YouTube Video Upload – Tips and Tricks for the Successful Start of Your Video

Some helpful hints and best practices on what to keep in mind when uploading videos to YouTube

You’ve come up with an excellent idea for a video, then written a long script, spent hours shooting the video, and invested more hours editing, optimizing color-grading, sound, and music. Now your new YouTube video is ready for upload. And then?

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Should you upload your video and let it go online directly?

Ideally, it would be best if you had everything ready and well-planned before the release. Once the video is out, and you’re still constantly tinkering with the settings afterward, that seems to me to be rather disadvantageous.

And then it’s likely that YouTube is still converting your video. Mostly, you upload .mp4 or .mov files, which are often built up internally in different formats. Known formats are also mpeg, AV1, VP9, NVEC, or AVI. YouTube, however, works internally with special formats (AV1 and VP9) to store your video, and it is prepared in numerous different qualities for streaming. And even if you were to upload your video directly to AV1 or VP9, it would still go through the conversion process again.

This video conversion from YouTube takes time. Directly after uploading, the new video is usually only available in 360p30 for viewers. So if you publish a video right after upload, it will look extremely bad and pixelated for the first viewers. Therefore, you should never put a new video online right after uploading it.

During the upload, you can set when the video should go online and here it is better to set the video to stay private for now and publish it later, or create a schedule for the video release that is at least 3-12h after the end of the upload. This way YouTube’s conversion routines have time to convert the video to better qualities. And your viewers can enjoy the video afterward in a pleasing quality and are not tortured with pixel mush. This would also be bad for your video if people watch such unfinished videos of yours and then quickly switch off.

My most important tips for uploading on YouTube:

My ToDo List for Uploading to YouTube

  • Create a good thumbnail by yourself

    This sounds easy, but a good thumbnail that has good contrast and sharpness looks appealing, preferably offers a face that looks at the viewer, and above all, was built so that it also works in tiny. So when editing on the big monitor, scale the project down to 10% size, if then it is not recognizable at a glance what it is about, the thumbnail is not much good.

    Therefore, all objects in the image should not be too small, fine details get lost in the image. And texts should be limited to about 20 characters or 3-4 words maximum. People scrolling by on the small mobile screen with thumbnails the size of a thumbnail can’t see more text anyway.

    And it is especially important that it directly represents the main topic so that it does not attract clickbaity people with false promises of topics. Because even if you get them to click, they won’t watch for long and that’s bad for average watchtime and retention, which are the most important metrics.

    If you save time on thumbnail creation, you’re saving on all the wrong things. It’s no use shooting and editing the best video in the world if you then slap an ugly and meaningless thumbnail on it, or just let the automatic system do it. People are visual beings and the thumbnail is the lure, whoever fails there, gives away a large part of the potential viewers.
  • Have a Good Title

    A mixture of making people curious and also presenting the topic well, so that both the people who read the title and the AIs that generate data about the content from the title can both understand it. Ideally, do keyword research beforehand so that you use words that are actually used by viewers who are interested in that topic, but also preferably words that are not too highly contested.

    But here lies a huge problem, because finding this out and estimating it correctly is an art, a craft, and in the end now a real profession, with a thousand tools, none of which really have accurate data. So it’s a mixture of experience, knowledge, research, and a lot of guesswork.

    I maybe will do a complete article about this topic later.
  • Good video description

    This is where a lot of creators fail. After they have made the effort with the video, the engagement often decreases the further you get down this list here. And in the video description, there is usually only one sentence or possibly even nothing at all in terms of content. And that’s a huge problem for a lot of channels.

    The YT AIs evaluate the video description massively, every bit of information in this text field is used to generate data about what the video could be about. And that strongly determines which viewers the video is then offered to, at least in the initial phase, i.e. the first 24-48 hours. Being lazy here and neglecting the video description can still cause a good video with an excellent title to fail.

    Here you should use different keywords related to the topic and especially variations of keywords. Repetitions should rather be avoided, if you use certain keywords too often, the weighting does not become stronger, you only get more easily into keyword spam suspicion and then they are ignored.
  • Subtitle (Closed Captions / CC)

    If you have an exact script that you use for your voice part anyway, upload it. This way you’ll get accurate, error-free subtitles, with capitalization, punctuation, etc. This is much, much nicer and more pleasant for the subtitle readers. And it’s also a huge advantage for the AIs, because they don’t suffer from speech-to-text conversion errors, and the punctuation often makes the meaning of the spoken words much clearer. And the AIs accurately evaluate every word in these subtitles.

    If you don’t have a script, at least look through the subtitles to see if there are any misrecognitions in them. It can “break the neck” of a video if a swear word is recognized right at the beginning where there was none, or other false recognitions lead to the video being displayed to completely the wrong interest groups.
  • Location and other meta data

    If you are reporting on a local event, showcasing exact locations, or presenting locally related content, enter an appropriate location. Otherwise, be sure to leave it blank. This way, the video is more likely to be shown to people who live in that region or have searched for info about that region.

    For gaming content, you have the option to specify a game. If possible, you should always do this if the video is only about one game. If there is more than one game in the video, you can only specify one, so it’s best to choose the most popular one.
  • Tags
    Forget the tags, they don’t do much anymore. You can still write them in, but putting a lot of effort in here, as was always recommended in the past, and as some tools (TubeBuddy, VidIQ, etc.) recommend, is a wasted lifetime. For more than a decade the tags were used to trick YT and send false data to the AIs, with the result that they are now almost completely ignored.

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About Zap "Dirk", Author from

Dirk "Zap" from,
40+ gamer, gaming since 1980, mainly strategy titles, MMOs, and RPGs. Writes game reviews, gaming news, and also sometimes about technology, hardware, and YouTube. Otherwise, can opener for the cat queen Tessa, retailer, PC freak, "The one who installs your printer driver".

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