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How to Easily Upload a Video to Your YouTube Channel

It’s not overly difficult to upload a video to YouTube. While there are some parts that are a bit time-consuming, the process is quick easy to manage and doesn’t take a lot to learn. Today, let’s go over the basics of uploading your video.

Uploading a Video to YouTube from Desktop

To upload a video to YouTube, log into your account and click the “Create” camera icon on the top right. Then, click the “Upload Video” option.

Upload Video Option

Click the “Select Files” button and add the video file from your computer.

Select Video Files

YouTube will automatically upload the video once selected. While it’s uploading, you can change the video details.

YouTube Video Details Screen

When you select a file to upload, you’ll immediately come to the Details screen for the video. It is here where you will add the bulk of the information.

Video Title

By default, YouTube will use the video’s file name as the title. So, you’ll probably want to change this to something more unique or relevant to the video itself.

Video Title

NOTE: You can customize a default title of your own in the channel settings window.

Video Description

The video description is essentially a short synopsis of the video itself. It’s a great place to put your keywords and phrases as it helps identify your video while improving your chances of being seen during a search on YouTube.

You can also add links to other videos, links to your social media profiles, up to three hashtags, and any other information that is relevant to your channel or video.

Add Video Details

Usually, I try to write between a 200 and 300-word breakdown of the video. So far, this has worked exceptionally well for SEO for both YouTube and Google.

Think of it as a kind of micro-blog post that describes what the video is about.

Adding a Thumbnail

After the video description, click the “Upload Thumbnail” option to add your image. YouTube will select three by default that it will use for showing the video unless you add your own.

Upload Thumbnail

Using Playlists (Optional)

Playlists are optional as your videos will show up on your YouTube channel regardless. However, they are useful if you want to keep your content organized for your viewers.

This lets viewers watch videos in order, such as when you create video series or have content pertaining to a specific purpose.

For instance, you can add tutorial videos to their own playlist to keep them organized. Then, you can show the playlist on the end screen, which I’ll demonstrate in a moment.

Use the drop-down and select a playlist to add the video. You can select as many as you want by using the checkboxes.

Select YouTube Video Playlist

However, I suggest keeping the playlists relevant to the overall topic. You don’t want to confuse your viewers or the YouTube algorithm.

Audience Type

YouTube added the audience type function after the launch of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. If your video falls into the category of “made for children,” you must select the radio button for “yes.”

However, if the video is not specifically tailored for children, you can select, “No.”

Select Audience Type

Unless your video was made for kids, such as cartoons, toy reviews, or other children-specific content, most videos fall under the “No, it’s not made for kids” category.

This can also include videos such as those that center around video games, as those are not specifically designed for kids only.

Adding Age Restrictions (Optional)

You can optionally set the age restrictions of your content for either over or under 18 years of age. This helps you show the video to mature audiences only if you create more adult-focused content.

Otherwise, the YouTube algorithm will make its own determination, which isn’t always a good thing. Be responsible for your content.

Automatic Chapters (Optional)

Automatic Chapters is enabled by default. This is when YouTube tries to identify when certain “chapters” of your video are available for viewers to skim based on the sections available in the progress bar.

You can override the automated chapters by entering the timestamp of certain parts of your video in the description.

For example, let’s say that I start a new section of the topic at the 45-second mark of the video. I would enter:

0:45 New Section

This will create a new segment in my video after 45 seconds labeled “New Section.”

Featured Places (Optional)

If places are enabled, YouTube will try to identify public locations. However, it won’t show your current location or other private information. This simply helps others identify spots that you might have in your video that are of interest.

For instance, if you’re making a video reviewing a popular restaurant, YouTube will attempt to identify the location so others can visit.

However, I have yet to see Featured Places actually work correctly or identify the locations I’ve visited on video. So, this is one of those things that may or may not work anyway.

Tags (Optional?)

When you upload a video to YouTube, you can add tags. Now, there is a bit of a debate on whether tags truly matter to get your video content to the right audience. Some experts swear by them while others never use tags.

If you need help understanding the difference between tags and hashtags, tags are what you add in the background while hashtags are visible above the video description.

So, this may be more of a trial-and-error element for your own videos.

Hashtags are those you add to the video description. The way hashtags work is similar to how they work for any other social platform. Essentially, you want to add words or keyphrases relevant to your video.

You can have up to three hashtags. Just make sure they’re all relevant to the video’s topic.

Tags, on the other hand, run in the background and are not normally seen by viewers. They also should be relevant to the video, and you can add up to 500 characters worth of terms per video.

For instance, if you’re creating a video about a WordPress tutorial on how to add a contact form, you would use tags such as: wordpress, wordpress tutorial, wordpress tutorial for beginners, contact form, wordpress contact form, etc.

If you use tools like vidIQ, it will show some of the most common tags as you start to type. This makes adding tags incredibly easy.

Language and Captions Certification

YouTube will default the video language to the primary language of the channel. However, you can use the drop-down box to change it to another should you target a different language-speaking audience.

The Caption Certification is to let YouTube know if your video or its captions has appeared on television in the past.

Usually, it’s fine to leave these as their default settings unless you absolutely need caption certification from a recently televised video.

Recording Date and Location (Optional)

You can specify a specific recording date and geographical location when you upload a video to YouTube. This is to help viewers find your video should they search the platform for videos by location.

This is helpful if your channel centers around a specific city, state, or country, such as a travel vlog or other location-specific content.

However, there is nothing wrong with leaving these as their default settings. It’s mostly to help in search for regional content.


Most videos will fall under the Standard YouTube License. Creative Commons is a license that allows other creators to use your video in their own content as long as they are following the terms of the license itself.

You can only use the Creative Commons option if 100% of your video is original content.

For example, you cannot use the Creative Commons license if your video is a reaction or replay of videos that appeared on TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter.

Otherwise, you can leave the default Standard YouTube License option enabled.

Allow Embedding and Subscription Feed Checkboxes

Under the licensing, you’ll see checkboxes to “Allow embedding” and “Publish to subscriptions feed and notify subscribers.”

Embedding Notification Checkboxes

Allow embedding lets you and other viewers embed YouTube videos into other platforms, such as WordPress. It’s a way to get more video views by letting others display your content on other sites outside of YouTube.

However, some people don’t like the idea of their videos being linked to questionable content on other websites. So, this is completely up to your preferences.

Publishing to subscription feeds is when subscribers to your YouTube channel get notifications when your videos are published. I’m not sure why you’d want to disable this feature as you want as many eyes on your videos as you can get. Yet, you can disable the feed by unchecking the box.

Shorts Sampling

The Shorts Sampling option gives others permission to use a part of your content when creating Shorts videos. It’s essentially telling others they can use a clip of any part of your video when creating their own.

This is enabled by default as YouTube is currently pushing the short-form video format. But you can uncheck this box if you want to make it more difficult for others to take clips of your videos.


When you upload a video to YouTube, the Category will default to the one you’ve set for your channel. However, you can use the drop-down to select a category that best describes the current video.

This is another element that separates a lot of experts. Some seem to think Categories are vital while others don’t see much of a difference when displaying video content to viewers.

I tend to err on the side of caution and select the best category for the video. It doesn’t hurt anything and could help promote the video if the algorithm actually uses categories. Not to mention making the video easier to find in search.

Comments and Ratings

The comments and ratings will default to what you set in the channel’s settings. This lets you allow all comments, hold inappropriate comments for review, hold all comments for review, or disable comments completely.

How you set this depends on what you want out of the video. However, a lot of creators will disable comments while publishing a video they know is going to be overly controversial.

I usually have comments set to hold potentially inappropriate comments. That way, I can determine if the comment is something I want to display on my channel or not based on how YouTube understands the language used.

Showing Viewer Likes

The last setting on the details screen is for letting YouTube show how many likes are on the video you upload. This is another setting that some creators will use if they know the topic is controversial.

By default, this is enabled. You can turn off the “Like” counter by unchecking the box.

Once the details are entered for the video, click the “Next” button on the bottom right.

YouTube Video Elements

YouTube Video Elements

On the next screen, you can add subtitles, end-screen elements, or add cards within the video. These are somewhat optional as you don’t really need to add the video elements.

However, they do serve a purpose and may be worthwhile for your audience to add them.

Add Subtitles

When you edit subtitles, you can correct how the YouTube algorithm displays text on the video. You can upload your own subtitles or manually enter them into the video.

YouTube has the ability to convert speech to text within a video. This can be used to convert to other languages or show for close captioning.

It’s a good idea to at least proofread how the subtitles appear on the video. A lot of viewers will use subtitles and close captioning for a variety of reasons. And having the text legible decreases confusion.

Not to mention that YouTube’s algorithm isn’t the best when it comes to detecting speech-to-text.

Add an End Screen

An end screen is where you can place elements such as a subscription box, show the next video, show a playlist, and more. These are moveable and you can create a specific layout for these in something like Photoshop.

You can also use a variety of free online tools to create end-screen templates for your videos, such as Canva.

In any case, it’s not overly difficult to add an End Screen element to your video.

If you use a specific visual template, YouTube will save the most recent end-screen elements for you. That way, you can simply load one of them from a previous video so you don’t have to move the elements around to fit within your template.

Add Cards

Cards are essentially links and information you want to show to viewers throughout the video. These “Cards” will show up on the top right of the video at the moment you set in the timestamp.

They can be useful if you want to link to other videos that are relevant to the topic.

For instance, if you were to upload a video to YouTube and spend a few moments talking about information you shared in another video, you can add a card for that video so viewers can click and watch that one as well.

Once you’ve made any changes (if any), click the Next button on the bottom right of the Video Elements screen.

Copyright Checks

YouTube Video Copyright Checks

YouTube will check your video upon upload for any copyrighted materials such as music, logos, or other visual elements. If no copyrighted content is found, the video will pass the check.

However, I’ve seen soda pop vending machines in the background trigger the copyright system. In this case, the video will be unable to be published. You’ll have to edit those sections out before the video can go live.

This is only a preliminary check by YouTube. This means that the video could still contain content that is under copyright and could be dealt with accordingly long after you have published it.

In other words, the initial Check from YouTube is a barebones scan to make sure you’re not using blatantly obvious copyrighted content, images, or music.

If your video has passed the check, click the Next button on the bottom right.


YouTube Video Visibility

Once the video is ready to go live, you can make the final adjustments on the Visibility screen. From here, you can set the video to Private, Unlisted, or Public. By default, Public is selected, which means everyone can see it once you publish.

You can also choose to schedule the video to publish at a specific date and time. This is exceptionally helpful if you plan on uploading videos in bulk so that viewers have a steady stream of content for several days at a time.

Or, perhaps you’re making seasonal-based or timely content that needs to go live at a specific time.

Once you’re ready, you can click the Publish button on the bottom right.

Video Published (Share Link Screen)

Share Video Options

After you click the Publish button, you’ll see a small screen with options to share your link. You can immediately share it to various social apps that YouTube supports, or you can click the “Copy” button next to the YouTube URL to paste it anywhere you see fit.

For example, you can use this URL as a link from your blog content, in forums, or through an email. Essentially, anywhere you can place a URL, you can use this link.

After sharing or copying the link, you can click the “Close” option at the bottom.

Keep Your Audience Engaged

The trick to succeeding on YouTube is to keep producing content your audience wants to watch. This is much easier said than done, depending on the overall niche of your channel.

As every channel is unique, it can take a bit of time to figure out the best times to publish, what topics your subscribers want to watch, and how often you’ll need to upload a video to YouTube.

Try to offer the most value you can for those who support your channel.

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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