How to Create a YouTube Channel

To create a YouTube channel, you'll first need to create a YouTube account. Once you have your account, you'll automatically have a channel, which will then allow you to set up a YouTube username and customize the look and feel of your channel. You'll also be able to upload your own videos and potentially earn money from those videos.

But, first things first . . . if you don't already have a YouTube account, go to our article "How to Create a YouTube Account" and then come back to this article to learn how to create a YouTube channel. 

Just What is a YouTube Channel?

When you create a YouTube channel, you open up a whole world of interaction between you and fellow YouTube users and viewers. Having a YouTube account allows you to like videos (with a thumbs up), dislike videos (with a thumbs down), subscribe to channels and be notified when a subscribed channel has a new video for you to view. 

If you plan on being an active user, you'll want to set up your YouTube username (which you'll need in order to comment on videos) and customize your channel. Your channel is basically a personalized home page that you adapt to reflect your personality or brand. Here you can display and organize the videos you make; create playlists grouped by theme which other people can access; and promote your videos to gain subscribers.

When you create a YouTube channel, you join the tens of millions of people worldwide who (according to YouTube) already have a channel. That's quite a community!

Tips to Customize Your YouTube Channel

In March 2013, YouTube rolled out its new channel design, "YouTube One Channel." While established channels can stick with the old design for the time being, it's likely YouTube will migrate all channels to the new design eventually.

The big push for this new design is that it allows your channel and videos to look good on all the various screen sizes and browsers available these days -- everything from televisions to computers to tablets to smart phones. If you have social or merchandise links on your channel, these will also be available on any device with a browser.

The next step to create a YouTube channel is to decide on your channel's theme, create a YouTube username, create a YouTube channel name and write a great description for your channel:

  • Decide on your channel's theme: Before you jump into designing the layout of your channel and creating videos, it's a good idea to take some time to reflect on just what kind of channel you want to create.

    Will you be creating how-to or DIY videos sharing your knowledge in a specific area? Music videos to promote your band? Maybe you'll host a talk show discussing your views on politics, religion, entertainment or current events? How about a channel to promote your business, product or service?

    For inspiration, take a look at what others are doing on YouTube. Browse through the different categories and subscribe to channels you feel are good models for the kind of content and look or feel you'd like to produce.

    Having a specific niche that you feel enthusiastic about will make it easier for people to find and subscribe to your channel. It will also make it easier for you to stay focused on creating quality videos that will attract an audience.

  • Create a YouTube username: The Google username you selected when you set up your Google account may not necessarily be the same as your YouTube username. Once you have a YouTube account, you'll be given an opportunity to select a YouTube username.

    Be cautious with the username you select! YouTube doesn't let you change your username if you later decide you'd like a different one. Your YouTube username will appear in a lot of different places -- on your comments, your channel and your video uploads -- so make sure it's a name you like.

    To select your YouTube username, log into your YouTube account. Select the down arrow in the upper right corner of your screen and choose "Settings." Your Account Information screen will appear. Select "Create a Channel." A screen appears entitled "Set up your channel on YouTube." From here you have two options: you can either attach your username to your Google+ profile (thus using your name that appears on Google+) or you can create your own unique YouTube username.

    If you decide to create your own YouTube username, choose the link next to "Use a business or other name." You'll see a field where you can type in your proposed YouTube username. YouTube will check to see if it's available. You'll notice that your username needs to be all one word (no spaces). 

    If you have a multiple word username in mind, capitalize the beginning of each word for better readability. For example, our YouTube username is GroovyVideosChannel.

    (Note: The exception to the single word username rule is if you attach your username to your Google+ profile. In this case, your username will appear as it does in Google+.)

    If your preferred username is available, you still have one last chance to change your mind and select a different username. Your decision won't be final until you select "Create channel." 
  • Create a YouTube Channel Name: Be aware that a YouTube channel name does not have to be the same as your YouTube username.

    For example, let's say Joe Smith has created an account with the YouTube username "JoeSmith." His channel is about his passion for vintage cars from the 1950s. He decides on the channel name "1950s Vintage Cars." His YouTube channel name ("1950s Vintage Cars") will display at the top of his channel page and all his videos will have his username ("by Joe Smith").

    It's up to you to decide if you want your YouTube username to be the same as your channel name. If your name is an integral part of your brand, it might be a good idea to have both the same username and channel name.

    To create a YouTube channel name, log into your account. (Remember, these instructions are for the new YouTube One Channel design and won't apply if you're trying to change your channel name in the old design.)

    Go to your channel page and choose "Settings" (has a gearbox next to it).  From the left-hand Channel Settings menu, select "Advanced." In the Account Information section you can enter the name of your channel. 

  • Write a Great Description for Your Channel: The "About" section of your channel's home page allows you to enter text describing your channel. Be sure to give details on what your channel is about, using the keywords and phrases that best describe your channel early in the description. This simple step will help the search engines direct traffic to your channel, which will help you get more subscribers.

    For more great tips, read our article, YouTube Channel Description: Free Publicity for Your Channel!

New Features With YouTube One Channel

As we mentioned, the big news with the new YouTube One Channel is the streamlined design that will give your channel better visibility across a variety of devices and browsers. YouTube is emphasizing the subscriber experience and the importance of good content organized in a convenient layout that builds channel loyalty.

Here's  a run-down of some of YouTube One Channel's new features. Your next step to create a YouTube channel is to begin incorporating these features into your channel layout:

  • Channel Art and Channel Icon: Channel art is a photo or artwork banner that you include at the top of your channel page. The banner will resize to accommodate the browser or device being used.

    Your channel icon appears on your channel art banner and in various places on your channel. For design tips, see "YouTube Channel Icon: Tips to Create Your Perfect Icon."

    Both the channel art and the channel icon are your opportunities to create a YouTube channel with a little flair that gives your audience a first impression of what your channel is all about. Be sure to take advantage of this and put some thought and creative energy into these channel design features.

  • Website links: The YouTube One Channel design allows you to add up to four verified website links directly onto your channel art. You could use this feature to direct users to your website, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages. 

  • Video Trailer: The goal of the video trailer is for you to provide a short explanation of what your channel is about and to entice non-subscribed viewers to subscribe to your channel. When a non-subscribed viewer lands on your channel, the trailer you've created automatically appears at the top of your channel and begins to play. 

    For info on how to create a great trailer, check out YouTube Channel Trailer: Your Promotional Video to Attract Subscribers.

I've Customized My YouTube Channel? Now What?

Well, you probably want to create a YouTube channel that gets a few subscribers? OK, maybe more than just a few, right? That means you'll need to learn about the new YouTube One Channel design and you might even want to consider earning money with your videos by becoming a YouTube Partner.

Be sure to check these articles out for more information:

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