How to Customize Your YouTube Channel You don't want your YouTube channel to look barren and boring -- these tips will help you add elements to make it your own.

By Jason R. Rich

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The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich's book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

After setting up your YouTube Channel page, it will look pretty barren when you first access it. It will display your profile photo, name and a few details, like your latest activity, date joined, age and country.

Near the top-left corner of the screen is the "Channel Settings" button. Click on this to begin customizing your YouTube Channel. Here, you can fully customize the visual appearance of your channel's page. By default, the "Appearance" tab (near the top-left corner of the screen) has been selected. Click on the "Accept" button to confirm your selection after you're done making your customizations.

Under the "Background" heading, you can upload a digital photo or a graphic image you create or edit using Adobe Photoshop or another graphics program to serve as your channel page's background wallpaper by clicking on the "Choose File" button. Or simply choose a solid color background by clicking on the "Choose a Color" option, and then clicking on your desired background color.

When selecting a photo to use as a background, be sure you own the rights to the image or photo you'll be using. Otherwise, you could get into trouble for copyright violations.

As you're customizing your own YouTube Channel page, it's a good strategy to visit other popular YouTube channels to see firsthand how they're using wallpaper graphics or photos to enhance their channel's page.

Next, click on the "Info and Settings" tab that's displayed under the "Channel Settings" heading to add a text description of your YouTube Channel in the "Description" field. Your YouTube channel description should be short and to the point. Explain who you are, the channel's purpose, and provide a preview of your videos so that people will want to visit your channel and watch your videos. YouTube, Google, and other search engines will use this information when it comes to your channel's search engine optimization listings.

Below the "Description" field is the "Tags" field. Here, you should enter a series of keywords or phrases that best describe your YouTube Channel, as well as your product, service, company, or event. When someone performs a search on YouTube or Google, their search terms are automatically compared to the description and tags you've created for your YouTube Channel. If Google discovers a match or matches, your channel will be listed in the user's search results. This is a powerful tool for attracting traffic to your channel and increasing your views.

Below the "Tags" field is the "Channel URL" link. This is a unique URL for your YouTube Channel. Right now, the link is fully functional, but it's comprised of a long list of random numbers and letters. Click on the "Edit" button to create a much easier and customized URL for your channel.

Click on the "Create Channel URL" button to establish your custom YouTube Channel URL, which will take on this format:[your custom channel name]. After confirming your unique, custom URL, an "Overview" screen will be displayed. From here, you can edit your username and password, plus adjust a handful of other account settings, as well as turn on or off the YouTube functionality that allows you to display ads from other companies on your channel page and within your videos so that you can potentially earn revenue.

As you customize your YouTube Channel page, click on the "Tabs" option that's displayed under the "Channel Settings" heading to customize what options will be available to people who visit your channel's page. Click on the "Done Editing" button to continue. Click on the "Account Settings" page to customize the channel title, profile image, channel description, and channel tags so they're associated with your business/organization, not yourself or an individual.

For example, the channel title should include your company's name. You can modify the channel title at any time. The channel's description should include details about your business or organization, and the channel's tags should relate directly to your company or whatever the channel itself is being set up to promote.

You're now ready to start populating your YouTube channel with videos, and then promoting your channel to the public in order to solicit viewers and subscribers.

Jason R. Rich, based in Foxboro, Mass., is author of more than 55 books on topics including ecommerce, online marketing, digital photography and interactive entertainment, as well as the Apple iPhone and iPad.

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