YouTube remains one of the most popular websites in the world, which makes sense. Just about every video clip that becomes viral — whether a music video, comedy sketch, or tutorial — finds its way onto YouTube eventually.
Just how popular is the site? As of December 2016, 44 videos had accumulated more than one billion views, and four had surpassed two billion — who doesn’t remember Psy’s “Gangnam Style”?
While the site remains a go-to staple for quickly viewing video clips, there are a number of other things you can do with it. Here are 10 YouTube hacks that will make your viewing experience even more enjoyable…
1. Make GIFs
No matter how you choose to pronounce the word, GIFs are a fun way to deliver some quick wit or a funny line via a social media site or messaging app. Now you can easily make your own GIFs from almost any video you come across on YouTube.
There are several ways you can do this.
One way is to visit the GIF Maker page from GIPHY. Copy the link of the video you want to use from YouTube. It can be almost any video — just make sure it’s shorter than 15 minutes long.
Once the video has loaded on GIPHY, enter the point of the video where you’d like the GIF to begin, and how many seconds you would like it to last. You can enter these manually at first, and then use the convenient slider tools to set up the perfect beginning and end points.
After the clip is created, you can add meme- or caption-like text across the bottom of the screen. Then all you need to do is click “Create GIF,” and you’re set.
Alternatively, you can simply add “gif” before the word “youtube” in the video URL, and this will take you to Gifs.com and allow you set the length of the GIF and add text to it.
2. Find Easter Eggs
Similar to some of the fun things you can do with the Google toolbar, YouTube has a number of tricks or Easter eggs you can use to make the site look or act differently.
One of the best-known tricks is to type “doge meme” in the YouTube search bar, which gives the site a new and much more colorful font throughout the pages.
There are many others as well. Type “do the harlem shake” into the search bar, and a pause button icon will appear next to the YouTube Logo in the upper left corner. Then the site will proceed to “do” said dance before your very eyes.
Another trick is to type the word “awesome” you your keyboard while a video is playing — not in the search bar. After you do, the progress bar will flash with bright and colorful tones.
3. Use Videos for Karaoke
Many of us already sing along to our favorite music videos on YouTube, and now there’s a more efficient way to do so karaoke-style.
If you’re using the Chrome web browser, install the free Musixmatch Lyrics for YouTube extension. The extension uses Musixmatch’s extensive catalog of song lyrics and syncs them to YouTube videos in time with the music.
This is a fun tool that can be used to host a makeshift karaoke party — or you can just use it to see what exactly Bruno Mars was saying in the middle part of “24K Magic”.
4. Share Videos at a Specific Time Signature
This is one of the simplest tricks on this list, but it is, perhaps, the most useful. If you want to share a video with a friend but have it start at a specific time, simply play the video and pause it where you would like to begin. Then, right-click on the video and select “copy video URL at current time.”
That’s it. Now all you have to do is pass the link along. When clicked, the video will begin playing at your saved point.
5. Add a Watermark to Your Videos
If you upload videos regularly and would like to personalize them with your own branded watermark, there’s an easy way to do that on YouTube itself.
First, click on your account icon in the upper right corner and select “Creator Studio”. On the menu that appears on the left side of the screen select “Channel,” and then “Branding”. From here you can click “Add Watermark,” which brings you to a screen where you can upload a file you have saved on your computer.
As YouTube notes, the best watermarks use transparency and just one color.
6. Add Clickable Image Cards to Your Videos
For this trick, you’ll again want to click on your account icon and go to “Creator Studio”. Click on the uploaded video you’d like to add the image to and click “Edit”. After this, click on “Annotations,” then select where you’d like the image to appear and at what point in the video you’d like it to appear.
One tip: You need to include the image in the video before you upload it to YouTube.
Make sure you enable your account for external annotations. Click on “Add Annotations” and select the “Spotlight” option. Drag the box around the image you’d like to be clickable. Then click “Link” and add the URL of the site you’d like to link to.
This strategy is great if you’re looking to drive traffic to your website using videos on YouTube.
7. Use YouTube TV Mode for Large Displays
Sometimes you’d like to play videos from YouTube on a screen larger than a smartphone or tablet. When that’s the case, use the handy YouTube TV mode.
Whether you’re streaming videos on your smart TV or projecting them onto a wall, switching to this view will keep your video quality from looking overly grainy or low-quality. You can also use this viewing distance calculator to figure out how far away to sit from the screen for optimal viewing.
8. Add Visual and Audio Effects to Your Videos
Adding visual effects to your YouTube videos is fairly straightforward.
First, select the video you’d like to edit from the Video Manager. Click on “Edit,” and then select “Enhancements”. From here, you can play with a number of video editing options, such as lighting, saturation, and contrast. You can also slow down or speed up your videos.
To adjust audio effects, simply select “Edit,” but this time, select “Audio”. Here you can try out the various audio options YouTube offers for your videos.
9. Identify Music in YouTube Videos
Sometimes YouTube videos include background music you’d like to learn more about. For this, all you need to do is paste the video URL in the bar on the MooMash site and let it do the work for you.
After a few seconds, the site will tell you which pieces of music appear in the video in question and at what point in the video they play.
10. Slow Down Tutorial Videos
One of the great uses for YouTube is learning how to do certain things via tutorial videos. This could be anything from tying a necktie to decorating a cake. While these videos are often helpful, they can sometimes be hard to keep up with.
In this situation, YouTube has a built-in feature that’s particularly useful. Click on the “Settings” icon at the bottom of the video, and then select “Speed”. Here you can slow the video down to either 50 percent or 25 percent of its original speed.
Conversely, if a video is going a bit too slow for you in certain portions, you can use the “Speed” option to make it run up to twice as fast as normal.
Using YouTube to watch videos is already great, but getting to know these tips and tricks can enhance the experience even more.
How Will You Get More Out of YouTube?
After you start using these YouTube tricks, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
Sure, watching videos on YouTube is easy enough, but these simple hacks and entertaining tips will give you an entirely new experience on the site. Check them out!
Is there another YouTube hack that you love, but don’t see featured in this list? If so, please tell us about it in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Sarut Chaprasert via Shutterstock.com
Originally written by Varun Kashyap on July 18, 2009