So you want to start vlogging or make your own semi-professional videos. If you are going to be putting them on YouTube you will likely want to brand yourself to make a memorable impression. You’ll want to create a special way for your viewers to remember you and what your videos are about. Branding yourself can potentially be quite easy or more complicated than you might think. Branding yourself could be as simple as just using your real name, such as if your name is John Smith, your vlog could be: John’s Vlog, John Smith’s Vlog, Johnny’s sideshow, Johnny8853’s vlogging, etc. The options to pick a name are relatively unlimited, you can name your Vlog anything you want. Where it gets a lot more complicated is that almost any great name you come up with is likely already taken.
There are millions and millions of YouTube users and most of the great single word, two-word names of anything that make any logical sense, are already taken. It’s really a bummer when you think of the perfect name and find out it’s already taken. It is increasingly becoming very difficult to register great names that you can use across several sites on the web. This is important because if your YouTube name is “Mama’s Cooking” and you somehow were able to secure such a generic sensible name, will you be able to get the same name for Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest? It could become confusing to your fans if they discover you on YouTube but then can’t find you on other major sites using the same name. You may not care or are not concerned about social media outside of YouTube, but if your serious about vlogging you will likely want matching names across your total online presence.
I use this the website here to check the availability of usernames across multiple networks including social media: http://checkusernames.com with this you can type in any name you might like and see if it’s available. There are other similar sites that do nearly the same type of checks, I just personally like this one.
Why is a name so important? Can’t I just name my vlog or YouTube channel Johnny8853’s vlog like YouTube suggested? You can if you want, if you are talking about your life, a specific topic such as cooking, musical instruments or video games, it might be hard for your viewers to remember who you were again after they watched your material and probably did not subscribe. A name can make or break you online. A great name can rank you high in search results, which will often times get you a lot more web traffic. Of course, a great name will mean nothing if you don’t have great content. It works the other way around as well, you could have the worst name and provide awesome content and people will love you even with a terrible name. My best advice would be to get the best name you can and worry more about providing rich content people will enjoy. If you want John’s Vlog but it’s not available and YouTube recommends Johnny8853’s Vlog, try to meet somewhere in the middle like John88’s Vlog or John’s Comedy Vlog. It will take some creativity on your part to choose an excellent name.
The next important step in truly owning your vlog “your brand” is owning the .com as well. This can get tricky. Internet Domains are often being used already or have been squatted on for some time. So, if your John Smith and you got a reasonable name from YouTube like John88 and you also want to own your name .com – It’s almost guaranteed if you have a common name like John Smith the johnsmith.com will have probably been bought and reserved a long time ago. This can be frustrating to totally own your web presence. If you have a slightly unique or rare name it might be possible to get the .com of your name. I strongly recommend owning the .com of your name is possible. Internet domains can be purchased usually for $10-15 dollars and that’s without a coupon which usually are widely available if you just look. I personally have used GoDaddy.com to register almost all of my web domains for over 10 years and never had any problems. If you don’t like GoDaddy for some reason, check out NameCheap.com
If you can successfully obtain a good domain name for your vlog, which you should, to add credibility and other positive benefits; you are going to need some web hosting to setup your website. After I registered bestvloggingcamera.com I setup some web hosting through Site Ground. This is basically a company that will store and maintain your website on their computer servers so that it can be available to anyone, anywhere, at any time. This is needed in order to use the domain name for those that are unfamiliar. Owning the domain name doesn’t automatically give you a website. Web hosting is the platform that will allow you to start building a site. I really love Site Ground and after hours and hours of reading before going to bed at night, I settled for them. I compared almost every major web hosting company out there and found that Site Ground was the best deal for me, for the money and avoided problems in the future.
My second choice for web-hosting is Blue Host. They have really hard-to-beat prices and great service. Blue Host is used by over 2,000,000 million people worldwide that want super affordable web-hosting and a reliable company to make sure their website is up and running the way it should be. Click the picture below to check out Blue Host’s awesome deals.
So what if you can’t get your own name .com or your name for your YouTube channel?
You can always make up a new name and this applies to you as well if you don’t intend to use your name for your vlog. Take for example bestvloggingcamera.com this is not my name as a person. I after some research decided it was a nice general and descriptive name for what I wanted to build a website about. I hold the username best vlogging camera or something similar across most major social media and other major websites and apps. The name Best Vlogging Camera implies exactly what it says: Find out about the best vlogging cameras. In most cases, it will not be as simple as that. If you want to vlog about some classical and popular topics such as; cooking, exercise/fitness, video games, interior design, travel or fashion etc. the major descriptive keywords might already be taken by others. You can, however, get creative and mix it up to create a combination of your name paired with descriptive keywords such as; Johnny’s Smashing Southern Eats Vlog or Kate’s Beauty through a Lens. The word Vlog doesn’t have to be in the name title, people will know what it is after a while.
So your Kate and you want to start Kate’s YouTube channel about photography. You quickly realize the usernames: Kate, Kate’s Pics, Kate’s Photos, Kate’s Photography, Kate’s Great Photos are all already gone or encroaching on someone else named Kate with a similar idea. So you come up with something a little unique, like “Kate’s Beauty Through A Lens” and now you are hearing the crickets chirping when you check availability, now your on to something. You have the possibility to grab a decent name and probably will easily be able to register the domain name .com as well. The only downside is the name is slightly long, unfortunately, that’s the name of the game most of the time now-a-days, unless you want to drop some serious coin probably $5,000-50,000+ to the person who owns Kate.com. It’s ok, though, since your original and your name is original it will effectively brand you even further.
An extremely quick way to check domains is through https://instantdomainsearch.com. I have found this website to be about 95% accurate meaning that you can just start typing anything you want and it will tell you instantly if it’s available or not. I have a few times typed in names and it said it was available and becoming surprised it would be available I would double check with GoDaddy and find that it has been bought 20 years ago. It is still a great and convenient resource I use regularly.
For this who could use a little help in creating a new domain name, there are several websites that will generate names out of common words or names for you, I have used this site http://www.leandomainsearch.com several times to generate ideas. http://www.bustaname.com is also another one.
For help generating a new person name such as a stage name or pen name; check out http://www.namegenerator.biz. The site has a few different options to create something new that might give a stronger chance to secure a free name that you can use. You might strongly consider using a different name other than your real name for security or privacy reasons. With the power of the internet, it is amazing how much information you can find out about anyone just knowing how to properly search for it. The choice is yours, maybe it does work better for you to simply use your real name or a portion of your real name. It’s might be best to use a generic name though, if the thought of that scares you.
Now at this point, probably after several hours of research, you might be narrowing your searches down to a name or future brand that will work, sounds good, is easily memorable and is easy to type without become confused. You should also not be registering names that will infringe on someone else’s Trademark or brand. Such as if you collect Nike shoes and want to vlog about new show releases or collectible shoes, you likely don’t want to include the word Nike in your name as it is a trademark of someone else. They might now exactly care because you are not trying to compete with them but maybe they care a lot and will sue you in court because of wrongly using their brand’s name. Please be very careful about stuff like this. If a word is generic like Johnny’s Shoe Spectacle Vlog your likely not infringing on anyone but if your brand is Johnny’s Nike Shoe channel than your probably painting a target on yourself for future trouble. To check out trademarks I rely on http://www.trademarkia.com to check if someone else has a registered Trademark in the area your thinking about.
Many common words are trademarked, take for example the word Delta. If you type it into the trademarkia search you will get several Trademarks using the name Delta, but none of them are directly in competition with each other so that often times makes it ok. Delta Airlines doesn’t compete with the Delta Faucets brand “you might have one in your home,” nor do they compete with Delta Computer software or Delta Metal Processors. It’s often common for companies “brands” that sell products to Trademark their names for protection reasons, it is not as common for a vlogger, blogger or website to trademark a name, although it is starting to become common for online brands that are popular. I want you to be aware of issues like this and to be careful with choosing a name that you don’t accidentally infringe on someone else.
So you finally have got the right name, you have checked that you can reserve it across the important social media accounts and other major websites that will be useful to you, you can get the .com, your not going to infringe upon anyone else. It’s time to start making it happen! It’s likely best to set up a new G-Mail account since Google owns YouTube and it will make everything work smoothly together to manage all your new activity online. It can equally be a challenge to get a new email address that doesn’t have multiple numbers it and is easy to remember and sounds professional. Here is the link to sign up for a new FREE G-Mail account. https://accounts.google.com/signup
The link above will get you a new free G-Mail account, that might look something like Johnnyemail@example.com. For stronger web presence, you can signup for a paid G-Mail email account with owning your own yourname.com. Such as Chase@bestvloggingcamera.com instead of Chasefirstname.lastname@example.org. With the paid account I believe it’s approximately $5 a month (as of this writing) or even less if you pay the year at one time, you will have more options and enhanced features with the paid account. It is not necessary at this point in time and can be done later down the road after you have an established website to compliment your vlog. It’s your decision, go with what works best for you.
Ok, now you have all the technical ground work done to give yourself a proper start.
The next things to consider in branding yourself in somewhat of an order of importance.
- Getting a Logo made
- Probably using your new logo in some type of intro to your vlog.
- Growing trend of having an outro section to your vlog or video.
1. Anyone serious about vlogging should have some form of a logo or uniquely identifying piece of art or writing that identifies that individual or brand. Is it 100% necessary? No, some of the most popular vlogs and blogs don’t have a professionally designed logo or any logo. I would absolutely recommend you have a logo, though. If you don’t have any ideas for what to put in your logo or how to make a logo don’t stress, you can always work on it later. I personally believe a simple and interesting logo is best. YouTube will make your logo an icon that is so small most people will not be able to pick up any great deal of detail when they compress the size down anyways. The logo should be kind of fun if your fun, it could relate to a picture of something that relates to what you are talking about or the impression your try to instill upon your viewers. It’s very open to what message you want to send. If a lawyer wanted to start a vlog to give out some tips & advice for potential clients he probably wouldn’t have a logo of a monkey eating a banana or something silly now would he? His viewers might wonder if his advice was any good. Just use common sense, and go with a logo that you like and feel represents you.
For one of the most cost-effective places to find decent to great quality logos, that others can make for you in a short amount of time check out Fiverr.com. I have had several logos made through Fiverr and was happy with most of them. Most sellers will offer nice original logos with-in a few days for $5-50 dollars.
2. The next unique way to brand your videos is to have a short standardized intro (10 seconds or less), this is not always necessary but is now quite common on YouTube. This short intro basically is your logo or a message that is unique to you in some form of visual animation that draws the viewers attention. Most of these intros I see on YouTube are rather cheesy and kind of dated. There are some really cool ones, though. I also recommend Fiverr.com for affordable intros that will add a little pizazz to your vlogging and also let your viewers know your serious about your videos and your not the kind of idiot that films themselves eating a bag of potato chips, complaining about how the store was sold out of your favorite cola, with no apparent point or direction of the vlog. Don’t be that guy unless your already famous and people want to hear anything you say. These types of video intros range in price, you can probably find a nice one for $15-30 dollars. Like I said earlier about getting a logo designed, you can wait a while on this if you would like. It’s more important to just get started vlogging now, and work your new technical additions into the videos later if need be.
These first two suggestions are the most used by vloggers currently; a logo and a video intro. The logo is pretty much in my opinion a “must” and you should have one made if you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself. The intro becomes more important as you become better known. I personally have utilized a logo and an intro from the first video I uploaded. You can get these done the cheapest and with good to reasonable quality through Fiverr. Sign-up for a Fiverr account, if you have a minute, right now! It really can be an extremely cheap and valuable resource for logos & animated intros that any pro-YouTuber would admire.
3. An outro “exit” portion of your videos is a relatively new thing people are starting to incorporate into their YouTube videos. You have probably already seen one and didn’t realize it. An outro video or ending section of your video is a portion of the vlog or video that generally ends with you saying goodbye, thanking your viewers for checking out your content and asking them, if they like you, to subscribe to your channel. There is no standard format to these outros as everyone’s are different, many of them include the ability for the viewer to click on another one of your videos to watch before YouTube automatically directs them to a different random video. It is not necessary to have an outro, although I feel it often is a great opportunity to communicate with your viewers and give the opportunity to talk about something that might not have been in the vlog.
These outros can be made into something funny, like the out-takes from where you messed up saying something or tripped over something walking while vlogging in selfie mode. You could simply ask your viewers what they thought of the vlog and ask them to leave a comment about it. You will have a tougher time finding someone to make you an outro video for a reasonable price. Many of these outro videos are done individually for each video that is produced. They often times follow a standardized template but involve slightly more complex video editing skills to create a picture in picture effect to make the outro compelling and attractive. I couldn’t locate someone to make an outro that I liked so I custom make my own. Once you are comfortable with photo editing software, and learning to use your particular video editing software, it is not too difficult to put together something impressive.
Other things that add to your brand ability; the way you talk, the way you cut your hair, basically how you look, if you have a unique and distinctive look people will likely more easily remember you. Other things you might not think about are: What you wear while vlogging? Anyone a little bit older will likely remember a man named Billy Mays. Billy was that fun loving crazy kind of guy on late night T.V. that was trying to sell you some kind of laundry detergent, special cleaner, or new handy product that you can get for $19.99 or if you called now they might double the order. Billy was a brand in himself even though he was representing a tangible product of different companies because he was instantly recognizable to nearly anyone after they have seen more than 2 of his commercials. He always sported a nice thick, neatly trimmed beard, with slicked back hair and an unmistakable blue collared button down shirt.
He was instantly recognizable to millions of people just by the way he dressed and looked and talked. You don’t need to grow a beard, wear a blue shirt and starting yelling at the camera to become a famous vlogger, just be yourself. People will sense your genuineness because they will see you, hear your words and the way you say them, so if you can make yourself more memorable or impressionable by all means do so as long as it’s real or makes for unique content.
Other things aren’t obvious that add to your brand ability and style is the way your vlogs will flow. You might always start or end a certain way that is unique to you. You might always do something interesting or funny in the middle of your vlog that no-one else does. There are many things that you can do to increase your originality and people remembering you and wanting to see more of your content. Often times the things that people will love about you have nothing to do with what you are talking about.
If you consistently put out good content people will become interested and build you into their daily free time to check you out. They will feel that they are starting to know you and will in a way consider you a friend, sounds funny but it’s true. They will want to keep up to date with you to make sure you are doing ok if you build enough viewership. A certain percentage of viewers will always loyally follow you even if you talk about different things. You’ll never make it to that level faking it though or putting out crappy content that doesn’t have any substance to it. You have to genuinely give it your “all.” Now, of course, there are exceptions to what I just said, many videos on YouTube are completely staged/fake for the drama and expected viewership. Sometimes these videos or vlogs are really entertaining and funny, take what you see with a grain of salt. I just keep it real and down to earth myself, but you are free to experiment in whatever way you want.
Branding is one of the most important things you can do to help establish your unique identity and should be taken seriously. I am not saying that you need to go get business cards made up that say you are a professional YouTuber, (although, that could help) you should at least cover all the basics properly such as securing a good name, owning that name all over the internet’s top sites or social media, using a logo and treating it like a fun hobby that could potentially lead to something more down the road. It can take a while before anyone starts to notice, so set yourself up for success from the very start.