YouTube Advice for Beginners: The Importance of Your Username

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I am writing this post today because I wish that someone had written this for me when I was looking for a solution.  You see, I made a big mistake when I chose my original YouTube username, so today I write this to make sure that you don’t make the same mistake.

I recently wrote on why you should have your own YouTube channel even if you are a professional and not a company.   Today I want to help you establish your YouTube presence by helping you choose one of the most important aspects of your Channel: Your Username.

I found out the hard way, but here are the facts to consider on the whys and how of selecting your username:

Use Your Primary Email Address to Establish Your YouTube Account

In order to create a YouTube Channel, you need to either use your Gmail account or create a new YouTube account.  Which do you choose?  Whichever you choose, what is important is to make sure you choose your primary email address for your account.  If Gmail is your primary email address, it will be easy to sign in to YouTube automatically when you are signed into Google.  If you don’t have a Gmail account, create a YouTube account using your primary email address.  Why is this important?  YouTube users will be able to search for you and subscribe to your channel 1) if you allow them to find you using your email address and 2) if your email address is on Google, Yahoo, or associated with your Facebook account.  In other words, if you don’t use your primary email address, it will make it harder for friends of yours that are already on YouTube to find you.  You are on YouTube to be found…just as I recommend you do with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, make sure you use the same email address that you do when communicating with your friends.  Using any other email address is like reinventing the wheel and not making the best use of your personal network.

Think Long-Term About Your YouTube Username

This is a no-brainer, but there is an important reason why I bring it up: Once you create a YouTube Username it can’t be changed.  Don’t believe me?  Give it a try.  Whatever Google’s reason is for doing this, there is nothing that you and I can do about it, other than deleting the name that you don’t want anymore.  That is why it is best to think long-term about your username and stick with a brand that is as long-term as you are: your name.

What Happens After You Delete Your YouTube Username

If you want to change your name, you do have the option of deleting it as mentioned above and creating a new YouTube username.  However, once you delete a YouTube username, your email address cannot be associated with another YouTube username.  In other words, once you delete it, the email address associated with it is disabled from being able to be associated with a YouTube username.  Tough luck, but unless Google changes the way they do things, you are now YouTube account-less!

The Only Other Workaround: Creating a Second Account

If you made the mistake of improperly branding your original YouTube username or deleted it for whatever reason, you do have an option: create a second account using a different email address.  Since you will have already used your primary email address, nobody may be able to find you on YouTube until you tell them about your channel.  And, obviously, you will not be able to get your previous username which has now been permanently deleted.  However, you can at least being a new YouTube channel with the branded username that you want.

Hope you found the advice useful, whether you are considering starting your own YouTube channel and want to do it right, or you Googled and found this article when you were looking for a solution to the problem.  Since you’ve read this far into the article, please also subscribe to the Windmill Networking YouTube Channel and let me know about your channel as well!

Any other tips that you recommend?  Please tell!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
How can rainmakers (Investment Bankers) ‘make it rain’ like never before? via @LinkedIn - 7 hours ago
Neal Schaffer


  1. says

    The only real advice i can give to become liked on youtube, is to not just make talking head shows where you are directly in front of the camera. Move around a little and do something exciting that can hold audience attention.

  2. says

    The only real advice i can give to become liked on youtube, is to not just make talking head shows where you are directly in front of the camera. Move around a little and do something exciting that can hold audience attention.

  3. PG says

    How about some advice for those of us struggling to come up with a clever-but-not-trying-too-hard-yet-still-professional-sticky-personal-but-not-too-silly username?

  4. says

    Branding and selection of a username truly is an art. Having at least your first and/or last name in the username will at least give you the flexibility for your future, no?

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