How to Set Up a YouTube Channel for the First Time
YouTube, the Google-owned video network, boasts over two billion monthly users — nearly half of all people on the Internet — and every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
What’s more amazing is that 92% of Internet users watch some form of video content every day. So there’s no reason your business should be investing in YouTube as part of your social media strategy.
Video is becoming much easier and cheaper to create. This means there’s a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube.
If you’ve been debating getting started on YouTube or have maybe experimented a little and not yet found your feet, this post is for you. Throughout this post, we’ll dive into:
- The basics of getting your account set up
- How to create a YouTube channel
- How to create the perfect channel art
- Top tips for optimizing your channel.
How to Create a YouTube Channel
Creating a well-managed YouTube channel with consistent content can help businesses grow better, but doing it right is just as important. Here’s how to do it step-by-step.
1. Decide What Your YouTube Channel Is About
Before you get started, ask yourself a few basic planning questions:
- Are you making videos to sell, promote, or educate?
- Will you use your face, voice, animation, or something else in the videos?
- Who’s your target audience?
- What will attract your target audience?
2. Sign In to YouTube With Your Google Account
You’ll need a Google account to watch, share, create, and comment on YouTube content. Go to youtube.com and click “Sign In” in the upper right-hand corner. From there, you’ll be taken to a Google sign-in page.
- If you have a Google account, you’ll be prompted to sign in.
- If you have multiple Google accounts, be sure to select the one you want to be associated with the YouTube channel.
- If you do not have a Google account, click “Create Account” and follow the prompts to register for one.
3. Create a new YouTube channel using your Google account
Once you’re set up with and signed into your Google account, it’s time to create a channel. Click your user icon in the upper right-hand corner. This represents both your Google account and your YouTube account (as YouTube is owned by Google). You’ll see a drop-down menu, where you’ll want to click “Settings.”
From there, you’ll be taken to your account overview. Click “Create a new channel” under “Your channel.”
The first step is to create your new channel name. It can be whatever you want, and doesn’t have to be the same name that you used to create your Google account — but we do recommend that it reflects the brand the YouTube Channel will represent.
4. Create and Name Your Channel
Click on your profile picture and a dropdown menu will appear. Select Create a Channel and follow the instructions to start setting up your YouTube channel.
First, choose a name. You can either use your Google Account’s default information or give your channel a fresh identity.
If you’re creating it for your new brand, or to attract people from a particular industry, you should go with an appropriate and eye-catching name.
5. Upload a Memorable Profile Picture
The second step asks for your profile picture. The space is small but really important in presenting yourself professionally.
Use a photo or logo that reflects your brand in a positive way. Eventually, you want YouTubers to recognize and respect it, so avoid generic or low-quality images.
6. Customize your more advanced layout options.
Click the “Layout” tab.
From here, you’ll be able to specify certain details about how you want your content presented on your channel’s page. You’ll have the option to designate a video spotlight and organize your channel page with featured sections.
7. Add Links to Your Website and Social Networks
If you have other platforms to offer, it’s time to mention them. At this stage, you can add your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, as well as your website. You can always add more later.
It’s a good idea for a budding brand to have a dedicated domain and one or two social profiles, to begin with. Above all, make sure your platforms look great and work well, complementing each other and your public image.
With all this information in place, click Save and Continue. You’ll land on your brand new YouTube channel, awaiting a few more adjustments.
8. Add a Banner Image for Some Color and Effect
The banner image is a large banner displayed at the top of your channel page, and it’s a big opportunity to convey your brand to your viewers. YouTube recommends using an image that’s at least 2048 x 1152 px and 6MB or less.
The video watermark is displayed at the bottom right of every video you post (see below). You’ll want to choose a logo that best represents your size at 150 x 150 px.
9. Add More Contact Info
In Customization > Basic info, you can change the channel’s description and links, while adding more contact information. Making your YouTube channel as helpful as possible will only boost your brand’s reputation.
You should include your email address so channel visitors can get in touch. Linking to additional platforms is just as handy, but keep in mind that YouTube only displays up to five of these icons on your banner.
10. Add videos and optimize them for search.
To upload your first video to YouTube, click the “Create” button in the top-right corner and follow the prompts.
Optimizing your channel for discoverability is just the beginning. Once you start adding videos, you’ll want to optimize them for search, which in turn helps users discover your video.
But this goes beyond giving your videos accurate, clear, and concise titles — though that is important. Below, we describe some of the most important things to optimize on YouTube.