By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

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 My Channel link in the top left‐hand corner brings you straight to your channel in Edit mode.

The My Channel page.

The My Channel page.

Note the following elements:

  • The header bar: This element runs across the top of your My Channel page, and gives you access to some pretty important information.

    • Subscribers: Since your channel may be new, you probably have zero subscribers — the link on the header that reads 0 subscribers is at the top to point that out. Hopefully, that number won’t be 0 for long.

      When you click the Subscribers link, you see a list of your subscribers, where you can see who is subscribed to your channel and review the information that they share publicly.

    • Video Manager: Clicking the Video Manager link leads you — no surprise here — straight to the Video Manager, which is the most useful place to manage the settings for your individual video uploads.

  • Channel art: The large, gray box with all the gray triangles as background is the default channel art for your channel. It has a picture of a computer, a TV, and a phone, and a large Add Channel Art button. Adding channel art is something you’ll want to do as soon as you can. You can also add links to websites, links to social networks, and an email contact button to this area, all of which you can do later in this chapter.

  • Channel icon: Overlaying your channel art on the left side is the channel icon. The default channel icon is a light blue square with a nondescript dark blue icon in the middle. This element is an important one because it acts as your channel’s identifying mark on YouTube and Google+; it appears next to your channel’s name all over both sites; it shows up in subscription lists; and it appears next to every comment you make. If your channel art is the face of your My Channel page, this icon is your face everywhere else on YouTube. Channel icons are typically a brand logo or a picture of the channel’s content creator.

    When you roll the mouse pointer over the different areas of the My Channel page, a small, gray box with a pencil icon in it appears. This is the Edit button. When you get around to customizing your channel, the Edit button is what you’ll use to access the controls for each of these elements.

The figure shows the basics of the My Channel page, but you can add more. Here’s a list of the kinds of things that you can display there:

  • Channel trailer: You can add a channel trailer for unsubscribed viewers. (Think “trailer” as in “movie trailer,” not “trailer” as in “trailer park.”) This is a perfect opportunity to show your audience what your channel is all about, what content you cover, what days you publish and anything else you think might help viewers subscribe to your channel and watch tons of your content.

  • Sections: These are groups of videos that help viewers explore your content. Create sections to make it easy for your viewers to browse and find content that interests them. Think of them like bookshelves that gather content of similar types. Sections can contain a playlist, your most recent videos, your most popular videos or other collections of content that you want your viewers to see. The default section on a new channel is Uploads — that’s just the list of your most recently published videos.

  • Channel Tips: YouTube wants you to succeed; they even give you best practice tips based on your current channel status. Find these at the top of the right‐hand section when logged in.

  • Related Channels: This area will be blank until you add in channels that are related to your channel. This is optional, but also a very good opportunity to highlight any partnerships you may have formed with other YouTube creators. You can highlight your partners and your partners can highlight your channel to help share audience between related channels.

  • Popular Channels on YouTube: YouTube recommends channels that are related to your channel for your viewers on your My Channel page. If you don’t want YouTube showing other channels, you can disable this feature. Simply hover over this section and a Disable button will appear.

  • View as Public: Whenever you’ve made some changes to your channel, you’ll want to see how your channel is going to look to your viewers. In the top right‐hand corner, note the small planet Earth labeled View as Public. Click this link to view your channel like a normal YouTube user would see it. To go back to Edit mode, click the Done button in the blue bar on top.

    Create sections with multiple playlists in addition to just shelves with individual videos. This will help your Playlist tab appear more organized, making it easier for viewers to find more content quickly. Be sure to have a strong thumbnail image for every video in a section and every playlist.