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How to Start a YouTube Channel: The Best Practices to Follow

According to Hootsuite, YouTube is the second most visited site in the world; Google takes the first spot.

People watch more than a billion hours of video on YouTube every day, and 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.

how to name your YouTube channel

Read till the end because we’ve got 7 things every small business needs to do when they get on YouTube.

Plus, we have some tips to help you grow your subscriber count.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to start your YouTube channel.

We’ll also tackle some of the best practices, and optimizing your name for SEO.

So let’s start with naming your YouTube channel.

You want your channel name to be something that’s memorable, and that will give viewers a clear idea of what they can expect when they click.

Most channel names fall into four categories:

  1. Someone’s name (Taylor Swift)
  2. A brand name (Nike)
  3. A category (Classic Game Room)
  4. Something descriptive (Epic Rap Battles)

Within these four categories, you can be as creative (or not) as you want.

9 Best Practices On How To Name Your YouTube Channel

  1. Keep your name short and make it easy to remember
  2. Avoid numerals or cutesy text or symbols
  3. Avoid made-up words
  4. Consider your audience
  5. Use title case for readability
  6. Leave room for growth
  7. Consider existing social media accounts and URLs
  8. Make it catchy and intriguing
  9. Use words that elicit an emotional response

1. Keep your name short and make it easy to remember

Ideally, your name should be easy to remember.

Think about how your name looks when type out, in a hashtag, and said out loud.

Is it going to be a channel that makes people go “huh?” when someone says it to them?

For instance, if you name your channel “Morgan’s Marvelously Magnificent Magical Mind Melodies”, you can’t expect others to memorize it all.

2. Avoid numerals or cutesy text or symbols

This plays into searchability.

It’s going to be really difficult to show up in search results if your channel name is a bunch of numbers or symbols.

This reduces your chance of being discovered, and of folks who are looking for you, but can’t quite remember if it was 67359 or 95376?

3. Avoid made-up words

Like with numbers and symbols, this suggestion prioritizes searchability.

“Wondertastic” may have exactly the excitement and wonder you were looking for…

…but it’s going to be hard for users to remember, and your searchability and discoverability are going to suffer.

4. Consider your audience

You should think about your target audience when choosing your channel name. Some businesses or niches can be edgier than others.

5. Use title case for readability

All caps or all lowercase names are fun and have a certain aesthetic appeal, but what we really care about is readability.

It’s a good idea to use a title case, where you capitalize every word like in a book title.

6. Leave room for growth

It’s not a good idea to niche yourself too much or lock yourself into a commitment.

For example, a channel name of Morgan’s Daily Magic Trick Explanation both niche’s us quite a lot with “magic trick explanations”…

…and locks us into a commitment with “daily explanation.”

This leaves little room for growth or change.

A better name would be something like “Morgan’s Guide to Magic” because it specifies the niche, is intriguing enough to get a click, and leaves topics open.

7. Consider existing social media accounts and URLs

If you have a website and accounts on other social media platforms for business, you may want to keep this name close to others.

This is so that your followers, as well as users from other platforms, can find you easily.

Don’t worry if you can’t find exactly the same thing. Make it close by adding underscores, dashes, or some other symbol.

8. Make it catchy and intriguing

When possible, choose a name that makes people go like, “I have to see more.”

We’ve saved this for later in the list because it’s a nice-to-have, not a necessity.

9. Use words that elicit an emotional response

Similar to keeping it catchy and intriguing, a channel name that elicits an emotional response such as:

  • excitement,
  • surprise,
  • disgust

…may get more clicks (at least more initial interest clicks) than channels that don’t elicit an emotional response.

You’ll want to be careful with this one though.

Do you really want people feeling disgusted when they see your businesses’ YouTube channel? Maybe not. But also, maybe.

Maybe you have a garbage removal company, so that initial feeling of disgust would be appropriate.

Well, since that initial feeling may be what drives your customers to seek out your services.

Be Sure To Optimize Your YouTube Channel Name For SEO

The days of cutesy or weird YouTube channel names are long past. At least, as far as business channels go.

Since YouTube shows up in Google search results, you want to make sure that your channel name is optimized for SEO.

Before you announce anything, make sure your desired channel name isn’t taken by doing a search on YouTube.

If it is taken, don’t worry, that happens. Keep looking for a variation you like that makes sense for your business.

So how would you brainstorm a name? Let’s walk through the process.

Steps On How To Name Your YouTube Channel

Step 1: Research some of the top-performing keywords for your business or industry.

If you’re a therapist, make a list of relevant terms people would be searching for, like “therapy”, “counseling”, or “anxiety.”

Include general terms and more specific niche terms that are relevant to you.

Step 2: Make a list of channel names you’ve seen and liked, if you can think of any.

Step 3: List any words you want to be associated with your channel, like epic, best, or true.

Or, any branded or must-have words like trademarks or business names.

Step 4: Look at what your competitors are doing across your industry.

If there’s an industry-standard, you may want to follow it or break it, but you want to make that choice strategically.

Step 5: Pro Tip: If you’re really just hitting your head against a wall, try using a YouTube name generator to help you.

how to name your YouTube channel

Sometimes the hardest part is just getting the ideas flowing, so we’ve found generators to be a nice piece of rocket fuel.

It’s rare that they spit out something that doesn’t need work, but they usually help get those creative juices flowing.

Keep in mind too that most of these generators are owned by companies who are using this as a marketing tool.

Try out different combinations of words and phrases that you like.

It’s even a good idea to test out the name in some of your social media graphics, like your YouTube cover art, just to see what it will look like.

Keep that graphic on your desktop, or check it often over a few days to see how it feels over time.

Don’t overthink your channel name or let it hinder you from getting started with video.

Video is the best way to reach your customers and find new customers.

It’s more important to get started and learn as you go than to wait until you’re perfect.

So now that you’ve got a good idea of how to select your name…

…let’s look at what you should do as soon as you secure your username, and some tips for growing your subscriber count.

7 Things Small Businesses Need To Do When They Get On YouTube

  1. Add channel art
  2. Complete your profile
  3. Film a trailer
  4. Customize your page layout for new visitors
  5. Post on your Community Feed regularly
  6. Respond to comments
  7. Interact with other channels as your channel

1. Add channel art

You want to make sure that new visitors know who you are, what your channel is all about, and knows what to expect.

You can communicate a lot about your brand and the tone of your channel with the graphics you choose.

Show your business or employees, some of your products, or topic-related stock photos if you don’t have any of the other things.

There are a ton of great templates on Canva and similar sites that you can use. Or, you can also hire professional graphic design services.

Make your channel cover art as interesting as possible. Here are some examples:

2. Complete your profile

Not filling out your profile info is like not answering someone when they ask you, “so what do you do for work?”

If your profile info is empty, people can’t learn more about you, even when they want to. Let people know…

  • what your business is,
  • what kind of videos you make,
  • how often they can expect to see new things from you,

…and anything else you want them to know. It’s always a good idea to include links to your website too.

3. Film a trailer

YouTube allows you to select the video that will show to new visitors and encourages you to film a “trailer” for your page.

Use the trailer as an opportunity to tell your potential customers the most important information about you.

For instance, tell them who you are and what you’ll do for them quickly, and then pique their interest.

When filming a trailer, it’s a good idea to assume your audience has never heard of you.

Before you write your script, ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • What’s the most important thing I want people to know about my business?
  • How do I want viewers of my trailer to feel?
  • Who should be in the trailer?

4. Customize your page layout for new visitors.

And you can do this by highlighting specific videos and playlists. Make them feel welcome and guide them where you want them to go first.

You can edit your page layouts for both new visitors and returning visitors.

So, make sure to include your channel trailer and any introductory or beginner playlists for new visitors.

how to name your YouTube channel

And then, your more popular or customer-requested series for returning visitors. You can add up to 12 sections.

Change your channel layout in your account by logging in on YouTube Studio. To add a section:

how to name your YouTube channel

a. From the left menu, select Customization Layout.

b. At the bottom, click Add Section.

c. Scroll to select your content.

  • Videos: Choose to highlight your uploads, popular uploads, short videos, live now, past, and upcoming live streams.
  • Playlists: Choose to highlight single, created, and multiple playlists.
  • Channels: Choose to highlight subscriptions and featured channels.

d. Click Publish.

5. Post on your Community Feed regularly

Make sure you do it as you do with your Facebook and Instagram profiles.

You can schedule these posts in advance so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or getting stuck in a meeting.

Post updates, announce new videos, give a sneak peek at an upcoming product or event, or use a poll to ask what your audience wants to see next.

6. Respond to comments

YouTube is a social network.

The best social media platforms have a very engaged audience, which means an active presence by channel owners is a must.

Your on-screen person doesn’t have to do all the responding, though they should engage and take the time to build that relationship.

But, someone representing the company should be.

You can use a social media specialist to check in and respond once a day.

Or, it can be a moderator you’ve found from your devoted fans, or any combination that works for you.

Thank people for taking the time to watch your channel, answer any questions they have, and ask open-ended questions to keep them engaging.

What about negative comments? There’s a difference between critical comments and abuse.

We like to respectfully respond to critics about content or filming, thanking them for taking the time to watch, and addressing how the issue will be resolved.

However, we delete abusive comments because those just don’t need to stay.

It’s your channel, so ultimately, you get the final say in what you delete and what you leave up.

Deleting anything that’s negative about your brand, even legitimate customer questions, can make your followers weary, so tread carefully.

7. Interact with other channels as your channel

YouTube is a search engine and a social network so you’ll be rewarded for being an active user.

You’ll need to go beyond posting videos and responding to comments.

Make sure you’re watching, liking, commenting on, and sharing other users’ videos that you think would be useful or entertaining to your audience.

It’s a good idea to curate content from other channels too.

This is so you have something to share even if you haven’t made anything yourself.

And also because it helps you make friends and connections in the YouTubing community.

This will help you in the future with possible collaborations or shout-outs, and helps with the algorithm now.

How Can You Increase Your Subscriber Count?

1. Announce your new YouTube channel to your audience.

Do this on your other channels, and tell people what they’ll get by joining you there.

If they follow you somewhere else, chances are they’d love to follow you on YouTube.

74% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube, so chances are your audience is already there.

This can help you grow your channel rather quickly and will give you an algorithm boost.

2. Send the news out to your email subscribers.

Use an email marketing campaign to invite them to join you. If they’ve subscribed to your email list, chances are they kind of like you.

Why not ask them to support you on your channel?

This should be an added value to your customers, so be sure to focus on what you’ll be providing them through these videos.

Are they getting tutorials, free projects or patterns, helpful tips, product reviews, or something else?

Will there be other benefits of joining, like monthly giveaways exclusively hosted there, sneak peeks at upcoming releases?

3. Pay attention to trending topics.

Check out the Trending Page and make videos on them when relevant.

The YouTube algorithm will give your video a boost if you’re covering trending topics, because it wants to keep users on the platform as long as possible.

Even smaller channels can find their videos on Trending if they hit the right topic at the right time.

4. Focus on content quality over quantity.

Make videos that educate, entertain, or help you make an emotional connection with your viewers.

If your video just feels like a super long QVC commercial, you run the risk of annoying everyone.

And your views, growth, and conversions will suffer because of it.

5. Post consistently.

You don’t have to post daily. In fact, you don’t even have to post more than once a week.

But you DO need to post consistently and let your viewers know what they can expect.

You can do this by adding the info to your channel graphics and telling users in video when to expect the next one.

how to name your YouTube channel

It’s better to start smaller and grow as you learn more and get access to more resources than to promise something that you can’t deliver on.

6. Partner with larger channels or creators.

Pick those who would have a good crossover audience.

You don’t want to partner with competitors, of course, but find related interests that can overlap with your products and services.

You’ll be able to offer valuable entertainment or education to your audience.

And also, reach their audience, many of whom may become new followers.

7. Use YouTube Stories and Community Feed.

These features were added by YouTube to increase each channel’s ability to engage with its audience.

These are also the features that users like, so be sure to use them.

You can post behind-the-scenes, channel updates, teasers to upcoming videos, announcements of new videos, polls, and questions.

how to name your YouTube channel

Make sure that you respond to comments and set aside a little bit of time every day to do this.

8. Host a giveaway.

Now, you need to be careful with giveaways, because you could end up with tons of people who follow you only to unfollow as soon as that giveaway is over.

You won’t keep 100% of the subscribers who followed you for a giveaway, but it can be a great way to attract new followers.

Keep the prize related to your business and your ideal audience’s interest.

Don’t opt for something with a huge broad appeal unless it makes sense to your business.

Wrapping Up

Those are our tips on how to name your YouTube channel and some tips for what to do as soon as you get on the platform.

We’ve also covered strategies that we’ve used to help small businesses grow their YouTube subscriber count.

Remember, what’s more important than subscriber count or the number of videos you put out in a week…

…is whether or not your videos are serving your customers.

So even if one of your customers watches your video and they felt a little happier, more educated, or more entertained, you’ve done an excellent job.

And if you need more help to promote YouTube videos, check out our YouTube marketing services here.

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