Should you start a blog or a YouTube channel if you want to earn some income online—or grow your existing business? Enter today’s guide: Blog vs YouTube. Check out my ultimate guide on how to start a vlog (video blog) too.
It’s not necessarily an easy question to answer. Both have different advantages—and different challenges.
YouTube channels and blogs are both fantastic forms of content marketing that can help you dramatically grow your online business. But some businesses (and some audiences) will be more suited to blogs vs YouTube – and vice versa.
You could sit on the fence and opt to start both a blog and a YouTube channel at the same time. But that arguably makes it twice as hard to gain any traction. Even if you want to eventually have a blog and YouTube channel, you really need to pick one of those to start off with.
So where should you begin? How can you figure out what’s going to work for you—so you don’t waste a lot of time or financial resources going down the wrong path?
Should You Start a Blog or a YouTube Channel? Quick Answer:
The best way to decide whether you should start a blog or a YouTube channel, is to ask yourself how you most enjoy creating content. If you love writing more than speaking into a camera, then blogging will be a better choice. On the other hand, if it feels easier (or more fun) to just turn on a camera and talk about the topics in your favorite niche, starting a YouTube channel may be your best move. With hundreds of millions of daily active users on both Google & YouTube, you’ll find your audience (and they’ll find you) whether you start a blog or a YouTube channel.
Now, let’s dive into our guide about choosing to start a blog vs start a YouTube channel (or, if you prefer, “blog vs vlog”) this year.
Blog vs YouTube: Should You Start a Blog or YouTube Channel in 2023?
- What’s the Difference Between a Blog and YouTube Channel?
- Six Great Reasons to Start a Blog vs YouTube Channel
- Six Equally Smart Reasons to Start a YouTube Channel vs Blog
- Blog vs YouTube Channel: Which is Better for Achieving Your Goals?
- Should You Start a Blog and a YouTube Channel at the Same Time?
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Ready to Start Your Blog?
Check out my ultimate guide: How to Start a Blog (on the Side) Today.
Before we dig into the benefits of both blogs and YouTube channels, let’s take a look at how (and why) they’re different.
The biggest difference between a blog and a YouTube channel, is that blogs are primarily written–though they may have videos embedded into them. YouTube videos are, obviously, videos, though you could potentially have a spoken soundtrack over a still image, though that is less engaging to YouTube viewers. Some businesses run both a blog and a YouTube channel.
A blog is a website that has regular new blog posts (written content). These will often be informational articles, but could also involve news stories, or even something more creative like flash fiction.
Many blogs are designed to support or grow a business, though some are more like personal diaries or journals that might make little or no money for their creators. To start a blog, you’ll need a domain name and a web hosting account.
A YouTube channel (or vlog aka video blog) is like having your own on-demand TV show. You’re not streaming live like a regular TV channel: instead, you’re dropping new videos (or you could think of them as “episodes”) on a daily or weekly basis.
Some of your viewers might find one video, watch it, and get what they need. Others will subscribe to your channel, watching your videos as they come out. And some will come and binge on your backlist of videos.
Now, let’s take some more nuance to the question—should you start a blog or a YouTube channel? Which is going to serve you and your business best?
That’s what we’re going to take a look at now, highlighting the key reasons why you might go with each one when evaluating the question of blogging vs YouTube channels.
Thinking of starting a blog vs vlog? Here are 6 great reasons why blogging might suit you (more than vlogging):
1. You Want to Look Professional On a Tight Budget
Setting up a good-looking blog doesn’t cost much: there are lots of great quality WordPress themes available that won’t set you back more than $100.
Once you’ve bought your WordPress theme, and maybe invested in a logo, you can keep writing posts with very few ongoing blog costs. They’ll still look just as great.
With a YouTube video channel, you’ll need to invest in quite a bit of equipment—a camera, mic, and potentially backdrop or even sets and props. It’s more expensive to start a YouTube channel of the same content quality level as you can achieve for far cheaper with a blog.
2. You Enjoy Writing
If you love writing, it makes a lot of sense to start a blog. You’ll hopefully find it easy (and fun) to create content there.
While writing blog posts will often include some graphic elements, like photos or illustrations, the bulk of your time is going to be spent working with words.
With YouTube videos, you might well write a script, but most of your video creation time will go on recording and editing.
3. You Feel Very Self-Conscious on Video
Even if your niche is one that suits video well, if you hate being recorded, you might want to stick with blogging instead–at least to start with.
Some people just don’t feel comfortable on video. And if that’s you, don’t force yourself to repeatedly do something you hate.
Instead, see if blogging feels like a more comfortable and natural fit for you.
4. You’re Aiming to Improve Your Website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
One great way to get more search engine traffic to your website is to create more blog content. The more blog posts you have, the more chances you have to rank on Google–and bring in new visitors.
While YouTube videos can (and often do) rank higher on Google—they won’t always benefit your website by doing so. They’ll only help YouTube’s SEO.
Use My Free Keyword Research Tool
Try my free AI-Powered Keyword Tool to get dozens of research-backed ideas for keywords & topics to write about on your blog today.
5. You Want to Fully Own Your Own Platform
When you create a YouTube channel, your audience is on YouTube – not on your own website. And if something about YouTube changes, you might find you lose a lot of your audience. In a worst-case scenario, YouTube might shut down your channel altogether.
With a blog, you own your website. It’s your platform – no one else’s. Unless you’re doing something illegal and your site gets shut down by your web host, you don’t have to worry about suddenly losing your audience.
6. You Prefer to Be Anonymous or Keep a Low Profile
It’s easier to be anonymous on a blog than on YouTube. Even if you don’t show your face in your YouTube videos, people will hear your voice.
Blogging vs YouTube gives you the opportunity to write under a pen name, without anyone knowing who you really are. Even if you do want to use your name, you might well prefer the focus to be on your content – not on you personally.
Feel that a YouTube channel might be right for you? Perhaps some of these 6 reasons to start vlogging sound like they’re true to you:
1. You Want to Get Started Quickly
It only takes a few clicks to start a YouTube channel – especially if you already have a Google account. It’s a quick and easy process.
Compare that with starting a blog, where you need to choose a web host, come up with an available domain name, pick a theme you like, and more.
If you’re keen to get going right now, a YouTube channel is probably the best place to begin.
2. You Love Talking, Not Writing
Perhaps you could happily talk all day about your niche … but when it comes to putting fingers to keyboard, you struggle to come up with a coherent sentence.
If you find it easy and natural to talk to the camera, then YouTube is a perfect fit for you. Instead of scripting your videos, you’ll probably want to have a detailed outline that you can follow to hit all your main points – but with plenty of room for improvisation along the way.
3. You Enjoy Recording and Editing Videos
If you have a YouTube channel, you’re going to spend quite a bit of time recording – and probably even more time editing your videos.
Some people find this a tedious process: others really enjoy getting a video just right, and can happily spend hours perfecting it using your favorite editing software. If that’s you, then a YouTube channel is the ideal option for you.
4. Your Topic Suits Videos Well
Some niches are really well suited to video content. Anything with a practical, hands-on component is likely to go down well on YouTube channels.
That includes things like software tips, tricks, and troubleshooting, photography editing techniques, car maintenance, and pretty much anything you can show people.
If your topic is something where videos are quicker and easier to understand than written words, then you’ll want to be on YouTube.
5. Your Target Audience Wants Videos
What if your topic could be served equally well by videos or by written content – and you’re happy to create either?
Then it all comes down to your target audience. Which would suit them better? Some audiences would much rather read; others will always look for a video before trying to find a written guide.
In general, younger audiences will feel more comfortable with video than older audiences – but it’s important to know your exact target audience and their preferences.
6. You Want to Build an Instant Connection
Blog posts can feel quite far removed from their author. Unless there’s a lot of personal content or a very strong authorial voice, all you have is words on a screen – and not a lot of personality.
With a video, you can see and hear the video’s creator. You’ll form an instant impression of them and, assuming your first impression is broadly positive, you’ll start to feel a connection with that person from the very first video you watch.
If your business suits strong connections well – perhaps you sell a one-to-one service like consulting, for instance – then YouTube could be a great place to be.
As well as thinking about what suits your topic and your audience, you’ll want to consider whether a blog or a YouTube channel (vlog) is likely a better fit for your actual goals.
When you’re thinking about whether or not to start a blog vs YouTube channel in order to achieve your goals, use this framework to evaluate:
1. Whether a Blog or YouTube Channel is Better for Your Brand
A strong, personality-based brand is likely to work really well for a YouTube channel. A calm, informative brand focused around a company rather than an individual could be best for a blog.
2. How Much Capital You Can Invest Up Front
As we mentioned earlier, it can cost quite a bit to get up and running on YouTube. While you could record all your videos on your phone and quickly be a YouTuber overnight, you’re likely to want a high-quality mic and camera for more professional-looking videos.
If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to get started with a blog while you save up to invest in the equipment you need for your YouTube videos.
3. How “Polished” Your Target Audience Expects (and Wants) You To Be
Of course, costs might not matter too much if your target audience wants raw, personal content: recording on your phone might be perfect for that.
On the flip side, if your audience expects a highly professional approach, then blogging can be a good way to come across in a polished fashion even on a very low budget.
4. Whether SEO is a Key Focus for Your Business
A blog will definitely boost your SEO more than a YouTube channel – so if your main business goal is to rank better on Google, then a blog’s going to help you get there faster.
Ultimately, your business could do just fine whichever option you go far. But by choosing the easier and better option for you, your audience, and your business, you’ll make much faster progress.
Plenty of businesses run a blog and a YouTube channel: SmartWP, my own side business with my friend Andy, is a good example, with our SmartWP content and the SmartWP YouTube channel running alongside one another.
However, this isn’t a beginner-friendly approach. Instead of launching your blog and your YouTube channel simultaneously, launch one first, get into the habit of creating regular content, and build up an audience there.
Just establishing a blog or YouTube channel takes a lot of work. Make life easier for yourself by only tackling one of those, to begin with.
Ready to Experiment? Launch Your Blog or YouTube Channel Today
If you’ve been thinking about a blog and/or YouTube channel for a long time – it’s time to get started.
This week, I challenge you to begin the process of starting a blog or signing up for YouTube and creating your own channel.
Still not sure whether a YouTube channel or blog is right for you?
Spend a couple of weeks experimenting with both. Or leave me a comment here below and I’ll weigh in with my advice.
See what feels like a more natural fit between a blog or YouTube channel—then focus your time where you’re getting more views and interest. Put the other on hold for the time being, so you can commit to just one option over the next few weeks and months.
Ready to Start Your Blog?
Check out my ultimate guide: How to Start a Blog (on the Side) Today.