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Are we still YouTubers if we don't appear in our videos? This was just one of the thoughts that crossed my mind as we figured out how to set up our youtube channel.  We are total youtube rookies.

Things we googled: "Is iMovie good enough for YouYube?" and "What is an SEO?" Yes. it's true. We had no idea what SEO stood for. We had A LOT to learn. At one point The Pie made a really good point, being an avid YouTube watcher herself, she said, "videos don't get found, they get lost." Encouraging, right?

Did you know that 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute? No biggie.

But we were just so excited to be creating! We were bursting with ideas and just wanted to get it all out there. We had lists upon lists. Lists of names, lists of video ideas, a giant to-do list and a list of a million questions.

Here are a few of the questions we tried to figure out the answer to, and some of what we found helpful.

How do you design channel art? 

Wait, what is channel art? Channel art is at the top of your YouTube channel. It is also called the banner.  We must've tried 26 times to design our channel art "banner" to look good (and by good we mean "somewhat okay" and maybe the right size) on all devices. We first tried Adobe Spark as a design tool, but once we discovered Canva, we were hooked. You can design using countless social media templates or input your own custom dimensions. When you click on this:
 You get a bunch of options that are totally customizable and super fun to get creative with:

Bonus Tip: We go to for even more free images that can be used without restrictions.

Once you design a banner and add the image to your YouTube channel, you will see a preview that shows you what your channel art looks like on different devices so you can adjust as needed. It might take a few attempts to make it "just right" for you.

Social links? How do you get those?

Looking at other YouTube channels was so helpful. We would see something we liked and then figure out how to do it ourselves. We'd say most of our learning came from..... yep, watching YouTube. We noticed that other channels had links to their social media sites. The links on our YouTube channel look like this:
They take a user right to our social sites. There are a few tricks to setting these up. Start by going to your creator studio and clicking the pencil on your channel art banner and selecting "edit links." The FIRST one will display the word/s you type. (we typed "Follow" along with our twitter link)

Bonus tip: For twitter, you have to leave out the "s" from https:// in order for it to show the twitter logo when you paste in your info. 

Custom thumbnail? Yes, please. 

We designed several custom thumbnails after the fact on Canva and then added them to our videos. When you upload a video to YouTube you get three options for the thumbnail. Often it will be the beginning of your video, where you have the title, but not always. We found that creating custom thumbnails using the Canva template added value and appeal. For others, we simply picked a name to leave as the video's thumbnail.
We also learned that to build brand recognition we should have our own logo on the video thumbnail, so we started adding one to videos on the left side in the middle, where it would not be covered by anything when it appears on the YouTube sidebar.

Watermark? We want one.

Many of the videos that we watched had features that we didn't have in our own and we were jealous! One that was super easy to add to all of our videos was a watermark. A watermark is a small image in the lower right-hand corner, that once set up, will appear in all of your videos. Ours looks like this:

You don't have to add this feature to each video, you just do this step once. Follow the steps presented in this tutorial by Sunny Lenarduzzi for optimal results:

Optimize an end screen? Say what?

Oh no, it has to be the last 20 seconds of the video? BUT WE DIDN'T leave 20 seconds at the end! Arg. Are we really going to remake the first fifteen videos? (yep. we'd uploaded fifteen videos before we learned about optimizing end screens) We decided not to remake any of our videos, but as we produce more we continue to improve the quality and add elements that will increase their value.

End screens can be optimized when you edit your video in YouTube. The tools will look something like this:
You can add "elements." We add our logo as a call to subscribe and we add two videos. It was suggested that we add "best for viewer" which is a dynamic element that changes based on what video of ours is a match for the viewer. We also pick a video to add that is similar to the video they just watched.

We didn't realize that when you edit, all of the elements you add appear in the upper left-hand corner and you have to move them to where you want them. If you have an element in the upper left, when you add another, it will be ON TOP of your first and you have to move it to where you want it to be. 

Bonus tip: We also like to space out the timing of when each element appears. 

Head Spinning? Ours too.

These are just a few of the things we found helpful as we set up our YouTube channel. Don't forget~ we are total rookies! There are a bunch more juicy tips we can share, but what is perhaps the most important thing we've learned so far, is that we can only dedicate so much time to this passion project. 

So for now, we'd love to know... what was helpful and what are you still wondering?


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