This article was published on June 9, 2011

20 Slick YouTube tips and tricks you need to know

20 Slick YouTube tips and tricks you need to know
Niall Harbison
Story by

Niall Harbison

Niall is a social media advocate and co-founder of digital marketing agency Simply Zesty. He helps small brands get their message out to the Niall is a social media advocate and co-founder of digital marketing agency Simply Zesty. He helps small brands get their message out to the world and engage with their customers using the free tools available to them.

With over 3 billion YouTube videos watched every single day and 48 hours of footage uploaded every single minute to the world’s most popular video sharing website we wanted to produce a useful guide for getting the most out of the service. You’ll struggle to find somebody who uses the web and doesn’t watch YouTube videos on a daily basis but there is so much more to YouTube than just little funny videos of cats.

The list also provides tips and tricks for publishers. Over the coming years we can expect YouTube to continue its growth especially on mobile and possibly even on to our smart TVs in the future to form a core part of our daily entertainment experience. Here is how you can get much more out of YouTube…


YouTube introduced this feature so you can watch all the great footage on YouTube tailored to your tastes without every having to click a button. It serves you videos based on what you have watched before and the idea is that you can “lean back” and just enjoy the content without worrying about searching for new videos.


Great way of using Youtube to serve you up an endless playlist if all the music you love. All you have to do is think of the name of your favorite band or artist and click the disco button. It will automatically create a playlist for you featuring only tracks from that person or band. It’s a great way of getting free music and just leaving it playing in the background.


You simply have to bookmark this page if you want to get the best videos on YouTube. It is essentially a chart system that shows videos depending on the amount of views, ratings, comments etc. and you can choose to view it by day, week, month or by all time. It’s a great way of finding all the latest content with the crowd doing all the hard work to filter though the billions of videos for you.


You may have seen some of the animation videos on YouTube and this handy little series of apps allow you to create animated videos within minutes on YouTube. The advantage here is that you can create videos without needing cameras, having to upload files or do any editing. It’s very self explanatory and you can have a decent video made in less than 10 minutes.


With this feature YouTube has eliminated the need for you to edit videos offline and then upload them. You can simply go to Editor and edit all your content online adding effects, transitions and cropping your videos as needed on your timeline. You can even choose from YouTube’s library of approved songs to add to your video legally.

Creative Commons

Just released this week is the feature that allows you to use one of 10,000 initial videos that fall under the creative commons license and allows you to edit them and mash them together as you see fit using the Editor function online. Plenty of people were already doing this but the difference now is that it is fully legal and this should open the creative flood gates. You will find this in the Youtube Editor.


This is one of the most useful features on YouTube for driving traffic through to other videos but also one of the most underused features. Essentially annotations allow you to create clickable links within videos that can link to playlists, channels, videos or to subscribe. It’s super easy to use and can also be built in to the story line of the video itself.

Captions And Subtitles

Captions and subtitles are a great way of providing an additional layer to your video for people who can’t follow (maybe they are hard of hearing, speak a different language or can’t turn the sound up at work). YouTube also offers a great machine service for captions which translates them automatically into different languages.

Watch Later

This is a handy little feature that will let you watch YouTube videos at a later date by simply clicking the little + symbol on videos. This only works on videos embedded into 3rd party sites and when you come back to your homepage on YouTube later the videos will be there for you to watch. This feature is especially useful say if you are in work and can’t watch the video there and then don’t want to miss it or forget where you saw it.

Quiet Tube

This is a very simple concept but one that should appeal to plenty of people who are sick of seeing tons of flashing adverts, comments and other noise around their videos. This strips everything out of YouTube except for the video itself allowing you to fully concentrate on the content.


YouTube launched its live streaming service a few months ago and it is very much aimed at taking on the likes of Ustream, Livstream and others. At the moment the service is in private beta, which means you can’t get your hands on it yet but this is the future and you can at least start to watch some of the live shows on there.

Watching Videos On Your TV

Just visit this link from your smart TV or Internet enabled television and you’ll be presented with YouTube in a format that is perfect for watching on the big screen. Navigation is a lot easier and the videos will of course play in full screen without the comments and all that other noise.

Stabalize Your Videos

Anybody who has ever tried filming videos themselves will know that without professional gear like a tripod they can appear jumpy and choppy at best. When using YouTube editor though you can avail of the new stabilizer feature which helps smooth your videos out and make them look slick. This is an example of just how smooth the tool can make your videos look…

YouTube Test Tube

This is very much the same idea as Gmail labs in that it is an area where you can sign up to test YouTube’s new products before they launch to the general public. Google does make it very clear that there may still be bugs and that the features may never make it out of the Test Tube area to the full site.

Creators’ Corner

great resource for anybody who is looking to produce content especially for YouTube or for people who want to up their game. YouTube essentially provides you with a full set of tools to help you improve your videos with tips on production and even buttons for adding to your website to help more people find your videos.

Tube Radio

An interesting little site that is clearly trying to have an iTunes look and feel. Basically it pulls in YouTube music videos and has good search built into the site so as you never have to leave. You can also arrange your video songs into playlists and save them all there for a later date.

Feather Mode

If you share a broadband connection or have poor Internet in general then you might want to start using feather mode because it basically strips everything away on the page apart from the video giving you the best chance possible of the video streaming.

Audio Swap

One of the things that most people are unsure about is the rights to music and what you can and can’t upload to YouTube but luckily this feature lets you choose tracks from a large library of pre-approved tracks that they have on file for you. Simply head into editor and select a track you want to add.

Check Your YouTube Speed

Do you think that your videos are streaming a little to slow and that it’s all down to your ISP provider? Well this is the place that you should head over to check it out. This handy tool benchmarks you against countries and cities within your own country.

YouTube Gadget

If you want to try and add more subscibers to your YouTube channel then one way of doing it is to add this gadget to your website. It displays one of your latest videos and also includes a subscribe button. You can play around with the look and feel and then add it to your blog or website.

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