Blogging vs creating and building a YouTube channel. I have a unique perspective here as I do both and have had success with both. Full disclosure my online business is based around blogging, YouTube, email marketing and online courses. So I personally think you should do both.
Google is the biggest search engine in the world and YouTube is the second biggest. With a high quality blog and a popular YouTube channel working in tandem, you’ll create over time two large assets that can drive traffic and sales organically.
But I know blogging and making YouTube videos is not for everyone so let’s break this comparison down so you can answer the question: Should I start a blog or should I start a YouTube channel?
YouTube vs Blog – The Pros and Cons of Each
There are many things to consider when looking at starting a YouTube channel or a blog. Ease of use, audience, how much money there is to be made and the day to day work of doing each. In this guide, we’re going to look at the following:
- Costs of getting started.
- Learning curve and ease of use.
- Audience building potential.
- Income potential of both.
- Day to day work involved.
Costs of getting started
Both starting a YouTube channel (perhaps you want to vlog) and a blog have quite a few costs associated with them. For blogging, you’re going to need a domain name, a web host, a WordPress theme to design your website with and hours of learning how to properly design a website and create content.
For vlogging and YouTube, it depends on your recording style and the types of videos you want to make. For most creators you’ll need a camera for YouTube as well as a microphone. Then you’ll need to get decent video editing software and spend hours making vlogs and learning how to edit.
Creating a blog has three costs:
- Web hosting
- Domain name
- Themes, plugins, additional software
For a blog, the costs are actually quite low to get started. You can get shared hosting account at Bluehost for $5.45 a month for 3 years. Hosting is not free and is an expense anyone with a website has to pay. On this account you can install WordPress for free as your content management system.
You’ll also need a domain name which is the web address of your blog. Domains cost under $10 a year at Namecheap. Domain names are low cost and are required if you want to create a website and blog. While you can get a domain name at a web host, I prefer a domain registrar for lower prices.
For more, checkout my best domain name registrars guide to find out what the best place is to get your domain names.
Themes, plugins, additional software
There are plenty of great free themes and free plugins. But you may want to buy a premium theme as well as some premium plugins depending on the type of blog you’re creating. So this cost could be as little at $50 a year, to free to hundreds of dollars depending on what your needs are.
Total startup costs: $75
Here are tutorials for how to create a website, register a domain name and a Bluehost review. Starting a blog is easy, but creating content and being consistent is the hard part.
YouTube channel costs
Creating a YouTube channel has four main costs:
- Quality video editor
- Modern laptop
You can create some impressive vlogs with nothing more than an action camera like the GoPro or the Sony X3000 or even an iPhone. But for educational tutorials or cinematic content you’ll need a good camera that can shoot in 4k.
I recommend anyone wanting to buy a good camera to look for something that can shoot in 4k, has some sort of stabilization built in, has the ability to record good audio with good preamps and has a nice selection of lenses.
I have a whole dedicated guide on the best cameras for YouTube. I would strongly suggest getting a Sony A7S, Canon 90D or a Canon R6 as these devices are not limited in any real way.
Audio is just as important as your video. While a vlogging camera like an iPhone or the Sony X3000 has acceptable audio built in, if you do buy a mirrorless camera you will need a good microphone for improved audio.
While a lot recommend the budget Rhode Video Micro, I suggest just getting the pro version. It’s much more expensive but the audio is vastly superior and the microphone just works. For more check out my best microphones for YouTube guide.
Quality video editor
Next you need a video editor. You’re in luck here as there are many good free options. If you’re on IOS you can use iMovie. If you use Linux then Blender is a great choice and for Windows users Davinchi Resolve is outstanding.
So for Mac users I suggest starting with iMovie and then upgrading to Final Cut Pro. For PC you’ll find Davinchi Resolve the be the most feature rich, a great alternative that I like also is Vegas Pro as it’s much easier to use but still quite powerful. For more, check out my best YouTube video editing software guide.
When I started making YouTube videos it was 2017, I was in Thailand and was using a laptop from 2015. I found it so frustrating to edit and render videos with. So I want to emphasis, if you don’t have a modern laptop you’ll need to upgrade that first before anything else.
Unlike blogging where you can use a tablet or any budget laptop. For rendering videos you really do need something with a modern processor, 16+ GB of ram or more, a dedicated graphics card and an SSD drive.
Anything less than this and it will be frustrating to edit video. Your machine will crash, you won’t be able to render 4k videos, editing on the timeline will be choppy and slow. A good, modern laptop is require for video work.
Total startup costs: $2000+ USD
Again, it depends on what camera you get. You can reduce costs by using an iPhone, but realistically you’ll want to spend about 1k all together on your camera, lens, microphone setup.
The laptop requirement really depends on the age of your machine. If your laptop is from a few years ago, it may be time to upgrade.
Both have a big learning curve while paradoxically looking easy. Sure, anyone can walk around and talk into a camera and anyone can type away on a laptop. But there is way more technical skill to both.
For blogging you have to understand how to find topics people are searching for and create great content on. You need to have an understanding as to what niche you should enter and how to tell if your blog topic idea will even work. Most new bloggers are just copycats of more popular websites or they create personal development blogs or dating advice blogs.
With blogging, you have to learn how to design a website as well as structure blog posts effectively. Then you have to know how to design images and how best to inter link your content. Last is to keep at it. Most people start a blog, write 5 blog posts and then give up.
For vlogging you must practice and be willing to embarrass yourself on camera. Unlike blogging where it’s a bit more anonymous, vlogging it’s you front and center for all to watch. Beginners simply don’t have the skill to structure a vlog properly with a compelling hook in the beginning, an interesting body and a conclusion.
Beginners are awkward on camera and just don’t know how to properly shoot clips. Add on top of all of this the complexity of editing and it’s a lot to learn.
Both are easy to start but will take a 1 year learning curve for a complete beginner to become competent.
Audience building potential
With YouTube you can become niche famous in a way that is not possible with a blog. On top of that, a lot of young people actually strive to be “YouTubers” now. With blogging, you can still become well known as a blogger but it’s not the same as it was in the past.
In the past it was possible to build a big following around a blog. Chris Guillebeau, Johnny Ward and Mark Weins are great examples of this. All started their respective travel blogs over 10 years ago and became famous in the blogosphere but have since faded in relevance except for Mark who transitioned to, you guessed it – YouTube.
In todays market, travel content has moved over more to YouTuber with travel vloggers building massive audiences. Mark Weins in particular is on record saying his YouTube channel with 1 million+ subscribers gets way more traffic and attention than his blog now.
In short, you can build a massive audience with both platforms. But YouTube is a better choice if you want to build and leverage a personal brand around a topic.
With a blog, the amount of money you make depends on your rankings within Google and how you’re monetizing your website. With a vlog, it depends also on your views and your overall rankings within YouTube.
Both a YouTube channel and a blog both can be monetized with ads, affiliate marketing and selling your own products. Ad revenue depends on your topic. If it’s something like dating or travel, ad rates are low. If it’s something tech or finance related then you can expect to earn more.
Blogs become more passive and sellable
Blogging and YouTube are both a grind in their own way in the beginning. Long term a good blog becomes a sellable asset that’s more hands off as your rankings become more steady and reliable. Also, people click links more on a website than they do on YouTube.
So affiliate marketing via a website is still an effective form of generating an income where people tend to stay on YouTube more. A good YouTube channel by contrast is amazing for building your personal brand which you can then leverage.
Once you have 100+ blog posts that are ranking well for their respective search terms, it’s simply a matter of keeping your content updated and maybe publishing a new post once a week, once every two weeks. A vlog however is more of a treadmill where you need to keep content coming out weekly in general.
Yes you can become YouTube famous and make an incredible amount from ad revenue but that is the exception. A good blog for most people will become a passive income asset that you can actually sell if done right. Maybe not a job replacing income, but enough to make a financial difference and enough that could allow you to be a remote worker/digital nomad in a less expensive country.
A YouTube channel and a vlog are not sellable, however if you build a personal brand that becomes incredibly lucrative when done right. Both models work well for advertising, affiliate marketing and selling products.
Day to day work of YouTube and Blogging
One major aspect that needs to be brought up is what the average day to day work is like. This is important because you need to be consistent long term with either in order to have an chance of success. So pick the one that you would enjoy doing.
For blogging you’re going to be spending a lot of time doing the quite work that matters in front of a laptop either in your home or at a coffee shop. You’ll need to work on your blog for 1-2 years and publish at least 70 posts before you can start making money. Blogs are a long term play and blog posts in general also take about 3 hours to write per post if you’re doing the writing yourself.
Last, blogs are great because you can start them in your spare time an work on them when you have time after work. If you don’t have time you can also outsource the work too in order to create content.
With a YouTube, you’re the main attraction and there really is now way to outsource content creation. That’s not to say you can’t outsource a YouTube channel, you can by hiring a voice over artist and creating an animated video or just paying someone to create a video for you.
But we’re talking about vlogging and the best vlogs are ones where you are telling some interesting story. For a casual vlog, most creators can make a vlog in 1-2 days.
This really comes down to the person. Are you an introvert who enjoys writing at coffee shops and managing techy stuff? Blogging is a good choice. Making YouTube videos are more ideal if you want to get content out fast and enjoy the process of shooting and editing.
YouTube vs Blogging conclusion
So that is it for this guide to vlogging and blogging base on our actual experience of doing both. In general, we suggest doing both simply because you can take advantage of both search engines for sustained, long term growth.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
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