YouTube Marketing For Dummies
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The value of making your YouTube channel look really good can’t be overestimated. Though your videos are ultimately the most important tool you have for attracting viewers and subscribers, the look of your channel is a big deal, too. YouTube wants viewers to spend more time watching content. What better way to do this than by giving content creators like you the tools to make an awesome YouTube channel experience.

When you’re logged in on YouTube, clicking the circular icon in the top right with the avatar of your account (or your picture, if you added it while setting up your Google account) reveals a dropdown menu. Selecting the Your Channel menu item at the top of the list brings you straight to your channel. Click the Customize Channel button to enter Edit mode.

When you enter Edit mode, you see the Channel Customization dialog window. It has three tabs: Layout, Branding, and Basic Info, circled in the figure below.

YouTube channel customization window

In the Layout section you have the following options:

  • Channel trailer for people who haven’t subscribed: A channel trailer is a short video that shows people who haven’t subscribed, what your channel is all about. Click Add to open the Choose A Specific Video page and you can specify a video from those you’ve uploaded to be the channel trailer.

We suggest you upload a special video for your channel trailer. When you create a channel trailer, pull out all the stops and give potential subscribers something to “ooh” and “ah” about.

  • Featured video for returning subscribers: This video will be shown at the top of your page for returning subscribers unless they’ve already watched the video. Click Add to open the Choose A Specific Video page and you can specify a video from those you’ve uploaded to be the featured video.
  • Featured Sections: In this section of your channel, you can organize your videos into sections of similar videos. To create a Featured Section, click the Add Section link to open a drop-down menu. You can choose to create a featured section of Uploads, Popular Uploads, Single Playlist and so on. If you choose one of the options like Single Playlist or Created Playlist, a dialog window opens showing a list of playlists you’ve already created. You can also create a featured section of Subscriptions or Featured Channels. You can have up to 12 featured sections on your channel.

Branding options

After customizing the channel layout, click the Branding link. In the Branding section, you have three options: Picture, Banner Image, and Watermark. To get the lowdown for each option, read on.
  • Picture: This is your avatar. You can upload a company logo, or a picture of yourself. The picture must be at least 98 pixels by 98 pixels with a file size of less than 4MB. We suggest you upload a video that is 400 pixels by 400 pixels. The picture can be a .png or .gif file (no animated GIFs). To make sure you comply with YouTube’s rules and regulations and learn more about customizing your channel, click the Learn More link.If your channel does not have a picture, click Upload, which enables you to upload a picture. If you currently have a picture on your channel, you have two options: Change which enables you to replace the current picture, or Remove, which replaces the current picture with the default YouTube picture.
  • Banner: This piece of artwork should grab the viewer’s attention. As of this writing, the banner must be at least 2048 pixels by 1152 pixels with a file size of 6MB or less. The .png file format works well for the banner, especially if your banner has text. To find out more about banners and channel customization, click the Learn More link.If your channel does not have a banner, click Upload, which enables you to upload a banner. If your channel currently has a banner, you have two options: Change which enables you to replace the default channel banner, or Remove, which replaces the current banner with the default YouTube banner.
  • Watermarking: This option allows you to add a watermark at the start or end of a channel video, or gives you the option of displaying the watermark for the duration of a channel video. Your watermark must be square with a minimum dimension of 150 pixels by 150 pixels and less than 1MB in file size. The .png format works well for watermarks. To find out more about watermarks and channel customization, click the Learn More link.If your videos do not have a watermark, you have the option to Upload. If your videos currently have a watermark, your options are to Change the watermark or Remove it.

Adding essential information to your channel

After making your channel look super cool with a custom picture, banner and watermark, your next option is Basic Info. This is where you get a chance to flaunt your channel with text. To finish the final step of channel customization, click Basic Info.

You have the following options:

  • Description: This tells viewers and potential subscribers what your channel is all about. Wax poetic. But remember, less is more. Your limit is 1,000 characters. Use them wisely.
  • Channel URL: This is the standard URL for your channel. You can copy it and use it where you need to add a link from social media or a website to your YouTube channel.
  • Custom URL: In this section, you can create an easy to remember URL for your YouTube channel. YouTube will suggest a custom URL based on your channel name. You can append the URL with numbers to make your custom URL unique. To qualify for a custom URL, your channel must have at least 100 subscribers and be at least 30 days old. In addition, your channel must have a picture and a custom banner. In other words, you’ve got to have a sharply dressed channel to qualify.
  • Links: You can add a maximum of five links to other websites and choose how many will display on the banner. The name of the first link as entered in this section displays on your banner. Icons appear for the other links. Each link leads a channel visitor to the specified website.
  • Contact Info: Enter an email address so channel visitors can contact you. This link is displayed in the About section of your channel.

You can view your edits at any time by clicking the View Channel button. This displays your channel and current edits in another browser tab. To return to editing, click the Channel Customization tab.

You’re almost done with the customization of your channel. What a long, strange trip it’s been. To make your changes live, click the Publish button.

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