How To Create A YouTube Channel – Beginner’s Guide!

YouTube is a powerful platform, there’s no doubt about that. So it’s really no surprise that more and more people have become interested in making and growing a YouTube channel of their own.

Creating content for a YouTube channel can mean the start of building a library of accessible content that shows up and ranks in both Google and YouTube. Even if you upload a video to your channel today, it could rank on both platforms for YEARS down the road.

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Starting a YouTube Channel can be a daunting task, especially if you’re brand new to the platform. That’s why we’ve created this step-by-step guide on how to create a YouTube channel to walk you through the process.

Not only will we be covering the exact steps for how to create a YouTube account, but we’ll also provide you with tips on how to optimize your channel to maximize your traffic from the get-go.

12 Key Tasks to Start a Successful YouTube Channel

In this guide, we will focus on 12 different tasks to help you create an awesome channel, including:

So if you’re ready to learn how to make a YouTube channel with optimized settings, let’s get started!

Task #1: How to Create a YouTube Account

Since YouTube is owned by Google, the first step to starting a YouTube channel is to create (or sign in to) your Google account.

To do this, head to the YouTube home screen and click the Sign In button located at the top right corner of the screen. This will take you directly to the Google sign-in page, so either sign in to your existing account or click Create account.

If you don’t already have a Google account, creating one is the first step

After clicking the Create account button, you’ll be prompted to choose either For myself or To manage my business. The one you choose won’t affect your YouTube channel, so just consider whether you want to use an affiliated email with a first and last name or a company domain.

Next Step: Create Your Channel

Once you’ve signed in or created a new account, click on your profile picture or letter icon at the top right corner. In the drop-down menu, you’ll see a button that says Create a channel. However, this might not be visible if you already had a Google account.

If that’s the case, click on your profile icon and select Settings from the drop-down menu. From here, select the link that says Add or manage your channel(s), which will take you to a page with a Create a Channel button.

Click on the button that says Create a Channel

Some of you might already have a few channels associated with your YouTube account, so if that’s the case, you’ll just move on to create a brand new brand channel. If this is your very first channel, you have the option to choose either a personal or brand channel.

What’s the Difference Between a Brand Channel and a Personal Channel?

A personal YouTube channel can only be named based on the user’s first and last name and it only allows for one account manager (so one linked email).

On the flip side, a brand channel gives you the option to create a custom name, and multiple emails can be linked to manage the account. Brand channels have a lot of advantages, especially if you’re aiming high for your channel and hope to see it grow.

Next Step: Create Your Channel Name

Once you’ve decided between a personal vs brand channel, it’s finally time to create your channel name. Type it in, then just check the box stating you agree to the terms and click Create.

Picking a channel name isn’t the easiest thing to do, so if you want helpful pointers on the name-choosing process, check out our guide on the 6 Steps to Pick Your Channel Name.

Task #2: How to Customize Your YouTube Description

Now that your YouTube channel has officially been created and named, it’s time to customize it!

To start, upload a profile picture or avatar that will serve as a good representation of your channel.

Next Step: Create Your Channel Description

Next, add in some basic information about your channel to let viewers know what you’re all about. This will be inputted in the Tell viewers about your channel text box. This text will be displayed on the About page describing your channel.

To give you an idea of what can be included in your page description, here’s our description for Primal Video:

As you can see, we provide enough detail about our channel to give our viewers an idea of who we are and what we do, but we also keep it short and sweet

Pro Tip: Optimize Your Channel Description!

The main thing to remember about your channel description is that this is the perfect opportunity to start optimizing.

Not only are you trying to tell your audience what you’re about with this description, but you’re also telling YouTube. Keywords and key phrases play a big role in how YouTube ranks its content, so you definitely want to sprinkle those throughout your description page.

As you sit down to write your channel description, try to strategically place keywords in the text

Let’s use Primal Video’s description as an example. We use phrases like video creation, video editing tutorial, gear reviews, video production tips, video marketing tips, and more. This wasn’t an accident!

Because each of these phrases relates to our brand and image, it not only gives our viewers insight into who we are, but it also gives YouTube the inside scoop on our key topics covered.

Next Step: Add Links to Your Sites

The last step to customize your description is to add in some links leading directly to your websites and social media accounts – think Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

After you’ve inputted your links, just hit Save and Continue before moving on to the next step.

Add links to your sites

Task #3: How to Customize Your YouTube Channel

You’ve just finished customizing your description, so it’s now time to customize the actual channel and its settings.

After saving all the changes on the description page, you’ll be redirected to the channel dashboard where you can start customizing even more.

To start customizing, hit that Customize Channel button

To customize your channel:

  1. Click on the blue Customize Channel button
  2. Then click on the Customization tab in the YouTube dashboard on the left of the screen. You can access this screen at any point by clicking on your profile icon and selecting YouTube Studio
  3. Once on the customization page, there will be 3 tabs at the top of the page: Layout, Branding, and Basic Info. The Basic Info page will display the channel description you added early as well as your channel URL.
The only way you’ll be able to customize your URL is if you meet YouTube’s requirements, which are listed here

Until you reach 100 subscribers, you won’t be able to customize your URL – but this is a huge motivation to get more subscribers!

On this page, you can also make small tweaks to your channel layout by moving around the links you added in earlier, adding more links, and specifying how many of these links are visible on your YouTube banner.

Task #4: How to Add an Email Address to Your YouTube Channel

Adding an email to your channel’s contact information is a very important aspect in the process for how to start a successful YouTube channel.

Make sure to add an email address in your channel’s Contact Info so that your viewers can get in touch

By adding an email to your channel’s Contact Info, you’re opening the door for viewers, brands, and companies to contact you. Once the email has been added, click on the Publish button in the top right corner, and move on to the next task.

Task #5: How to Add a Banner on YouTube

The next task we’ll be going through focuses on branding your channel so that it stands out from the other 30 million+ channels on YouTube, and one of the best ways to brand your channel is to add a banner.

A banner is an image that is displayed across the top of your channel, and it shows up whether a viewer is watching from a smartphone, TV, desktop, or tablet.

Here’s the banner on our channel as an example

To add a banner:

  1. Click on the Branding tab on your channel dashboard – it’s right next to the Basic Info tab – and scroll down to Banner image.
  2. Click Upload, and select the image/banner you want to use from your files. From here, you can play around with the banner’s positioning based on how it will be viewed on each device.
  3. Finally, hit the blue Done button – your banner has been added!
YouTube makes it really easy to select the ideal position based on the viewing device

A quality banner adds a lot of character to a YouTube channel, so if you’re interested in creating one, check out our complete tutorial on How to Make a YouTube Banner.

Task #6: How to Add a YouTube Watermark Subscribe Button

Just like adding a channel banner, incorporating a Subscribe button is another awesome way to engage with your viewers. The Subscribe button shows up as a small watermark in the bottom right corner of your videos that allows viewers to easily subscribe to the channel.

It’s a very small graphic that shows up on both desktop and mobile (although it’s not clickable on mobile devices) and it’s one of the easiest things you can do to boost subscriptions.

Here’s an example of the Subscribe button we use in our videos

All you have to do to add a watermark is:

  1. Go to the Branding tab on the channel customization page
  2. Click the Upload button that’s located under the Video watermark feature
  3. Then select an image to upload – a small Subscribe icon works great – and select your desired display time.
  4. Then hit Publish – that’s it!
YouTube allows the watermark to be displayed at the end of your video, during the entire video, or at a custom start time

Learn how to create custom-branded watermarks for your channel in our tutorial on How to Add a YouTube Watermark Subscribe Button.

Task #7: How to Add a Channel Trailer

Adding a channel trailer isn’t something you need to do right away, but it’s definitely worth considering in the future. Just like a movie trailer, a channel trailer is a short video that gives potential subscribers information about your channel.

To add a trailer on your channel:

  1. Click on the Layout tab on the channel customization page
  2. Then select Add in the channel trailer column.
Add a channel trailer in the Layout section of the Channel customization page

Task #8: How to Adjust YouTube Channel Settings

Next, it’s time to make some changes to your channel settings. Start by clicking the Settings button all the way at the bottom of the channel dashboard.

The Settings box will pop up, giving you options to adjust general settings, channel settings, upload defaults, permissions, community settings, and agreements. Under General settings, select the currency your channel utilizes.

In Channel settings, this is where you can add more info about your channel, including:

  • Country of residence
  • Keywords relating to your channel (only add the relevant keywords here)
  • Whether your channel’s content is suitable for kids (this is a requirement!)
  • Whether or not you’d like to link a Google Ads account
  • Whether or not you want the channel’s number of subscribers to be publicly visible

One of the points on this list that many people struggle with is inputting keywords relating to the channel. If you need help finding the right keywords and phrases, you can use a resource called TubeBuddy.

Task #9: How to Enable More YouTube Channel Features

Once you’ve adjusted all of the Basic Info and Advanced Settings, move on to the tab labeled Featured eligibility to enable even more channel features.

Start by checking that all of the Default Features have been enabled. In most cases, these will already be enabled and you won’t have to make any changes. You will, however, need to enable some extra features that require phone verification.

These extra features include things like longer video times (over 15 minutes), custom thumbnails, and live streaming capabilities.

To enable them, click on Verify Phone Number, select your country code, and decide whether you want to verify through an automated voice message or text message.

Once you see that the extra features have been enabled, click Save

Task #10: How to Set Your YouTube Upload Default Settings

After adjusting channel settings and enabled features, the next step is to select your upload defaults, or the default settings for how you’d like each video to be uploaded.

Adjusting upload default settings is a great way to save time for your future uploads

To set your defaults:

  1. Click on Upload defaults in the Settings dashboard and make changes based on how you want each video to be uploaded to your channel.
  2. You’ll be able to select how each video is uploaded in terms of visibility (whether it’s public or private), tags that will be added to every video, video category, etc. The advanced upload defaults even allow you to decide how video comments are visible to viewers.

Comments can be difficult to manage, so this default can save you a lot of time and headache. For more info on this, feel free to check out our guide on How to Manage YouTube Comments Like a PRO.

Task #11: How to Add Channel Moderators and Hide Users

Adding channel moderators is a great way to give others access to your channel to, well, moderate. Approved moderators can perform tasks like respond to comments and chat feed while a video is live.

It’s also possible to hide users from your channel so that a specific user (a spam bot, for example) is no longer able to make comments. You can also block certain words from showing up in a video’s comment feed.

Adjusting the Community settings gives you more control over who is involved (and who isn’t) in your channel’s online community

Adding channel moderators is a great way to give others access to your channel to, well, moderate. Approved moderators can perform tasks like respond to comments and chat feed while a video is live.

It’s also possible to hide users from your channel so that a specific user (a spam bot, for example) is no longer able to make comments. You can also block certain words from showing up in a video’s comment feed.

By doing this, YouTube will filter out any language that it deems inappropriate. Don’t worry, you have the power to review each comment to see if it’s actually inappropriate and allow it through, even while you’re live on the channel.

Task #12: How to Upload Videos to YouTube

We’re in the home stretch for making a YouTube channel, so give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve made it this far, and it’s finally time to upload your first video.

After creating and editing your video for YouTube, go to your Channel’s homepage, click on the Create button (the small video camera icon) and select Upload video.

Now that your channel is fully customized, the time has finally come to add content

Interested in learning the best time to upload your videos? Check out our complete guide on the Best Time to Upload YouTube Videos to your Channel.

Now You’re Ready to Create a YouTube Channel of Your Own!

We covered A LOT in this guide on how to start a YouTube channel, and although it can be daunting, you now know the exact steps to create your very own channel from start to finish.

So whether you’re starting from scratch and don’t even have a YouTube account yet or you need some insight on how to optimize your channel settings, use this guide as a resource.

For more information on how to grow your channel, check out our FREE YouTube Ranking Guide. In this guide, we cover the 3 most powerful tools and ranking strategies to increase your YouTube traffic by 10x!


When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

Tools for Setting Up & Growing Your Channel

Resources for Building Your YouTube Channel:

Resources to 10X Your YouTube Channel:

Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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