Before I started my business, I often asked myself whether I should start a blog or a YouTube channel. Ten years later, I'm doing both. But which one did I start with and why?
I started with my blog(s) and I'm glad I did. In terms of growth, scaleability, and monetization options, blog simply comes out on top. However…
I am now actively growing my YouTube channel and it's paying off. YouTube presents an awesome opportunity to reach a new audience. After all, it is the second-largest search engine after Google.
So it only makes sense to repurpose my written content into YouTube videos. That way I can hit both and grow my brand to even bigger heights.
That said, should you start a blog or a YouTube channel? Or both?
In this post, I'll walk you through all the major deciding factors of choosing between blogging and vlogging, including the benefits and disadvantages (if any) and what to consider before choosing one medium over the other.
Should You Start A Blog Or A YouTube Channel?
Before we dive into the big sections and the pros and cons of starting a blog vs. a YouTube channel, you should know that you can actually own your blog whereas you won't ever own your YouTube channel. I strongly recommend that you focus on building your brand on an uncensorable platform like a self-hosted blog, even if video is your chosen format for content creation.
In the long-run, consider which one you'd prefer to have – the content that you have full control over or the one where you're kinda at the mercy of?
No matter which one you choose, your success will ultimately be determined by how consistent you are in creating and publishing. Both platforms are long-term games worth playing.
Ultimately, you should decide which platform works best for you based on the five deciding factors listed below.
1. Your Goals
When it comes to choosing between starting a blog vs. a YouTube channel, you absolutely have to consider your overarching goals. Meaning, your long-term 1-3 year goals, because neither blogging nor YouTube are get-rich-quick schemes. They each require lots of time to grow.
In fact, it's during, or even after, this 1-3 year mark that most blogs or YouTube start to see real progress. That's why assessing your goals for wanting to start a blog or YouTube channel is essential for building a strong work ethic and foundation upon which you can grow your business or brand.
So lay out your goals for wanting to do this. What is your aim? To inspire, educate, entertain? Both platforms have two very different audiences, even though you can cross-promote your content on both.
If you want to inspire and educate, consider starting a blog since written articles are generally for providing helpful information. If you want to inspire and entertain, consider starting a YouTube channel since you can better show off your personality and engage with your audience.
2. How Much Each Costs To Start & Maintain
Let's talk money.
Starting a YouTube channel is FREE. There's really not much more to say than that. You will (hopefully) never have to pay to create on YouTube.
You will only need to pay for the upfront costs of investing in your tech – i.e. camera, mic, light ring, editing software, etc. Total, the costs shouldn't be enormous (unless you go all out) and the best part is that there's no monthly fee to keep track of. At the very least, you could start a YouTube channel with nothing but a refurbished Android phone which costs only about $200-$300.
Starting a blog isn't free, but it can be cheap as well. In fact, you can start a blog for as little as $20. The trouble is that there are ongoing costs associated with it, namely hosting, which will be a monthly recurring fee that will cost anywhere between $10 and $50 depending on the quality of hosting you get.
Some additional things you may need to (optional) pay for to start (and maintain) an active blog are:
- advanced plugins
- email marketing
And the costs potentially don't end there because as your blog grows, so do your fees. Hopefully you'll be making enough money to cover the costs by then.
Take web hosting, for example.
Sure, starting out with Bluehost at $3.95/month is cheap – for your first year and then it goes up to $9-15/month and that's still with the cheapest and slowest server plan.
Once you begin to amass lots of traffic on your blog, you should ideally upgrade to a better, faster, and more secure hosting provider which can cost between $30-60 or more per month!
Another prime example would be email marketing costs.
Many bloggers use an email list as a way to contact their followers on a regular basis and market products to them. Generally, such services start out free – as long as you have 1-2K subscribers or less. But what happens when you reach 5,000, 10,000, or even 20,000 subscribers? You will have to pay accordingly. Mailerlite and ConvertKit – two leading email marketing platforms – have pricing plans that go up to $50-100/ month for that kind of subscriber count.
So make sure to consider the costs of starting a blog vs. a YouTube channel. Blog fees can really pile up, especially in the first year in which you may not make back any of that money. YouTube on the other hand is great for growing a business with no monthly fees.
3. Time Investment
On top of associated costs, you should really consider time investment when deciding between starting a blog or a YouTube channel. As they say, time is money and in this case, it's true!
Wherever you spend your time, you will will results and growth in that area. That's why starting both a blog and a YouTube at the same time is often wasteful, because neither platform gets the attention and TLC that it deserves in order to have even the chance to come to fruition.
So, how much time does it take to create a blog post vs. a YouTube video?
If you love writing and are good at SEO and keyword research, then you can produce a 1,500-2,000 word blog post in around 1.5 to 2 hours. Sometimes it takes less, sometimes more.
But generally, the average blogger can type out 1,000 words in around an hour. It all depends on what you are writing about and whether or not it requires heavy research.
Bloggers also need to account for photography and the time required to produce images and edit, compress and upload them (or any additional media).
As for YouTube, the amount of time it takes to create and edit a varies grossly by the creator. Some will take 1-2 hours for filming and another 1-2 hours for editing, whereas others take 10-15 hours for editing one video.
It all depends on the nature and quality of content you wish to produce.
One of the reasons why I chose to start my blog first rather than a YouTube is because you can monetize a blog with affiliate marketing and ads. You can also do this with YouTube, but how much you can scale it with a blog is truly limitless.
Some of the top bloggers in the world (in various industries) are profiting over $100K per month from their blogs.
The small-medium size YouTube channels can earn $5-10K dollars in ad and affiliate revenue from their blogs but rarely would a channel earn $100K per month (unless you have millions of subscribers).
The reality is that with blogging, you can be an average Joe making six-figures from your blog. YouTube channels making that much are usually reserved for “famous” influencers and personalities.
5. Your Personality & Skills
When it comes to picking between blogging vs. YouTube, you should seriously take a hard look at yourself – your personality and skills. Do you love writing or hate it? Do you feel fearless being and speaking on camera or does it make you cringe and want to hide?
Your personality will not determine your success on either platform. Introverts make successful YouTube videos. But you should choose whichever one makes you most comfortable. At least to start. You could always gain the skills (i.e. public speaking or writing) later on if you want to start growing your brand and business on the other medium.
If you could really see yourself as a one-day verified YouTube personality, then you should focus on making YouTube videos first. Same if you really hate the thought of writing 2,000-word blog posts – and a lot of them.
But if writing puts you into that magical “flow state” and you have a lot to share from behind your screen, then maybe starting a blog over a YouTube channel would make more sense for you.
Again, you can always switch it up later. Just focus on one to start!
So, Should You Start A Blog Or YouTube?
I know how tough it can be to want to do everything all at once. But the reality is that, most often, we creators are a “one-man show.” It's kinda impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to juggle both a blog and a YouTube channel – especially if you are starting with both.
From personal experience, it was a full time job to be creating written content for my blog AND record videos for my YouTube channel simultaneously. I was doing only basic research and edits at that time (back in 2012), and it was still a lot of work.
Now that my work flow has much more details involved, don't think I'd be able to grow both at the same time in a serious way.
My advice is to pick one to grow fast, and the other to grow in the background. In other words, focus on one at a time, but at least set the foundation for the second one in the meantime so you can slowly gain some momentum.
My advice is to start with the blog, but that's what I know best, and I do not like the idea of a company owning the platform on which my business is built. I would not trust YouTube with my income long term, because they can pull the rug at any time, for any reason.
That being said, millions of people operate this way and earn good income. There are many successful YouTubers, and surprise demonetization is the exception, not the rule.
To not overwhelm yourself, just choose one creative outlet and focus on that one. Grow it. Monetize it. And then you can consider starting either a blog or a YouTube channel in addition to what you already have going. Bring your audience over from one to the other. Or attract an entirely new one!
Both blogging and YouTube are lucrative and rewarding projects to undertake. Pick the one that aligns with your purpose, personality, skillset, and financial goals, and take it one day at a time from there. Good luck!