YouTube is not only a great repository for all the videos that you’ve been creating (hopefully), but also a way to win over new buyers in search of answers or information. In other words, like your website, your YouTube channel needs to present a great first impression.
Unfortunately, many brands don’t pay enough attention to what their YouTube homepage looks like when people first visit it. If it’s been a while since you have done any YouTube maintenance and your visual content is mostly placeholder, then it’s time for a cleanup. Here are the most important visual optimization steps for your YouTube channel. If you are getting prospects via video, you need to focus on these!
Note: When making visual changes for YouTube optimization, remember to switch between subscriber view and unsubscribed view to see what is different. The unsubscribed view is generally more important from a marketing perspective.
1. Tweak Your Channel Name for Broad Searches
Your channel name is one of the most important pieces of YouTube SEO. It’s what first appears in YouTube searches, recommended channels, and so on. It’s also what people will look to when deciding on the theme and content of your videos, before any other indicator. This is not a good time to use only your business name, especially if it isn’t very informative. “Ally’s Shop” doesn’t say much. “Ally’s Lumber Shop” is a little better. “Ally’s Lumber and Construction Supply Store” is much, much better. Don’t be afraid to expand your channel name to include such important keywords.
2. Make Your Header Self-Explanatory and Logo-Centric
The header is the visual that greets visitors when they walk in the ‘door’. It will tell people everything they want to know about your company before they even start to look at your videos. It needs to show a lot of quality and information at the same time, without being too distracting. Remember the thought you put into your front page website design? Your YouTube channel header deserves the same attention. Keep the colors and design in line with your logo, keep it simple, and don’t be afraid to add a text description here.
3. Choose a Profile Icon that Represents Your Business
Your profile icon is tiny compared to your header, but still important – it shows up in a lot of sidebars and other little places. If your logo is distinguishable in the small icon, then you should use it. If not, then it’s best to choose another indicative symbol. Companies that are more than one person should stay away from using faces in their icons.
4. Work on Visually Distinctive Thumbnails
Thumbnails are one of the hardest parts of YouTube video creation. They need to be vivid, distinct from each other, connected to the purpose of the video, and not weird. Meeting all those requirements can prove a challenge, but practice makes this much easier with time. As a general rule, if your thumbnail doesn’t look great as a large icon, it won’t look good as a small icon either.
5. Customize Layout for a Great First Impression
One of your editing functions is “Customize the layout of your channel.” In here is a treasure of valuable customization options, such as the ability to add new sections, remove sections that don’t apply to you brand, and generally fix up the channel front page. Don’t leave this tool unused when working on your visuals.
6. Create a Channel Trailer That Runs Through Your Value Offerings
A channel trailer is a welcome for new visitors, and an excellent opportunity for an in-depth first impression that explains the value of the channel and subscription. It should be short, polite, and informative. Run through your value offerings (not necessarily products), the primary sections/purpose of the YouTube channel, and what people can find there. Use text within the video to describe your brand and YouTube sections for those watching on mute or skipping by voiceovers.
7. Once You Have a Video Collection, Create Playlists
Playlists should include a few of your videos and a collection of other YouTube videos on the same subject. Create playlists based on your important projects, products, services, events and news stories. They are a great way to keep people coming back to your channel, and can also help new visitors discover your content.