How to Create YouTube Shorts (Step 1 to Done)

David Utke •  Updated: January 5, 2023 •  YouTube

YouTube shorts are fun, interesting 1 minute or less videos shot on your phone that can enable you to grow a brand new channel to thousands of views a day in just a matter of days.

Like a lot of creators, I have a personal blog (powered by Ghost) and vlog I use as a creative outlet. Since I live abroad full time as a digital nomad and and run Website Creative Pro (the name of my online business and the URL for my course website), it’s fun to make videos of all the interesting places I go and see. One thing I always do when I travel is post to Facebook and Instagram to share with friends and family.

So when I found out I could post those same stories I already had on my phone to YouTube as a short video, I figured why not. Let’s give it a go as the feature is exploding in growth and popularity. At worst I would have an archive of videos from my phone.

Results from posting videos to a dedicated shorts channel as a test.

How to make a YouTube short easily

To get started with shorts is easy. First, you’ll need a camera for YouTube or an iPhone.. Next, record a 1 minute or less video with your phone vertically like you would if you were recording an Instagram story or record a bunch of shorter clips you would like to use as a short.

If you record in landscape you’ll have to cut out the sides of the video to make it fit the vertical layout of YouTube shorts.

In the YouTube app on your phone, press the button to upload a video and you’ll see an option to upload a short or a video. Obviously, you’ll want to select “shorts” and from here you have a few options options:

1 – Use the YouTube mobile app and select the “upload” button

Here you’ll see an option to upload a full video or create a short. Choose “create a short” and you’ll be take to the YouTube shorts video editor within the YouTube app.

15 seconds or 60 seconds?

You’re now able to select clips that are on your phone into a short by clicking the image icon in the lower left hand corner. It’s similar to how you create a story for Instagram. You can also adjust the short length to being max 15 seconds or max 60 seconds.

I’ve uploaded shorts that were 4 seconds that got 10K views and full 60 second shorts that got 10k views. It really depends on the content you want to upload. If you already have a pre-made short video ready to go then select 60 seconds.

2 – Upload and edit together clips within the YouTube shorts upload interface

If you don’t have a premade short you can easily select the clips you want on your phone to be made into a YouTube short. Just select the clip and it will fill up the red bar timeline so you know how much time is left that is allocated to the video length:

You can add in text and music as well in this interface, when done just click the checkmark in the lower right corner and you’ll be taken to the final upload screen to add a title and description.

3 – Add text and music (optional)

When creating a short with the YouTube app you are allowed to add in text and music. However, if you do add music from YouTube’s library your short won’t be able to be monetized in any way.

You can also now add in multiple text pieces and adjust how the appear and disappear based on the video timeline. It’s not as fancy as using a proper video editor that allows you to have that visually captivating bubble text as yo talk however.

4 – Add a title and quick description

When your short is done, you’ll have to add in a title and video description. The title and thumbnail are the most important aspects as they determine if people click and watch your video. Unlike longer form videos that rank well impart due to being relevant to what the user is searching, shorts get traffic and greater exposure based on engagement.

5 – You can now “edit a short” directly in the YouTube app

Do you already create longer form YouTube videos? Well if you have the updated version of the YouTube you should now see a “remix” option when viewing your own videos.

Select the remix option and you’ll see a bunch of helpful options to edit longer videos into clips or edit into a short. You can now create shorts from your already made videos and add in text and music.

Should I create a dedicated shorts channel?


YouTube has now created a dedicated “shorts” tab within your channel to separate short videos from your main videos so you no longer need to worry about providing a poor user experience on your main channel by bombarding your audience with a bunch of one minute short videos.

However, please be aware that your short videos should match the content of your primary videos. The reason is that I’ve talked to channel owners who’ve uploaded shorts that have gone viral which then set the algorithm to promote their main videos to a wider audience.

This can be bad surprisingly if your longer videos start getting recommended to people who are not interested in your longer form content which will then hurt the rankings, engagement and ad revenue from your main content.

Shorts shelf algorithm

A lot of creators may not know this but YouTube shorts operate under a different algorithm than the rest of YouTube. As such, when you post “shorts” you’ll get traffic referred to as “shorts” in your data. Yes, if you already have an established audience already your shorts will be viewed by your main audience and get a handful of views.

The real magic happens once videos get picked up by the shorts algorithm. Then your views will take off like a rocket, but only if they get picked up. I have numerous shorts that fell flat and are sitting at 15 views. I would personally let everything sit for a month. Under performing shorts I would delete.

The good thing about this new feature is that it gives you a chance to get a bit more exposure because YouTube is providing the platform with a new feature and not enough creators are taking advantage of it. The downside is that it can be a bit difficult building an audience strictly through shorts as they are restricted to the “shorts shelf” on mobile. Once one short is done, it moves to the next from a different creator.

Will shorts impact my watch time?

Yes it will. Your average view duration will tank as you’re posting 1 minute videos but your overall views will most likely take off. YouTube will not penalize you in any way, but as I previously mention you just need to make sure your short videos match the content of your longer form content.

Otherwise your longer form content could be impacted because it will start to be recommended and viewed by people who watched and liked a short from you.

Will YouTube shorts help me meet the 4000 hours, 1K subs requirement?

Yes, shorts will help you achieve the 1k sub requirement. No, short video views do not count to the 4000 video hours.

So if you’re looking for a “short” cut (pun intended) to getting monetized, creating short videos will help with achieving this goal. However you will need to make proper, longer form content to get monetized on YouTube as you need to achieve the 4000 hour watch time.

What makes a good short?

Shorts that are funny, fast paced, have text and cover a topic quickly that people are searching for work best. I like how YouTube is doing their best to make creating short easy. However, content creators who use a proper video editor to add in sub-title text are still going to win as that has been a proven, essential feature of keeping people watching a short. Hopefully YouTube at some point adds in this feature.

What’s the best camera for shorts?

Use any modern smartphone or get one of my recommended cameras for vlogging. When uploading a short it will be maxed out at 480P as it’s designed to be views only on mobile, but when you export on your computer make sure it’s as high as quality as you can get it as video quality does seem to be a factor.

With that said, the latest iPhone would be best because you can shoot at a wide angle and edit a few clips together with iMovie. Again these are 1 minute videos so the best approach would be any type of video you would normally post to Tik Tok or as an Instagram/Facebook story.

You can also edit your full length videos and render them in landscape and under a minute so they get detected correctly as a “short” video by the YouTube algorithm. Last you can use old clips but redo the talking head parts in landscape.

Add bubble, sub-title text to your shorts

Text on shorts help add to the overall retention of the video. If you’re content is focused on you talking about a specific topic consider adding in big bubbly text to match what you’re saying.

This does not necessary for all types of videos but it’s one feature that’s been proven to work. You can add in bubble, sub-title text using a wide variety of video editors

How to make money from YouTube shorts

Currently there is no way to monetize YouTube shorts. If your channel is already monetized then display ads can run on your shorts if viewed from a desktop or laptop. But in the shorts shelf on mobile, there is not yet a direct way to run ads.

Also with a new, dedicated shorts channel that is not monetized there is no way for a channel like that to make money. Shorts are still new but over time it’s expected that YouTube will come up with a way for creators to benefit from their content.

Last, short currently has a dedicated fund in order to incentivize creators to make shorts. This shorts fund is currently run as a loss so it’s not clear if this will be a way to make money from YouTube shorts long term.

So in short (again pun intended), shorts are ideal for growing your channel and gaining exposure to a wider audience which you can then convert in some meaningful way via affiliate marketing, email marketing, display ads and selling your own products.

Create YouTube Shorts – Conclusion

YouTube shorts are a fascinating and very fun new feature to take advantage of. Not only are they fun and easy to create, it’s staggering the amount of views you can get and how quickly you can grow an audience.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!

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