Twitch Pre-stream Checklist: The Fullest Guide on How to Start the First Stream

Thousands of Twitch streamers manage to earn their living by playing games, and most of them don’t possess any special talent or skills. So, how have they achieved the dream of all streamers: being paid for doing what they love most? While good luck and charisma do matter, there are also some simple pre-stream rules to follow when you are a first-time streamer. Here are the main things to be done before you start the first stream or any other stream in your life:

TIP #1. Restart Your Computer

Restarting is needed in case there are already launched programmes that you don’t need while streaming. Over time the operating system becomes overloaded with temporary files, cash, page files, virus processes. When you restart your computer, all unimportant, temporary data will be automatically erased on your device. Moreover, rebooting helps eliminate memory leaks which happen when a program is a glitchy and doesn’t close properly. Though restarting is not a cure for all computer-associated problems, but it can be a quick solution to some minor errors and the guarantee of smooth running while your first stream.

TIP #2. Open Your Streaming Software

There are two most common streaming software options used by most streamers and recommended by Twitch: OBS (free) and Xsplit (free with some paid features). They both are easy to use with plenty of configurations and a friendly support. Among the best streaming software of the year we can also mention: Nvidia Shadowplay, Bobo, FFsplit and vMix. As soon as you decide on streaming software, you will be able to expand your broadcasting capabilities and have access to different professional tools and services, such as Streamlabs, Muxy, StreamPro, Twip, etc.

TIP #3. Prepare Music, If Any

If you are playing music in the background, you should prepare your playlist beforehand. It’s possible to play your favorite tracks via VLC or similar player, but be ready that your VODs can be muted. Other option that doesn’t breach copyright rules is playing music listed in Twitch Music Library. Don’t forget to read more about copyright issues and music in our previous post “How to choose music for your Twitch streams?”

TIP #4. Think about Your Channel Appearance

Before you press “Go Live” button, check if your channel is looking good. The channel design and settings are key components of your brand. Think about your logo, banner image and the general idea of your stream long before your first broadcast. Write a catchy and descriptive biography: it should be around 150 characters telling new viewers who you are. If you want to add more information about your stream, preferences, schedule and chat info, you can use Twitch Panels. Ideally, panels should be in visual harmony with your brand design. One more important thing is giving your viewers information about your next stream on an offline channel banner.

TIP #5. Twitch Title and Stream Info

On your dashboard, you can manage different information related to your stream. It’s very important to have a descriptive and clear title of your stream. Along with the main information, you can also add some funny or catchy quote anything that can attract viewers. Adding the language of the stream in the title makes people understand what to expect. In general, your stream title should look like this: [Language of your broadcast] [Game name][Info about the game or your player level].

TIP #6. Check Streaming Settings

Before starting the first stream, make sure you’ve checked the following things. If you want your broadcast to be saved as VODs, you should choose “Archive broadcasts” option. It allows viewers to watch your stream whenever they can as well makes it possible for you to rewatch everything and correct mistakes in the future. Set the “AutoMod” rules depending on the level of chat control you want to have at your channel. AutoMod helps filter out risky or inappropriate messages and create more friendly chat atmosphere. It’s also possible to turn on the “Followers-only mode” to limit commenting in chat for people that have followed you a specific amount of time.

TIP #6. Pre-Stream Twitch Promotion

First of all, make sure that your stream relates to the right game category, otherwise nobody will find you in search. Describe your stream with the help of tags: there are more than 200 tags to choose from on Twitch. Have social media channels to share the link about upcoming stream. If you are a first-time streamer, you can stream without promotion for several weeks to become more confident about your skills, software and so on. Have your friends and familiar people watching your first stream. This will сheer you up and boost the total viewership to help you stand out among other streamers in the search list.

TIP #7. Check Your Equipment

Before you start the first stream, make sure that you have all basic equipment working properly. You’ll need a gaming computer, a mic, a headset and a webcam. You don’t have to spend hundreds on equipment, but try to search for a quality one. Don’t be the one who buys cheap and buys twice. Always make the last-minute audio, video and connection checks. Make sure that your lighting is working properly. These are obvious things that many streamers forget about. Check out our post describing the list of 20 streaming essentials that every game streamer need.

TIP #8. Make Your Chat Ready for Broadcast

Open your chat and make sure that moderator bots are working properly. Select necessary settings to customize your chat experience. Keep your dashboard open so that you can monitor your stream activity and chat during the streaming session.

TIP #9. Ensure Your Comfort

Streaming supposes a strong physical stress because of sitting for long periods of time. Try to plan your stream beforehand, including some breaks with physical exercises. A good idea is having a balanced nutritious food to sustain your brain activity before the stream. As streaming is a multitasking thing (you concentrate on gaming, interacting, analyzing), it’s important to make healthy snacks and stay well-hydrated. In order to fill the pauses while you’re going for a break, you can make pre-recorded videos for the intermission or host someone for this period.  

TIP #10. Go Live

So now, when everything is ready, you can go live. The first broadcasts are usually nerve-racking, but to overcome fear you have to just do it. Learn from your mistakes and, no matter how big you grow, remember the basic things listed above. And don’t miss our next post: we’ll tell you about the main things to do after finishing your stream!