Getting Started On Twitch: Your First Stream

So you are going to stream on Twitch for the first time ever, but where do you start? In part one of our guide to Getting Started On Twitch, we go through what you need to do as you press the first ‘Go Live’ button.

Before you start your first stream, we have produced some useful guides to:


Where to start

Now assuming you have set up a Twitch Account, you have the software that you need, the equipment that you need and you are sitting comfortably, what do you need to do before you press the big ‘go live’ button on OBS, Xsplit or Streamlabs OBS?

Don’t press it yet! You still need to go through the tough decision of optimising your profile, selecting the right things in options and what to name your stream.

But first up, you need to find your stream key:

  • Go to your Twitch Account, and click Dashboard. Then select ‘channel’ on the left hand side of navigation. Click ‘stream key’ and copy and paste it into your respective tool.

Your Twitch profile and channel design

Profile settings and channel design are key for branding and helping your audience understand exactly who you are.

Logo —Recommended to be at least 800 x 800, test it first and make sure it is clear on mobile!

Banner/Cover image — Alongside with your logo, your banner image is key to make your ‘brand’ stand out. Make sure it is consistent and (if possible) use the available space to show your schedule

Biography — At 150 characters, your bio comes in just over a tweet length, so keep your description short & sweet. For new streamers, make sure you say who you are, what you like and when you stream, eventually it can be whatever you want.

For a full guide to writing your Twitch bio, read more at our website:

Twitch Panels — Twitch panels are found at the bottom of your info tab on the app, or below your stream on desktop. These can be either an image or text. They are commonly used to give further information on who you are, what you like to stream, your schedule and advice on community/chat standards and donations. They can also be used to provide links to your website or social channels. Make sure your Twitch Panels are consistent with your branding.

Some old examples from my first Twitch account — these are not great examples…

The full guide to Twitch Panels can be found here and you can find see some great examples here.

Offline image — When you are offline (and not auto-hosting anybody), make sure viewers know when you will no longer be online by using your offline banner (found in your settings). Also use this to communicate your schedule so potential viewers know when to expect you. (Please provide more than EST or GMT timezones — Twitch viewers are worldwide).


Your Twitch Title and Stream Information

Go to your Dashboard and you will see the following options:

Title — The title of your stream, consider what will attract viewers to click through and watch you, how do you stand out? Should you use a funny quote? Should you clearly explain what you are doing?

Please never refer to the amount of followers, viewers or subscribers you have…

Always put the most important information first. A lot of streamers also add the language of their stream at the beginning so viewers know what to expect.

Now with the new redesign, it doesn’t say the game you are playing, just a small logo on the bottom right, this makes it important to add the game in if you are a variety streamer. Many suggest that you put the name of your game at the end of your title.

Something like this will be a strong starting point:

  1. [LANGUAGE] SMITE: First Ranked Game — Support Squad
  2. (GER) [Game Name] — [Something about the Game] — First Playthrough/100% Serious Play/Ranked Games
A good streamer creates a detailed title such as: “[720p/60fps/PC] First Playthrough Blind” which tells me a LOT about your stream without even opening it. An excellent streamer uses the title to let their personality shine such as “Livin’ la vida Los Santos” (GTA:V) or “Darkblood Soulborne” (Bloodborne) or “Touching all the Butts… with a Dagger” (Assassin’s Creed) or “Praise the Talos” (Skyrim). These titles might not be the best in the world but I came up with all 4 in a minute or two. In any case as a viewer I’m 100x more likely to join a channel with a witty title like these because they show you have a sense of humor, which is big considering how many streamers’s commentary and/or viewer interaction could be handled just as well by a sack of potatoes. While the titles I gave as examples may not appeal to you personally they do appeal to the type of viewers I looking for on my stream. Bear in mind who you want to attract when making your own titles. —reddit.com/user/TheRedVipre

Language — Choose the language that you are going to be talking in, some streams will use the title to say their language to stand out or explain they are using two languages (for example JAP/ENG). You are able to limit your chat to the chosen language but as you are just starting out, I would not recommend this, you can always just tell them you don’t understand or use Google Translate on your phone and attempt communication (which could end up being quite funny and earning you a follow)

Community (Twitch has now removed Communities) — Twitch Communities are a new way to group content/formats and therefore viewers together, whether it is ‘Competitive Overwatch’, Variety Streaming’ ‘Speedrunning’ or ‘Chill Streams’ there is somewhere for you. Twitch now lets you select up to three communities

Tags — What tag describes your stream? You have 3 choices and over 230 tags to choose from. Twitch will also use these to recommend you to potential viewers — so it is very important you use all. Some examples include:

  • Exploration — For streams with an emphasis on exploration
  • Beginner Players — For streams that feature new, low skill-level players
  • Skateboarding — For streams with an emphasis on riding skateboards

(You can find the entire list of tags here)

Game/Category — the most important choice. Do make sure to name it the game you are actually playing, or else nobody will find what you are doing (or they’ll be very confused as to why you are playing Stardew Valley when they search through H1Z1 games)

Next up, go to settings/options and make sure you have selected:

  • Archive Broadcasts — automatically save your broadcasted streams to the ‘videos’ tab on Twitch. Highly recommended so users can watch VODs (videos on demand) whenever they want to catch up on what they may of missed
  • Automod rules — this is completely up to you, it depends on what you want your community/chat to see, what the content of your channel is going to show and how much control you want to have yourself. You can learn more here.
  • Followers-only mode (on your videos) — this is a new feature that limits commenting on your videos to those who have followed you for at least a few days

Pre-stream promotion

Be sure to share the link to your stream on social media channels

  • Do you have an active social media channel already? Utilise it to drive people to your stream
  • You may find many are not interested in watching your live stream, but some may and they should know!
  • Personally, I streamed without promoting it for a number of weeks to practice my skills and test the software was working correctly
  • Getting people that you know in your stream will help boost your total viewers, and when Twitch is sorted by most viewers, this is incredibly important to stand out near the top of the feed

I know, I know this is taking forever…but it is important!

Remember to keep your dashboard open to monitor your stream health and Twitch chat while you are streaming.

You’ve made it.

Now it is the time to go live!

GO GO GO

What to do after your first stream?

So that was it! How did it go? Did you enjoy it?

Watch back and review your footage, making sure it is saved (see how to do this in the settings above).

Make notes on what didn’t go well on your first stream, were the audio levels okay? Did your computer struggle during the graphic-intensive moments of the game?

Was there any stand out moments that you can make into a clip and share on Twitch and across social media? Can you export your video to YouTube?

Look at the stats and see how popular you were!


What next?

Next up is a guide to building a community and growing your following on Twitch. What will we cover in part two?

  • Planning
  • Consistency
  • Auto-hosting
  • Networking
  • Twitch teams
  • The games you play
  • Don’t worry; be happy
  • Creating your own community off Twitch (e.g. Discord or Steam)
  • Other methods

You can find part two “Building a Community and Growing Your Following” here:


Hope you enjoyed the guide to your first stream. If you have anything that worked for you, comments or feedback, Join our Discord or tweet me at @emergencegg.


Who is The Emergence?

We are a gaming platform dedicated to telling the stories of how your favourite gamers and broadcasters got to where they are. We seek out the emerging heroes of the future.

You can find more of what we do here:

Written by Mark Longhurst.

:) ❤