How to Create a YouTube Short: The Complete Beginner's Guide

Here's a simple guide for creating, uploading, and analyzing the YouTube Shorts on your channel.

By now, most creators know that for a video to qualify as a YouTube Short, it needs to be vertical and less than 60 seconds long. However, some people are still confused about the new content type.

In the comment section of our YouTube videos, creators frequently ask us the same questions about YouTube Shorts, such as:

  • “Where’s the option to create short videos on YouTube?”
  • “Can anyone create YouTube Shorts?”
  • “Why don’t I have access to Shorts?”

This is the same question asked in three different ways, which means the information around YouTube Shorts could be much clearer.

Fortunately, anyone on YouTube can make a Short, so creators don’t have to worry about that kind of limitation. That just leaves three things to demystify, which are how to create, upload, and analyze the performance of YouTube Shorts.

There Are 2 Ways to Create a YouTube Short

When YouTube Shorts were first announced, the platform introduced a special Shorts camera to creators in certain regions. India is one of those locations, so creators there have access to a multi-segment Shorts camera in the YouTube app. It’s similar to TikTok and has tools for making 15-second videos using music clips, speed controls, and more.

Most creators are waiting for a widespread rollout of this feature. Until then, YouTube is making Shorts accessible to everyone by letting creators upload vertical videos of less than 60 seconds.

Those two details are all YouTube needs to classify your video as Short. There’s still some doubt among creators though, so here are three facts to debunk common misconceptions:

  1. You can create, edit, and upload a Short using any device. YouTube will recognize Shorts created with a smartphone, DSLR, iPad, or any other video-recording device. When you’re ready to upload, a smartphone or desktop computer will suffice.
  2. It doesn’t matter if you include #Shorts in the title or description of your video. YouTube encourages it, but it won’t keep your video from being recognized as a Short.
  3. You don’t need any previous views or subscribers to create a YouTube Short. There are no minimum requirements for creating short, vertical videos.

Need more clarity around these topics? Watch our latest video, “How to Make a YouTube Short - Complete Beginner Guide.”

YouTube Short Creation: Nailing the Video Length and Format

Did you know that YouTube sometimes adds a second or two to the videos you upload? That may not seem like a big deal for longer videos, but two extra seconds can be the difference between YouTube classifying your video as a Short or a regular video.

To play it safe, make your Short no longer than 58 seconds. That’ll ensure you don’t exceed the 60-second limit. YouTube hasn’t announced a minimum video length for Shorts, but we’d recommend making yours at least 5 seconds.

The dimensions of a Short are also important. Through various experiments on the vidIQ Shorts channel, we’ve discovered that Shorts must be a perfect square (1080 x 1080 pixels) or vertical. If your video is even one pixel wider than it is tall, YouTube won’t classify it as a Short.

For more information on that, read our blog about the proper dimensions for YouTube Shorts or simply watch the video below:

How to Know Which Videos Qualify as YouTube Shorts

Once you've uploaded your video, how will you know if it qualifies as a YouTube Short?

You can quickly find out by adding a Shorts featured section to your channel homepage. This new section, which only appears on the mobile app, automatically displays the content YouTube recognizes as Shorts. Therefore, for any video you upload, you’ll know exactly how it’s classified. If it makes it to your Shorts featured area, it’s a Short. If it doesn’t, it’s just a regular YouTube video.

To add this special section to your channel, read this short blog with step-by-step instructions.

Alternatively, you can watch our tutorial below:

How to Analyze the Performance of YouTube Shorts

On the YouTube mobile app, you may have noticed a new display area called Short Videos. It frequently appears below the videos people watch, and when clicked, sends users to a carousel of never-ending, less-than-a-minute videos.

This year, YouTube has randomly selected YouTube Shorts to feature on this shelf. When creators' videos have appeared there, they’ve earned hundreds of thousands of views - millions, even. Your Shorts could appear there too, but there are no guarantees.

In addition to the Short Videos shelf, your content needs to start appearing in the YouTube home feed and the subscription feed to rack up significant views.

If you’ve seen a sharp increase in views on your channel, it could be from a popular Short! Here’s a step-by-step guide to determine whether that has happened:

  1. Go to the YouTube Studio and click Analytics in the left navigation menu.
  2. You should automatically end up on the Overview tab, where a large graph of your views, Watch Time, subscribers, and estimated revenue are displayed. Navigate directly below this graph and click See More.
  3. Next, you’ll see some advanced analytics. At the top of the page, click Traffic Source.

This will show you, at the channel level, how many views you’re getting from YouTube Shorts. In the screenshot below, our main vidIQ channel received more than 20K views from YouTube Shorts in the last month.

Want to review the performance of an individual YouTube Short? Read our blog, “YouTube Shorts Analytics: Why Every Creator Needs This Data” to learn how.

You can also watch our video tutorial below:

Bonus: Within the vidIQ Real-Time Stats Bar, there’s a new tool that reports YouTube Shorts views over a 48-hour period. Install the vidIQ browser extension to check it out!

YouTube Shorts and Monetization

YouTube Shorts revenue may be the most confusing part of posting short, vertical content. If your goal is to apply to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and monetize your content with ads, the subscribers you gain from YouTube Shorts will count toward the 1,000 subscribers you need. However, not all of the Watch Time hours you earn from YouTube Shorts will count toward the 4,000 hours required for the YPP.

Here’s why.

In previous blogs, we explained that a YouTube Short can be watched as both a regular YouTube video and as a Short. In a recent blog, How to Make (Some) Money from YouTube Shorts, our exact words were…

“There are a couple of ways to watch a YouTube Short, and the most common is by discovering it on the Stories and Short Videos shelf. The other way is by viewing it as a regular YouTube video. That’s what happens when viewers watch a video on channel pages, within browse features, and many other areas on the platform. If a video is watched as a YouTube Short [on the Short Videos discovery shelf], it earns no revenue. On the flip side, regular YouTube videos can have ads, and therefore, generate revenue.”

So basically, revenue is only earned if the Short is watched as a regular video that serves ads - not as a ‘Short’ on the Short Videos shelf. And if you're working toward monetization, eligible Watch Time hours don't come from the shelf either.

We know this because when we look at the traffic sources on our Shorts channel, our total Watch Time hours don't match up to the Watch Time accrued for monetization. The difference between these two figures is the Watch Time from YouTube Shorts, which aren't counted.

To sum things up, how a viewer watches the same video determines whether the creator earns any ad revenue or Watch Time from it. If it's watched in a Shorts discovery area, expect no money. If it's watched via the regular YouTube player, expect a small amount of ad revenue (or some Watch Time for those seeking YPP acceptance).

For a deeper understanding of YouTube Shorts monetization, watch this video about how to make money from short, vertical videos on YouTube:

This is a complete beginner's guide to making, uploading, and analyzing your YouTube Shorts, but remember, this new content type is quickly evolving. There have been plenty of updates along the way, so visit our blog often for the latest news around YouTube Shorts.