Launch a web browser and visit the Youtube website. When the page loads, it may try to set your preferences to the UK – that’s fine, just click OK. In order to set up a channel, a free Youtube account is required. If you already have one, skip to Step 3. Otherwise, click the Create Account link at the top-right. Type in a username and then click the Check Availability link underneath it to see if it’s available for you to use. Read through and fill in the rest of the details, then click to accept Youtube’s terms and conditions.
Youtube is owned by Google, so it’s possible to use an existing Google account if you have one. Otherwise, create one by typing in your email address and entering a password. Click the ‘Create my new account’ button and follow the rest of the sign-up process. The next screen will allow you to set up a recovery email address, should you ever lose your Youtube/Google account details. Click Save and continue. This opens your new Youtube account page. Click the ‘Customise your channel’ page link.
The new channel is currently empty. We will start by adding a couple of videos. Click the Upload link at the top of the page and then click the yellow Upload Video button. Use Windows Explorer to navigate to where the videos are stored on your hard disk, then select the ones you want to add. Click the Open button to start. Youtube supports loads of different video file formats – check the site’s help area for details.
The videos may take a while to upload, depending on how large they are (maximum size is 2GB/15 minutes long). While waiting, fill in the details in the accompanying form. Give the video a recognisable name, describe it and add tags (keywords) to help people find it more easily – use a space to separate single-word tags and if the tag is a phrase, enclose it in double quotes. Choose the relevant category from the dropdown menu that appears (ours is Music).
Fill in the forms for any other videos you are uploading, then click the Save Changes button at the bottom. Once the videos have been uploaded, Youtube displays a set of thumbnails across the screen and a message saying the videos will be ready to watch in a short time. We don’t have to wait for that, so click the link to your username (see Step 1) at the top-right, then choose My Channel from the dropdown menu.
This is starting to look more interesting. Our videos are listed on the right and the first one is displayed in the main window ready to play. Now let’s add some more details about our channel. Click the Settings tab at the top of the screen. Fill in the form by giving the channel a name – ours is the Brighton Folk and Blues Club – and then add tags for the channel in the same way as in Step 4. Click the Save Changes button to continue.
Our Youtube channel is designed to showcase the musicians playing at our local folk and blues club, so we would like to change the colours and make it look more like the club’s website – part of the reason for creating a channel is so videos can be personalised. Click the Themes and Colours tab, then audition the various colour schemes there by clicking on them. Sunlight is close to what we want, but it could do with some tweaking, so the next step is to click the New Theme link.
Here we’ve opened the website for the music club in a new Internet Explorer window so we can check the colours. We are going to change the background colour that’s used inside the dark orange frame from a light orange/yellow to a straightforward black. (Make a note of the number inside the little box that represents the colour you are changing – just in case you want to change back.) Click the coloured box and choose a new colour from the pop-up palette.
Changing the background to black will make the channel better resemble the website, which is good. It’s also possible to tweak the other settings. Here, for example, we have changed the font from Arial to Georgia, but left the other settings as they were. With everything in place, we typed in a name for the new theme – in our case, it’s BFANDBC – and then clicked the Save Changes button to confirm the theme changes. If everything has gone horribly wrong, click the Cancel link instead and start again.
Next we need to do something about the placeholder image next to the name, so click on the account name at the top-right of the screen and choose Account from the dropdown menu. See the ‘change’ link underneath the profile picture? It’s possible to use a thumbnail from one of your videos as a profile picture, but we have got a little logo stored on our PC. So, having checked the size and file type requirements, we can click the Browse button, locate the image, select it and then click Open. After a moment, it appears.
If the profile picture doesn’t change immediately, don’t worry – this is one of Youtube’s peculiarities and it will have changed on the main page. Check by clicking the My Channel link at the top. If someone wants to subscribe to your channel, they can search Youtube in the usual way and when they find it and click the Subscribe button. This is why it is important to choose a sensible channel name (see Step 6) and add tags (see Steps 4 and 6).
Once someone has subscribed to your channel, you can send them messages that also appear on their Youtube home page. Back at your channel page, click the Post Bulletin tab at the top and then type a message into the box provided. Use this to highlight new videos that are of special significance or just to reach out to your subscribers. In this example, we could have used the bulletin feature to remind people about an upcoming performance. When done, click Post Bulletin.
If your visitors already have a Youtube account, they will see a welcome message saying they have subscribed to your channel. Otherwise, Youtube will walk them through the setup process before they can complete the subscription. From now on, whenever you add a new video to your channel, it will appear on their Youtube home page under the Subscriptions section.
And here’s the result. In this screenshot, we are looking at the subscriber’s page again. The alert is visible at the top of the screen, as well as three videos that have been uploaded to the channel (we added a new one to go with the bulletin). By default, Youtube tucks these bulletins down towards the bottom of the page so they can be repositioned by clicking the little ‘up’ arrow until they are at the top.