If you’re looking for a way to make money online, you’ve probably wondered about blogging vs YouTube. While the popular opinion is that blogging is dead and vlogging (or YouTubing, if you prefer) is better, the truth is both have pros and cons.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It’s also one of the most popular websites on earth, with over 1 billion users every month. But does that mean it’s better than having your own blog – a piece of the internet you control?
Let’s dive down this rabbit hole together and figure out whether YouTube or blogging is better as a way for YOU to make money online.
What is Blogging vs. YouTube?
For the purposes of this article, when I refer to a blog I’ll be referring to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. This is because WordPress is the most popular blogging software in the world, and because it’s one of the few ways to actually own your website.
YouTube refers to being a content creator on YouTube – someone who regularly uploads content people want to watch and grows and makes money from their channel. Note that there are many ways to make money on YouTube without showing your face.
YouTube vs Blogging Breakdown: The Categories
Before we get into the details it’s worth mentioning that both blogging and YouTube are very popular online business models right now. And they’re trending rapidly higher. So if you haven’t started yet, the time is TODAY!
You might be wondering why I’m qualified to make this comparison. For the past year or longer, blogging and YouTube have been either directly or indirectly responsible for most of my income. Let me explain.
Right now I earn about half of my income through client work and half through affiliate marketing. I also recently monetized my YouTube channel, which is another small source of income.
90% of my affiliate sales come from either YouTube or my blog, and some of my clients find me through those sources as well. So realistically, blogging and YouTube are probably responsible for more like 80% of my income if you credit them for lead generation.
I started my blog about two and a half years ago, but I didn’t get serious about it until a little over a year ago. I started my YouTube channel around the same time, but I didn’t start focusing on it until about ten months ago.
Now let’s take an analytical (if slightly biased) look at blogging vs YouTube. I will score each of the following categories out of 10 to determine which is better to make money online, blogging or YouTube.
- Low initial investment
- Monetization opportunities
- Ability to build a list
- Sellable asset
- Level of competition
- Flexibility of niche choice
- Barrier to entry
- Ease of initial growth
- Ease of long term growth
- Ease of outsourcing
Alright, let’s get started with category number one.
Low initial investment
This is the biggest consideration for many beginners. If you’re just starting out and you’re on a tight budget, then it makes sense to look for ways that require as little initial investment as possible.
So how does blogging and YouTube compare in this regard? Well, starting a blog is quite inexpensive, but between paying for hosting, a domain, and the time required to learn to use the blog, blogging is definitely more costly.
YouTube on the other hand is completely free, and you can get started right away. Of course YouTube does require the ability to create and upload videos, but since smartphones are more common than computers that argument may no longer be valid.
YouTube is the clear winner for low initial investment. I gave it an eight out of ten, whereas blogging received seven out of ten.
Both blogging and YouTube offer multiple monetization options so let’s look at that next.
Blogging comes with a lot of different ways to make money; affiliate marketing, sponsored posts and ads, network advertising, joint ventures, eCommerce, and more. YouTube is a little more limited.
You can do affiliate marketing and most of the other things listed above with YouTube too, but it requires driving traffic off the platform, and additional assets such as a sales funnel or eCommerce store.
It’s possible to earn a decent amount via ad monetization on YouTube, but with a high traffic blog you can use more lucrative ad networks such as Ezoic and Mediavine.
It’s worth mentioning that YouTube does offer their partnered channels other opportunities for income such as super chats and paid subscriptions, but these are still a small benefit compared to all the options a blog presents.
Overall I think blogging wins this section significantly. I gave blogging a nine out of ten for monetization and YouTube a seven.
Ability to build a list
This is where blogging excels. It’s true that YouTube allows you to build an on-platform audience that will regularly view your content, but YouTube doesn’t allow you to directly capture leads like a blog does.
You can build an email list using YouTube, but as mentioned above you have to drive your audience off the platform to a separate asset such as a landing page. This is much less effective than popups on blog posts, and maintaining a landing page or sales funnel is easily as expensive (or more) than a blog.
Don’t underestimate the power of building an email list; many marketers are fond of saying the money is in the list, and even beginners are able to earn $1+ per month per contact with email marketing.
I gave this category an eight out of ten for blogging and seven for YouTube.
Blogging is better than YouTube in this regard because it’s easier to sell. While people can and do sell YouTube channels, there is a much bigger market for blogs.
The best option in my eyes is websites that are monetized through affiliate links or eCommerce, because sites like these retain their value over time and you can sell them easily when you want to.
In this category I gave blogging a nine and YouTube an eight.
Let’s move on to the next category; level of competition.
Level of competition
This depends largely on the niche and how you choose to monetize. For example, if you monetize through affiliate marketing then blogging is considerably less competitive than YouTube.
However, if you want to make money via ads, YouTube is at least as competitive in most cases, especially since you can’t choose between different ad networks.
I scored this category a tie at eight points each.
Flexibility of niche choice
Blogging is more flexible than YouTube in this regard, because you can create a blog in (almost) any niche. With YouTube you must stay in line with YouTube’s policies, which can be limiting for some creators.
On the other hand, if you enjoy creating videos (or voice recordings) and want to build an audience in that way, this may be irrelevant. I gave this category an eight for blogging and seven for YouTube.
Barrier to entry
The barrier to entry is much lower for YouTube than it is for blogging.
To get started with a blog you need hosting and a domain, content creation tools, and time to work on your website. You can handle all of these things yourself or outsource them if you don’t want to do everything yourself. Either way, it’s going to cost some time or money.
With YouTube you just need a device with video camera access such as a smartphone or laptop. In fact, most adults already own everything they need to start a YouTube channel.
Here I scored YouTube a 9, and blogging got a 7.
Ease of initial growth
This is where YouTube surges ahead. It’s much easier to grow a channel on YouTube than it is to grow a blog. This is because YouTube is both a search engine and a content distribution network.
This means that YouTube will actually show your content to people who might be interested in it. With a blog, the only way to get that kind of advertising is to pay for it. I gave YouTube an 8 here and blogging another 7.
Ease of long term growth
The long term is where the playing field levels out a bit.
If you want to make money from blogging, you’ll need to keep producing content for your audience. This is not a particularly difficult task in most cases, but it does require work and dedication.
While the work required to run a blog does increase over time, so do the monetization opportunities. As you get more traffic you can upgrade to better advertising networks and get better deals from your affiliate partners.
With YouTube on the other hand, upgrading your recording setup can be expensive and you can’t monetize with ads from any network other than Google Adsense.
I scored blogging a 7 here and gave YouTube a 6.
Ease of outsourcing
With blogging you can hire staff easily if you have a big enough audience. You can also outsource writing, but the bigger your website gets the more expensive this option becomes.
Both of these options are much harder with YouTube, especially if your videos typically feature your face and/or voice. If your personal brand is part of your YouTube channel, there are parts of it you’ll never be able to fully outsource.
With blogging on the other hand, you can hire a ghostwriter to mimic your writing style and a virtual assistant to publish posts for you.
Here I gave blogging an 8 and YouTube a 7.
Overall final score (out of 100)
I’m sorry if the math is wrong. Math is hard.
Conclusion: Blogging vs. YouTube… Which is Best For Beginners to Make Money Online?
Which is REALLY best for beginners to earn online? The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for in your online business venture.
If you want to get going quickly, YouTube may be the best choice because it doesn’t require as much initial setup and comes with a built in audience.
But blogging tends to create a more versatile, more liquid digital asset, and gives you more control over your own destiny.
To me, the best answer is to do both. That’s why I create content regularly on both my blog and my YouTube channel.
However, if you’re just starting out, it’s best to pick one to start with. That’s why I wrote this guide – I hope you found it helpful!
By the way, if you’re looking for coaching for your YouTube channel or search engine optimization tutoring for blogging, feel free to contact me.
That’s all for now! Take care, and take action.