Tutorial for Creating a YouTube Channel

Upload and share videos for free on YouTube

YouTube logo
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It's easy to make your own YouTube channel to start sharing videos online or even just to use YouTube as a storage container for your private videos. No matter what you'll use it for, it doesn't take long at all to get your channel live.

Once it's up and running, you can make changes to how your YouTube channel appears, edit your videos to make them perfect for your audience, and even organize your content into playlists.

Tip: If you want to make a YouTube account for your business or brand, follow the steps as shown below and then see how to make a YouTube brand/business account.

Create a Google Account

YouTube works through a Google account, so you might already have one. Google accounts are used to access Google products like Google Play, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, and even to save custom maps in Google Maps.

If you've ever used one of those services, then you don't have to worry about making a Google account. Otherwise, create your own Google account before proceeding.

Keep in mind that, by default, your Google username will become your username on YouTube and will be what everyone sees when you upload videos (e.g., a johnsmith1991@gmail.com account translates to a YouTube account at youtube.com/user/johnsmith1991). However, you can always change the channel name once you're on YouTube.

Tip: There are several username generator website you can use to make the best username if you're having trouble coming up with something unique.

Already Have a Google Account?

If you sign on to YouTube from a Google account you already have, but it has yet to be used on YouTube, you'll be asked one simple question when you get there: to provide the first and last name that you want to be identified as on YouTube.

If this is your actual first and last name, then so be it, otherwise, you can pick a different name.

Type something in both text fields and then choose CREATE CHANNEL.

Customize the Channel's Appearance

Apart from your video content, the way your channel looks can sometimes make or break someone from subscribing to your channel or even liking your videos. It's the first impression for anyone who visits your channel directly, so it's important to spend some quality time making it look nice.

Some of the more basic things you can change are routine settings that anyone with a channel should customize. This includes the channel icon, channel art, and channel description. From your channel, go to CUSTOMIZE CHANNEL and then click the edit button next to those areas that you want to change.

Once those are finished, you can think about adding a trailer to your YouTube channel, change how videos are laid out, and more. Click the settings icon next to the Subscribe button on your channel, and then enable Customize the layout of your channel to open up some other areas of your channel that weren't previously seen, such as Featured Channels.

Even more can be customized in the Advanced area of your YouTube account.

Upload Videos to YouTube

A YouTube account isn't quite complete without some videos. At any time, when you're logged in, click the video icon at the top of the YouTube website, and then choose Upload video to access the upload page. You can also go live on YouTube from this video icon.

Drag videos to the upload page or click the large upload area to browse for videos to put on YouTube. You can also click Import next to the IMPORT VIDEOS area on the right of the upload page, to grab videos you've backed up to Google Photos.

When uploading videos to YouTube, be sure to choose Public, Unlisted, Private, or Scheduled to choose how the upload should complete. Public videos are, of course, available to the public, but unlisted videos are not searchable; you have to know the direct link to the video in order to view it. Private videos are seen only by you when you're logged in, and scheduled videos can be configured to go public at a set time.

Video Limitations

The maximum video size you can upload to YouTube is 128 GB or 12 hours (whichever is less), or 20 GB if you have an outdated web browser.

YouTube videos can not exceed 15 minutes in length unless you verify your YouTube account, after which that cap is removed.

Acceptable Video File Formats

You'll get an "invalid file format" error on YouTube if you don't abide by the rules for which video file formats are allowed.

Popular formats that are not allowed include anything that isn't video, like MP3 or JPG files. You can't upload a single audio file or a still image.

These are the formats that are currently supported for YouTube videos:

How to Convert Videos for YouTube

If your video is not in one of the above file formats, you can most likely run it through a free video file converter to put it into the correct format.

For example, instead of trying to upload an MKV file to YouTube (which isn't allowed), convert it to MP4 (which is allowed) and then upload that MP4 file.

Edit the YouTube Video

YouTube does not provide an online editor to make changes to your videos once they've been uploaded, but there are lots of free video editors that you can use instead.

Some YouTube video editors let you do things like add text to the video, delete parts of the video you don't want, include photos, import audio, and make video transitions.

You put your videos into custom playlists to make it not only easier for you to manage but also for visitors to have an easier time following along with related videos.

Free YouTube Resources

If you need additional help with YouTube, feel free to browse through YouTube Help for answers to lots of common questions.

Also be sure to check out the official YouTube Blog and YouTube's Creator Academy.