Just about everyone has the ability to create video content these days, whether it’s by smartphone or a dedicated camera. Once this video content is created, you need somewhere to put it. Most people choose the very popular video sharing site YouTube to host these videos. It has become the default video portal for many people, including me. I use it on an almost daily basis to post up videos about tech and reviews. If you’re someone who’s looking to get more out of YouTube or want to improve your current channel, we have some simple ways that you can improve your channel to make it better for visitors.

All of these methods are very simple to use; it won’t take more than a couple of minutes to an hour for each, depending on how much effort you put into it. They say that you only get out as much as you put into your work, so the more time you spend creating and improving your channel, the more you can get our of it and increase your audience.

10 Ways to Improve Your YouTube ChannelCreate a custom background. This is a no-brainer when it comes to channel customization. No one wants to see a boring background of a single color. If you put effort into the background and create something a little more extravagant than the default — put some pictures in there of you or your logo to make it feel like yours, for instance — it will help a lot. Your brand is more than what you do; it is also the way you’re perceived by an outside observer. Create a consistent look that complements what you do and what you’re about. For my part, I talk a lot about technology, so that’s why I have a robot and futuristic background on my channel.

Create a color scheme for your channel that goes with your background and makes your content pop. This goes along with the basic idea of creating a custom background; you want to match your background design with the color scheme of your content. This can be achieved in two ways. The first way is choosing colors of the predefined content areas and make the boxes fit your specifications. The second way is to make those predefined boxes completely transparent; in a photo editing program, this requires more advanced skill. Create custom areas that go along with your content. On the new YouTube layout, you don’t have that many options, so it’s all on the background design.

Tag your channel. If you want people to find your channel, you need to tag your channel appropriately. This means using relevant and common tags that someone would use when searching for something related to your channel. It’s likely that your traffic won’t be coming from a single source or dedicated following — that’s where tags come in to help with discovery. You want people to discover your channel, right? By adding tags and a title to your channel, you increase the possibility of people finding your channel and clicking to visit.

Feature your best video. Under your channel options, you have the ability to set your featured video to either your latest video or a video of your choice. If you’re a weekly or daily video poster, it’s just best to feature your latest video. If you don’t post videos as often, make sure you set your best video as the featured one. This is the first impression that everyone gets when they visit your channel, so make it good and make it count. What most people have been doing is creating a special video just for their channel’s home page. This is a great idea because you can express what the channel is all about and talk about what you do.

Create a custom thumbnail for each video. Nothing says “boring video” like a bland, expressionless thumbnail that doesn’t pertain to the content within. Consider making something simple in a Photoshop-like program or just take a picture of what your video expresses and set it as the thumbnail. It’ll attract more people and gives a glimpse into what the video is all about. Remember that the video thumbnail is quite small, so you’re going for general large items and nothing too eccentric.

Engage with your audience. It looks bad when you don’t engage your audience in any way. It makes you look stuck up and all about yourself. If people ask questions in your comments or express appreciation, be sure to say thank you and answer any legitimate questions that come up. If you engage your audience, you increase the likelihood that they will be back to watch more of your content and comment more. As a tip, YouTube incorporates comments into its algorithm, too, and that helps decide the ranking of your video.

Keep active on YouTube. YouTube is much more than just uploading videos and comments. You can also like and comment on videos posted by others. If you’re active in the YouTube community and comment on other users’ content, you increase your chances of new eyes feasting on your channel. Your activity stream is important to not only your channel, but other users. It’s all about being social and interacting; if you express your interests in comments to others, people who share these interests can see this and they might just click over to your channel and find something they like.

Fill out channel information. Your channel has a section that details what you and your channel are about, and what your interests are. Use this to your advantage: Fill out all of this information — especially the About section. Take a good paragraph or two to explain your channel and what you do with it. Give your audience insight about what they should expect to see from your channel. If they know what you like to post, they might be more inclined to subscribe.

Use video annotations to your advantage. YouTube has a feature with its videos called annotations. You can add text and links into your video for people to see. It even has a function that will put a subscribe button inside of a video. Putting embedded links like a subscribe button and a related video link inside the video (in a corner or somewhere that doesn’t annoyingly interfere with the video itself), you increase the chances that the user will click on it and watch more of your content to keep them on your channel. All of this adds up to more video views and the potential for more subscribers.

Check out the YouTube playbook. YouTube has created a playbook of sorts for channels to reference when creating good content and increasing viewership on your channel. It’s a hefty guide that anyone who is serious about producing video on YouTube should get into. It has a range of tips and resources that you can use to improve your channel over what we’ve already listed here.

YouTube is an amazing video portal; you want to use it wisely and accurately to gain the best chance of getting a vast following — potentially making money in the long run.