How To Edit YouTube Videos (2024 Beginner's Guide)

How To Edit YouTube Videos (2024 Beginner's Guide)

If you’re creating YouTube videos, editing your content is crucial. A well-edited video will engage viewers and entice them to stay. While the editing process can be a bit complicated, it’s a necessary process to make your business’s videos look their best.

This article will take you through:

The importance of good video editing

If you’re creating videos, editing is how you can break through the noise of all the other content creators on YouTube. When someone searches for your topic, a high-quality video will help them choose you.

Well-edited videos give your business some big benefits, including:

  • Brings attention to your video: A video must capture attention quickly, especially on YouTube where there are so many options. A well-edited video will look good to your viewers and be more likely to gain clicks.
  • Makes your video look more professional: You can lose viewers when your video is full of awkward pauses, meandering messages, and mistakes. Editing your video tells audiences that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your video.
  • Can make a bigger impact on your audience: Editing features like time lapses or voice overs can make your video flow more smoothly, making it easier for your audience to understand your message.

7 YouTube video editing best practices

So, what do you need to learn to successfully edit a video clip? We’ll discuss some video editing best practices to help make your videos stand out.

Choose the right video editing software

Different types of videos have different needs. For example, a video that’s part of a sales funnel might need more sophisticated graphics, music, and special effects than a tutorial on a personal YouTube channel. You’ll want to find software that has what you need—but not so much complexity that it overwhelms you.

Here are a few things to look for when searching for the right video editing software:

  • Features and tools: Start by making a grid with the features and editing tools you want. As you research each option, check off who offers what. Also know what format your video files need to be in because not all software accepts all formats.
  • Compatibility: Pay attention to the requirements for your processor, operating systems, RAM, and GPU. If your computer isn’t up to the task, you’ll run into problems.
  • Cost: If you’re a startup or small business with limited resources, a free option may have everything you need. More professional options usually come with higher licensing fees.

Know how to use your video editing software

For a business just starting out, using software that is overly technical can be frustrating and delay your ability to finish the video. Use any free trials or instructional tutorials to get a sense of how easy it is to use the software before purchasing.

If the video you want requires more technical expertise than you know how to do yourself, Upwork can help connect you with top video editing experts.

Be consistent with your brand

Video editing can be used to strengthen your brand and your brand following, but remain consistent. There are several ways your video editing can increase your brand recognition.

  • Thumbnails: Your thumbnails should be focused on your brand. Use images that are engaging, but also feature the focus of your brand. That may mean editing thumbnails to include your image or the image of a product.
  • Special effects: Use special features in your editing consistently. Each of your videos should build your brand by using the same or similar music, fonts, transitions, and more.
  • Formats: If you use certain formats—for example, teasing a clip of the most exciting part at the beginning of a video—try to do that with each of your videos.

Keep your audience engaged

When someone searches for videos on YouTube, they have all kinds of interesting content at their fingertips. If you want viewers to stay and watch, your video should keep them engaged. You can do this by:

  • Keeping things moving: Don’t have a single moment where nothing is happening or the story isn’t moving forward.
  • Keeping moments of silence to a minimum: Short moments of silence can sometimes create the right dramatic effect. However, long moments of silence can become awkward, and your audience is likely to leave you.
  • Making the video accessible: Adding subtitles can make a big difference. Beyond people who might be hard of hearing, with so many people using their phones in public spaces, having videos that can be watched without sound will mean more clicks for you.
  • Remembering your CTA: What is it you want your audience to do once they’ve watched your video? Let them know with a direct call to action.

Keep your editing simple

A video doesn’t have to be overly slick to get attention. Authenticity can often gain you more views than an overly produced video. When it comes to editing, start small. Your editing software may have all kinds of fun effects or features, but if you use them all, you may find viewers leaving before finishing the video. Use enough to get your point across without distracting or annoying potential customers.

Get expert help

Sometimes, it’s best to leave the work to the experts. Someone with experience will know exactly what to do to turn your vision into quality content. If you need professional video editing help, Upwork has who you need. You can find top video editing services through Project Catalog™.



Browse Project Catalog for more video editing services.

How to edit videos in YouTube

You can upload videos directly to your YouTube channel and edit them there in post-production. To begin editing, simply click on the title or thumbnail of the video you want to work on and select “Editor.”

There are a few ways you can edit in YouTube:

  • Trim your video. If you want to shorten a video, select the trim option. A blue box will appear over your video, and you can drag it to include only the portion you want to keep. When you’re done, preview and save.
  • Blur parts of the video. In Editor, you can select “Face Blur” or “Custom Blur.” Then, select the faces or portion of the video that need blurring and click on apply. You can then adjust the blur as needed.
  • Add an audio track. If you want to add audio to your video, select “Add a Track.” You can use search filters to find the right audio. When you find it, click add. You can use the blue box to adjust where the track begins and ends.
  • Use the Audio Library. The audio library allows you to find music and sound effects for your videos without royalty fees. In YouTube Studio, you can find the Audio Library on the left-hand menu.

The best free YouTube video editors

There are a number of options when it comes to video editing software. For most people, basic editing software will work. Below are some of the most popular free software options.

YouTube Studio

Who it is for: Anyone with a YouTube channel

Price: Free

Every YouTube channel is managed from YouTube Studio. From the dashboard, you can manage videos, live streams, analytics, and more. The Editor page allows you to edit videos by removing sections, blurring faces, and creating a soundtrack from a library of free music. You can also add links to your video.


Who it is for: Apple users

Price: Free

iMovie allows you to add photos or videos, trim clips, incorporate transitions, and add special effects. They offer “smart soundtracks” that adjust on their own to the length of your video, or you can add your own voice-overs.

iMovie also allows for customized titles, backgrounds, and credits. There are versions for every iOS or macOS device, so you can work on your project from anywhere, no matter if you’re using an iPhone, Mac, or iPad.

Windows Movie Maker 10

Who it is for: Windows users

Price: Free if you’re using Windows 10

With Video Editor, you can create YouTube videos. Start by uploading your photos and videos to the storyboard. From there, you can trim video, select durations, and add customized text and titles.

For a soundtrack, you can pick background music to sync to your video or use the custom audio feature to incorporate playlists, voice-overs, or sound effects. Video Editor also has special effects you can overlay, including a 3D image library.

The best paid YouTube video editors

If you need more functionality, you may want to invest in some quality video editing tools. We’ll discuss some of the most popular video editing programs below.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Who is it for: Editors who need to do more with their videos

Price: $19.99 to $52.99 per month

Premiere Pro allows you to take your footage in any format and work with many third-party extensions to do even more to your footage. Optimizing your footage for social media can be done automatically, but there are many other features that can improve your video.

There is stock audio for easier soundtracks and templates you can use for titles and more. Premiere Pro comes with a video editing app that allows you to work across your devices, including Android.


Who is it for: Beginners to professional editors, especially for people working with multiple cameras

Price: Free to $437.99 for a lifetime license

With Lightworks, you can edit your videos with all the tools available from your timeline. The software offers a library of stock music and videos you can incorporate into your video. It also offers a multicam editing feature that should make it easy to sync footage between cameras. Lightworks offers one-step uploading for YouTube accounts.

Final Cut Pro X

Who is it for: Projects with multiple stakeholders

Price: $299.99 for the app

Final Cut Pro X is editing software from Apple. If you have multiple people working on or approving a video, one feature you might find helpful is the ability for stakeholders to comment right on the video. You can also share links with stakeholders for approval.

Bring together the people you need to create an amazing video

Creating YouTube videos can give a big boost to your business. The key, though, is a well-edited video to cut through the noise and make your video stand out.

If you’re a business owner with limited time or video editing skills, there’s help available. Get assistance with video editing, animation, marketing, and more by connecting with the top independent talent on Upwork.

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyse and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

Author spotlight

How To Edit YouTube Videos (2024 Beginner's Guide)
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large Fortune 100 enterprises, with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and freelancers to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

Get this article as a PDF

For easy printing, reading, and sharing.

Download PDF

Latest articles

X Icon