Picture of Streamer focused on the screen
Picture of Streamer focused on the screen

Streaming 101: How to Get Started and Build Your Audience

Discovering a guide on starting to stream can feel discouraging, as it often emphasizes the challenges and expenses involved. However, let's debunk the myths! With this guide, I'll show you that streaming can be accessible and rewarding. I believe everyone has the potential to create an amazing stream, regardless of budget or time constraints. Let's break down those barriers and embark on an exciting streaming journey together.

Let's address a few things upfront. If your goal is to pursue streaming as a career, it will undoubtedly be a challenging endeavor. However, don't let that discourage you. Remember, every successful streamer started from humble beginnings, just like you. With dedication and persistence, you can achieve great things. In this guide, I'll provide you with the foundational knowledge and strategies needed to kickstart your streaming journey. Together, we'll navigate the path to creating an engaging and successful stream.

Getting Your Account Set Up

Consider your streaming platform of choice as a starting point. In this guide, we'll concentrate on the largest one today: Twitch. Create a new account and personalize it with a profile picture, a brief bio, and links to your other social platforms. Let's ensure your presence stands out!

Setting Up Streaming Software

Although I recommend downloading OBS, there are excellent alternatives for a quick streaming setup. Once you have downloaded OBS (current version: 29), you will be prompted with the user-friendly Auto-Configuration Wizard. OBS has made the process incredibly simple. When you open the application for the first time, a wizard will guide you through the streaming setup:

OBS Set Up Wizard Step 1

Since we're configuring OBS for streaming, the first option is the recommended choice. However, if your goal is to create videos for YouTube, the second option would be more suitable. Let's proceed to the next step:


On this step, it will automatically select your display settings and FPS. The first dropdown is mainly to help you design your stream layout; it won't be necessary to choose the resolution you will be streaming at.

For FPS, it is generally recommended to choose either 30 or 60. However, opting for 60 FPS is preferable as it allows for future growth without the need to make changes down the road.


OBS will guide you through connecting your Twitch account and configuring all the necessary settings for successful streaming. Follow the steps to connect your Twitch account with OBS. Once you've connected the account you will fully integrate twitch into OBS, which will include some docks that we'll cover later.


Before we conclude the wizard configuration, let's review these options:

  • Prefer hardware encoding: If your GPU supports hardware encoding (e.g., nVidia's 20 series or higher with dedicated NVEC encoder), check this box. However, if your GPU's bandwidth is a concern for gaming, leave it unchecked. Unless your computer is significantly outdated, the CPU should handle the encoding efficiently.
  • Estimate bitrate with bandwidth test (may take a few minutes): Always leave this option checked. It performs an internet speed test and determines the optimal bitrate for streaming and connecting to Twitch.

That's it! You've successfully set up OBS with your Twitch account, and now you're ready to add scenes and sources to start streaming.

Bonus Docks!

If you correctly connected everything during the Auto-Configuration Wizard setup, you'll notice the addition of two useful docks in OBS. One includes the Twitch Chat, while the other displays Twitch Stream Information. These docks eliminate the need to have an extra browser tab open to view the chat while you're streaming, making it more convenient and streamlined.

Twitch Chat DockTwitch Information Dock
Twitch Chat DockTwitch Stream Information Dock

Your First Stream

Upon completing the configuration, you will be directed to a screen similar the screenshot below:

Default View of OBS with Scenes and Sources

The table below can give you some information as to what each panel does:

The table provided below offers insights into the functionality of each panel:

ScenesOrganize different views for your stream; default scene included.
SourcesAdd various elements to your stream layout; desktop or game capture, among others.
Audio MixerControl audio from sources in the current scene and other additional audio inputs.
ControlsStart Streaming and access stream settings; explore further options later.

Please note that the Controls panel allows you to initiate streaming and provides quick access to stream settings, which we will delve into at a later stage.

To keep things simple in this guide, we'll focus on setting up a single source in the default scene to display a game. Start by clicking the + icon under Sources and choose Game Capture. In the properties, select "Any Full Screen Application" to capture your game seamlessly.

Game Capture Properties Window

By selecting "Any Full Screen Application," you ensure that any game running in full screen mode will be captured and displayed here. If you prefer an alternative, the dropdown menu also provides specific window names for games or programs.

And that's it! Go ahead and click on Start Streaming to begin playing your game and share your experience with the world.

Interacting with Chat

If you don't have a microphone or camera, don't worry! You can still engage with your audience by utilizing the chat feature as viewers start joining to watch your gameplay. Interacting with the chat and fostering an authentic community is crucial for long-term success. Building connections with your viewers will greatly benefit you in the future.

Growing Your Audience.

Now that you've embarked on your streaming journey, it's time to elevate your presence by effectively marketing and showcasing your content. Capture clips and highlights from your streams, preserving your VODs (Videos-on-Demand), and share them across various social networks such as Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and more.

Another effective strategy is "raiding," where you use the /raid command to redirect your community to another channel before concluding your stream. Remember to hit "Stop Streaming" after raiding to ensure a seamless transition. Additionally, don't underestimate the power of networking with fellow streamers. Collaborating and building communities together will foster growth not only for you but for others as well. Let's unlock your streaming potential!

Other Notes: Adding Pizazz to Your First Stream

Enhance your streaming experience with these extra tips:


While specific hardware is not necessary to start, consider these options to add some flair:

  1. Microphone - Improve interaction with your chat by having clearer audio.
  2. Camera - Engage your audience with a facecam for a more personal touch.
  3. Headphones - If using a microphone, prevent audio feedback by using headphones.

Final Words

It's important to remember that building an audience takes time. Inform your close friends and family about your stream, encouraging them to support you by lurking (silently watching) or simply keeping you company. This initial support will help you gain visibility and potentially attract more viewers.

Also, keep in mind that streaming takes time! Be patient and kind to yourself. Initially, focus on finding your rhythm, discovering what you enjoy, and sharing your authentic self. Don't be discouraged by low viewer numbers in the beginning.

This is just the start of your streaming journey. Explore other features and experiment with OBS to add your personal touch. Incorporate themes, alert animations, and evolve your stream gradually. Remember, perfection isn't necessary from the beginning.

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