How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel in 2021

Have you been in the following mindsets recently?

“I wish I had started my YouTube channel back in the day, now there is just too much competition!”

“I have zero camera presence, and no experience with writing titles, creating thumbnails, or marketing!”

Or even…

“I want to start my channel but I don’t know where to start, what kind of content I will create!”

Start a successful YouTube channel

Hold up, I think I can help you out on this.

Starting a YouTube channel is much easier than it seems, really. In this blog, I will take you up on a journey and discuss every single aspect that will help you launch and start a successful YouTube channel in 2021! When you are through with this blog, you will know how to start from zero, , selecting the right equipment and niche, how to create content your target audience will love, creating optimized videos, and how to market yourself to the audience and beat out the competition.

So, let’s get started.

So first of all, let’s learn how to create a YouTube channel.

How to Create a YouTube Channel in 2021

How to create a YouTube channel

To create a YouTube channel, you must have a Google account to begin with. So if you do not have a Gmail account, first make Gmail account from here.

After, opening your Gmail account and logging in.

Follow these steps to create a YouTube channel in a matter of few minutes:

  1. Open YouTube on mobile or PC.
  2. On the right top corner, you will find your profile picture. Click on it.
  3. When you click on your profile picture, you will see a drop-down menu. Click on “Settings”.
  4. This will take you your account overview, where you will see “Create a new channel”.
  5. From here you can choose whether you want a Brand Account or one for Personal representation.
  6. Once you verify your channel, you will be left with the customization of channel.

Difference between Personal and branded YouTube accounts

A Personal account can be managed by just a single person. However, a Branded account can be managed by multiple people. Influencers, bloggers, etc., usually have a Personal account, on the other hand, entrepreneurs, brands, companies, etc., usually have a Branded YouTube account. Before we go on to the Channel Customization, let’s get our basics clear and then move onto it.

How to Start a YouTube Channel in 2021

Let’s begin by answering the 5 golden questions that will help you gain a clearer perspective and develop a strategy:

Question 1: What kind of content will you create?

What kind of content will you create

This is the entire point of creating and starting a YouTube channel. Sharing the valuable content that people will love! So, ask yourself these questions that:-

  • What you are good at?
  • Is there any need for this channel?
  • Will people be listening to you i.e. what is the size of the market that may be listening and viewing your content?
  • What kind of content did you envision you will share on your channel?
  • Is similar content already present on YouTube?
  • How your channel will be different from others?
  • Will your channel provide enough value to the viewers?
  • Will your channel impact the lives of your target audience?
  • Do you have enough knowledge on the subject choosen?
  • Do you want to start a Vlogging channel?
  • Wherein you will share your day-to-day adventures?
  • Do you see yourself educating on YouTube?

Whatever it is that you wish to go forth with, be crystal clear about it, because the kind of content you share, shapes your YouTube channel niche as well helps you understand what is your target segment, and ultimately help you formulate your channel positioning.

For example, people who love shopping and coming up with cool looks, prefer starting a Fashion and lifestyle channel where foodies love to review restaurants with vlogging channel.

Gamers obviously start shooting their games, whereas teachers such marketing gurus, CAs, fitness enthusiasts, entrepreneurs love to educate on YouTube.

Chefs and cooks explain their recipes through videos, whereas entertainers and comedians share their hilarious videos. There is new trend of experiments and more!

You can select your niche according to your taste and style. So, if you are inclined towards product reviews, analyze your industry and just keep in mind of the fact that since 2017, more than 50,000 years’ worth of product reviews have been watched on YouTube. Hence, choose wisely

Question 2: Who is your target audience?

who is your target audience on YouTube

Analyse your target audience prior to zero-in on what kind of content you are going to upload to your YouTube channel. So that, you have enough knowledge about your prospects who will eventually become your channel viewers.

Begin by finding among what segment of audience, your content would be most popular. Find out what else is preferred by this segment of YouTube viewers, their behaviour as well as their needs & wants, and capitalize on it.

Since YouTube is available in 100 countries and in 80 languages , you have a wide range of users to attract from.

If you are wondering why this is important?

Well, more than 500 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every single minute. Thus, if you know your target audience well enough, you know what terms they are searching, and what kind of content they are watching, you become capable of marketing your channel to them and attract them towards your content.

Question 3: How do you propose to provide real value to your audience?

how to Provide real value to audience

YouTube platform has about 38 million creators.

What does this mean?

This means that there is no scarcity of youtubers in any niche.

Thus, you need to find a unique way to provide value to your audience, something they cannot find on any other channel.

Something other than venturing into a different niche or sub-niche.

Hence, it is necessary that you ask yourself, “What is the ultimate factor that will make viewers watch my videos and then come back for more?”

How my YouTube channel is different than the competitors. For example, let’s take one of the biggest niche – Food. So, how can you differentiate yourself from others? You can do either of the following:-

  • Focus on only making food recipes and positioning as a chef
  • Focussing only on food vlogging of restaurants
  • Focussing only on food vlogging on high end five start hotels
  • Focussing only on food vlogging of local street vendors
  • Focussing only on food vlogging of home kitchens
  • Focussing only on food vlogging while travelling different countries / states
  • Focussing only on food vlogging of fast foods OR only healthy foods
  • Focussing only on food vlogging with respect to diet plans
  • Focussing only on food vlogging of villages OR only urban area

The real value through food channel can be making videos on unexplored street vendors which your viewers might not have accessed earlier, or uncovering the secrets of mouth-watering recipes which your viewers tasted in good restaurants only. Fitness trainers can share the dietary plans for upcoming gym enthusiasts, whereas teachers can explain the difficult concepts in a really simpler way that book can’t explain so easily, hence, there are numerous ways through which you can deliver value. Always remember, benefits minus costs is value, so strive to maximize the benefits in order to maximize the value.

Always, give a reason in your video that how your video can impact your prospect’s life and make his/her life easier, so this is the real value what I am talking about.

Hence, you have numerous number of specific niches to be excelled in, just in case of food and can imagine for various other categories. This is how you provide real value and set yourself apart from the competition.

Question 4: How often will you publish content on your channel?

When to publish on YouTube

This might seem like something you don’t need to worry about until you start uploading videos to your channel.

However, thinking about your upload frequency well before starting to upload content is crucial!

This not only helps you to understand the quantity of content you need to produce to keep up with the upload schedule, but allows you to get your videos scheduled in the row regarding the editing and the optimization process.

Moreover, when you have a fixed upload schedule, your viewers know when to comeback for your next video!

Always set a frequency that allows you ample time to create quality videos. It could be once a week or twice a month, whatever that allows you bring out the best in each video!

Question 5: Who are your competitors?

who are your competitors on YouTube

I cannot stress this enough, always keep an eye out for your competitors!

Keep up with what they are doing, what kind of content they are creating, what trend they are following/hoping on, and even how do they engage with their viewers!

There will always be a page in their book you can learn from.

But why is this important?

The answer to this is pretty simple- because they have already done this before you and they have succeeded, so that you will not do the mistakes which they have done.

By analysing your competitor’s YouTube journey, you can learn a lot from their successes & failures and also, find some very helpful keywords! Learn here about Youtube SEO and keyword research .

These golden questions not only help you lay a foundation for your YouTube channel, but also guide you in times of doubt and perplexity.

That being said, let’s go over a few crucial components that you need cover before venturing into video creation process.

Crucial Things for Successful YouTube Channel

It’s time to make fantastic first impression with a fully customized channel homepage, with all of its key components well organized, to start a successful YouTube channel for beginners.

Channel Name that indicates your niche

Your YouTube channel name is what you would be known as on this platform, how your channel will be indexed, how your competitors and viewers will refer to you. Thus, you have to put some real thought while coming up with a clever channel name.

Many people use their name as the name of their YouTube channel.

For instance- Neil Patel

Neil shares SEO tips & strategies on his channel. He used his own name as the YouTube channel name, a brilliant personal branding strategy.

Use your name as YouTube channel name

However, many people choose to come up with a name that resonates with their niche, so that viewers could know at first glance what to expect from the channel.

For instance- The Fitness Marshall

When you lay eyes upon this channel name, you will know right away that this is a Health & Fitness YouTube channel.

Deciding your YouTube channel name

Channel Art to set the tone of channel

Channel art, more commonly known as the YouTube banner, is the huge picture that appears on your channel homepage and is crucial part of your YouTube branding.

This banner can be utilized and leveraged in multiple ways.

Many YouTubers share their upload schedule on their channel art, while many share the links to different social media handles such as Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Since, the channel art attracts the most attention of the viewers as soon as they land on your channel homepage, it should definitely have your channel tagline and a call to action to subscribe to the channel.

Channel Art to set tone

Make sure to use colours that complement your channel icon and the tone of the channel. YouTube recommends the size 2560 x 1440-pixel as the ideal size.

Thus, YouTube channel art easily becomes one of the key things to keep in mind in order to establish a successful YouTube channel.

Channel Tagline to summarize your purpose

Channel Tagline is nothing but a short sentence that summarizes the purpose of your channel in a quirky yet clever way.

Something that is meaningful and also impresses whoever comes across it.

Now, having a tagline for your YouTube channel is not a necessity, however, it is a great strategy for starting a successful YouTube channel, as this practice demonstrates professionalism and helps build credibility for your content.

Your channel tagline can be something as simple as, “…where motivation finds you” or something more complex such as, “Secondary Education, Let's Get to Work”.

For instance- Brian Dean of Backlinko summarizes his motto with a simple tagline…

YouTube channel tagline to summarize purpose

If you have a website, be sure to share the tagline there as well to maintain consistent branding throughout.

Let’s look at another example…

How to do YouTube branding

Nothing fancy, simply – Learn Photoshop.

Channel Icon to brand your channel

Your YouTube channel icon is very much like your Facebook or Instagram profile picture, meaning, it appears everywhere possible!

Thus, it has to be fantastic. It should visually represent what your channel is all about. Just like your channel tagline and channel name, this too should remain consistent across all your digital presence.

Your YouTube channel icon appears everywhere. From your homepage and watch pages to community tab and featured channels.

The ideal size, as recommended by YouTube, is under 800 x 800 pixels and in a JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG file.

You can either use a high-resolution headshot. For instance- let’s talk about Brian Dean of Backlinko once again.

Channel Icon to brand your YouTube channel

However, if you are a brand, you can utilize your brand logo as your channel icon. For instance- HubSpot uses their own logo as their channel icon.

Use logo as YouTube channel icon

Thus, channel icon is yet another key feature that helps you build a successful YouTube channel.

Channel Description in the About Section

By far one of the most important, if not the most important point in this list – Channel Description.

This appears under the “About” section on your channel. YouTube allows 1000 characters to all creators to summarize what their channel is about and what kind of content can be expected from them.

It’s a great place for creators & brands to address their target audience. However, at first, it can seem as though it isn’t really necessary, but from another vantage point, it is a great and pretty easy way to communicate with your viewers and a visitor.

Always make sure to include your channel keywords in the description, as it is a great way to aim for higher ranking. Also, clearly specify your value proposition in the first 100-200 characters, so that viewers don’t miss it.

For instance- Let’s talk about the channel description from HubSpot.

YouTube Channel description in about section

End your channel description with a strong call-to-action, to drive more views and subscriptions.

Share links to your website, and other social media handles, as it’s a simple, straight forward way to drive from your YouTube channel.

Customized URL to appear professional

Use Customized URL for YouTube channel

Yes, you read that right!

YouTube allows channels to customize their URL.

YouTube does allot a URL to your channel upon creation; however, it looks more like a random counter with the alphabet than a URL. Thus, YouTube allows creators to customize their URL, which can be done easily by navigating to the “Customization”, and then to “Basic Info” in the YouTube Studio.

For instance, let’s look at these two channels, one with a customized URL and the other, with an ID based URL.

customize your YouTube channel URL

It is best to customize your channel URL as such that it reflects your channel name clearly. Since, a customized URL helps your channel seem more professional, it becomes an essential component of starting a successful YouTube channel as a beginner.

However, you will only be eligible to customize your channel URL only if your channel is at least 30 days old and has a minimum 100 subscribers.

Furthermore, YouTube allows creators to change their URL only 3 times a year.

Channel Trailer for new visitors

Now that you are done with your channel art, icon, name and URL, it’s time to create and upload a channel trailer for your new visitors, kind of like a “Hello! Welcome to my world!” video.

It appears right on the top of your homepage, so that as soon as someone lands there, their eye would immediately go to the trailer.

A channel trailer is an awesome way to greet any new visitors who come wandering to your channel. You get a chance to tell your story – why you created this channel, what kind of content would you be sharing on it and who is your target audience.

If you speak yourself in your trailer video, and address your target viewers, or any new viewer, for that matter of fact, they will feel more connected to you.

It’s best to keep it short, somewhere between 30 to 90 seconds. For instance- Jamie Oliver welcomed people to his YouTube channel with a short trailer.

Channel trailer for YouTube channel

Moreover, if you end it with a CTA to subscribe, they will feel obligated to take action, and bam! You got another subscriber!

Organize videos into playlists

Now, you are probably wondering, how organizing videos into playlists will help you launch a successful YouTube channel?

Well, for one, it helps your channel homepage appear more organized and professional, all in all, helps you create a fantastic first impression.

Organize YouTube videos in Playlists

Another thing that this practice helps you achieve is greater retention. When your videos are neatly organized into playlists, your viewers are likely to click on them and spend time on your channel!

Now that you are all caught up with creating and setting up your YouTube channel for a successful journey ahead, let’s take a look on some of the practices that will ensure continued success!

How to strive for success with a brand-new channel

1. Be thorough with important YouTube guidelines

be thorough with YouTube guidelines

This won’t come off as a surprise to many. YouTube is very strict, when it comes to content violating its Terms of Service, Community Guidelines and other important policies. Thus, it’s important to make sure that neither your channel particulars nor your content violates any of the YouTube policies.

Now, if you are wondering what the worst that could happen, if you violate any of YouTube’s policies, you can very well get demonetized or have a great deal of trouble when you apply for the YouTube Partner Programme.

YouTube may delete your video, if your content gets categorized as ‘borderline’ and move forward by providing your channel a strike. Once you get three strikes, your channel will be flagged.

This will also result in getting zero sponsorships for your channel. No brand would like being associated with a channel that has been widely discredited by YouTube.

2. Learn how the YouTube algorithm works

how the YouTube algorithm works

Success on YouTube can be tricky, if you are not well aware how the algorithm works! Thus, it is crucial to learn how the YouTube algorithm works in 2021 to start a successful YouTube channel.

Because once you know how it works, you will know how to beat it and make it work in your favour.

The YouTube algorithm is essentially an amalgamation of Search & Discovery algorithm and Recommendation algorithm, which primarily rewards videos which manage to produce impressive watch time and engagement, based on a system mapped on deep learning.

In order to beat the first part of the algorithm, the Search & Discovery algorithm, optimize your videos using relevant keywords. Make sure to follow best video SEO tips while doing do.

Now let’s come to the second part of the algorithm, the Recommendation algorithm. How do you get YouTube to recommend your videos?

That’s rather simple enough- make sure your videos produce a great engagement, i.e., likes, comments, shares, subscriptions, and of course, watch time.

This lets YouTube know that viewers are loving what you are creating, thus, it promotes your videos on the platform.

3. Always, always stick to your niche

Stick to a niche on YouTube

I cannot stress this enough! Always stick to your niche, or at least until you have managed to build a dedicated audience, who will follow you wherever you go.

Now you are wondering, “what if I want to create both cooking and beauty videos?”. Well, don’t and there are 2 reasons behind this.

First of all, when you are starting out on YouTube, just sticking to one niche, helps you fully concentrate on it, and you don’t have to worry curating content for two very different genres. Juggling between two genres won’t leave you time for even one.

Secondly, and more importantly, the people who love watching food videos, came to see just that, and same goes for the people who love watching beauty videos. But if you attempt to please both viewers, you will end up losing both, and won’t be able to become a top creator in both niches.

Thus, stick to one niche, and build the hell of it!

4. Invest in the right equipment

Right equipment to make YouTube videos

Yes, along with finding value in your content, your production should also be up to the mark, because honestly, nobody likes to watch a video with shabby quality or poor lighting, when they could watch a video with superior production.

Hence, having the right equipment (IGYgrow blog 4 link) will contribute immensely in starting a successful channel as a beginner.

Your basic YouTube equipment includes a decent camera (you can definitely replace it with your smartphone camera!), a steady tripod, some lighting equipment, an up to the mark audio recording equipment, and lastly an adequate video editing software (you can’t upload the entire footage as is, now, can you?).

When you use quality equipment to create your YouTube videos, well, it shows!

5. Understand the Analytics

understand YouTube analytics

Yes, you have to understand every nook and cranny of YouTube Analytics, well before you upload your first video.

“Why is this important?”

Well, YouTube Analytics helps you understand how your videos are performing , who is watching your videos, were you able to satisfy the search intent of your viewers, how well are you able to retain your viewers throughout the video, and much, much more!

To see your Analytics dashboard, navigate to your Creator Studio, look on the left-hand side, you will find Analytics in the menu. The YouTube Analytics is divides into 4 tabs, all showing different metrics – Reach, Engagement, Audience, Revenue.

Analytics helps you to understand the loopholes in your strategy, and measure the effect of a newly implemented strategy.

To sum up the fiasco of achieving success as a YouTuber…

Being a Youtuber is nothing different than working a full-time job, but hey, you would do something you love.

Honestly, there is not just one way to start a successful channel on YouTube, or one full-proof strategy that would work for anyone. It all comes down to how your viewers interact with your content.

If they are loving it, great! Stick to your strategy.

If they are skipping it, find out why, fix the bugs to enhance it and see how your viewers react to it.

Always remember, success is a journey, not a destination.

Are you ready to start the journey of becoming the next successful YouTuber?

I hope you now understand what is needed to start a successful YouTube channel and how to achieve it.

Feel free to share and let me know how these tips worked out for you!