How to Start a YouTube Channel for Beginners

If you’re wondering how to start a YouTube channel as a beginner but don’t know what to do, you came into the right place.

I know that once you decide to become a YouTuber or to add YouTube to your marketing strategy a lot of questions start popping up in your mind.

  • What can I use YouTube for?
  • What is my channel going to be about?
  • What do I need to become a YouTuber?
  • What decisions do I have to take before starting on YouTube?
  • How do I create a YouTube channel?
  • What tips are there for YouTube beginners?

If these questions are overwhelming your head right now, you’ll find the answers to all of them and more in this post. Hope this article will help you with starting your YouTube journey.

Let’s dig in.

Things you need to know before starting a YouTube channel

How can you use YouTube

Starting a YouTube channel can be suitable for different reasons. I’ll be going through them so you can get a better feel of what’s up in the YouTube market.

How can you use YouTube

For promoting your business

YouTube videos are a great improvement to your marketing strategy if you want to gain more prospects. With the demand for video content growing, you may not want to pass on the benefits YouTube marketing can bring you.

  • You gain a better exposure and reach more people through YouTube. Many customers research a product before purchasing and they trust video content more than any kind of content
  • You set yourself as an expert in the industry and strengthen the trust in your brand
  • You educate people on how and why to use your product, making it easier for prospects to make a buying decision
YouTube business channel example
Example of business promotion on YouTube

Showcase your art or skills

If you are an artist, YouTube is the place where you can make yourself heard. Show your creation process, tips & tricks, and talk about your inspiration and process. By doing so, you’ll receive better exposure for your art and you’ll be able to create genuine connections with art lovers.

If you’re skilled in a certain niche, showing those skills in video format can serve both as a hobby and a making money opportunity. Teach others how to learn those skills themselves. How-to videos do really well on YouTube.

YouTube art channel screenshot
Example of how artists can use a YouTube channel

To make money

There are several ways to make money on YouTube, and you can choose the one that best fits your intent.

Monetizing YouTube Videos – You get paid for the number of viewers who click on the ads or watch them until the end. Starting a YouTube channel to make money through monetization sounds pretty easy but it’s quite challenging. To start monetizing your videos, you need to have 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours. This isn’t an easy target to reach in a small amount of time.

Crowdfunding – When money stands in the way of fulfilling your amazing idea, you can share it with the world on YouTube. If your idea is exciting enough to capture viewers attention, people will start pitching up to help you turn it into reality.

Affiliate Marketing – One of the most popular models for online businesses. Affiliate marketing can be highly profitable when done right and YouTube turns up to be highly useful for generating affiliate sales. Consumers are more inclined to watch a video about a product rather than just read about it. You choose the products you want to promote, make interesting videos about them to help customers with their buying decisions, and you receive a commission for each sale generated by your link.

Affiliate marketing on YouTube example
If you buy a product through one of the links in the description, the reviewer will receive a commission or the sale.

Sell merchandise – As with affiliate marketing, presenting your merchandise in video format can turn out to be more profitable than just writing a blog post about them. Moreover, customers will see you, get to know you, and will trust you more than just a generic brand they know nothing about.

YouTube selling merchandise channel screenshot

Become an influencer in the niche – By becoming an influencer in a certain niche, you’ll start getting paid to promote stuff related to your niche. A mid-level influencer receives around $200-$500 per post.

YouTube influencer example
The biggest influencer in the gaming world is like you’ve probably guessed, PewDiePie

Now that you have an idea about what you can do with a YouTube channel, it’s time to make some decisions before getting started on YouTube.

What’s your YouTube channel going to be about?

Before starting a YouTube channel you need to decide on what niche you want to target. If you want your YouTube journey to be successful, it’s crucial to clearly decide from the start what is the purpose of the channel.

The importance of choosing the niche

The niche you’ll be targeting is the foundation of a YouTube business. In order to feed the right video content to your audience, you must first know who is your audience. You can’t just upload random videos and hope for the best. Every video has to have a purpose and an intent.

Define your purpose and choose the best niche for your YouTube channel

How to pick the best niche for your YouTube channel

Many people already know what their niche will be when making the decision to start a YouTube channel because they want to focus on something they usually do. For example, if you’re an artist, you know that you want your channel to be about art. If you have Photoshop skills, you know you want to teach people how to use Photoshop.

But maybe you want to start a YouTube channel because you fancy the idea of making videos, and you would like to live a YouTuber’s life. If you don’t have a specific topic in mind yet, I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding on the niche.


It’s crucial to have passion towards the subject you’re going target because of more reasons.

  • You’ll have to come up with content on a regular basis for a long time (years, at least). If you don’t enjoy the topic, it’ll be highly difficult to deal with the moments when you’re tired, out of ideas and frustrated.
  • You’ll get easily bored if you have no interest in the subject and your YouTube channel will feel like a series of awful tasks.
  • People sense the excitement. Have you ever heard someone speaking with genuine passion? Didn’t the enthusiasm make you feel more attracted to the idea he presented? I’m sure you’ve been through this. Speaking with authentic enthusiasm is a magnet that attracts other people’s interest.

Be passionate about the niche you choose-min


Is there any demand for the subjects you’re going to cover? If you are thinking to talk about petting unicorns but no one is searching for it, there’ll be no audience to watch your videos.

This is mostly true if you are looking to make money on YouTube, rather than sharing your specific hobbies with the world. If you have a hobby that you wanna show off, don’t mind the demand – just own your skills and make people appreciate it! If you make something awesome, you’ll create the demand yourself.

Research the market and see if the niches you thought about are being searched for.

You can use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to make an idea of how many searches there are per month on certain search queries. You can set up a free account and start entering your keywords there. The tool will show you the avg monthly searches and the competition levels regarding Google ads.

Google AdWords Keyplanner screenshot
Google KeyPlanner shows you the average monthly searches and the competition of the keywords.

You can also check Google Trends and see how popular different topics are over time. Is the topic seasonal, meaning the searches occur only in a certain period of the year? Is the demand increasing over time?

Google Trends screenshot
You can see how popular a certain topic is in time by using Google Trends.


It’s important to look at the competition a niche has on YouTube. If the topic is oversaturated, it’ll be hard for you to become a successful YouTuber in that niche.

If you don’t have a certain topic in mind when you decide to start on YouTube, you have more freedom on choosing the niche to target. You can find a great niche with high demand and little competition.

But if you use YouTube as a content marketing asset or you already know what niche you’ll be in, don’t panic if the niche is competitive. You’ll start off targeting keywords with low-competition and build your way up.

Research the competition

Look at other YouTubers in the niche

  • What kind of content do they deliver?
  • Why do people watch them?
  • How do they keep their audience engaged?

Read the comments and see if the viewers are suggesting improvements and ask for more insights, then ask yourself:

    • What can I add to the topic?
    • How can I present the subjects from a different perspective?
    • How can I bring more value to the viewers?

Don’t get dragged down if the niche is competitive. You can become a successful YouTuber even in a competitive market. You have to see the flaws in the market and cover them yourself. Bring something valuable and qualitative to the market and people’s engagement will come.

Come up with new approaches to the topic.

Be authentic

Most popular niches

Here are the most popular and profitable niches on YouTube if you need some YouTube channel content ideas:

    • Tech Videos
    • Gaming
    • Product Reviews
    • Tutorials
    • Storytime Videos
    • Vlogs
    • Food
    • Fashion
    • Beauty
    • Weight loss & Healthy Living
    • Travel
    • Animals
    • How To’s
    • Humor

What do you need to become a YouTuber?

Drive and passion towards the subject

Passion towards the subject and willingness to make it to the top. These are your first and most important weapons to start with.

We already talked about why passion is highly important for building a successful YouTube channel.

Time to record and edit

Building a successful YouTube channel might not require a lot of monetary investment, but you’ll have to invest your time.

How much time you’ll need, depends on your goals and the skills you have so far.

Sustaining your YouTube channel means regularly creating content, promoting it, coming up with new ideas and improving. Make an idea of how much time you need to invest so you know if you can afford it.

  • How much time does it take to come up with an idea and develop a script?
  • How much time for filming the video?
  • How much time for editing?

You can’t come up with an exact number, mostly if it’s your first time testing the waters on YouTube. But you can make a rough estimation of how much time you’ll be needing to keep consistent with your YouTube channel.

Estimate how much time you need to invest

YouTube equipment for beginners

In the beginning, you don’t need to invest a fortune into the latest gear on the market, but you still have to invest at least in a decent camera and a microphone.

What kind of equipment you’ll need depends on what types of videos you’re going to do. For example, if you make how-to tutorials for Photoshop, you’ll only need a decent microphone. Because you’ll be sharing your screen, a video camera is not required.


Your videos need to be in HD but there’s no need to obsess over having the best video quality in the beginning. A decent looking video can do well on YouTube if the content is qualitative.


You need something to hold your camera steady wherever you are. There are different kinds of tripods, but this will be the easiest buying decision you’ll have to make.

Camera on tripod


The audio quality is critical. People won’t follow through a video with poor audio because they won’t understand what you’re saying. You don’t have to invest in a highly priced microphone, but you want to make sure you can be heard clearly without trouble.



Great lighting can transform a video to a great extent. It makes you look more light and appear clearer. It’s not a must in the beginning, but it can bring in many advantages. Mostly if you don’t have a spot in your house where the lighting is optimal for filming.

Before deciding on the equipment you’re gonna invest in, make sure you know where will your videos be recorded. Are you gonna shoot outside or inside? Will there be lots of noise around you? Decide what you need and research the best tools for your requirements.

To help you out with deciding on the gear, here is a list of equipment for beginner YouTubers you can refer to.

Editing software

Don’t feel overwhelmed because you have to use an editing software. There are many software products with pretty straightforward interfaces, really easy to use even if you have no editing skills.

Don’t rush into buying an expensive, professional editing software in the beginning.

You can start by using Windows Movie Maker. It usually comes installed with your Windows. Here is a post reviewing 6 free editing software products you can check out.

Windows Movie Maker Screenshot
Windows Movie Maker screenshot

What you need to decide before starting a YouTube channel

YouTube Channel name

The channel name you choose is extremely important. It’s what people will associate with your YouTube presence.

How to make a good YouTube channel name

The name you choose must express your core message.

Keep it relevant so people know what to expect from your videos when seeing your name displayed on YouTube. But don’t choose something too narrow. If you’ll want to expand your topics further, you want your name to let you do it without the name becoming irrelevant to the new subjects.

So you brainstorm ideas for your channel name, find the most relevant words to you.

1. Write down words that describe you. Make a thorough list of any words that pop into your mind when you think about what defines you. What kind of vibe do you want to spread? How would you describe yourself or your business in one word? For example, if you are an artsy person you can think about words like colorful, passion, inspire, vivid, and so on.

2. Write words that describe your content. What are you going to talk about? How can you define the topics in one word? Think about synonyms for your words. Say you want to use something related to “sparkle”, you can brainstorm synonyms like shimmer, glow, flicker.

3. Mix the words you wrote down. Don’t worry about their quality yet. Just randomly pick words and combine them. You’ll find the perfect name by letting yourself play around and experiment. That’s how brilliant ideas come to life.

Brainstorm ideas

Tips for YouTube Channel name

Keep it short  – Three words are enough for a YouTube Channel name as you want people to remember it. The longer the name is, the harder it will be to hold into people’s minds.

Make it readable – It’s hard to remember something you can’t even read out loud.

Don’t add numbers – It’s fine to use numbers if they have a specific play in your name. But if you want to add a random number or your birthday to the end of your name because the username you want is taken, just don’t. These kinds of channels are perceived to be far from professional.

Use wordplay – Wordplays are always easier to remember because they are usually fun to read. Rhymes, words that start with the same letter, puns – play around. Take as an example “Ready Spaghetti”, isn’t it fun and memorable? I’ll remember it even if I don’t follow cooking channels.

Use a tool to stimulate ideas – If you want some inspiration for your name, and even find the perfect pick if you’re in luck, you can use a tool like Spinxo. Just add some words that define you and your channel and this tool will generate some ideas for you.

YouTube Channel Art

To make your channel look amazing you’re able to upload two kinds of images. The header, which is referred to as the channel art, and the logo, which is called channel icon on YouTube.

YouTube channel art example

The way you present your channel should be nice and clean, with a “you’re in a cool place” vibe. It’s the home of your videos so you want it to look friendly to visitors and make them subscribe.

  • The channel art must be 2560 × 1440 px so it can be properly displayed on TV screens.
  • You need to position the text in the middle because the cover displays differently across devices.

YouTube channel art across devices

You can do the graphics yourself following some guidelines if you have some design skills or you can use some help.

  • Use templates – YouTube channel art templates are useful because you don’t have to worry about positioning the text to properly show on each device. They are already positioned. The only thing you have to do is modify the text with your own words.
  • Have someone design your art – You can find professional graphic designers on sites like Fiverr, 99design, and such.

How to set up a YouTube channel

Once you decided on your niche and figured out your game plan, let’s see how to create a YouTube channel. The process is simple and straightforward.

How to create a YouTube account

The first step is to create a Google account. Because YouTube is owned by Google, you can only connect to YouTube through a Google account.

After your Google account is ready, head over to YouTube and click on your account thumbnail in the top right corner.

Google account icon screenshot

A drop-down list will pop up. Click on “My Channel”.

How to start a YouTUbe channel step 1

By default, it will automatically pull out the name associated with your Google account. If you want to use a different name, click on “Use a business or other name”.

How to name your YouTube channel

How to start a YouTube channel - choose the name

Fill your name and hit “Create”.

YouTube channel preview

Congrats! Now your channel is up. Hit “Customize Channel” so we go on to the next steps.

Add the YouTube channel art

Your freshly baked YouTube channel is sad and empty so far. It’s time to make it look alive.

To add the cover for your channel click on “Add channel art” and upload your file.

YouTube channel art screenshot

It will show you how the channel art is displayed differently across different devices. Make sure your art is showing its main part on all devices. Not like in the example below:

YouTube channel art displaying on different devices example

To set up your channel icon, hover your mouse over the square in the left corner and click on the little pen that pops up. It will take you to your Google profile to change the image.

YouTube channel icon screenshot

Your channel looks way friendlier now, doesn’t it?

Complete your profile

Adding the right description is part of how to make a successful YouTube channel. Head over to the “About” page on your channel.

YouTube channel about page screenshot

When viewers will head to your YouTube channel, they’ll want to read about what your channel is about. Create an engaging copy that expresses what you do and triggers people’s curiosity to find more. You have up to 1000 characters to play around with, make the best of them.

Make sure to also add keywords related to your niche in the description.

You can also add links to your website and social profiles that will show on your YouTube channel in the right of the channel art.

Links displayed on YouTube channel art screenshot
The links you add to your YouTube channel will display on top of your channel art.

Verify Your YouTube Channel

Once you’re done with fancying your YouTube channel, it’s time to verify it so you have full access to the YouTube perks like using custom thumbnails, uploading longer videos, sponsorships and more.

All you have to do is head down to YouTube features while logged in into your account and click verify.

Verify YouTube channel

You can choose to verify your account either through a phone call or via a text message. Add your phone number and you’ll receive a verification code.

Now your YouTube channel setup is done and you’re ready to start uploading videos.

YouTube Beginners Tips

Video Trailer
You can add a video trailer on your YouTube channel that shows up to the viewers who are not subscribed to your channel yet. Having a trailer is a great way to captivate attention and gain more subscribers. Make a short introduction to express what your channel is about. Make sure you hook viewers interest and ask them to subscribe through annotations.

YouTube channel trailer screenshot

Compelling Thumbnails
The video thumbnail and title are the first things viewers see when your video is displayed on YouTube. This makes them the reason people click on your video in the first place. You want to make sure that you use a custom and engaging thumbnail with every video you upload.

YouTube customized video thumbnails example

Stay Consistent
For a YouTube channel to be successful, it has to provide content on a regular basis to keep the audience engaged and entertained. Set up goals for yourself, like posting one video a week, and keep up with those goals.

Watch lots of YouTube videos
You want to watch many YouTube videos and not just your competitors’. Research successful YouTubers and analyze what they are doing right. What’s the structure of their videos? How do they keep viewers interested? Learn from others and apply what you learn.

Take care of YouTube SEO
Optimizing your videos plays a huge role in ranking your videos in search results. Your videos need to rank high so people can find and enjoy them. You’ll want to familiarize yourself more with YouTube video ranking so you can get the best exposure for your videos.

Share and connect
Share your videos on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Find your targeted audience on Quora and Reddit and help people solve problems regarding your niche. Add your videos for further insights where it’s relevant. Also, start creating genuine connections with other YouTubers in your niche.

Organize with playlists
Playlists make it easier for viewers to go through your content and it’s also a great aid in audience retention. They keep people watching your videos. Audience retention is one of the main factors in YouTube ranking, so you must tweak all you can to keep your viewers engaged and watching. When you have related videos, don’t forget to add them to playlists.

YouTube channel playlists screenshot

Keep improving
Like any other skill, YouTube skills are something you develop by learning and constantly improving your approaches. That’s how successful YouTubers become successful. Every time you make a new video, improve something from the one before.

Now that you know how to start a YouTube channel as a beginner, it’s time to get to work.

Make sure you clearly define your purpose and your niche before anything else. Once you made your mind, brainstorm the name of your channel and create the YouTube channel art. When everything’s ready, create your YouTube account, add the artwork, fill in the description and other info, and…

…You’re ready to start building a successful YouTube channel.

Keep in mind the YouTube tips I listed above when creating video content for your channel and don’t forget that every video you make should be better than the one before.

One last advice: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see tons of engagement at first. Building an audience on YouTube takes time and patience, it’s not an overnight deal. Be patient and keep working towards your goals.

Hope this article was useful and will help you with starting your own YouTube channel. What are some other tips for beginners willing to start their journey on YouTube? I’m excited to hear your insights.