In this guide, YouTube for Beginners, we will explain how to use the most important features of the website.
Topics covered below include:
- Searching for videos
- Using the recommended section
- Finding and using categories
- Normal videos vs shorts
- Understanding the interface
- Subscribing to channels and supporting content creators
- Uploading content
- Reading Analytics
When first arriving on YouTube’s home page, it may seem overwhelming. The website bombards a user with lots of different suggested videos. YouTube also recommends categories on the initial home page.
All of these reflect the types of videos the user has viewed in the past.
Click on a specific category at the top of the window. Recommended videos are displayed beneath. All of these videos will pertain to the category selected.
To search for specific terms, click by the magnifying glass at the top of the window and type the desired words. YouTube will show videos related to that search criteria, with the closest matches listed on top. Closest matches will have the exact term(s) in the title of the video, or in the description.
At the top left of the search results will be a list of filters. These are used to narrow the search further.
Normal Videos vs Shorts
YouTube now has two main video types, and their focus has shifted toward shorter videos.
Normal videos are formatted to be watched on a computer screen (landscape mode). These videos come in many different lengths and resolutions.
“Shorts” videos are created to be watched on a phone (horizonal), and in a specific feed of only shorts.
To be designated a short, videos must be under one minute long and in portrait mode. Youtube also applies a different algorithm for recommendations for shorts.
Understanding the Interface
The main video selected will appear with clickable options. See the colored labels in the photo below.
The video control bar (yellow) is where a user can pause, play, skip, control the volume, turn on auto-play, captions, change the quality and playback speed, and the amount of screen the video takes up.
Underneath that is channel information (red), the subscribe and like button, and video description.
To the right (white), recommended videos appear. To the top right is the upload button, notifications, and the users channel.
The left side (green) contains a menu with various options and the YouTube home button.
The very top (orange) is the search bar for locating videos, channels, or playlists.
Subscribing and Supporting Content Creators
In order for channels to thrive on YouTube, they need viewers to like and subscribe to their content. Subscribing prioritizes the channel so the user will see new videos when they are uploaded. Subscribing to a channel is free for the user.
Once a channel reaches 1000 subscribers, the content creator can start to make money through Google Ad Sense. This is called monetizing the channel.
As channels gain popularity, they also have the option to include promotional content and collaborate with other creators.
A user can subscribe on the video itself or on the channel.
Liking videos helps draw traffic to the video and increases its relevance within YouTube’s recommendations algorithm, but is less supportive than subscribing.
Uploading Content and Analytics
Anyone with a YouTube account can upload to videos to YouTube.
There are two main options for uploading a video:
- Press the upload button on the YouTube website
- Press the Share option on the program/video editor that the video was created in; there will usually be a YouTube button
All videos must follow the YouTube guidelines and Terms Of Service.
As a video is uploading the user must then add a title, description, tags, categories, and any other information.
Once published the video will have a page with analytics, giving detailed stats about viewership, watch time, and other interesting information.
To view analytics from a mobile device, users will need a separate app called “YouTube Studio.”
If you have any questions about YouTube for beginners or our terminology wasn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thanks!