How to Start a YouTube Channel for Beginners (Profitable)

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you purchase through some of our links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. 

Do you know that YouTube is now the second-largest search engine in the world, just next to Google? YouTube has 2 billion users globally, and 79% of Internet users have a YouTube account. 

Because of the vast audience base, becoming a YouTuber is one of the top ways digital nomads make money online

No matter if you’re just in it for the hobby, starting a YouTube channel in itself can be profitable in many ways. 

Many YouTubers with a popular channel naturally become an influencer on social media platforms like Instagram and can charge $50 to $1.2 million per post. And, of course, they get video sponsorships from brands and earn YouTube ad revenue. 

And more started their personal brand through white-label dropshipping to further monetize their influence. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our ultimate guide to dropshipping to sell without inventory. 

Ultimately, you can get started with Spocket for free and start a high-quality dropshipping store in a few minutes.  

Besides, there are many other ways you can make money as a content creator. Here are some of our guides to making money on social media:

Anyway, here’s our ultimate guide to start a YouTube channel for beginners.  

Create a YouTube Channel

If you haven’t set up a YouTube channel, here are the necessary steps to create one.

  1. Log in to your Google account.
  2. Go to youtube.com and sign in to your account (top right corner).
  3. To create a channel, click on your profile picture, then “Your Channel.” 
  4. Choose whether you want a personal channel or a business channel. 
  5. Here comes the creative part — Name your channel. Make sure it’s short, catchy, memorable, and can represent your content niche! 
  6. Now, upload a profile picture. If it’s for your personal brand, use a headshot that clearly shows your face to increase credibility. If it’s a business channel, use your logo. And here’s the perfect YouTube profile picture size. 
youtube channel icon profile picture
  1. Write an intriguing description. Make sure it’s not too long, yet tell people who you are and what your channel is about.
  2. Add your channel art. We recommend using Canva to create a professional and aesthetic design. Canva offers numerous templates with perfect sizes. It’s free and super easy to use!
canva youtube channel art
  1. And drumroll, please – your YouTube channel is all set!

Alternatively, you can watch this tutorial by YouTube Help on how to start a YouTube channel for beginners.

YouTube channel art (aka channel cover, channel banner)

Since viewers may quickly form a first impression from your channel art, let’s dive deeper into creating a YouTube channel art that attracts people to subscribe. 

The golden rule is to use channel art to highlight key information about your channel, such as who you are, what your channel is about, your regular upload schedule, and social media accounts.

Use images that represent your personal brand and your channel 

The image you include in your channel art should reflect your channel’s topic and strengthen your personal brand (showing your personality and expertise). 

youtube channel art example

This amazing channel art from Pamela Reif shows her in the middle of an abs workout. She also highlights in texts that her videos are “quick and effective” and “no talking usually,” which quickly inform viewers what to expect from her YouTube videos. 

Include your upload schedule 

youtube channel cover example

Gordon Ramsay’s channel art features him in a professional chef’s uniform and lets viewers know that he will upload new videos every week. Clearly stating your upload schedule can encourage visitors to subscribe as they know you’re likely to update frequently, and they’ll have fresh content from you weekly. 

Feature your website

youtube channel banner example

In this channel art from Christen Dominique, she features her online store URL in the middle. This can encourage viewers to visit and drive more sales.

If you want to set up an online store, make sure to check out our in-depth online store builders review. Ultimately, you can set up one in 5 minutes with Sellfy, which is our top recommended store builder for creators and bloggers. 

How to Create YouTube Channel Art

Besides using Canva, you can use Adobe Creative Cloud for more flexibility in designing. 

If designing is not your thing, you can easily hire help from Fiverr to create professional channel art. 

fiverr youtube channel art

YouTube Channel Social Media Links

youtube channel social media links

The links at the bottom right of the channel art are added separately. They aren’t part of the channel art design. So it’s best to avoid placing any texts in this area. 

To add social media links to your YouTube channel:

  1. Go to your YouTube channel. 
  2. Click ‘customize channel.’ 
  3. Go to ‘basic info.’ 
youtube channel basic info
  1. Scroll down to the ‘Link’ section, and you can add your links there. 
youtube channel links

Besides adding your social media profile, you can also link to your website or online store

Another best practice is to add a ‘Subscribe’ link. When someone clicks on it, they’ll see a popup to confirm subscription. 

youtube confirm subscription box

Simply add “?sub_confirmation=1” to the end of your channel’s URL to create a subscribe link. 

How to Make YouTube Videos 

Now let’s move on to discuss how to make Youtube videos that people actually want to watch and help you gain a following! 

YouTube Video Ideas 

What to make YouTube videos about is probably the top question for most YouTubers. Even if you have determined your niche, you would still wonder – what exactly do I make videos about? 

To successfully grow your YouTube channel, you should treat it like a business

If you solely want to share videos for fun and not intended to monetize them, you can shoot videos on whatever topics you like and just leave it as it is.

But if you’re serious about launching a profitable channel, you should treat your channel like a business.

Business exists to satisfy demand

So in order for your video to be successful, it should satisfy a demand. 

And you can identify demand by doing keyword research. 

YouTube Keyword Research

As mentioned earlier, YouTube is the second largest search engine. People talk a lot about doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to rank on Google, and it should be the same for ranking on YouTube. 

When creating content to rank, we usually begin with keyword research to identify keywords with high search volume and low competition. 

High search volume means more people are searching for the keywords, so your video is more likely to be exposed to more potential viewers. 

Low competition means it will be easier for you to compete for ranking for the keyword. There are lots of factors contributing to video ranking, but let’s just focus on finding keywords with high search volume and low competition for now. 

There are several tools you can use for YouTube keyword research. 

YouTube Keyword Research Tools
TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is a free Chrome extension. After adding it to Chrome, you’ll see a sidebar displaying keyword search volume and competition on your YouTube search page result.

It’s very straightforward to use and offers an overall suggestion on whether you should target this keyword. 

You can install it for free here. 

VidIQ

VidIQ is another free Chrome extension that adds a sidebar to your YouTube search result page. 

It is generally the same as TubeBuddy regarding the keyword tools. So it’s up to your personal preference on which to use.

They both have more useful features, such as the Auto Translator on TubeBuddy, and Trend Alerts on VidIQ. You can check out their additional features and download the free extension on their website. 

TubeBuddy’s official website here. 

VidIQ’s official website here.

Brainstorm Video Ideas with Keyword Research Tools

In general, you can use these keyword research tools to brainstorm video ideas. Let’s say you’re in the beauty niche, and you may want to do a makeup tutorial. Just search for “makeup tutorial” and check the related searches. Repeat until you find a keyword with high search volume and low competition. 

After getting the keyword you want to target, you can plan your video, write a script, and start shooting!

Best Camera for YouTube Videos in 2021

The next big question is probably equipment – What is the best camera for YouTube videos

If you’re just starting and your phone has a fair resolution, try your phone first. It is the handiest camera in your pocket and convenient to use when traveling or going out.

But if you’re serious about it and ready to invest a bit of money for better equipment, here are a few suggestions.

Sony ZV-1

sony zv1 best youtube camera

Sony ZV-1 is a compact vlogging camera designed for video creators. It comes with a vari-angle LCD screen, body grip, and a recording lamp, making it selfie-friendly. 

The max movie resolution is 4K, and it has a directional 3-capsule mic with windscreen, making it great for filming both indoor and outdoor.

Additionally, it features a product showcase setting, which is ideal for creating product review videos. 

You can even instantly transfer clips to your smartphone so you can share them in real-time on social media platforms.

Check this out here at the Sony store.  

DJI Osmo Pocket 2

dji osmo pocket 2 best youtube camera

DJI Osmo Pocket 2 is a lightweight, affordable camera for travel shooting. It comes with an intelligent three-axis stabilization that allows you to film smooth footage when you’re walking or even running. 

You can check this out here at the DJI store. 

Upload Video to YouTube 

Finally, after all the planning and shooting, it’s time to upload your video to YouTube!

You can upload videos via YouTube Studio:

  1. Sign in to your YouTube account.
  2. Click “Create” > “Upload Video” in the upper right corner. 
  3. Drag and drop or select the file you want to upload.

Alternatively, you can check out this official video from the YouTube Creators channel on how to upload videos to YouTube.

Add Keywords to Title, Description, and Tags

While your video is uploading, you can add basic info like title, description, and thumbnail. Don’t forget to include the keywords you want to target in your title and description and add relevant tags. 

For other basic info like language, recording date and location, and category, try to fill in as much as possible. Providing more information can help YouTube recommend your videos to the right audience.  

Create an Attractive Thumbnail

YouTube video thumbnail is the cover image of the video. It is the first thing people see when browsing on YouTube and deciding on which video to watch. Therefore, it is imperative to design an eye-catching thumbnail that attracts people to click on it and watch your video. 

Again, we would recommend trying Canva to design a professional and attractive thumbnail. It’s free to use and offers hundreds of templates for you to create a thumbnail in 5 minutes. 

canva youtube thumbnail

Try Canva for free here. 

Add Video Elements

Next, you can add video elements like the end screen and cards. You can show viewers related videos and websites and add calls to action to drive subscriptions and sales (if you’re selling products). 

Preview and Publish

Finally, after filling in the information, uploading an attractive thumbnail, and adding video elements, you’re ready to publish the video! Do a final preview, and if everything’s good, hit “Publish” to see it live immediately!

Alternatively, you can schedule your video to publish later at a set time. Just pick the date and time you want your video to be published. The video will be released automatically at your set time. 

What are the YouTube channels with the most subscribers?

Here are the top 10 YouTube channels with the most subscribers as of Dec 2020. 

  • T-Series: 166m subscribers, music 
  • PewDiePie: 108m subscribers, entertainment
  • Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes: 101m subscribers, education
  • SET India: 91m subscribers, entertainment
  • Kids Diana Show: 72m subscribers, entertainment
  • WWE: 71m subscribers, sports
  • 5-Minute Crafts: 70m subscribers, how-to
  • Zee Music Company: 66m subscribers, music
  • Like Nastya: 65m subscribers, entertainment
  • Canal KondZilla: 62m subscribers, music

You can also check out this wiki page for the full list.

Is it possible to do a YouTube channel name change?

It often happens that one might want to change the name of the YouTube channel because of a shift in content focus or no longer like the current name. 

To change your YouTube channel name:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. “Customization” > “Basic info” from the left menu.
  3. “Edit” to update your channel name.
  4. Click “Publish,” and you’re all set!

But bear in mind that when you change your YouTube channel name, the name change also applies to your Google account. By the same token, you can simply change your Google account name to change your YouTube channel’s name. 

If you want to use a different name on YouTube than Google, create a brand account and connect it to your YouTube channel. 

Is creating a YouTube channel free?

Yes, absolutely! Creating a YouTube channel is free. All you need to do is to create a Google account then sign in to YouTube. Then, follow the instructions we provided at the top of this guide to create a YouTube channel. 

What are YouTube videos with the most views?

The most-viewed video on YouTube is “Baby Shark Dance” by Pinkfong. It has amassed over 7.5 billion views as of Jan 2021. 

Other most-viewed videos are “Despacito” by  Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee, “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, and “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth. 

The most-viewed YouTube videos are usually music videos. 

What is the best YouTube video editor?

The best YouTube video editor is Adobe Premiere Pro. There are also other alternatives, and you can view them in our guide to the best video editor for YouTube

How YouTube video make money?

YouTube videos usually make money by displaying advertisements before, during, or after the video. To do this, you’ll need to enable your channel monetization and connect your YouTube account to your Adsense account. Once connected, you can choose which videos you want to display ads on. 

On average, a YouTube video can receive $3 – $5 per 1000 views. The actual amount varies on lots of factors, like audience demographics, ad categories, etc. 

Over to You!

Starting a profitable YouTube channel is not as straightforward. But it’s not difficult either. It’s definitely achievable if you work hard and work smart by doing proper keyword research with tools like TubeBuddy to identify demands. 

Start a YouTube channel today and grow it like ?!

If you’re interested in more ways to monetize your YouTube channel, this guide includes more detailed information on how much you can make with YouTube ads, sponsored posts, and more ways to monetize your influence.