How to Edit YouTube Videos for More Views: Beginner’s Guide

YouTube has become an alternative for people who want to get income outside corporate jobs. The platform is ideal for those who love to explore their creativity and create valuable content.

A YouTuber with 100k subscribers can earn $2,400 to $4,000 monthly. The number can still go higher if you have more subscribers and viewers. However, the battle to monetize YouTube remains a challenging feat.

With millions of other creators, it’s understandable if the journey is daunting for beginners. One of the keys to thriving in the largest video-based platform is to have high-quality videos and excellent editing skills.

video editing
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsp

If you want to draw more viewers, this article can help you learn practical steps to achieve your goals. The journey won’t be plain sailing, but these seven steps on how to edit YouTube videos below will help you master the basics.

1. Decide Your Style

Before editing your video, you must have your raw recordings ready. To simplify your job, put your footage in one folder and create a sequence of how each will appear in your final video.

After setting up the sequence, you must decide on the video style. This step may vary depending on your content. For instance, if you create a vlog, you can choose between slow-paced and dynamic styles.

Both give different ambiance for your final output. Slow-paced content tends to be comforting, while a dynamic vlog excites viewers. You can seek inspiration from existing creators and decide the style you prefer the most.

2. Choose An Editing Tool

If you can operate editing software, you nearly own the game. But if you don’t have much editing skills, you can still do well by choosing beginner-friendly and easy-to-use editing platforms.

Online platforms like Canva, Kapwing, and Clipchamp are some options that have gained good reviews from many users. They offer basic features, such as trimming, cropping, joining clips, and resequencing.

However, installing video editing software can be more beneficial if you want to develop skills in the long run. Some top and worth investing options include Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro.

3. Do the Basics

Once you’ve decided on the most comfortable editing tool, it’s time to get the ball rolling. You can start by uploading your recordings on the editing platform. Try to trim your raw videos and put them sequentially.

Once you’re satisfied with your trimming and sequencing, try to play your video. However, you may perform the two processes multiple times, especially if you add background music to your video.

So, in the first editing process, try to be quick to save time and energy. As long as you cut your video correctly, you can save the progress and continue with other steps.

4. Add Transitions and Effects

Every editing tool offers transitional options. Choose the transitions that you desire in the transition section. Typically, this section has a drag-and-drop interface, so you can easily apply transitions between two clips.

Whatever concepts you bring in your video, being overboard with transitions is not recommended. Use them sparingly or whenever you change camera angles. This practice can help your video look less amateurish.

Transitions may not be ideal options if you mostly sit and talk in your video. Instead, you can zoom in or out of your video to slightly give a different perspective. It’s also a great trick to break up the shot.

Once you finish adding transitions, you can continue with adding effects. You can manually adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and color schemes in each clip, but it will take you forever to finish.

Adding effects is a quick way to level up the look of your clips. Some tools also provide automated adjustments to instantly find the perfect balance of brightness and contrast in your video.

5. Add Background Music or Sound Effects

After adding transitions and effects, you can add background music for your video. For a headshot video, adding background music is pretty simple. You can add a single song for the entire video.

Use royalty-free music to avoid copyright claims. Some common platforms to look for video background music are Artlist and Epidemic Sound.

However, things get slightly more complex if you need to put several songs in your video. This case most likely happens for vlogs. It’s trickier as you must adjust your clips to match the tempo.

In most cases, you must trim and readjust your previous progress to produce a balanced video output. You can improve your skills by learning from other YouTubers who inspire you.

You can also add a voiceover and sound effects to your video. Record your voiceover in a quiet place to provide a clear recording. Also, don’t add too many sound effects, which can hurt your video. Lastly, adjust the volume of your audio and try to play the entire video a couple of times.

6. Create Enticing Thumbnails

The next step is creating a thumbnail. As a visual that captures viewers’ attention, your video thumbnail must be captivating. You can create a video thumbnail in many online editor platforms.

They commonly have a YouTube thumbnail template that you can use directly. It’s best to use 1280×720 resolutions with 640 pixels for minimum width. You can add your photo, clips, and text that convey the context of the video.

It’s essential to be mindful of the color combination of your thumbnail. Ensure that background and object colors contrast nicely and don’t overlap. You can look for thumbnail inspiration by looking at YouTubers with the same niche as you.

7. Optimize Your Video on YouTube

Before publishing your video on YouTube, you must know how to optimize your content. No matter how well you execute the editing process, your video may fail to compete with others without optimization.

Working on video SEO requires you to make additional efforts, including performing keyword research. Thanks to the advent of technology, you can look for potential keywords easily on online platforms like Google Trends and Ahrefs.

Here are steps to optimize your video on YouTube.

  • Create a keyword-friendly title
  • Include keywords naturally in the video title
  • Write concise video descriptions with keywords
  • Add relevant tags and hashtags
  • Add subtitles or closed-captions
  • Pin an important or helpful comment

You can also optimize your YouTube channel by categorizing your videos. Categorization also helps subscribers to study your channel and find videos easier.


If you’re a beginner YouTuber, the entire process of recording, editing, optimizing, and promoting content is challenging. However, if you keep honing your skills, you will find your pace and master the video editing practices.

It’s best to start with a free online editor. If you’ve developed enough skills there, you can invest in paid software such as Adobe and Final Cut Pro for the long run. Both have their learning curve, but they are still bearable for beginners.

Lastly, ensure that you optimize your video before launching it on YouTube. You can look into some best practices for doing keyword research online. Video SEO helps your content be more visible in the YouTube search engine.

About the Author

Andre Oentoro

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

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