Creating great videos is the first step, and here are 25 more to help you optimize your YouTube channel to attract more viewers and harness the power of YouTube.
You’ve created a YouTube channel and you’ve got a dozen of excellent videos posted – but are there ways you can improve your channel? Certainly. Here’s a simple checklist to help you make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your YouTube channel and boost views, build a loyal audience, and earn more money through YouTube.
1. Choose a name for your YouTube channel
Your YouTube channel name is different from its URL, so this name can be edited, but it’s best to pick a name and stick with it to maintain a consistent artist brand. Choose something that is short and memorable (like your band name) that lets viewers know what to expect. You can edit your YouTube channel info by logging into your Google+ account.
2. Choose your icon. Upload a square, high-res image (800×800) that is recognizable and looks good when displayed at smaller resolutions (avoid a lot of text). This will be your channel’s icon across all of YouTube. If your channel is linked to Google+, you can use an image you’ve previously uploaded to your G+ account. You can access this from your YouTube account page.
3. Upload your YouTube channel art
Channel art is the banner/header that appears towards the top of your channel when viewed on a desktop. It’s ideal to upload a large image (2560×1440) with the most important visual elements located in the inner area (1546×423) so they’ll appear when the image is scaled for mobile and tablet. Your channel art should reflect your brand, but that doesn’t mean you should just slap your band logo in the header. Check out YouTube’s channel art tips and template. The image below highlights various display dimensions.
4. Write a channel description
To edit your channel description, go to the top right of the channel art section and click “edit links.” Be sure to highlight the most important content you create, use relevant keywords, and include your upload schedule to set expectations for your audience.
5. Add website and social media links to the “About” tab
You can include links to your official website, merch store, social media accounts, newsletter signup form, or promotional campaign pages. The icons will be displayed as overlays on your channel art.
6. Set “Featured Channels”
On the right hand side of your channel, you’ll see the “Featured Channels” header. Add any related or similar channels, including channels for other creative projects you’re involved in, your record label, etc.
7. Enable browse view and discussion
In the section of your YouTube channel homepage that contains the channel name and tab names, hover your cursor in the right-hand corner until the pencil icon appears. Click “edit channel navigation” and then enable both the browse view and discussion settings.
8. Select or upload a channel trailer
Once the browse view has been enabled, select a channel trailer video for your channel. A channel trailer is a short video that will auto play whenever an unsubscribed viewer visits your channel, so here’s your opportunity to get them hooked!
Your trailer should be brief, informative, and fit the overall vibe of your channel. Also, you should ask viewers to subscribe. The trailer will automatically display a card at the end of the video giving viewers an easy way to subscribe.
9. Organize your channel by adding sections
Sections are a great way to organize videos (by theme, style, series, genre, etc.) and give viewers an easy way to explore your content from the home page. For most viewers, only your top section will be visible without scrolling – so make sure your most important videos are included in the section at the top of your channel page. Sections can consist of videos, playlists, or channels, and can include your own videos as well as content uploaded by other YouTube users – which gives you a great opportunity to cross-promote with other artists. To add a section, just click the “Add a Section” button from the bottom of your channel home page.
10. Customize your channel URL
YouTube.com/YourBandName is a lot easier to remember than YouTube.com/RandomA$$ortmentOf@#$%^&*(. Your channel must be at least 30 days old, have 500 subscribers, channel art, and a channel icon to access this feature. Click for more info on how to customize your channel URL.
Using advanced features to optimize your YouTube channel
11. Verify your YouTube channel
If your account status has not already been verified, go to www.youtube.com/account_features, click “Verify,” and select “Voice Call” or “SMS.”
12. Select your default video category
To apply the category hat most closely reflects your type of channel (such as “music”), go to www.youtube.com/account_defaults. You can edit these for each individual video you upload.
13. Compose a standard footer for your video descriptions
Go to www.youtube.com/account_defaults to add links to your website and social media accounts as a standard footer in your default video description field. Again, you can always change these manually once a video is uploaded.
14. Add tags that will apply to most of your videos
Tags help direct people to your video when searching on YouTube, and proper tagging can help increase the monetization of your videos. Some suggested tags would include your artist name (plus any common misspellings) and popular keywords associated with your genre. Make sure tags with more than one word are enclosed in quotations, and don’t use commas. Avoid overly generic or tags not relevant to your video. Create your default tags at www.youtube.com/account_defaults.
15. Grow your fan base with Channel Ad (AKA Fan Finder)
With Fan Finder, YouTube displays your channel ad to viewers (as a skip-able TrueView ad) at no cost to you – giving fans of other channels the chance to discover your videos! To get started with a Channel Ad, go to www.youtube.com/featured_content, click the “select your channel ad” button, and choose a video to feature as your Fan Finder video. Visit www.youtube.com/yt/fanfinder/ for tips on what makes a great Fan Finder video.
16. Feature a video or playlist with Featured Content
Formerly know as “InVideo programming,” this feature allows you to highlight your most relevant content as an annotation that appears when viewers watch your videos. To select content for InVideo programming, go to www.youtube.com/featured_content.
17. Add your logo as a watermark
This is another great branding opportunity, as your logo will appear in the lower right corner of your videos as a clickable link leading back to your channel page. Go to www.youtube.com/branding to upload your logo. The image for the watermark should be a PNG or GIF file (1MB max) and ideally have a transparent background.
18. Add keywords for your YouTube channel
Go to www.youtube.com/advanced_settings to add keywords for your channel. Use words that best describe the kind of content you are uploading to your YouTube channel (many of these keywords will be the same as your default video tag).
19. Connect your official website
You can help YouTube improve the quality of its search results by entering your official URL at www.youtube.com/advanced_settings. Note: associating your official website with your YouTube channel can be a little frustrating, it helps to have some familiarity with Google’s Webmaster tool. If you’re kinda new to all this stuff, keep trying, it’s worth it.
20. Channel recommendations
Enabling channel recommendations will allow YouTube to recommend your channel to viewers outside of your existing audience. Go to www.youtube.com/advanced_settings.
21. Google Analytics property tracking ID
If you’re already using Analytics, you can dive deeper into traffic stats by entering your Analytics ID into your YouTube account at www.youtube.com/advanced_settings.
22. Allow advertisements
Go to www.youtube.com/advanced_settings and make sure to check the checkbox to allow ads on your videos.
23. Set sharing preferences
Go to www.youtube.com/account_sharing.
24. Privacy settings
Set your privacy settings at www.youtube.com/account_privacy.
25. Create a video thumbnail
A video thumbnail is a quick snapshot that will represent your video on YouTube. The thumbnail should be eye-catching – you want to attract the most viewers. If your channel has been verified and is in good standing, you can (and should) upload your own custom image to make sure the thumbnail is as intriguing/exciting as possible. To upload your own custom thumbnail, click the “Edit” button for the corresponding video in the Video Manager section of your account.
Your custom thumbnail should:
– Have a resolution of 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
– Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
– Remain under the 2MB limit.
– Use a 16:9 aspect ratio (the most used in YouTube players and previews).
– Go to support.google.com/youtube/answer/72431?hl=en for more info
Now that your channel is all tuned up, get back to producing more awesome videos, and don’t forget that you can monetize your music across YouTube by opting into CD Baby’s Sync Licensing and YouTube Monetization Program (which is a free add-on for all CD Baby Standard and Pro releases).
Feel free to leave links to your best music videos in the comments below!
This post originally appeared on the DIY Musician Blog. Reprinted with permission.
Chris Robley has released six albums of original material and has appeared on over 50 records as a producer or session-player. He’s a poetry fanatic who has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma, and more. As marketing coordinator for CD Baby and BookBaby (distributors of independent music and books), Chris manages the DIY Musician Blog.