As of 2023, YouTube now has more than 2.6 billion monthly active users – that’s right, a third of all humans watch at least one YouTube video per month. This makes it the second most used social media platform in the world (behind only Facebook). But the most surprising statistic about YouTube is that it is also the second-largest search engine.
That’s right: a search engine.
The days of people only visiting YouTube to watch vlogs or cat videos are long past. Instead, YouTube is now a platform that’s being used to search for high-quality information and make purchasing decisions. YouTube brought in advertising revenue of close to $30 billion in 2022. As a result, being a YouTube content creator is becoming an increasingly lucrative business.
But how do you make your channel stand out among all the noise?
Indeed, making your channel visible on a platform where 500 hours of content gets uploaded each minute takes skill, hard work, and dedication.
You need to strike a fine balance between creating engaging content, producing videos with high production value, and understanding the algorithms of the platform. You need to think of the platform not as your personal blog but as a search engine.
To help you build the necessary skills, a good online YouTube course can give new content creators an excellent head start. We have followed a long list of YouTube courses to provide you with this list of recommendations, some of which are free and some of which you need to pay for.
Note that you’ll find that a majority of our recommendations this year are from Skillshare – apart from being the home of a great pool of course creators in the creative sphere in general, this platform has managed to attract some star talent who have created original courses on the platform. This means that you can make use of their generous 30-day free trial to complete a course without it costing you anything.
These are the best online YouTube classes in 2023.
Best YouTube Courses
Best Overall Course: YouTube for Beginners - How to Start & Grow Your YouTube Channel (Skillshare)
“YouTube for Beginners – How to Start & Grow Your YouTube Channel” from Skillshare is a course delivered by Ali Abdaal, a former doctor and now full-time YouTuber and podcaster known for his content on tech, productivity, and medicine. Having grown his channel to four million subscribers in 2023, he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to creating for YouTube – but more importantly, he shares his knowledge generously in a very pedagogical manner.
The course is created for complete beginners to YouTube content creation – but is equally useful for those who already have experience with the platform but who need a vitamin injection for their endeavors. Taking a comprehensive and practical approach to getting started with professional-looking videos, it will not teach you the most advanced camera or editing techniques, but goes through effective (and cheap) methods that are within the reach of everyone. The topics include:
- Why Start a YouTube Channel?
- Overcome the Fear of Getting Started
- Beat Perfectionism
- Script Your Video
- Film With Your Phone
- Perfect Your Background
- Grow Your Channel
As you can see from these lesson titles, the course combines getting your initial technical setup up and running with all of the other aspects that you need for building a successful channel: generating ideas, scripting, delivery, and marketing. It’s a lot of aspects to consider when getting started and the course greatly benefits from Ali’s focus on overcoming the hurdles that keep new creators from putting that first video up.
The focus on overcoming hurdles does, however, mean that the course glosses over some of the finer points of making videos that sell, especially on the technical side. However, this is easily addressed by combining the course with one of the more technically focused ones that we recommend this list (including one by Ali).
Overall, we recommend “YouTube for Beginners” for everyone looking to get started with YouTube content creation. And even more so for those who have previously tried and failed – Ali’s course might be what you need to get that first video up on YouTube.
Best Crash Course: YouTube Success: Script, Shoot, and Edit with MKBHD (Skillshare)
“YouTube Success: Script, Shoot & Edit with MKBHD” from Skillshare is a 1-hour content creation crash course led by Marques Brownlee. If you are a tech-head, you probably already know Marques from his successful YouTube channel MKBHD. The tech review videos of MKBHD have hit the sweet spot between having niche content and still attracting mainstream numbers.
By now, the YouTube channel of Marques has considerable influence in the tech world in general. It is no wonder, then, that Marques is often called “the best tech reviewer on the planet.” But how exactly did Marques move from creating videos in his parents’ basement to hosting interviews with the likes of Barack Obama and Elon Musk?
When it comes to success on YouTube, content is king. And this is precisely what this Skillshare class is focused on – content creation. Step by step, Marques shows the students how he plans, creates, and edits all of his content. To give you a teaser of what to expect, here are some key topics covered in “YouTube Success”:
- Planning your videos for personable content that also attracts viewers.
- Making the most out of whatever gear you are using.
- Masterfully editing the footage to create compelling content.
- Strategies for consistent audience growth.
The major strong point of this class is that these lessons can be applied by anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are starting from a basement (as Marques did!) or entering the game with a massive budget; these tips will help you get a better understanding of YouTube.
“YouTube Success” used to be our top pick in this category and remains one of the best YouTube online courses for new content creators. It is easy to follow, engaging, and suitable for all experience levels.
Best Intro to Editing: Video Editing with Final Cut Pro X – From Beginner to YouTuber (Skillshare)
The many benefits of Final Cut Pro are perhaps best summarized in this comprehensive PCMag review – it is a magnificent software both for experienced content creators and people with little to no video production skills. This is precisely why Final Cut Pro is lauded by YouTubers like Marques Brownlee, Casey Neistat, and Emma Chamberlain.
“Video Editing with Final Cut Pro X” is a 3-hour Skillshare class delivered by a familiar face if you read our top recommendation: Ali Abdaal. In this class, Ali teaches the students everything needed to get started in Final Cut Pro, and is a great complement to his introductory course. But, the benefits of this class are not limited to novices. New users will learn all the fundamentals of the software (while also learning to avoid some common mistakes of beginners), while seasoned users will get a few expert tips in their arsenal. Since video editing is a practical endeavor, this is a class that acquires active participation. This is the rough breakdown of the workflow used in this online YouTube course:
- A-Cut Assembly. The first edit is where the inevitable mistakes get removed, and the footage is adjusted to a set timeline. Some useful keyboard shortcuts are also introduced in these lessons.
- B-Roll. Here, things get more creative. Students learn how to work with transitions, animations, titles, and images.
- Coats of Polish. The finishing touches. Here, students will learn how to master the sound and look of the final product.
If you were intimidated by some of those technical terms, don’t be. You will quickly discover that the instructor has gone out of his way to keep the lessons as accessible as possible. In a nutshell, a mandatory class for anyone looking to learn the ins and outs of Final Cut Pro.
Best Intro to YouTube: YouTube Masterclass – Your Complete Guide to YouTube (Udemy)
“YouTube Masterclass” from Udemy is the most popular online YouTube course on Udemy. It is a comprehensive, 5-hour class led by Phil Ebiner (a top-rated instructor of Udemy) and professional YouTubers Mike and Lauren Moyer. “YouTube Masterclass” comes with no specific prerequisites. All one needs is an idea for a channel and a Google account to sign up for YouTube. And, of course, a willingness to learn how to create high-quality videos.
After you have your idea in place, the instructors will give you a step-by-step blueprint for creating and evolving the channel without a budget. In practice, this means learning about the algorithm of YouTube to get your channel growing without any seed money. You will see that, with a little patience, growing a YouTube channel without investment is still possible in 2023.
In addition to learning about the organic growth of viewership, you will also be taught the fundamentals of content creation and digital marketing. And at the tail end of the course, you will also see how to earn money from your content. After all, you will want to start earning from your videos as your fan base grows.
For students looking for a comprehensive introduction to YouTube, this Udemy Masterclass is a solid option. It is a relatively cheap course that manages to go through both the content creation and marketing aspects of YouTube. And, if you want to succeed on YouTube, you ARE going to need both. Note that unlike the Skillshare courses in this list that require an ongoing subscription, Udemy courses come with a one-time purchase and life access.
How to VLOG – Complete Beginners Guide (Skillshare)
According to VloggingPro, a staggering 44% of Internet users watch vlogs every single month. So, one thing is clear – there is a massive market for vlogging. At a glance, vlogging might seem simple. After all, anyone can share info about their personal lives, travels, and products they enjoy, right? Well, yes and no. Going in blind is never a good idea, especially in a saturated market like vlogging. Luckily, there are numerous courses filled with valuable information on vlogging.
One such online course is “How to VLOG” from Skillshare. It is a 40-minute crash course on the essentials of creating and managing a successful YouTube video blog. The class is delivered by Jeven Dovey, an adventure filmmaker and YouTube sensation known for his highly engaging travel blog.
Jeven has put together a class that explains all the fundamentals of vlogging in a concise, easy-to-understand manner. This is not a comprehensive class by any means, but it is a very solid starting point for a new vlogger. The basics of video creation, editing, and shooting are all covered. And, considering that the course lasts only 40 minutes, new vloggers will have little to lose from participating in the class.
YouTube Creator Academy
“YouTube Creator Academy” is a bundle of courses delivered by YouTube itself. There are several great reasons for choosing a class curated by YouTube itself. For one, the content will always be up to date with the latest policies and algorithms of YouTube. Also, every lesson is entirely free of charge.
That being said, for a beginner looking for a technical and comprehensive course, the Creator Academy is not the best choice. The quick start guide would be useful for someone looking to quickly learn how to start the channel. But, a complete beginner will also have to learn about the technical side of things to succeed. For example, learning about video shooting and editing would be massively useful for quickly capturing the engagement of your audience. And lessons on production are where the Creator Academy is lacking a bit.
Still, for someone already actively creating content, Creator Academy is a no-brainer. In fact, some of the lessons on optimizing the channel are better than many paid YouTube classes. Plus, Creator Channel covers several niches hard to find elsewhere. To give you an example, Creator Channel has separate video lessons for creators working in the education, gaming, and music niche. All things considered, while Creator Academy is not an ideal starting point for a beginner, it just might be a jackpot for an already active YouTuber.
YouTube Success: Build an Authentic Channel That's Worth the Follow (Skillshare)
If your YouTube channel is still in the planning stages, “YouTube Success” is among the best online YouTube courses you can take. It is a 44-minute Skillshare class led by Sorelle Amore, presenter of a successful lifestyle and travel YouTube channel.
This class could be summed up in only one word – authenticity. In her class, Sorelle shares how she managed to methodically create a devoted fan base that has stuck with her through the years. This is precisely what makes the advice of Sorelle so impactful – YouTube algorithms, your marketing budget, and your production equipment are bound to change. But, a following built on authenticity stays with your content through thick and thin, ensuring your long-term success.
The course strikes a fine balance between biographical stories, actionable tips, and practical examples. Here are some key topics discussed:
- Guided self-analysis for finding the niche most suited to your tastes and personality.
- A how-to on building a long-term audience for your channel.
- Creating a posting schedule to avoid procrastination and constantly growing your viewership numbers.
In a nutshell, this is an online YouTube course that is mandatory for students looking to stay in the game for the long haul. It is captivating, short, and will help you build a loyal audience.
YouTube Marketing 2023: YouTube SEO & YouTube Algorithms
“YouTube Marketing & YouTube SEO” is a 10-hour Udemy course for students looking to understand the technical aspects of building a following on YouTube. The class is presented by Alex Genadinik, an online entrepreneur, author, and SEO/marketing specialist.
In his class, Alex shows the students all the techniques he has personally used to grow the traffic of his YouTube channels. As I already mentioned, this is a class clearly focused on the technical side of YouTube. Some of the terms used will likely be unfamiliar to new content creators. Still, beginners shouldn’t be intimidated. Topics such as SEO, keyword research tools, and recommendation algorithms are explained in a manner understandable to anyone.
It is a comprehensive class that manages to cover nearly all the aspects related to YouTube channel optimization. It involves more time investment than the other online YouTube courses on this list, but it is more than worth it. There are thousands of well-produced channels that get lost in the shuffle only due to bad optimization. By investing some time into learning about how to efficiently optimize your own channel, you can avoid the same fate.