So, you want to embark on a YouTube adventure by starting your own YouTube channel. You’ve got the right idea, the timing is perfect, the motivation is there, there’s just one slight problem - you are not exactly sure where to start.
Don’t worry, for you’ve stumbled upon the right article/perfect guide as we are here to help you get started and create your YouTube channel from scratch. You’ll learn how to set up your YouTube account, step by step, for we’ll provide you with all essential information in a simple, yet efficient manner, as well as offer you some tips when it comes to your channel’s name and other information, uploading videos, customization, and more. You’ll basically have the do’s and the don’ts in order to create a top quality YouTube channel that will get you or your business noticed and attract the most subscribers, so let’s get started.
Things to Know Before Creating Your YouTube Channel
Before actually setting up your channel and creating and posting videos, it is important that you consider a couple of things first. Therefore, let’s mention the three most essential things to go through before diving into the unexplored YouTube waters.
- Define Your Channel’s Purpose. Creating a high-quality channel is not only two clicks away, but requires some time and thought to be put into it before truly diving in. Ask yourself about your channel’s purpose, what do you want to accomplish with it? Will it be for personal or professional use? Are you going to be posting vlogs about your life or promote your business? Will your channel be for entertainment or educational purposes? It’s important that you create a strong vision about what your channel is going to be about, as this will serve as the basis for everything that is to come.
- Define Your Audience. When starting a YouTube channel, whether for personal, informative, or marketing purposes, in order to achieve the success you’re looking for it’s of utmost importance that you know your target audience. These are the people that will most likely subscribe to your channel, so it’s important that you know their interests and needs in order to know how to connect and engage with them. Therefore, explore other channels and communities relevant to your subject matter, take a look at the users who comment the most, what other channels are they subscribed to, what other topics peak their interest? By knowing this info, you can create the perfect content, reach to your perfect audience, and plan ads and campaigns based on your audience’s interests.
- Create a Content Plan. YouTube content strategy should be taken as seriously as any other content strategy if you want to have a successful channel. So, once you’ve found your audience, think about the reasons why they would subscribe to your channel and what would interest them in your videos. Check out your competitors and take a look at what works for them, which videos have the most views, likes, and dislikes. Based on this information, you can determine more easily what your audience is looking for so that you can effectively get your message across and/or promote your brand in an efficient way. Think about the topics you want to cover, the reasons why those topics are or are not successful when it comes to your competitors, what will make your content stand out from the crowd, and so on. Thinking about your content strategy ahead of time will be of great help once you start creating your channel, so set an objective, find your voice, and get to work.
How to Create a YouTube Channel from Scratch
The actual process of setting up your YouTube channel is a simple one, so simple in fact that you could do it in less than 10 minutes. However, this doesn’t mean that the job is done here. On the contrary, creating your channel is just the beginning for what is to come, for having a successful and high-quality channel requires a lot of work and dedication, so let’s start with the basics.
Create a Google Account
Before creating your YouTube channel, you must have a Google account. If you already have one, skip to the next chapter, if you don’t, follow the upcoming instructions. As YouTube is owned by Google, it works only through a Google account, so insert the following link into your web browser: accounts.google.com/signup. You’ll then need to enter some personal information like your name, surname, email address, and most importantly, your username and password.
Wisely choose your username as this will be your username on YouTube as well, but don’t worry if you change your mind at a later point as you can always change your channel’s name once you’ve created your YouTube account. Once your Google account has been created, you can change the preferences when it comes to security and other information by clicking on the following link: myaccount.google.com.
Set Up Your YouTube Channel
Having a Google account allows you to view, like, and comment on any YouTube video, however, you cannot upload videos since you haven’t created the actual channel. So, now that you’ve got your Google account set up, you’re ready for the next step. Go to www.youtube.com and sign in with your Google account.
Click on the icon where your profile photo is supposed to be in the top-right corner, then click on the “Creator Studio” button.
Once you’ve done that, an almost empty page is going to appear which will inform you that you have to create a channel first, so click on the “Create a Channel” link.
Now, you’ll have the option to change the name of the channel, or let it remain as your name and surname.
Beware, for there is a limit as to how many times and for how long you can change your channel’s name, and we’ll show you how to do this later in the article. So, by clicking on the “Create Channel” button once again you’ll automatically accept YouTube’s terms of service and your channel will be created.
Congratulations, you’ve just become an owner of your first YouTube channel!
Choose a Channel Icon
Once you’ve created your YouTube channel, it’s time for you to personalize it. Click on the “Dashboard” button in the top-left corner, then on “View Channel” which you’ll find just below your channel’s name.
As you may notice, your channel looks bland and uninteresting, which is why it’s in desperate need of personalization, so let’s start with the icon first. Simply click on the pencil button which is hiding in the top-right corner of the avatar icon and then on the blue “Edit” button that’ll appear.
You’ll be informed that your YouTube channel icon is the same as your Google account icon, which is why after clicking on the “Edit” button you’ll be taken back to your Google account where you can upload your photo.
It can be your personal photo or the logo of your business, it’s up to you. Beware that the photo may not show up immediately on your YouTube channel, so be patient and give it some time before thinking that something went wrong.
Create Your YouTube Channel Art
YouTube channel art is basically the first impression viewers have once they enter your channel. Simply click on “Add channel art” and a popup will appear where you can choose to upload photos from your computer, photos from your Google account, or select stock photos from the gallery.
The minimum size for the photo is 2048×1152 pixels, however, the recommended size is 2560×1440 pixels, the maximum file size being 6MB. Once you’ve selected the photo, you’ll be informed that your channel art, or the photo of your choosing, will look differently on different devices, which is why you’ll need to adjust the crop for each one.
Simply click on the “Adjust the crop” button and select which part of the photo you would like to be in the focus area, then click on the “Devices preview” button to see how the photo is going to look like on each device. If you’re happy with the way it looks, simply click on the “Select” button and your channel art will be set up.
Since your channel art is the first thing a potential subscriber sees once he or she enters your channel, it’s important that it looks interesting and inviting. So, in order to personalize the photo of your choosing even more, you can incorporate your channel’s name or logo in it. This is best done by using a free tool which will make this task easier for you, our recommendation being Canva.
The first step is to log into canva.com. If you don’t already have an account, signing up is quick and easy, simply follow the instructions.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a “Create a design” banner with a “More” button in the right corner, so click on it. You’ll immediately be given lots of options for different types of designs, so you’ll want to scroll down and once you see “Social Media and Email Headers” click on the “YouTube channel art” icon.
In a new tab you’ll see the main editing layout with a couple of options on the left side.
In order to have the perfect fit for all devices, computer, TV, and mobile, we recommend that you download the following template and then incorporate it into Canva. Let us show you how you can do this. Simply click on the following link and download the photo.
Then, go back to Canva and upload it, place it on the canvas. You would want to keep every element, whether that’s a photo, text, logo, etc. in the darkest shaded box where it says “text and logo safe area”.
As you can see, I incorporated a photo and text which is the name of my channel.
In the “Layouts” section you’ll see different premade templates which can either serve you as ideas, or you can edit and personalize each one and make it completely your own and unique.
The other sections including “Elements”, “Layouts”, “Text”, and “Background” offer many features that can enrich and personalize your channel art even more.
Now when you select your Canva photo as your channel art, you can crop it if you wish but there’s no need since we used a template and it fits perfectly on all devices.
Now it looks so much more inviting and personalized, doesn’t it?
Optimize Your Channel’s Description
Optimizing your YouTube channel is one of the essential things for you to do if you’re looking for YouTube success, and it all starts with your channel’s description.
By optimizing your channel’s description, your channel will have a much better chance of it being discovered on the internet. Also, it will provide a much better idea to viewers of what your channel is about and what kind of content they are to expect.
If it’s a personal channel, the content can include a short description about yourself, mainly some basic info like your name, age, the country you’re from etc. so that your viewers have some idea about who you are.
Then you should mention what your channel is going to be about and basically give your viewers a reason to subscribe to your channel and watch your videos. If you have an idea of what your target audience is, you can adjust the tone of voice and sell your channel to the best of your abilities.
Lastly, you should include information regarding when and how often you’ll upload the videos. It can be along the lines of “I’ll be posting two videos each week”, or “Expect a new video every Wednesday” so your viewers can have an idea for when to expect your videos. Now comes the SEO part where keywords play an essential role.
YouTube, being the second largest search engine after Google, uses keywords when deciding where to rank each channel. Since the first two sentences are immediately visible on YouTube’s landing page, they should contain at least two keywords for better search rankings. In order to increase the chance of being ranked as highly as possible, make your description keyword-rich by making sure that it doesn’t sound spammy.
Optimize Your Videos for Search
Just like with your channel description, optimizing your videos is extremely important if you want them to be found more easily on the platform, the main three things being: the title, the video description, and the tags. We’re only going to touch upon this subject just so you can get the gist why this is important, and will cover it more in depth later when you’ll learn how to upload a video.
- Title. The title is the first thing the viewer sees and it’s the main factor which determines whether or not the viewer will click on the video. Statistics show that titles which contain an exact keyword match rank higher than those that do not, so make sure to use your target keywords in the title but keep it short at the same time.
- Video Description. After seeing the title, many viewers glance at the video description before actually clicking on the video to watch it. YouTube offers up to 1000 characters to be used for the description, but this doesn’t mean that you should use them all. Since YouTube only displays roughly the first 100 characters before giving you the option to “Show more” and see the rest of the text, make sure to incorporate the most crucial information in the first 3-5 sentences. These should also include the main keywords, so make sure to sell your content by incorporating at least one keyword in each sentence. Set the context and give your viewers a reason to watch the video in question. This way, not only will the chance to rank higher increase, but also the chance for your video to appear in the suggested videos sidebar.
- Tags. Tags are important for optimization since they inform both YouTube and the viewers what your channel is about. Choosing the right tags will help them understand both the content and context of your video, so YouTube can associate your video with other similar videos and suggest it in the suggested videos sidebar. Let your first tag be the most important keyword, and make sure to include both short and long-tail keywords for your other tags.
How To Upload and Edit Videos
Once all the customization and personalization is done, we get to the real deal of uploading, optimizing, and editing videos. Uploading videos on YouTube is a simple process, while editing them, not so much. Ok, ready? Let’s start.
Learn How to Upload Videos
First and foremost, click on the “Upload” button which you can find in the top-right corner.
Once this window appears, you’ll be given an option to set the privacy settings for the video you’re about to upload.
This is what each stands for:
- Public: Your video will be visible to everyone. It will appear to anyone who enters the Video section of your channel.
- Unlisted: Your video will be visible only to those who have a link to the video. It won’t appear to anyone who enters the Video section of your channel.
- Private: Your video will be visible to you and to you only. It won’t appear to anyone who enters the Video section of your channel.
- Scheduled: You’ll be given an option to set a time and a date for when you’d like the video to be posted. Only then will the video be public for everyone to see. This is a great setting if you have a couple of videos ready for uploading, so instead of uploading each at the date and time of your choosing, you can schedule them all at one time.
Once you’ve uploaded the video, depending on its quality and length you may have to wait for a few seconds or minutes for it to be completely uploaded. Once the upload is complete, the status bar will be completed, and on the left side under “Upload status”, instead of “Uploading the video” it will say “Upload complete”. It doesn’t take too long for the video to be processed, nevertheless, while this operation is ongoing you can use the time to incorporate some information regarding the video and optimize it so it has more probability of it being found.
How to Optimize the Title
The title is one of the most important, if not THE most important piece of information about your YouTube video that the viewer first sees.
Therefore, it’s important that you know what people are searching for in order to use those keywords in your title and provide better ranking for your video. Keywords also help YouTube understand what your video is about and where it should be ranked. Moreover, a clear and concise title with relevant keywords will help viewers to better understand what your video is really about, which determines whether or not they’ll click on it. Apart from being clear and concise, your YouTube video title should also be compelling so it evokes the viewers’ attention and persuades them in a way to see it.
In short, your video title should include relevant keywords that’ll serve yourself, YouTube, and your viewers, and be clear, concise, and compelling at the same time.
As an example, I uploaded the following stock video of a woman baking apple hand pies.
Therefore I included “How to Make” and “Apple Hand Pies” in the first part of the title, since that’s what most people would type in if they wanted to find out how to make this recipe. Moreover, since both the filling and the dough are made from scratch, I included that information in the title as well by simply adding “Filling and Dough from Scratch”. This is also relevant information and important keywords that people are searching for, so if you have to include more info in your title, simple divide the different parts by using the vertical bar (|) like I did, the hyphen (-), or the slash sign (/).
Here are some more tips you should consider when creating the title if you want to optimize it even further so your video has a better chance of ranking higher:
- If your videos are informative or educational in any way, make sure that your title is constructed in such a way that the viewers would know immediately they are to receive some benefit or value out of it. One way to do this is simply state what your video is about. For example, if your video explains how one can overcome anxiety by doing let’s say three things, the title should sound like “How to Overcome Anxiety in 3 Simple Steps”, “3 Easy Steps to Beat Anxiety”, or something along the lines of “3 Unbelievable Tricks to Overcome Anxiety that Actually Work”, you get the gist.
- If you’re vlogging about your daily life, if you have a travel vlog or a gaming channel or any type of channel where you tell stories of sorts, you’re title should be constructed in such a way that it teases the viewers into watching your video. You can do this by revealing a part of what is about to happen in the video, so that the viewers are intrigued and their interest is peaked. Make sure that the thumbnail matches the title’s information since both the title and the thumbnail in this case work as a power couple. An example would be “Cute Baby Swims in a Pool”, “Grumpy Cat Slaps a Dog”, “Brave Activist Challenges an Ignorant Man” and so on.
- In order for your video to have better chances of it being displayed in Google search, make sure that its title has no more than 66 characters. Even though YouTube has 100 character limit for titles, most search engines will either not show them fully or not show them at all. The title of the video I previously uploaded may seem long (How to Make Apple Hand Pies | Filling and Dough from Scratch), but it has 49 characters and it’s within the limits so the chances of it being displayed by search engines is higher simply because of this optimal length.
- If your channel is about promoting your business and you want your brand name to be incorporated in the title, make sure it’s the last part of the title. For example, if I was to incorporate “Tasty Baking” into my previous title, it should look like this: “How to Make Apple Hand Pies | Filling and Dough from Scratch | Tasty Baking”. If it fits and makes sense, add the word “video” to your title so it can be found more easily by different search engines.
- In case you want to change the title at a later point, you can do that very easily. Simply click on “Video manager” and when the list of all your videos is displayed, select the video whose title you want to change. You can play with different titles in order to see which one draws the most views so you know how to construct them in the future.
How to Optimize the Description
When viewers search for a particular video, whether for informational or entertainment purposes, they can encounter lots of similar videos with similar titles and topics. When this happens, the video description will be the deciding factor for it gives additional information that will help the viewers decide which video to click on.
So, if the title is important because it’s the first thing the viewer sees before clicking on the video, the description is just as important for it gives more information to those who are not sure whether or not to click on it, and if they do, whether or not to actually stay and watch it. But even if the viewers don’t read the description, be aware that Google and YouTube do just like any other written content on the internet. This is why you should write your description wisely and optimize it to the best of your abilities, and we’re here to help you do just that.
Inform and Optimize
In order to have an informative and a nicely-written description, make sure to inform the viewers what your video is about and use the main keyword and other relevant keywords in a meaningful way. The content of the description is important not only to the viewers, but to Google and YouTube as well for they are search engines as we already mentioned and keywords are important to them in order to understand what the content inside the video is about. Therefore, let both search engines and your viewers know what your video is about by taking into consideration the following tips.
- Even though YouTube allows maximum of 5,000 characters to be included in the video description, you’re not writing a blog post so there’s no need for so much text. The recommended length of a video description is around 200-400 words which roughly translates into 1,000 – 2,000 characters.
- When a video appears in Google or YouTube search results, or when it’s displayed in the suggested videos sidebar on YouTube, only the first two lines of text are visible to the viewer. These two lines appear as a snippet in search results, making them the most important part of the video description which is why you should include your main keywords in the first sentence of the description, even only your main keyword is enough for the first sentence. The first two sentences of the description should compel the viewers to watch the video by informing them what your video is about and what they’ll get or learn by watching it. You can check out your competitor’s descriptions that rank the highest and make yours even more compelling, unique, and informative for best results.
- As we said, the description should be useful to the viewer, but it should be constructed in such a way that at least a couple of keywords are included in it. By using some keyword research tool, or YouTube’s recommended keywords in the search bar, identify the main keywords and related keyword phrases and optimize around them. This way, the content of the description becomes useful to YouTube and other search engines as well and the chances of it being found on the internet will increase dramatically. Also, based on the description YouTube decides whether or not to include that particular video in the recommended or suggested videos, so investing some time into this can only be useful to you.
- When using keywords, make sure that they make sense in the sentence. Incorporating too many keywords that don’t make a lot of sense when put in context sounds spammy to both viewers and search engines, so don’t think that by using too many keywords your video will rank higher.
An Example of How to Write the First Two Lines
Let’s take the video we’re uploading on the Tasty Baking channel as an example of how the first two lines or roughly the first 100 characters should look like. The main keyword in this case is “apple hand pies” since that is what people are searching for when trying to find this recipe.
To find other important keywords, we used Google Keyword Planner as the main keyword research tool as well as YouTube by typing the main keyword in the search bar and looking at the suggested keywords that are most researched by viewers. The result was the following keywords: mini, small, recipe, easy, dough, filling, learn, and how to. As you can see, all of these keywords relate to the main keyword “apple hand pies” so now what I have to do is use them in a meaningful way without sounding spammy and overusing them. Also, we can only use 3-4 of these keywords and still nicely optimize our description, so these are the first 100 characters that will be displayed in the search snippet.
As you may notice, we used the main keyword “apple hand pies” in the first sentence of the description as well as three other keywords like “learn”, “how to” and “scratch”. Even though it seems much that we used 4 keywords for the first sentence only, it sounds natural and the sentence makes complete sense. By constructing it this way we also immediately inform the viewer what the video is about and what they will learn to do if they watch it. The second line also includes keywords like “recipe”, “filling”, “dough”, and “easy” since this is what viewers are searching for as well when looking for an apple hand pie recipe. It also informs the viewers that they’ll learn how to make the filling and the dough from scratch in an easy way, which may help them decide to use this video instead of some other listed on the page.
You can optimize your description even more and make it more engaging simply by adding clickable links. You should make sure that the links start with http:// because this is the only way for them to be clickable.
By incorporating links in your description you can connect your viewers to your website and social media profiles, inform them about your other videos, promote your product, and more, so here are some links for you to consider.
Which Links Should You Put in Your Description
- Link to your website;
- Link to your social media profile (s);
- Link to some of your other videos that you think your viewers will be interested in. Next to the link you can write something like “After mastering the apple hand pies, you may be interested in making a carrot cake next. You can find this delicious recipe by clicking this link.”;
- YouTube subscription link, so that your viewers are reminded and encouraged to subscribe to your channel by clicking it.
Also, adding your contact information in the description is a good idea so that you can easily be reached by fans, other YouTubers who want to collaborate, people who want to advertise on your channel, and so on.
Here’s a good example:
Besides the title and the description of the video, tags are also used to inform both the viewers and YouTube what your video is actually about. Therefore, if you want to increase the visibility and discoverability of your videos, tags which are basically keywords are super important, so here are some tips that will help you do just that.
- Use at least 10 tags in each video, the more tags the better;
- Use plural and singular keywords;
- Don’t use misleading tags and irrelevant keywords as YouTube penalizes for that;
- Put the most important tags at the beginning;
- Include your brand name in the tags, whether your personal name or your company’s name;
- Use the YouTube search bar to get ideas for researched relevant keywords.
Use the following three types of tags:
- Specific Tags. These are one word keywords that describe your video in a specific way. As an example, specific tags for the “How to Make Apple Hand Pies” video would be the following: “how”, “make”, “apple”, “hand”, “pie”, “pies”, “filling”, “dough”, “scratch”.
- Multiple-word tags. These are also keywords that describe the video but with multiple words which can range from 2 to as many as you like. Multiple-word tags for the “How to Make Apple Hand Pies” video would be the following: “apple hand pie”, “apple hand pies”, “how to make apple hand pies”, “how do I make apple hand pies”, “making apple hand pie”, “how to make apple hand pies from scratch”, “make apple hand pie dough from scratch”, “tasty baking” (our brand), and so on.
- Broad-term tags. These keywords are general terms that also describe the video but in a broader sense. So, an example of how these keywords should look like for the above-mentioned video would be the following: “baking”, “cooking”, “pastry crust”, “dessert”, “baked good”, “delicious”, and so on.
Here’s our example:
Set a Thumbnail
This may or may not come as a surprise, but thumbnails are often the main factor that helps viewers decide which video to click on and watch. You can choose one of the default thumbnails that YouTube offers like we did on the Tasty Baking channel.
However, creating a custom thumbnail will attract more viewers and even statistics report that up to 90% of the best performing YouTube videos don’t have default thumbnails, but custom-made ones instead. Therefore, let us show you how to create your own custom thumbnail by using a free online photo editor called Picmonkey. First of all, create a screenshot of your video which you would use for creating the custom thumbnail. Once you save the photo, go to Picmonkey, click on the “Edit” button and choose the photo in question. Then, click on the crop button which you can find on the left side, and adjust the proportions of your photo to be 1920×1080 and click “apply”.
After cropping the photo, you can play in this or any other photo editor of your choice and customize your video in whatever way you want. You can incorporate the title of your video or some other text that will inform the viewers what your video is about, you can insert stickers, or even make a collage of 3 different photos and use that as a thumbnail – the possibilities are endless. The more your thumbnail stands out from the crowd, the more people will click on it. Anyhow, for educational purposes, let us show you how we customized our thumbnail by using Picmonkey.
So, after cropping the image, we decided to use the rectangle with the sharp edges to make a background in order for the text to be more visible.
As you can see, we made a very simple custom thumbnail by adding only background and text to the photo. You can only use Picmonkey for free for 7 days, but you can follow the steps and edit your photo in any other free photo editor on the internet. You have to be verified by YouTube in order to use custom thumbnails, so once you do that you can easily use custom-made photos as your thumbnails and attract more viewers.
Tips to Enhance Your Channel
So, your YouTube channel is set up and now you know how to upload and optimize videos on your channel.
But how can you optimize your YouTube channel and videos even more? What are some tricks that you can do in order to increase your rankings, attract more viewers, and increase the popularity of your channel? These are all relevant questions if you want to find success on YouTube which is why we’ve outlined the biggest tips below in order to make this process easier for you, so let’s start with the first one.
Add Captions to Your Videos
Adding captions or subtitles to your YouTube videos is very important for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, captions contribute into boosting your video SEO therefore acquiring higher rankings for your videos because the text helps YouTube and Google understand the content of your video even more. Secondly, captions make the experience of watching a video even better for most viewers, especially those who speak English as a second language and not to mention people with hearing disabilities. Lastly, according to some studies, adding captions increases viewers’ video engagement and watch time.
There are obviously plenty of benefits that you can acquire by adding captions, so let us show you how to do this.
Go to “Video manager”, select the video you want to add captions to and click “Edit”. Once you do this, you’ll see the “Subtitle” tab and after clicking it you’ll have to select the language in which you want your captions to be and click the “Set language” button.
Then you’ll have to make a choice of uploading pre-written captions, transcribe your content by using Google’s help, or write the captions and set the timings yourself. We chose the second option, and this is how we did it.
While typing the text, the video automatically gets paused which makes writing the captions an extremely easy task.
Once you’ve transcribed the whole video, click on the “Set timings” button which will take you to a page where you have to adjust the timing and check if the captions align with the video’s audio.
When you’ve checked the video and the subtitles are ready, simply click on the “Publish” button in the top-right corner and your captions will be set.
Keep the Videos Short
In this day and age people have a short attention span which is why shorter videos work better than long ones. Shorter videos, being more shareable, also increase viewers’ engagement. This doesn’t mean that longer videos are not successful, but on average they receive less views and watch time than shorter ones.
So, if you have an idea about, let’s say a 20-minute long video, see if you can break your content down into four 5-minute videos that are sure to receive more watch time.
There is no rule as to how long should a YouTube video be in order to attract the most views and receive the most watch time, so we recommend that they are from 2 to 10 minutes long. After all, this depends on the kind of channel you have and the type of content you produce, just keep this tip in mind.
Create an Introductory Video
Making an introductory video or a trailer for your channel is super-important for attracting new viewers, especially if you are just starting and don’t have many videos posted on your channel. This is the first impression that you’ll make which will help the viewers decide whether or not to subscribe to your channel, so keep in mind the following tips in order to create a successful channel.
- For a better chance of viewers actually subscribing, make sure that you have at least 2 videos on your channel before adding the trailer. Why is this important? Because it doesn’t matter how well you sell your channel and explain what people are to expect in the future if they cannot see that in action. Even if their interest is peaked about what is to come, without actually watching a video many wouldn’t subscribe just yet;
- Create a plan before filming the intro since it needs to be short, engaging, and include the following information: short introduction of yourself or your brand, information regarding what viewers are to expect if they subscribe to your channel, and finally encourage them to subscribe;
- Keep it short, 1-2 minutes is the best length if you want the trailer to be seen in full length.
Create Previews for Your Videos
In order to keep your viewers’ attention, a quick preview before the actual video starts can help them decide that the video is worth watching and stay on your channel. Those 10-15 seconds should hook the viewer into watching your video instead of clicking on a similar one in the suggested videos sidebar.
In order for the preview to be effective, you have to make it not longer than 15 seconds, the shorter the better. Then, you should include information about what the viewer is to expect when watching it and what is to be gained after watching it. Finally, create the content is such a
Engage With Your Audience
Engaging with your audience is very important if you want to have a successful channel that will grow from year to year. However, building that relationship with your viewers requires some time and effort just as when you build relationships with people offline. Here are some tips that can help you do just that.
YouTube Community Management 101
- Use the comment section for it is the place where your viewers express their thoughts and opinions. You can use this space to comment on your video right after posting it on your channel in order to engage your audience into discussion or simply ask your viewers about giving you feedback and/or suggestions.
- Make sure that you respond to your viewers’ comments, especially if you are just starting your channel. This is important because if the viewer feels recognized or appreciated by you, he or she is more likely to subscribe and come back for more videos in the future. Make sure that you reply to meaningful comments only since you are to expect all kinds of comments, some even which will not make any sense.
- Heart the comments that you like the most. Again, this notifies the viewers and makes them feel recognized and appreciated so it can only be to your benefit.
- Give away gifts, for who doesn’t like gifts? We certainly do, and your viewers will as well. If your channel is about your business, by offering certain products as gifts you will not only engage with your audience more but promote your products as well. If you don’t have a product to offer, you can use some personal item of yours or offer something that relates to what your channel is about.
- If your channel is about meditation and yoga, you can offer meditation beads, a scented candle, or a t-shirt with a witty title like “You Had me at Namaste”. The gift doesn’t have to be costly, what’s important is the engagement you’ll create by telling your audience that the comment with the most likes will be the winner of the gift or that you will randomly select one from the comment section. This way, you’ll acquire more views, more comments, and more subscriptions, so use this idea once you have a certain amount of subscribers that you can offer this to.
- Create Q& A videos. This is one more step that you can take to engage with your YouTube audience, make your channel more active, and connect with your viewers. This is a good idea when you struggle with content ideas or want to take a break and create an easy-going video that will appeal to your fans. You can do this by posting in your comments that your next video is going to be a Q& A video and encourage your viewers to post questions about you, the topics that you talk about, or the brad you are promoting. You can also finish your last video by saying this directly to your fans, then writing it down in a comment as well.
- Get your fans involved in the creation of your content and make them feel like they are actively contributing in your channel. Moreover, by mentioning their usernames before replying their questions, your fans are more likely to share the video on their social media profiles, which is an excellent way of gathering more subscribers and views.
- Don’t underestimate the power of your viewers and subscribers since building your YouTube channel goes through building a relationship with your fans. Therefore, if your first Q& A video is successful, you can make them a monthly occurrence so that you engage with new fans as well.
Collaborate with Other YouTubers
Another way to increase the visibility of your YouTube channel is through creating collaborative videos with other YouTubers. By creating collaborative content with your fellow YouTubers you can quickly grow your audience through cross-promotion of the video between the two channels, yours and the one of the person you’re collaborating with. Moreover, if you choose to do this with someone who has more subscribers that you, it can only go to your benefit, so think wisely who you would like to do this with.
Look for YouTubers who have channels that involve similar topics as the ones on your channel. It’s important that you share certain similar interests with your collab partner since two different audiences will watch the video.
Try contacting a YouTuber with an already established fan-base, since appearing in a big channel will help your channel grow even faster. Make sure that you have a good number of high-quality videos published on your channel before contacting YouTubers with many subscribers since most wouldn’t agree to do this if it involves being part of an amateur or a brand new channel.
So, acquire a good fan-base, post at least 20 high-quality videos, make a list of people who you would like to make collaborations with, and start contacting them. Don’t worry if you get rejected since making a collaboration video requires time, effort, and planning. You can always shout out to your fans and collaborate with someone who also has a YouTube channel with similar content or ideas to yours, so the possibilities are endless.
Keeping a schedule and consistently posting videos is another way in which your channel can grow faster. You viewers will know when to expect your videos and your existing subscribers will know when to tune in and see your latest video.
Inconsistent posting leads to losing subscribers. Let’s say that you are inactive for a few weeks. It’s only logical that some of your subscribers will think that you are not active anymore and unsubscribe from your channel. In order for this not to happen, create a schedule and stick to it.
Think about how long it takes you to create one video, from content creation and filming, to editing and uploading it on your channel. Based on this, make a realistic plan about how many videos you can post each week. If your video requires a long time for it to be completely done, be realistic and post one video each week until you start making them faster or decide one day to have someone do that for you.
Use End Screens
Before diving into YouTube’s new feature of using end screens, let’s say a few words on annotations for they were very frequently used until recently, and still can be found in many videos.
Annotations are those clickable buttons that appear on YouTube videos which play a big role in growing a channel. They look like clickable text boxes that provide extra information, encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel, or take them to a certain website. However, this feature was quite often used for spamming and it wasn’t mobile-friendly which is why YouTube removed it in May 2017.
Now you can use an even better feature called end screens, which are clickable thumbnails or boxes of text or video that can redirect the user to another related video on your channel, or another channel, playlist, or website, and encourage viewers to subscribe. If used in a smart way, end screens can significantly increase your audience’s engagement, the views of your website and your other videos, or simply remind them to subscribe. So, let’s see how this looks like on YouTube.
Go to your videos and click “Edit” on the video you want to insert the end screen on. Then click on the “End screen and annotations” button which is right on top of the video.
After doing this, click on the “End screen” button and you’ll see an “Add element” bar on the right side of the video. Once you click on it, you’ll be given a few options to choose from.
- “Video or Playlist” is inserting an end screen that will redirect the viewer to another video of yours or a playlist.
- “Subscribe” is inserting an end screen which once clicked will automatically subscribe the viewer to your channel.
- “Channel” is inserting an end screen which redirects the viewer to another channel of yours.
- “Link” is inserting an end screen which redirects the viewer to an external website like your site, a merchandise site, or a crowdfunding site. It’s important to know that YouTube will only allow you to do this once you’ve joined the YouTube Partner Program first, which is why this option is not yet enabled on our channel.
For the purposes of giving you an example of how to insert an end screen to your video, we chose the first option of inserting a video end screen.
So, click on the “Create” button next to the type of end screen you want to insert, and if you chose the first element, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to promote your most recent video, you can allow for YouTube to select a video that will relate most to the viewer in question, or you can choose any other video from the videos uploaded on your channel.
Once you choose a video or a playlist, click on the “Create element” button and your end screen will appear on your video. Now you can adjust its size and place it to any part of the screen and as you can see, our video end screen appears in the last 20 seconds of the video.
Translate Your Titles and Descriptions
We already covered your meta-information optimization, or the optimization involved when creating your video title and description. But do you know that you can optimize this meta-information even more? Indeed, by translating your titles and descriptions you can expand your global audience and reach viewers that don’t speak the language used in your videos. This makes your content available to viewers all around the world, for YouTube is accessed every day in 76 different languages.
Knowing how to optimize your videos even further will give your channel the opportunity to grow outside English-speaking countries. So, how is this done?
Choose a video whose title and description you want to translate, and click the “Edit” button.
Then click on the “Translations” bar and set the original language to English or the language you use and also set the language that you want your meta-information to be translated into.
After translating the content by using Google Translate or some other tool you might know, enter the translated title and description in the appropriate boxes like so.
Once this is done, simply click on the “Save changes” button and if an Italian-speaking person is looking for this recipe, that viewer will better understand what your video is about.
Translating this meta-information makes your videos more discoverable and approachable to a foreign audience, so taking this step will definitely have long-term benefits.
Organizing your videos is an important step that can make it easier for both your viewers and search engines to find them. By organizing them in playlists, your videos will appear on the platform twice, first the individual video, then the playlist that the video belongs to since YouTube indexes playlists and videos separately. Moreover, doing this simple process will increase your video watch time. When the first video of the playlist ends, the second one automatically begins, then the third one and so on. This encourages the viewer to watch a couple of videos in a one sitting, which will bring views to more of your videos.
Firstly, go to your videos and select the video you want to put in a playlist. Then click on the “Add to” button, then on “Add new playlist”, write the name of the new playlist you’re creating, and click on “Create”.
Your playlist has been created and you can find it on the left side under “Videos”.
Make sure that your playlists make sense by sorting your videos according to their theme or something else that connects them. For example, we made a playlist titled Themed Cakes and inserted the Game of Thrones Cake video, so logically, this playlist would be a place for every other themed cake video featured on the channel.
You can also edit your playlists by clicking on the “Edit” button which can be found on the right side of each playlist. Once there, you can add a description to your playlist, explaining its theme and the type of videos features, and add new videos as well.
You can edit your playlist even more by clicking the “Playlist settings” button. Under “Basic” you have the option to set the privacy of your playlist to public or private. Also you have the option to change the order of your videos, and you can edit this at a later point as well.
Under “Auto add” you have the chance to set certain rules in order for your new videos to be automatically transferred into a certain playlist. As you can see from this example, each video that contains the word “cake” in the title, the word “themed” in the description and the tag “themed cake” will automatically be transferred into the “Themed Cakes” playlist.
As you create more and more videos, this will save you time and make you much more organized so come back to this option when you have a decent amount of videos and set your rules.
Under “Collaborate”, you can allow your collaborators to add videos to your playlist. This is an option you should consider if you make a collaborative video with another vlogger.
Using Social Media to Spread the Word
Optimizing your YouTube content is one way in which you can increase rankings and make your videos more discoverable in search engines. However, promoting your videos on social media is a whole other story. The following tips can help you use social media profiles as efficiently as you can to share your videos with the world and acquire more subscribers to your channel.
- In the beginning concentrate your efforts only on a few social media platforms. Don’t think that you have to be everywhere because if you make 10 different social media profiles you will not be able to pay the needed attention to all of them. Also, make sure to research your target audience and see what social platforms they use the most. For example, Facebook is used by almost everyone, Twitter is popular with tech vloggers, Pinterest and Instagram are platforms mostly used by creative people interested in photography, decoration, beauty and fashion, and so on. According to this, choose one or two social media platforms and then gradually increase this number.
- If you already have a Facebook page, share your channel trailer and tease your fans about what they can expect from your new YouTube channel.
- Pay attention to your social platform’s analytics. This information is extremely important in order to effectively post your videos so they get the most views. Take a look at what kind of content receives the most views, what posts people share the most, what days your fans are mostly active on the platform in question, what time of day they are most engaged, and so on. By having this insight you can successfully promote your content to a large percent of your audience and receive more views.
- If you don’t have a blog or a website, it’s time for you to make one. If you already do, create content relevant to your videos, and incorporate your videos into the articles. You can also include transcription of your videos on the site so that it helps with search.
- When posting your videos on Instagram, make sure to use relevant hashtags so that your videos can gain more exposure.
- Encourage your fans to share your content. When promoting your YouTube video on Facebook or any other social media platform, remind and encourage your fans to share it by saying something along the lines of “if you liked this video, please share it and spread the word”. Sharing gains a very quick exposure, so don’t hesitate to use this call to action for it can only help you out.
Now that you know what the process of creating a YouTube channel is really like, it’s time to get down to business. Crystallize your idea, form your content, and start creating your YouTube channel today by following this guide.
Beware that viewers will not come rushing in and subscribing to your channel after publishing your first video. Therefore, if you want to be successful on YouTube be patient, use the tricks that we’ve offered, and invest your time and heart into it. If you do all of these things, your subscribers count and community will start growing in no time.