blogging vs youtube

Do you want to build a lucrative online presence for yourself, but aren’t sure where to begin?

Let’s explore two popular ways to make money online: blogging vs YouTube. I’ll help you decide which one would suit you best, plus give some tips on how to get started.

I’ve been running profitable blogs for two years now. Along the way, I also started a small YouTube channel, which started monetizing in August 2022.

In a nutshell, the choice often comes down to comfort. If you’re more comfortable behind-the-scenes and enjoy writing, then you should choose blogging. (Here’s my guide on how to start a blog in 7 easy steps).

If you don’t enjoy writing but you’re happy on camera, YouTube could be the best fit.

With a background in journalism and content writing, I’m naturally more biased towards blogging compared to YouTube. I’m not totally comfortable on camera, although this has become easier with practice.

What’s more, there are useful ways to combine both a blog AND a YouTube channel, so you can maximize your reach across platforms.

Blogging vs YouTube: 9 Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Perfect Fit

#1. Being on Camera

This is a key concern when weighing up blogging vs YouTube. Some people just can’t stand being on camera. Some can overcome it, while others can’t.

I used to be one of those camera-shy people. I didn’t like seeing myself on video or hearing my own voice played back. But, I was determined to start a YouTube channel. I saw it as a personal challenge.

To overcome my fears of being on camera, I had to desensitize myself. I did this by filming lots of selfie videos on my phone and forcing myself to watch them.

Eventually, I was brave enough to publish my first YouTube video. The process got easier from then on.

But I have to be honest, I’m still not comfortable in front of the camera. It doesn’t feel natural, and I can’t totally relax. My on-camera personality feels rather stilted and not true to life.

Although I’ve managed to start my YouTube channel, it hasn’t flourished in the same way as my blogs. Making each video feels like a strain. Also, editing the videos takes a lot of time and energy.

If you’re the same as me, then I recommend starting with blogging instead of YouTube.

#2. Your Environment

Consider your working environment when deciding between blogging and YouTube. Making videos requires good sound and picture quality.

If your videos don’t have this, you’ll quickly get people complaining in the comments section. So if you live and work in a noisy environment, you might struggle to produce videos with sufficient sound quality.

Also, if you don’t have a room with good lighting, you’ll either have to invest in a lighting kit or find somewhere else to record your videos.

In contrast, blogging simply requires a place where you can type on your laptop. You could do this from your kitchen table, your sofa, or even your bed.

The barrier to entry in terms of environment is lower for blogging compared to YouTube.

#3. Your Existing Skillset

The skills involved in blogging vs YouTube are quite distinct.

For blogging, you’ll need the following:

  • Be a decent writer. Ok, you can train freelance writers to create your blog. You could also use an AI writing tool such as Jasper AI. But for best results, you should write your first few posts manually by yourself.
  • Good organizational skills. For your blog to succeed, you’ll need to write a lot of content on a regular basis.
  • Basic tech skills to launch your blog, do keyword research, publish new content, edit your text and add images, and promote your content on social channels.
  • Understanding of (or willingness to learn) SEO. Getting your blog seen on Google is essential for making money from it. A blog that’s invisible on Google is useless.
  • LOTS of patience. Success with blogging doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll normally need to publish content for at least six months before you start seeing results.

For YouTube, here are the key skills:

  • Speaking clearly and with confidence to the camera
  • Scripting your videos in a logical way that captures the audience and keeps them watching
  • Basic video editing (you can start with using iMovie on Mac)
  • Basic SEO for YouTube (yep, YouTube is a search engine too)
  • Creating compelling thumbnails to attract people to click your videos

#4. Costs of Blogging vs YouTube

Another important factor in blogging vs YouTube is how much it costs to get started.

The good news is, you can start both of them on a low budget.

For YouTube, the most important tool is a smartphone with a good quality camera for making videos. For many people, that’s enough to launch a YouTube channel.

If you have a MacBook, you can access iMovie for free to do your video editing.

I soon decided to buy a lapel microphone and a tripod to improve the quality of my videos. You can pick these up inexpensively on Amazon.

To grow a YouTube channel, your main expenses will revolve around equipment and software for shooting and editing better videos.

For blogging, you can get started with less than $100. Most important at the beginning are :

  1. Domain name. Try to get yourname.com, if you can. Typically around $15 for the year.
  2. Web hosting. You can start with a a cheap plan from Bluehost or SiteGround, then upgrade to a dedicated WordPress host as your blog grows (I highly recommend WPX). If you have a bit of budget, start with WPX.
  3. WordPress self-hosted version (free!)
  4. A good WordPress theme (I use Kadence WP and highly recommend it. You can get started with the free version)

Your main expenses when growing your blog will revolve around subscriptions to various blogging tool. My biggest single monthly expense at the moment is around $100 for a subscription to the SEO tool, Ahrefs.

But you can get started without any of that. Just use the four things listed above.

#5. Content Ownership

In these days of frequent and unpredictable algorithm changes, having full ownership of your content is a vital concern if you’re making a living online.

Any social media platform (including YouTube) has the right to take down your content at any time, restrict it from the algorithm, or even ban you from the platform altogether.

If you’re unlucky enough for this to happen, you could lose your entire business overnight.

Ownership of your content is a massive difference consideration for blogging vs YouTube. If you publish your content on a self hosted blogging platform, such as WordPress, then you have full control of that content.

You won’t be at the mercy of the algorithms.

With a self-hosted blog, your business and income are safe from random algorithmic changes, takedowns, or banning. That’s a massive plus point for peace of mind.

Keep in mind, this only applies to self hosted blogs. If you run your blog on a platform like Medium, or WordPress dot com, then you don’t have full ownership of your content.

If you care about having full control of your content, you should choose blogging over YouTube.

#6. Monetization Potential

We’re all in this game to make money. That’s why you should consider monetization potential when evaluating blogging vs YouTube.

You’ve probably heard about YouTube influencers making millions from their channels. It’s less common to hear these success stories about bloggers, but rest assured, many of them exist.

Making millions from a YouTube channel requires a massive amount of work. You also have to produce sufficiently engaging videos to keep viewers hooked to the very end.

Not everyone has this skill (me included). That’s why I believe a blog is a better long-term vehicle for monetization potential – especially for those of us who don’t want to become video influencers.

Finally, YouTube requires you to meet a certain threshold before enabling monetization (with ads) on your channel.

You’ll need at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time before you can monetize. What’s more, Google Ads on YouTube pay badly. You’ll need a huge amount of traffic to make it worthwhile.

In contrast, blogging doesn’t have any restrictions. You can run ads on your blog from the very first day, using either Google AdSense or Ezoic (check out my Ezoic review).

#7. Monetization Strategies

We’ve talked about monetization potential.

Now let’s take a look at individual monetization strategies for blogs vs YouTube.

How to monetize a blog:

  • Display ads (e.g. Ezoic)
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Referral partnerships with other businesses
  • Sponsorships
  • Selling digital products
  • Selling physical products (ecommerce)
  • Selling consulting or coaching services
  • Flipping your blog

How to monetize YouTube:

  • Ads in your videos (Google Adsense)
  • Sponsorships (brands pay to be mentioned in your video)
  • Affiliate marketing (you’d add affiliate links in the video description)
  • Referral partnerships with other businesses (you’d link out to them from the description)
  • Selling digital or physical products (you’d use videos to drive traffic to a website link in the description)
  • Selling consulting or coaching services (as above)

Direct monetization of YouTube typically happens through affiliates, ads, or sponsorships. The latter two will only make you decent money if you have a lot of viewers. For a new YouTube channel, affiliate marketing is the best place to begin.

Other YouTube monetization strategies, such as selling digital products or coaching services, rely on linking out to a separate website from the video description section. Hence, you might as well have a blog, because you’ll need a separate website anyway.

Both Google Search and YouTube are their own search engines. Hence, you’ll need good SEO knowledge to get your content seen on either one.

For more, check out my guide on how to make money with SEO

#8. The Competition

Understanding your competition is critical in building either a blog or a YouTube channel.

You have to know who else is out there in your niche. Ask questions such as:

  • What sort of content do they produce?
  • What key topics do they cover?
  • Which of their content pieces are the most successful? Why?
  • What monetization strategies do they use?
  • What’s their overall approach to blogging/YouTube?
  • Where do you fit into the landscape of your niche?
  • How could you improve upon what competitors are offering?

Don’t be afraid of the competition. Use them as a guideline to help you find your place within the niche.

Keep in mind that a lack of competition in your niche isn’t necessarily a good thing. It might mean the niche isn’t worth entering. Perhaps it lacks sufficient search volume or good monetization potential.

On the other hand, healthy competition is a strong sign that you’ve chosen a lucrative niche. Just remember to study the nuances (e.g. doing keyword research) to figure out if you can gain traction in the niche as a newbie.

#9. Building Trust

People tend to gravitate towards those they trust. Nowhere is this more true than in the online world.

It’s easy for anyone to create a blog (perhaps using a false name or anonymously) and rank it high on Google.

Because the barrier to entry for blogging is quite low (compared to YouTube) it’s an easier way in for scammers and spammers (now might be a good time to read my post on the pros and cons of blogging).

This strategy was used effectively in the 2016 US election, when Macedonian teenagers made millions of dollars from fake news websites targeting divisive US politics.

In terms of building trust, YouTube has a major advantage over blogging. When people can see your face and hear your voice, it’s natural that they feel a greater level of trust.

I’ve even had people contact me after watching my YouTube videos to tell me exactly that. Making YouTube videos has helped me attract really high-value clients – probably to a greater extent than my blogs.

Combining Blogging With YouTube

Still can’t decide between blogging and YouTube?

Well the great news is – you can do both. And you can make them work together in a complimentary way, without getting too overwhelmed.

Here’s what I do. I like to write my blog post first, so it has chance to start ranking in Google search.

Once it’s published, I use the key points from the text to create a video script for a YouTube video – T typically a shorter version of what I cover in the published blog post.

I use the script to create the video, publish it on YouTube, then embed it into the corresponding blog post. This works well for several reasons: it allows people who find the blog post via Google to have the option to watch it on video (many people prefer video).

It also helps improve my SEO by increasing the time users spend on the page. Google uses time on page as a metric to evaluate page quality and then decide which pages to rank highest.

In an ideal world, I would follow this strategy and produce a matching YouTube video for every blog post. But, as I already mentioned, YouTube isn’t my preferred channel. I find the filming and editing process cumbersome and challenging.

Final Thoughts

Blogging and YouTube are two of the 21st-century’s best ways to build an audience and make money online. But there’s a lot to consider when choosing between the two.

In this article we looked at 9 key factors when choosing from blogging vs YouTube.

Your level of comfort on camera is important, along with your environment. You should also consider the monetization potential for either channel, along with the nature of the competition in your niche.

For some people, combining a blog with a YouTube channel is a good way to reap the benefits of both. But unless you have a well planned content repurposing strategy, this can involve a great deal of work.

Personally, I’d recommend starting with a simple blog, as blogging has more potential for diverse monetization strategies when compared to YouTube.

Of course, success with both blogging and YouTube requires good SEO strategy. Check out my guide for more ways to make money with SEO.

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