Grow on YouTube for Small Channels: 11 Settings to Turn On (or Off) Now

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July 3, 2024
Grow Your YouTube Channel: Top 11 Settings to Turn On (or Off) Now: An image separated as a before and after. Left is grey, the word "off" and the word "subscribers" showing -4. Right, the word "on" and "subscribers" showing +127K

Every creator wants to grow on YouTube, but it’s especially important for small channels.

There are no shortcuts but there are definitely some YouTube channel tweaks, YouTube hacks, and YouTube shortcuts that can help. 

While it can feel impossible, if you do the work, you will grow your YouTube channel… and if you use TubeBuddy, you’ll grow even faster

With that in mind, here are 11 YouTube settings every channel that’s looking to grow should change. It won’t take long. These are all easy changes to make but they can have an outsized impact, boosting your visibility, engagement, and overall performance. 

Our advice? Open your YouTube Studio in another tab or window and follow along with our checklist of settings every channel looking to grow on YouTube should change.

Which checklist is that, you ask? Let’s get to it!

Here’s a guide on the top 11 YouTube settings you must turn on to grow your channel effectively.

1. Disable Automatic Chapters

YouTube’s AI-generated chapters might seem useful, but they can often misrepresent your content and harm viewer retention. Left to its own devices, YouTube won’t do a great job of optimizing your chapter names for YouTube SEO

Instead, manually add chapters by including timestamps in your video descriptions. This not only improves the viewer experience but also allows Google and YouTube itself to index your keywords, making your videos more discoverable.

2. Optimize Channel Description

Your channel description is your first opportunity to make an impression. Done well, your YouTube channel description will hook viewers in. Done poorly… well, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. 

The first line of your description appears prominently on your channel page. Use this space effectively to convey your channel’s purpose or include a call to action. Prominent YouTubers like Ali Abdaal and MrBeast use this feature to direct viewers to their books or prompt them to subscribe. 

Make sure your channel description is engaging and informative to attract more viewers.

3. Enable Content Reuse to Grow on YouTube

Change your standard YouTube license to Creative Commons to allow others to reuse and remix your content. It might feel counterintuitive but opening up your videos for other creators to use is more upside than down. It’s free exposure that can lead to more viewers talking about your videos and increase your reach. Allowing others to use your content under Creative Commons can create a network of videos that reference your original work, boosting your visibility.

4. Allow Shorts Remixing

By enabling Shorts remixing, you allow other creators to use your content for their Shorts, linking back to your original videos. This can attract new viewers to your channel and boost engagement. Shorts are a great way to reach a wider audience quickly, and enabling remixing can help spread your content further.

5. Select Accurate Video Categories

Ensure your videos are correctly categorized to reach the right audience. This prevents your videos from being suggested to viewers with unrelated interests, which can harm your retention rates. Accurately categorizing your videos ensures they are suggested to viewers who are more likely to be interested in your content, improving engagement and growth.

6. Curate Your Channel Layout to Grow on YouTube

Organize your channel into sections, such as popular videos and curated playlists, to make it look engaging and professional. This encourages viewers to binge-watch your content and stay longer on your channel. A well-organized channel layout helps retain viewers and encourages them to explore more of your content.

7. Use End Screens Effectively

Add end screens to promote other videos on your channel. This keeps viewers engaged with your content for longer periods, increasing session time and the likelihood of your videos being promoted by YouTube. End screens can be used to direct viewers to related videos, playlists, or even encourage them to subscribe.

With TubeBuddy YouTube Bulk Editing tools, you can update the end screens and cards across all or some of your videos at once, saving you hours of drudge work. 

8. Maintain Consistent Video Descriptions

Use upload defaults to keep your video descriptions consistent. Include essential keywords, links, and social media handles to maintain branding and improve SEO. Consistent video descriptions help in reinforcing your brand identity and make it easier for viewers to find related content.

9. Control Default Video Visibility

Set your default video visibility to unlisted to avoid accidentally publishing unfinished or unreviewed content. This gives you control over when your videos go public. Having control over your video’s visibility ensures that only your best, reviewed content is available to your audience.

10. Optimize Channel Keywords

Include specific keywords related to your content in your channel settings. This improves your channel’s discoverability, especially if your channel name is common or could be associated with other content. Optimizing your channel keywords helps YouTube understand what your channel is about and improves your chances of appearing in search results.

Use the video element feature to add related videos when uploading Shorts. This is particularly effective if your Short is a clip from a longer video, enticing viewers to watch the full content. Linking related videos in your Shorts can help convert short-form viewers into long-form viewers, boosting your overall channel engagement.

Bonus: Secure Your Account

Grow on YouTube: A computer screen showing a skull and a warning triangle indicating the danger of not securing your YouTube channel against hacks

Enable two-step verification to protect your account from unauthorized access. This extra layer of security ensures your content and years of effort are safe. Securing your account with two-step verification helps prevent hacking and ensures that your hard work remains protected.

But don’t stop there. Follow our four steps to protect your YouTube channel guide to reduce the chances your channel falls victim to hackers, undoing all your hard work. 

These 11 settings are designed to improve content discoverability, enhance viewer engagement, and secure your YouTube channel’s growth and safety. By implementing these changes, you’ll be well on your way to growing your YouTube channel effectively. 

Growing on YouTube requires more than just creating great content. It involves strategically setting up your channel to maximize visibility and engagement. By turning on these essential settings, you can give your channel the boost it needs to attract more viewers and grow your audience. Start implementing these tips today, and watch your YouTube channel flourish!


YouTube video title Transcript


– Here are 11 YouTube settings that will ensure you’re not ruining your chances of blowing up on YouTube. First this setting doesn’t seem like it would have much impact initially, but since watch time is key, it really does. You’re going to want to navigate to the analytics of one of your videos and go to details.


Then scroll all the way down to automatic chapters. Now, initially, you’re probably looking at automatic chapters like they’re gray. They’re probably going to help with the viewer experience, but that’s not totally true. The built-in chapter feature is made with AI and not really good AI at that.


You can see in videos that use it that the chapters really aren’t that useful at all, and they can actually hurt your video retention if it’s misrepresenting your content. So you want to disable this feature and add chapters manually. It’s as easy as adding the timestamps to your description with labels, and if you just wanna make it super easy, you can just use TubeBuddy.


This really helps if you’re doing a listicle type video so people can generally see what’s coming next. But it also works on entertainment videos, too. Lots of high retention content will actually put a bar in the video to show when the next chapter is. It’s high effort, but definitely proves that chapters in anticipation to the next point can improve retention.


Also, Google indexes the key words in your chapters so it can help viewers find your video when they’re searching and help you get discovered. There’s another brand new YouTube setting that I bet you haven’t utilized. Go to YouTube Studio and click Customization. Then go to Basic info. This is where we want to fill in a description.


This is so vital because when you click on a channel now, it shows the first line of this description right on top of your channel page. You can leave your audience to click on a link or any other call to action right under it. For instance, Ali Abdaal plugs his book here. Mr.


Beast just tells you to subscribe and Veritasium tells you what to expect when clicking on his channel, and the top YouTubers like them know how essential it is to have people reacting and talking about your videos. That’s why you want to turn on this setting that allows others to reuse your content. Now, some people may disagree, but it’s free exposure to have everyone and anyone talking about your videos.


To do that, go to video details and change standard YouTube license to Creative Commons attribution. Also, right below it, I would click Allow Shorts remixing so you can allow other creators to react and reuse your content when creating YouTube shorts, and it’s not like they’re just stealing your content because any shorts of yours that another creator remixed are linked back to your OG content.


The audience of your videos matter more than anything. For example, if you’re making a hockey video, you don’t want that video getting suggested to Minecraft viewers. You can actually see what videos your video is getting suggested alongside, if you look into your analytics, once your video hits suggested, that’s a good sign that it’s going to blow up unless it gets sent to the wrong audience.


That’s gonna stall your video and cause the retention to plummet. So to make sure that doesn’t happen, look at this setting. In your video details, simply go to category and then change it to whatever best represents your content. Returning viewers are just as important as new ones, especially if they have history of watching lots of your videos for a long time.


So you’re going to want to make sure that if they click on your channel, they’re incentivized to watch more of your content. If you go to a popular YouTube channel like TommyInit and then scroll down, you’ll notice that his channel is divided into sections that are catered to his audience. It looks really full and engaging.


So to do this for your own channel, go to Customization, then click Featured Sections. Here you can add templates like popular videos or shorts, but if you wanna take it to that extra level, add created playlists with enticing names. That way viewers can binge watch a whole playlist if they go down your channel page.