How to Create a YouTube Channel

Getting started on YouTube is simple. Here is a quick beginner’s walkthrough of how to create a YouTube channel for the first time and set it up before you publish your first video.

How to Setup a YouTube Channel

1. Sign in to YouTube

To make a YouTube channel, you’ll need to have a Google account, which you can create here. If you already have one, just log in to YouTube.

2. Click User Icon at upper right and select “My channel”

Once signed into YouTube, click on the user icon on the upper right-hand side, which will bring up a drop-down menu.

YouTube Account Dropdown

Select “My channel,” which is the first option on this list.

3. Click the link labeled “Use a business or other name”

You’ll get a “Use YouTube as…” prompt that will allow you to use your channel as a personal account (First and Last name) or as a business account (Brand name).

Set YouTube Channel Name

Select “Use a business or other name,” which is the link at the bottom of the text above the buttons.

4. Type account name and click “Create”

Simply type in your preferred account or brand name and click “Create.”

Name your youtube channel

You’ve now created your first YouTube channel, but it still needs some additional work to get up and running. The next step is to customize your channel’s look-and-feel through uploading your brand assets, such as a banner and icon.

How to Customize a YouTube Channel

Let’s get the channel ready for your first video upload.

1. Click the “Customize Channel” button

It should be visible on your channel page and look like this:

Customize channel

If you need help finding your channel page, click the user icon to the upper-right again and it will appear within the drop-down menu.

My Channel

2. Click Channel Icon edit pencil and upload a new icon

At the top of your channel page, there is a square Channel Icon. If you hover over this, a pen icon appears.

Click this to upload a new Channel Icon.

Upload YouTube Icon

You’ll get a prompt to edit your Google account icon. Click edit. You’ll get the following prompt. Click the upload button.

Upload YouTube Channel Icon

Navigate your computer and select an image to use. Avoid anything that violates YouTube’s community guidelines, which means: keep it G-rated, don’t use celebrity faces, and do no use anything that’s copyrighted.

Specs for YouTube Channel Icon

• JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG file
• 800 X 800 px image (recommended)
• Square or round image that renders at 98 X 98 px

3. Click “Add channel art” and upload a new banner

From your channel page, click the “Add channel art” button in the middle of the banner to upload a channel art.

Add YouTube Channel Art

From here, navigate your computer and upload your banner art.

Specs for YouTube Channel Art

  • Recommended channel art size: 2560 x 1440
  • Max file size: 6 MB

If you need help, check out our full guide about creating a YouTube banner image.

4. Click “About” and then click “+ Channel description.”

To add a description for your channel, click the “About” tab from your YouTube channel and then click the “+ Channel description” button.

Add channel description

Write a brief description of your channel, including the major topics you’ll be covering in your videos.

Channel Description Recommendations:

  • Make it at least 50 words in length.
  • Include any branding tagline or positioning that describes what is unique about your channel.
  • Include words (called “keywords”) that describe the subject matter of the videos you’ll publish, which will help people find your channel and videos in YouTube search.

5. Add social accounts and website by clicking “+ Links”

At the bottom of the About page, there is a “+ Links” button that will allow you to add URLs to your other social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and your website.

While here, you can also add your contact information and country.

6. Add channel keywords within Creator Studio

To access the “Creator Studio,” which is your dashboard for managing your channel and analytics, click your user icon to the upper-right. Within the drop-down, there will be a link to the Creator Studio.

Creator Studio button

From within the Creator Studio, look to the left-hand menu. Click on “Channel” and then “Advanced.”

YouTube Creator Studio Advanced Channel Settings

Here you can add keywords to describe your channel.

Channel Keyword Recommendations:

  • Use no more than 5 to 10 words
  • Include words (called “keywords”) that describe the subject matter of the videos you’ll publish, which will help people find your channel and videos in YouTube search.

How to Verify a YouTube Channel

Verifying a YouTube channel gives you a verified icon and allows you to upload videos over 15 minutes in length.

You may see a Verify icon, such as this:

Verify Icon on YouTube

You can click this, or if you don’t find it, visit

From here, add your phone number and follow the verification process.

Add Phone Number

Publish Your First Video

You’re now ready to make and upload your first YouTube video. If you’re struggling with where to start, check out our list of 105 ideas for YouTube videos.

If we missed anything, or if you have any questions about starting your channel, let us know on Twitter at @thevlognerd.