How to Start a YouTube Channel – Complete Guide for Beginners

If you're wondering how to start a YouTube channel as a beginner, you came into the right place.

I know that once you decide to start a YouTube channel and become a YouTuber, a lot of questions start overwhelming your mind.

  • What is my channel going to be about?
  • What do I need to become a YouTuber?
  • How do I create a YouTube channel?
  • What tips are there for YouTube beginners?

You'll find the answers to all of these questions and more in this post about how to start a YouTube channel for beginners. Hope this article will guide you to begin your YouTube journey.

Let's dig in.

1. What's the purpose of your YouTube channel?

Starting a YouTube channel can be suitable for different reasons. It's important to know from the start what you're aiming for with your YouTube channel. Each decision you make, from the videos you create to the way you promote your channel, will be based on your goals.

I'll be going through the most common reasons to start a YouTube channel so you can get a better feel of what's up in the YouTube market.

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

Example of business promotion on YouTube

Showcasing your art

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.

Example of how artists can use a YouTube channel

Sharing a skill or a hobby

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.

Example of YouTube channel where the owner skares the skills he mastered with the world

Making money on YouTube

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

Monetizing YouTube Videos – You get paid for the number of viewers who interact with the ads that show on your videos.

Crowdfunding – When money stands in the way of fulfilling your amazing idea, you can share it with the world on YouTube and ask people to support you.

Affiliate Marketing – One of the most popular models for online businesses. 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.

Example of affiliate marketing on YouTube

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.

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.

Example of influencer on YouTube

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.

2. Choosing the best niche for your channel

The importance of choosing a niche

Before starting a YouTube channel you need to decide on what niche you want to target.

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.

How to pick the best niche for your 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.

What topics interest you?

What are the topics that genuinely fascinate you?

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.

Is there any demand for those topics?

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 add your keywords there. The tool will show you the average number of monthly searches and the competition levels.

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

You can also check Google Trends to 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?

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

How's the competition?

How tough will it be for you to become acknowledged?

You'll find the answer by looking at how many YouTubers are active in the niche. 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 part of your content marketing strategy 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. It'll be trickier, but not impossible.

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 require 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?

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. You have to be unique and authentic to stand out from the crowd.

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

3. What do you need to become a successful YouTuber?

Drive and passion towards the subject

Passion towards the subject and willingness to go the extra mile. 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.

Sustaining your YouTube channel means regularly creating content, promoting it, coming up with new ideas and improving. Hence, it's best to get 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 long will it take you to shoot the video?
  • What about editing?

You can't come up with an exact number, especially 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.

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.


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. Especially 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.

4. The YouTube channel name

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

What makes a good channel name

The name you choose must express your core message.

Keep it relevant It's best if 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.

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

Brainstorming the best channel name

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.

5. The 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.

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.

6. Setting up your 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.

Step 1: Create a YouTube account (Google 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.

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

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”.

Fill your name and hit “Create”.

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

Step 2: 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.

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:

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.

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

Step 3: Fill in your profile details

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

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.

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

Step 4: 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.

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.

7. YouTube beginners tips

I'll give you the best practices to keep in mind when you'll start uploading content to your channel.

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.

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.

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 videos in 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.

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.

Keep yourself inspired

When starting something new, it's not hard to find yourself lacking motivation from time to time. We all go through this at some point. Here is a list of the most inspirational corporate innovation YouTube channels. Follow some of these and you'll get a push in motivation directly from entrepreneurs and business owners.

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.

Time to get your YouTube channel started

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.

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.

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