Choosing a YouTube Channel Name

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

Part of YouTube Channels For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Take a reflective pause before you choose a YouTube username or channel name or other identifying criteria you want as your public face for the whole YouTube world. An overhasty decision here could end up being one that you regret later. Many a creator has made the mistake of beginning to upload videos to what they thought would remain a low-key, personal channel, only to have that channel take off in popularity, at which point they begin to feel trapped in a channel named after their cat. (Okay, just to be clear, this wouldn’t be a problem if the channel is actually about your cat).

Keep the following advice in mind when making your reflections:

  • Don’t rush into anything. You should think hard about this decision. Though it seems like a light one, it really can impact the success of your channel in the long run if you choose a bad name.

  • Try to relate the name to your content. Are you creating a channel about video games? Try to work a gaming term into your title. If you plan to create fitness-related content, try to integrate workout or sports terms.

  • Avoid profanity, vulgarity, and inside jokes. Though you may find it hilarious to name your channel Dadfarts, a name like that will necessarily limit your market. It’s hard to predict what path your videos might take on their way out into the world, and a sophomoric name (or a downright obscene one) might deter your viewers from sharing your video. You want people to share your videos!

  • Make the name catchy. Your channel name needs to be memorable. People love puns, rhyming, and alliteration, but don’t try to integrate all three. That might be a little much.

  • Make it easy to spell. People need to be able to find your channel, and choosing a word that’s difficult to spell can prevent people from finding you. Do not see this as a felicitous opportunity to create a recondite channel name thronged with abstruse vocabulary that will confuse and confound your potential viewers.

  • *Make it easy for people to talk about. When you think you’ve hit on the perfect name, try reading it aloud a few times and make sure you can pronounce it. You want to have a channel name that people can talk about and make themselves understood. The best test for this is to call a friend on the phone and direct her to your channel. If you can tell your friend the channel name and she can get there without your having to spell it, you’ve got a usable name on your hands.

  • Make sure the name is available and that you won’t be confused with another business on YouTube or elsewhere. You should search the web in general and YouTube specifically to make sure your brilliant channel name isn’t already in use elsewhere. You should also ensure that the URL you prefer is available. YouTube’s allocation of URLs is not automatic, and you have to choose your custom URL later in the channel creation process. So, even if your channel name is available, your custom URL may not be available. Check this in advance, or else it can turn into a real problem.