Should I start a YouTube channel or a blog?
If you have to start one of a blog and YouTube channel, which one will you go for? Of course, there’s no single right answer for everyone.
But there are vital pieces of information that can guide you to making the right choice.
It is clear that Blogging and Youtube are two very different beasts.
Blogging allows for a more personal, in-depth look at things while Youtube is all about video content.
Bloggers have the ability to link to other sources for information while Youtubers do not have that luxury. Blogs can be edited after publishing whereas videos cannot be changed once uploaded.
In this post, I’ll unpack the information you need to know about creating and monetizing content on both platforms.
You’ll find comparisons of the two platforms and factors to consider before settling on one.
Let’s dive in.
Part #1. Unpacking – Blogging vs YouTube
What is a Blog?
A blog is a website where you publish written content about a particular topic to entertain, educate, and convert readers.
In the early 2000s, people used blogs as online journals to express their thoughts about their homes, work, and other aspects of their lives.
Over time though, blogging has evolved.
Most people who blog today blog about particular topics like health, business, marketing, personal finance, and more.
Furthermore, they use the platform to improve their reputation as experts, attract potential customers, or even advertise products to visitors.
How popular are blogs?
Of the 1.7 billion websites in the world, 500 million are blogs. Even more, these blogs publish 2 million posts daily.
Now you may ask: do people really read blogs? Yes, they do. And not only that. They also participate in the comments.
For instance, users post 77 million comments on WordPress alone every month.
You probably see blogs every day. In fact, you’re reading one now. What are examples of some popular blogs online today?
Here’s BuzzFeed, an entertainment blog:
This blog posts about news, entertainment, and humor. I
t’s one of the most popular blogs online, so very few blogs will grow as big as this.
Here’s another blog, The Engineer, an engineering blog:
Like the name, this is a blog that posts information about engineering.
These 2 examples indicate that blogs can vary wildly on what type of content they publish.
What is YouTube?
Now, unto YouTube.
YouTube is the largest video platform in the world.
Therefore, it’s the platform of choice for people who want to start vlogging.
The platform has come a long way from 2005 when it was founded. Since 2006 when Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion, it has grown to become the second-largest website and search engine worldwide.
Currently, YouTube has over 2 billion users worldwide.
Moreso, users watch over a billion hours of video daily.
One factor that has contributed to YouTube’s popularity is the increase in the popularity of videos over the years.
For instance, a HubSpot study revealed that video is the most expected content type from businesses, with 54% of consumers expecting videos.
If you want to start vlogging on YouTube, it’s as easy as creating a channel and uploading your videos.
Of course, people start creating YouTube content for different reasons.
This can be to entertain, educate, and convert your viewers into customers.
Here’s PewDiePie, one of the most popular channels on YouTube:
He publishes videos about gaming and humor.
On the other side of the scale, here’s a food YouTube channel run by a British chef, Jamie Oliver:
These examples show there’s a wide range of niches on YouTube.
As you’ll discover from these pieces of information, every niche can use both a blog and a YouTube channel. However, one is more favorable to some industries.
Part #2. Audience size – Blogging vs YouTube
Except you’re a celebrity with millions of followers on social media, you’ll have a small audience when you start a blog.
Precisely, you’ll have no audience in some cases.
Luckily, with consistent content creation and promotion, you can grow your audience on a blog.
Over time, your audience size will depend on many factors. These include content quality, content quantity, niche, promotion strategy, and more.
However, this is different on YouTube.
Considering the user base, there’s a big audience size for your content.
Of course, not everyone on YouTube will be interested in your niche. But you can be sure that at least thousands of viewers on YouTube are interested in your topic.
This is even before you create a single video. With YouTube, you have a big audience, and there’s a bigger opportunity for faster growth.
From the first day you create videos, YouTube will start recommending them to users viewing similar videos.
If you write catchy titles and feature compelling thumbnails, you can grow your views and subscriber base on YouTube within a short time.
Which platform has a bigger audience size when starting a blog or YouTube channel?
YouTube has a bigger audience and your videos can start getting views from the first day you publish them.
Part #3. Starting cost – YouTube and Blogging
Using any of these platforms effectively will incur costs.
But how much should you prepare to spend?
While starting a blog, there are 3 broad options:
- A totally free blog: in this case, you’ll host your blog on a host such as Blogger or WordPress. In addition to that, you have a free domain name such as “yourname.blogspot.com” or “yourname.wordpress.com.”
- Domain name + free hosting: for this option, you only have to pay for your domain name such as “yourname.com.” You can have free hosting on a platform such as Blogger. This option will cost you about $13 annually if you register with a registrar like Namecheap.
- Self-hosted blog: for a self-hosted blog, you have to pay for both the domain name and hosting plan. From basic hosting sites such as Bluehost or WPX hosting, you can get your first year of hosting for less than $100. Combined with the domain name registration, your cost should be about $100. After the first year, you can spend anything between $100 and $200 annually. However, other purchases such as themes and plugins can push your cost higher.
Personally, I recommend the third option as it provides the biggest opportunity to create a blog that suits your needs.
You have your own domain without restriction.
For YouTube, your starting cost will depend on some factors.
Do you have a great smartphone or professional camera already?
If you do, this can lower your costs significantly.
Although you can start creating videos with your smartphone, it’s better to invest in a camera.
Buying a camera, video editing software, recording microphone, and other video gear can push your cost to $1,000 or more.
In some cases, you may need to hire a freelancer to edit your videos before publishing.
This will cost about $100 or more per video, depending on the freelancer’s expertise and the length of your video. Easily, this can go beyond $200 as the video length increases.
In a nutshell, your starting cost on YouTube depends on how professional you want your videos to be.
But when starting out, you can choose to avoid all the fancy stuff and just shoot with your smartphone.
YouTube channel and blogging Which platform has a higher starting cost?
Starting professional video creation on YouTube will likely cost more than starting a blog.
Bloggers are typically not required to invest as much money in resources needed for blogging.
Bloggers can start on any platform and blog about anything they want, but YouTube channels require a fairly expensive camera setup before you even think of uploading videos or making your channel look good with graphics templates.
Part #4. Content creation
After setting up your blog or YouTube channel, you need to create content.
After all, that’s the only way to attract and keep your audience.
Since the content format on both platforms differs, the creation process also differs.
To create a blog post, you can have a process that includes:
- Keyword research to understand the information your ideal audience is looking for.
- Content research to gather relevant information about your topic.
- Writing your blog post.
- Editing your blog post to eliminate errors.
- Publishing your blog post.
Depending on the complexity of your topic, this process can take a few hours to days.
In some cases, you can outsource your written content or some tasks to a freelancer.
If you’re outsourcing your blog post to a freelance writer, you can spend up to $100 or more.
The amount you spend will depend on the writer’s expertise, content complexity, content length, and more.
Creating videos for your YouTube audience also follows a process, albeit a different one.
Some tasks to execute include:
- Researching about the topic which includes watching similar videos on YouTube.
- Writing a script for your video. This can just be an outline of important points or a detailed script.
- Filming your video at a great location.
- Editing your video.
- Publishing the video on YouTube.
Creating your video can take a few hours or days, depending on how complex and long it is. For some videos, you’ll need another person to be behind the camera.
Moreso, unless you’re a professional video editor, you have to send your video to an editor for a professional touch.
This will cost some time and money before you get your video ready.
If you’re sending your video to a professional editor, you should prepare to spend $200 or more.
Furthermore, the cost will depend on the editor’s expertise, video length, level of editing required, and more.
If you want to cut costs, you’ll have to forgo using a video editor while starting your channel.
Which platform requires more time and cost for content?
Creating professional videos for YouTube will usually take more time and cost more money than creating a blog post.
Part #5. Earning Potential
Even if you see blogging and vlogging as hobbies, it won’t hurt to make some money off them.
At least, to cover your expenses.
Having said that, you can make a lot of money from blogging and vlogging if you put in the effort.
What are your earning options with blogging?
On your blog, some common ways to earn money include:
- Affiliate marketing:
This involves promoting other people’s products and getting a commission every time you make a sale. This is how I’ve been monetizing my blogs for years.
You can feature these products on a page or within your blog posts wherever they’re relevant.
The commission you make on your sales will depend on your agreement with the product seller.
You can advertise relevant products and services on your blog at an agreed price with the advertiser.
Another popular option is to use advertising networks such as Google Adsense, Mediavine, and more.
- Selling products:
Sometimes, you can blog about topics to promote your products.
One way to go about it is to publish posts relevant to your ideal customer. By doing this, visitors can check and purchase your products.
- Selling services:
Say you’re a defense attorney, you can create a blog to provide legal information that your potential clients need.
Once they get value from your blog, they can decide to hire you as their attorney.
This applies to many other services.
What are your earning options with YouTube?
YouTube has similar options to blogging in terms of earning.
However, the execution may be different from a blog’s.
The options include:
YouTube allows you to run video and banner ads on your videos once you reach 1,000 subscribers.
That means this option is unavailable if you’re just starting your channel. Again, you’re restricted to a single ad platform which is Google Adsense.
- Affiliate marketing:
If your videos feature some products you’d love to recommend to your viewers, you can recommend them during the video and leave affiliate links in the description.
- Promoting products:
Sometimes, the product you recommend may be products from your company.
So, you can leave a link to your product page in the description.
- Promoting services:
If your video topics revolve around your expertise, you can promote your services to viewers who need them.
See an example of affiliate marketing on YouTube below:
In the video description, Stefan James features affiliate links of the products he mentioned in the video.
Can you make more from blogging than on YouTube?
There’s no straight answer to that. There are people making tens of thousands of dollars from blogging and YouTube.
For example, I don’t have any YouTube channel yet, but I make 5 figures monthly blogging.
Another instance, here’s one of Ryan Robinson’s income reports for his blog:
In this month, he made over $35,000.
For YouTube, here’s an example from Katie Steckly, a YouTuber with over 100k subscribers:
She made over $2,500 in one month in 2020. This income is from Google Adsense ads (alone) on her videos.
On the other hand, some people make little to nothing on both platforms.
Which platform has a higher earning potential between a blog and YouTube channel?
Most times, your earning potential depends on the amount of work you put into the platform.
So, there’s no clear winner in this aspect.
Part #6. Customization – YouTube vs Blog
Very few blogs look alike, even if they use the same theme.
That’s because a self-hosted blog provides tools to design your blog according to your needs.
This means you pretty much determine your blog’s looks and its functionalities.
The first aspect of your blog you can determine is its looks.
Fortunately, there are many themes you can install for your blog, especially if you’re on WordPress.
Apart from the free themes, you’ll find paid versions for even better designs.
Beyond looks, you can use tools to improve your blog’s functionality.
Some elements you can have include:
- Lead capture forms:
Converting visitors to customers takes time. Therefore, a lead capture form can help you get their personal information for future contact.
- Contact forms:
This makes it easy for visitors to send various types of messages to you.
- Landing pages:
These pages help you to build nice looking pages easily on WordPress for your site and also create pages to promote offers and capture more leads for your business. Elementor is nice for this!
- Live chat:
When people have questions while browsing your blog, live chat makes it easy to get answers before leaving.
On your blog, you own the platform. As a result, you have the freedom to design it as you wish.
Without exaggerating, most YouTube channels look the same. Sure, you can have a unique profile picture, channel banner, and create playlists.
However, apart from that, there’s little customization you can do.
So, it may be challenging to stand out with your YouTube channel page branding. Unlike with blogs.
Along with this is the reality that you don’t own your channel completely. This means you can lose years of hard work if YouTube decides to shut your channel down due to a violation of its terms.
Which is more customizable between your blog and YouTube channel?
Your blog has more customization options compared to a YouTube channel. This is because you have far greater control over your blog design, customization and freedom to do whatever you desire.
Part #7. SEO – Blog vs YouTube
For both your blog posts and YouTube videos, one of the biggest traffic sources is online searches.
Since Google is the largest search engine and YouTube the second largest, there’s an ample opportunity to get traffic from searches.
That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for both platforms.
For your blog, some SEO tactics you can employ include:
- Optimizing your content:
This involves adding your target keywords to parts of your blog posts, such as the URL, headline, subheadings, and other parts that look natural.
Beyond that, you have to ensure your content meets the searcher’s intent for that keyword.
- Building backlinks:
When other websites link to your blog posts, it transfers more authority to your posts. Consequently, it gives it more ability to rank for your target keywords.
- Having a great blog design:
Bad user experience can chase visitors away from your blog. In turn, this can lead to lower rankings.
- Having a mobile-optimized blog:
Since about 60% of Google searches happen on mobile devices, having a poor mobile site can hurt your rankings.
SEO for YouTube videos is different even though there are similarities.
An advantage you get with YouTube videos is that they also appear among the results in Google searches.
Some tactics you can use for your videos include:
- Keyword optimization:
You can feature your keyword in your video title and description. Another point to keep in mind is to use compelling titles and thumbnails.
- Creating great videos:
If your videos help solve viewers’ problems, you’ll increase your chances of showing up in other viewers’ searches.
Having catchy video thumbnails:
When a potential viewer of your video is scrolling through their feed, they will see the thumbnail. Your thumbnails to make viewers click on them and watch what’s inside.
The goal with this tip is to design the most eye catching thumbnail possible that still accurately represents your content.
Which platform has more difficult SEO between blog posts and YouTube videos?
Overall, optimizing a blog post for a target keyword is more difficult than optimizing a YouTube video.
Thus, it’s more difficult to rank your blog post in searches.
Factors to Consider Before Picking a Blog or YouTube Channel
Having seen the comparisons, you can see where blogging beats YouTube and vice versa.
But if you have to go for one right now, you need to consider some factors.
#1. Your audience preferences
I often see people who think more about what they want when deciding to start a blog or YouTube channel.
Meanwhile, satisfying your audience plays a bigger role in your success.
Before publishing on any platform, you need to create a buyer persona. In this document, you’ll have details about your ideal customer.
Here, you should indicate their favorite marketing channels. Do they prefer blog posts to YouTube videos or vice versa?
If your audience has a strong preference, you should start on that platform first.
#2. Your strengths and skills
While your audience preferences are essential, you have to consider your strengths and skills too.
Are you an introvert who reads a lot and prefers to express yourself with written content? In that case, you may be better off starting a blog.
What if you prefer to talk and be in front of the camera? Then you should start a YouTube channel.
The reason for this is that if you’re creating content in a format you love, you’re likely to satisfy your audience.
#3. Competition in your niche
No matter how new your niche maybe, some people already produce content for their audience. Some already run blogs while others run YouTube channels.
Which one has a high level of competition?
To gain traction fast, you may need to explore a platform with lower competition.
For example, if you want to produce content about marketing, you’ll face much tougher competition starting a blog than a YouTube channel.
That’s because more marketers are experts at running and promoting a blog compared to a YouTube channel.
#4. Your monetization strategy
Let’s say you want to make money through affiliate marketing, a blog will give you more ability to promote relevant products in your blog posts.
You can also have a dedicated page for your favorite tools or products.
Furthermore, if you want to run ads, a blog provides more options in terms of ad networks.
On YouTube, you only have Google Adsense and need to acquire 1,000 subscribers before you can advertise.
However, if you want to promote your product or another brand’s, YouTube videos can easily show the product’s capabilities.
#5. Your technical proficiency
Even if you hire freelancers to set up your blog, you still need more technical proficiency to run a blog compared to a YouTube channel.
On a blog, you have to upload posts, upload images, enter image alt texts, enter meta descriptions, and more.
In some cases, you may need to download and install plugins for added functionalities.
You must be able to learn and execute these tasks to run a blog successfully.
Blogging vs YouTube frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is blogging better than YouTube?
There’s no straight answer to that. It depends on your preference, audience, and content goals.
Should I start a YouTube channel or blog?
The answer to that depends on many factors, such as your skills, audience, budget, and more. You can read through this post to get more details.
Personally, I’d choose blogging over YouTube because I’m more comfortable writing and hidden at the back of the camera than showing my face out there.
So again, it all depends on what you’re comfortable with.
Do you make more money on YouTube or blogging?
The amount of money you make on YouTube or blogging depends on your audience size, advertising channels, content promotion strategies, and more.
So, you can make more money on blogging than on YouTube and vice versa.
YouTube Channel or Blogging – Which is best for affiliate marketing?
Although both YouTube and blogging are good for affiliate marketing, a blog offers you more opportunities to earn through affiliate marketing.
The limitations of owning a blog are endless, because it can be used to build a global audience over time, get real customers and generate more revenue.
You insert your links into posts and readers can click directly to buy from your affiliate link.
While on YouTube, readers would have to scroll on check down the video description, then click on your link to buy – which brings about friction.
And we all know the goal of YouTube (as a platform) is to keep people watching more videos on the platform.
Related affiliate marketing contents:
- Best email marketing service for affiliate marketing
- Top web hosting for affiliate marketers
- Complete list of affiliate marketing tools
Can I run a YouTube channel and a blog at the same time?
Of course, you can. Even if you start out with one of the two, you should plan to create content for both YouTube and a blog in the long run.
But I’d recommend you stick to one when starting out.
Considering the popularity of blogging and YouTube as content platforms, you need to perform research before settling on one option.
In the end, Blogging and Youtube are very different platforms with their own unique strengths.
Blogs take more time to produce content but allow for a lot of flexibility in content length while YouTube videos tend to be short videos that can go over complicated topics quickly.
For someone who needs higher quality or has limited mobility Blogging is probably going to win out just because it’s easier than video production but if you’re looking for broader exposure as soon as possible then Youtube might be the better option.
Ultimately what platform you choose depends on your personal preference and goals so make sure you think about them before deciding which direction to pursue.