YouTube for Beginners: How to Start Your Vlogging Channel?
Now that you have some ideas for YouTube content, you’re probably wondering how to start your vlogging channel. What are the best practices for setting up your account? What settings will be important to you for your style of video? How do you deal with negative comments? Can you reach a wider audience than viewers in your native language only?
We’ll give you some tips based on what we’ve learned in setting up our channel and attracting viewers. Whether you want to make an income from your videos or simply have fun making short uploads and gaining a following, vlogging on YouTube is the perfect platform.
You could upload your creations to other sites, but YouTube is the 2nd most visited site on the net. Their parent company, Google (maybe you’ve heard of it?), is number 1! And out of the 100 most popular channels on YouTube, 17 are vlogs!
How to Make a YouTube Account: Tips and Tricks
You can start your channel by creating a Google account. You probably already have a personal account, but consider making one specifically for vlogging. It helps to separate accounts according to personal use, business use, and interest. Videos that you “Like” on your personal account won’t show up on your vlogging account and vice versa. If you want to create more than one type of video, you can decide if they would go well together on the same channel or if you should start a new account for each category.
Using the new account, click the Gear icon located under the Account Icon. Select Settings. Scroll down until you see “My picture.”
Click “Select a picture” and upload the image you want to use for your YouTube avatar. It could be a photo of yourself, original artwork, your brand logo, or stylized text of the name you want to use. It will show up on your channel banner and anytime you make a comment, so make it memorable and something that your subscribers will view positively. Make it entertaining, charming, artistically pleasing, or exemplary of your personality. It should be easy to identify and, if you’re using text, easy to read.
Go to YouTube and click on the upper right icon of your account. If you’re not signed in to the account you want to use, select Switch Account. You can then Add Account and sign in for the registration you want to use.
Click the Account Icon again and select My Channel. Type in what you want your channel name to be and confirm Create Channel.
Think of a short, catchy name that people will remember. It might be your own name, a nickname, the name of your brand, or a phrase describing your channel. An author might style her channel, “Meredith Writes,” “Merry Writing,” or “Right Writing with Merry.” A real-life vlogger might call their channel, “Trevor’s Modern Life,” “The Problem with Being Trevor,” or “TrevThinks.”
You can edit your Avatar clicking on the Pencil Icon in the Avatar window or Add Channel Art.
Click Customize Channel and then Add Channel Art to create the banner for your channel. It should be a high-quality image that exemplifies the personality of your videos. For best results, crop the image to 2560 horizontal pixels by 1440 vertical pixels. You’ll also need to limit the file size to under 6MB, so JPEGs are better than PNG files.
Under the channel name, click the About tab. Fill in the channel description to tell people about yourself and the type of videos you are creating. You can include an email address if you want viewers to be able to contact you. Update your country location and add any links you want to. You might add a link to your regular blog or website, your Facebook page, or LinkedIn profile.
Under Featured Channels on the right, you can add links to any other channels you’ve created. If viewers like your content, they will want to see what other types of videos you’ve made. If your friends or YouTube contacts also have a channel, you can promote their videos and encourage them to return the favor.
Click on the Gear Icon above Featured Channels and configure your Privacy Settings. You’ll want to keep the layout customization setting turned on. In this section, click “Advanced settings.”
Type in your keywords that will help people find your channel. For a vlog, this would include your name and any words or phrases pertaining to your content. You can get ideas for keywords using a keyword tool. Type in the basic phrase you want to use and click Search. The tool will provide you with the common terms people search for related to your phrase.
Disable Advertisements. If you are going to monetize your videos with ads, you will do so with each upload. If you are not going to monetize, no one needs to see random ads popping up when they’re trying to watch your content. The ads in this section are placed by Google and paid to YouTube, not you.
If you want to advertise your videos on other people’s channels or websites, you can link your channel to your AdWords account. If you are using your videos to help sell a product, you might run ads to help generate interest in your channel. Advertisements are perfect for making people aware of a new channel or video series.
Save your changes and then turn your attention to the left toolbar. Under Channel, click on Click on Status and Features.
First, Verify your account to unlock more of the settings on this page.
The Monetization button allows you to link your AdSense account to allow ads to play on your videos. These are the ads you will be paid for, but you need to grow your channel enough to qualify. Currently, you need 1,000 subscribers or viewers need to have watched 4,000 hours’ worth of content on your site. The same requirements apply to arranging for private Sponsorships.
To help grow your channel, you can enable Live Streaming. This is an incredibly useful tool that allows you to interact with your audience via live text chats. Attend an event or record your vlog entries as you broadcast them live. Use it as an end of day journal entry or share your opinion about something. If you mess up, your viewers see it, perfect for real-life vlog channels. Just keep your sense of humor and keep recording. Share your Stream Key if you want to make a group site and allow others to stream to the channel.
You can use the External Annotations button to link to your website or a virtual storefront. The link and an appropriate image will show up in your video, giving people an opportunity to explore or buy the item you are talking about. Café Press, Etsy, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Patreon are all popular examples. You might need the 1,000 subscribers or 4,000 hours’ viewed to qualify for some linking privileges.
After one month and when you have 100 subscribers, you can set a Custom URL. Creating a custom URL will help viewers easily remember and type in your web address to go directly to your channel. The easier and more direct route return visitors or first-time searchers can take, the better. If people have to keep searching for you on YouTube, they might forget your name or how they found you.
Content ID appeals allow you to dispute a copyright violation. If you are not using others’ music or direct content, this shouldn’t be a problem. Simply remember to be original in your posts. If someone has already published something, it’s not yours. If someone tells you can’t record something, don’t do it. Add your own content or significantly change existing content to shape it into a new creative work.
Next, go to the “Upload defaults” tab on the left toolbar. You’ll want to create a unique title and description for each vlog post, but you can set up a shortcut here with your usual Category and Tags along with other administrative settings.
The “Featured content” tab provides you with the opportunity to take advantage of free advertising. Select your best upload or clip. The YouTube curators and editors will determine if they want to use your content on the homepage or feature them in recommended categories.
You’ll want to use the “Branding” tab to watermark your videos. If you have more than one creator on your channel, the watermark will tell viewers that all of you are working together and that they can subscribe to you as a group. If other site owners embed your videos for use in their own blog posts, your brand will show up, giving viewers an opportunity to find your specific content. Your watermark could be the same as your Avatar or a different representation of your channel name.
Once you have established your channel, the left Analytics tab can provide insights into how many people viewed your content, whether they watched the full content or not, how they found your videos, and whether they liked, commented, subscribed, or shared your material.
The Translations and Transcriptions tab provides you with the opportunity to reach a global audience. If you get popular, someone might want to translate your content into other languages. They can either do so with subtitles or a transcript. If you want people to be able to do this, turn the feature on. If you’d rather not risk an incorrect translation, keep it off. You can also add your own rough translations with Google Translate or hire a professional translator to do the work for you.
Under the left Community tab, you can see all Comments on your videos, Messages to you, and your list of Subscribers. If you want to allow comments (and you probably should grow your channel), but don’t want to publish negative comments or spam, you can filter comments and approve only what you deem appropriate.
Visit the Create tab if you want to add free music or sound effects to your posts. The selection is limited, so you might want to look elsewhere as well. ZapSplat is one such useful site for sourcing free sound effects and background music.
Upload a video! Click the Upload button in the upper right corner. It’s to the left of your Account and Notifications Icon. You can select to make the video live as soon as it’s finished uploading or Schedule it to release at a later time. As the post is uploading, you can fill in the specific title and description as well as any information that will vary from the shortcuts you set up in step 23. Add the video to a Playlist if you’ve already made one. Specify the Recording Date under the Advanced Settings tab.
Now that you have some configurations set, know how to find the others once you have enough subscribers or watch hours on your account, and have uploaded at least one video, head back up to the Dashboard. Here you’ll see an overview of activity on your channel. Click View Channel, then Customize Channel, and you’ll be back at one of the first screens we saw when creating our new page.
Toward the bottom of the screen will be a tab for “returning subscribers” or “new visitors.” Selecting the “For new visitors” tab will allow you to designate your Channel Trailer. It is the first thing people will see when they land on your page. It should be your best video or a compilation of clips that show the theme of your videos. Update your trailer as you add more content.
Finally, you can use the left tab Video Manager to organize and edit your uploads. You can create one or more Playlists to help viewers know which videos to watch in what order. The Playlist will play one video after the other until it reaches the end. You can also edit the titles, descriptions, or other settings on your individual posts. When you reach the 1,000 subscriber/4,000 hours viewed threshold, you can go back to each video and insert sponsors, AdSense, or storefront settings.
Examples and Inspiration for Vlogging
To help you see how your ideas and the tips we enumerated above all fit together to make a successful vlog channel, we’re reviewing the most notable and most watched vlogs on YouTube.
Internet Killed TV was the first popular vlogging channel. It follows Charles and Allie through their daily life. Sometimes, it’s funny, sometimes entertaining, sometimes sad, and sometimes downright boring - kind of like life! But they kept recording and edited events down to small snippets so that you could watch a day’s worth of material in about 20 minutes. You can do the same thing. You don’t need to be a character. You just need to be able to film yourself and talk to the camera about what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling. Internet Killed TV plays AdSense ads and includes links to their clothing merchandise on the channel description.
You can’t talk about vlogging without mentioning the Shaytards. Shay Carl, his wife, and children record daily life in a large family. That’s the theme. They film the children playing while the parents narrate what’s been going on in life. They monetize their channel with ads, have a clothing line that they subtly promote, and link to their friends’ vlogs for mutual support. They also have a couple of “spin-off” vlog channels where they post videos that deviate from their normal content. The Shays are likable people who don’t mind being on camera. They don’t use special effects or spend a lot of time editing their recordings. They simply pull out the camera a few times per day, record and narrate, then post. That’s all it takes. Hit record and go. Your personality will appeal to a certain demographic of a viewer and, if you’re consistent in posting, you’ll gain a following.
Zoella talks about fashion and beauty. She shows products and comments on why she likes or doesn’t like them. She provides affiliate links in her video’s descriptions so that if you buy one of the products she mentioned, she’ll receive a percentage of the sale. She also creates her own clothing and accessories. Could you do something like this? Could you sit in front of the camera and review products? Maybe it wouldn’t be all that you do on your channel, but if you buy something or are interested in an item, use your vlog to talk about and possibly make money from it.
PointlessBlogVlogs features truly entertaining personalities. The regular “cast” doesn’t do anything spectacular. They’re shopping, having friends over, and playing games. The appeal is that they laugh, make funny comments, and genuinely enjoy themselves. They promote a fashion and accessory line that they create. Do normal things, show the world your unique personality, and you might become just as popular!
itsJudysLife is another family show cut into short clips of the day. It’s popular because so many people can relate to it. There are funny moments, heartwarming experiences. You can even understand when the parents make mistakes raising their children because everyone has been there. The only monetization option the site takes advantage of is advertisements.
One thing we should mention is that many of these most popular vlog channels have become defunct. Their makers aren’t posting to them anymore. They loaded their channel with content, gained a following, monetized, and then put their account on autopilot. Do you want to know how to catch up to and surpass them? Create a vlog and keep it going! All you need to do is be consistent. Some of your videos will be more entertaining, more moving, more useful than others, but if you keep going, you will: 1) get better at vlogging and, 2) gain a following over time.
Did you find this post useful or have any ideas to start a YouTube channel? Comment below.