.
Related Article: 5 Important Steps To Be A Successful YouTube Video Creator
Want to Learn More About Filmmaking?
Become a better filmmaker with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by film masters, including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, James Cameron, and more.
Plan Your Work And Work Your Plan
How to Start a YouTube Channel – Once you have figured out why you want to create a YouTube channel, it’s time to move on to the next step of planning your content.
When planning your content think about what you like watching on YouTube and what interests you? Just remember that there is a couple of billion viewers on YouTube, so you know there is an audience out there for you to attract. You just need to figure out how to attract an audience.
If there is a trending topic in your niche, why not give it your own spin?
For example, if you’re starting a channel about cooking, some good ideas may look like the following:
- “How-to-cook” tutorials where viewers follow you along as you bake.
- Cooking challenges where you try to make something you’ve never done before.
- Reach out to professionals and other chefs you look up to and invite them on for an interview while you bake.
- Identify useful topics and popular search terms like ‘top 5 kitchen utensils every cook needs.
Another example, if you’re starting a travel channel:
- A weekly vlog where viewers can tune in and stay up to date with whatever it is you’re up to, wherever you are in the world.
- Feature useful top-tips videos, like ‘the 10 essential items to pack for surviving Disneyland with your family.’
- A series or playlist of YouTube videos documenting a journey through a certain country, like a TV episode released once a week.
Once you’ve got your content and ideas planned, you can then assemble a schedule and structure. For example, you may start doing one video a week, or once every two weeks.
Depending on how much time you have and how well the channel does, you then may decide to step things up to two videos a week, and so on.
Having a content calendar helps keep you focused and on top of your projects. We’ll talk more about consistency later on in this post.
Creating your YouTube account
How to Start a YouTube Channel – Now you have your plan and goals in place, it’s time to start your YouTube account. Odds are, you already have one, and you can skip this step, but if you are new to YouTube, head to YouTube while signed in to the Google account you’d like to associate with your new channel.
- Using the channel switcher, find the option to create a new channel.
- Click on ‘Create a new channel‘. You’ll be taken to a screen where you can create a brand-new account. Choose your channel name (keep it short and catchy if possible!) and then click ‘Create.’
Channel art and icon
How to Start a YouTube Channel – While you might be ready to start uploading videos on your YouTube account once you created it, but you need to hold off until you have your marketing ready.
You need to design your channel art and logo to look like a ‘valid’ channel.
Picking the correct imagery for your channel artwork is important. It’s the same as when you’re choosing a banner and icon for your other social media profiles such as Twitter and Facebook.
This is the initial thing viewers will see when they visit your channel, so you need to make sure that it represents your brand and shows what your channel is about.
The key dimensions for these are:
- Channel icon: 800 × 800 pixels, displaying as 98×98 pixels
- Channel banner: 2,560 × 1440 pixels. The safe area for mobile and web (without text and logo cropping) is 1546 × 423 pixels.
For your YouTube channel banner, it’s well worth checking out templates on sites such as Canva.
For your channel icon, customize by hovering over the icon (currently linked to your brand account’s profile image) and click the pencil icon when it appears (the ‘edit channel icon’ button). This will take you directly to the upload image screen.
Just like, channel art, hover over the banner image until the pencil icon (‘edit channel art’ button) appears. Click and you’ll be taken to the upload image screen.
When you upload both of these, YouTube provides a preview and cropping option to ensure nothing is cut off. This process will take a little bit of trial and error, but it will help make your video content channel stand out.
Related Article: Sony ZV-E10 Digital Camera – Important Vlogging Basics
Complete your profile
How to Start a YouTube Channel – The final task to do before posting your first video is to fill out your profile.
- Click the gear icon on your channel homepage (next to the subscribe button).
- This will open a pop-up for ‘channel settings.’ Ensure that ‘customize the layout of your channel’ is enabled and then click ‘Save.’
- Head to the ‘About’ tab on your channel
This is where you will be able to give a brief summary of yourself and your channel in the description. Try to keep it concise and on-point such as who you are, what you do in the channel, how often you post, etc.
Include suitable YouTube keywords that will enable people to find you when they search YouTube. After this, you can add your contact email.
There’s also an area to include links to like your social accounts, your website, and any affiliate links. These will appear over your channel art, highly visible to your audience when they first visit your channel.
That’s it, now it’s time to start posting videos.
Create a channel trailer
How to Start a YouTube Channel – A channel trailer is something that many YouTubers don’t think about, but aside from the channel artwork.
It’s the first thing viewers are likely to see when they visit your channel, and it automatically plays when non-subscribers click through to your channel. If you have a great eye-catching trailer this will help you can gain new subscribers and viewers.
So, create yourself a Youtube channel trailer first. Treat it like any other trailer – it’s a short video (no longer than 2 minutes in length) that offers the audience a look at who you are and what they can expect to find on your channel.
A few things to think about when making a YouTube trailer
- What makes you unique?
- What’s the personality of your brand and the channel vibe?
- Why should people subscribe?
If possible, start with a ‘hook’ that grabs people’s attention in the first few seconds, and then remember to finish the video by asking them to subscribe to your channel.
To make the video a trailer
- Click the customize channel button (the gear icon) on the home page.
- Go to the ‘Home’ tab.
- Click ‘For New Visitors.
- Click ‘Edit’ and then select ‘Change Trailer.’
Upload your first YouTube video
How to Start a YouTube Channel – While you have probably uploaded a channel trailer, now is the time to start uploading actual video content to your YouTube channel.
If you have some content already on your hard drive, start uploading and give your channel life. If you don’t have any content ready yet, why not add an introduction video to show your viewers what to expect of your channel or what activities you have been up to recently.
It’s all up to you, it’s your channel now, and you do what you seem is right. The choice is all yours.
To upload, all you need to do is click the ‘upload video’ icon. As it uploads, you’ll be able to pick a title, write a video description, choose the thumbnail and add keywords.
Optimizing your video
How to Start a YouTube Channel – Now, this is the part of the upload processing that some YouTubers tend to neglect, but it’s extremely important to have your content be seen more regularly. Once you have finished uploading your video, you are not quite done, as there are some essential steps to pay attention to.
Below are some basic set up tips to help you improve the chances of your video being found and watched by new viewers.
- Thumbnails – Selecting the right thumbnail plays a huge part in viewers clicking and watching your video. Your thumbnail picture should be bright and eye-catching. Make sure your thumbnail looks relevant to the video content, and you should add a keyword or phrase as graphic text. Click here to see some of the thumbnails I created for my relaxation music channel as an example.
- Titles – The other step in having individuals click through to your video is the title. Make sure it’s straightforward, applicable, descriptive, and features one or two keywords at the start.
- Description – Provide as much detail to the video description section as possible. Provide enough relevant keywords throughout the section. Provide any applicable resources and links to your social channels and anything else that might be referenced in the video. This helps the YouTube algorithm massively.
- Tags – Tags help specify whether your video is going to display up as a suggested video and will help with ranking in search engine results. Provide specific and targeted keywords that apply to your video content.
- Additional tips – YouTube likes longer videos. Try to make your videos longer it helps in your placing in the algorithm. Just keep in mind that your content needs to be watchable and valuable all the way through. Another critical metric that YouTube measures are view duration. If the audience switches to a new view within a minute of a 10-minute video, it won’t rank so well.
- Create a template – Create a template for your video uploads. Include all your default tags and description text (like links to your main website, links to other forms of social media, a summary description of your business or product, etc.) This section can always be changed later after your video is uploaded, so you can access it at any time after you publish the video to reflect the latest trending tags to engage viewers and increase traffic.
Also, when uploading your video, ensure that the filename includes a few relevant and targeted keywords. After months of uploading videos myself, I realized the algorithm pays attention to this!
To make changes to any of these:
- Go to YouTube Studio
- On the left-hand side tool, click on the ‘Videos’ tab.
- Hover over the video you want to edit and click the ‘Details’ button (the pencil icon).
Stay constant in your uploading
How to Start a YouTube Channel – The primary reason many new YouTube channels struggle to succeed is that they’re inconsistent. At the beginning of this post, it was mentioned that having a strategy and working on your plan is extremely important to be successful as a YouTuber, and to be successful consistency needs to be part of that plan.
You need to create and manage a schedule and timeline that makes sense for you and then commit to that.
The key to being seen by your audience is maintaining a schedule that will help your audience be aware of new postings on your channel.
Forget the metrics at the start
How to Start a YouTube Channel – I know that many YouTubers are so excited to have their videos published and see if their viewership increases hourly, but don’t do it!
At the start, your numbers don’t matter. Stop worrying so much about your subscriber count. Ignore the likes and number of views and comments you get.
While it’s great to have feedback from your audience to see what works and what doesn’t work, but your time should be spent on creating content.
Content is key! Always be focused on creating the best content you can by being as entertaining and informative as you can. If you are creating valuable content for your audience, they will find you. Just like the movie “Field Of Dreams”, if you build it, they will come. If you get wrapped up in your numbers, the quality of your work may suffer.
Engage with your community
How to Start a YouTube Channel – To build a strong relationship with your audience and grow your channel you need to actively engage with your viewers. I noticed that with any blog post I take time to create, if one person takes the time to read a post and leave a comment, it means the blog post connected with someone.
That is a great feeling knowing something that took time to create left an impression with someone. This applies to YouTube videos as well. If someone is willing to watch your video, leave a like, leave a comment or subscribe, you can’t ignore this!
In your schedule, make sure you plan your time to read and reply to every one of the comments you receive (do this authentically – and add a personal touch to each online comment). People will see you noticing them noticing you, and you’ll start to build a real community and faithful audience who keep coming back.
Related Article: 10 Best Screenwriting Software For Film (Free and Paid)
Other ways to increase visibility
How to Start a YouTube Channel – Once you get yourself on the right track and post regular videos to your channel, you can start thinking about other strategies and ways to grow. Here are a few top tips I recommend:
Collaborate with other YouTubers
Don’t be overly ambitious, but if you notice someone on the YouTube platform that is creating similar videos to you, consider reaching out and try building a network between both of you to see if you both can work on something together.
When you appear on their channel and vice versa, your two audiences will follow and check you both out.
Use end cards
End cards are something that I didn’t do at the start of my YouTube channel, but it’s an important piece to increase your audience.
Once your videos finish, you can choose to add some end cards. By adding a helpful icon reminds viewers to do so. Similarly, linking through to another video on your channel helps encourage viewers to watch more of your videos when you update your channel.
If you have followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, put out a call-to-action on your stories and posts informing your audience what you have been doing on YouTube and why they should check out your YouTube channel.
This helps boost awareness and grow your audience especially for those people interested in what you do.
Organize your channel
When you have a few videos uploaded to your channel, you should think about how you want your audience to navigate your channel.
For example, if you have a group of videos on your channel that focus on a particular niche, place them together in a playlist. This helps you maintain your viewers on a specific playlist as each video will play one after another, prompting longer viewing.
Update the channel appearance by separating your videos into categories and topics to help make the channel a lot easier to browse and navigate, instead of just having everything lumped together with the newest videos showing first.
Want to Learn More About Photography?
Become a better photographer with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by photography masters, including Jimmy Chin, Annie Leibovitz, Tyler Mitchell, and more.
So, that’s our step-by-step guide on how to start a YouTube Channel. We hope it’s useful and sets you on the path to success.
Eager to learn more?
Join our weekly newsletter below featuring inspiring stories, no-budget filmmaking tips, and comprehensive equipment reviews to help you turn your film projects into reality!
If you found this post useful, please do consider sharing it or letting your friends know via social media. Have something to add? Please feel free to do so in the comments section below. I really appreciate it!
📌 Don’t forget to save the blog for later, pin the image below!
About the author: Trent (IMDB | YouTube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.