blog vs youtube thumbnail hero image blog vs youtube

Should You Start a Blog vs. YouTube Channel in 2021 | Which is Better?

When I started creating content in 2019, I debated whether to focus on my blog or my YouTube channel for a long time. And while I do feel the two platforms complement one another, I think YouTube offers the opportunity for faster growth.

If you write an excellent blog post for a competitive term, you’re extremely unlikely to hit the #1 position in the SERP. New bloggers face an uphill climb when acquiring the links and domain authority needed to compete for terms that get traffic. Meanwhile, an excellent YouTube video can get outrageous amounts of Google Discover traffic (and rise to the top of the video SERPs much more quickly).

Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of blogging vs. YouTube for attracting an audience!

It Takes an Extremely Long Time For Blog Posts To Rank

If you publish the world’s greatest blog post, nothing will happen.

You’ll wait… And wait… And wait…

First Blog Post Published To Traffic

My first blog post ultimately ranked reasonably well in Google. BUT, that same post got almost zero impressions for over a year! Thirteen months is a ridiculous amount of time to wait for any success whatsoever!

As you establish more domain authority in Google, your posts should start ranking faster than that. That said, YouTube won’t take a year to notice your content exists. Your videos will get surfaced significantly faster than that if you’re consistently pumping out good content.

Blogs Have Cheaper Startup Costs

How can blogs cost less when YouTube is free?

That’s spoken like a person who never bought YouTube cameras, YouTube audio equipment, video editing computers, backdrops, or video editing software before. YouTube can be an expensive beast. Heck, if you tried to start a YouTube channel with an iPhone, iPhones aren’t cheap either!

Youtube Vs. Blog Costs

Meanwhile, WordPress hosting can be quite cheap. You could easily run multiple blogs for under $200 per year. It’d be hard to even buy an iPhone for that.

YouTube Videos Have a Higher Ceiling (For Views)

As of this post, I’ve written 130 blog posts over 2.5 years. The most successful post I’ve had to date gets about 4,000 pageviews a month. And while that’s certainly not the best you can do in the blogging world, you’re rarely going to create posts that top 4,000 monthly pageviews.

Meanwhile, I’ve created several YouTube videos that have gotten hundreds or even thousands of views per DAY. And I’m not even that great at making videos.

YouTube Requires More Skills

Blogging is not easy. Writing, web development, and SEO is hard! Sticking to a consistent blogging schedule is a challenge. I’m not trying to discount how difficult blogging is.

That said, editing videos, learning how cameras work, how audio gear works, writing a script, storytelling, being good on camera, etc. These are challenging skills to master. And you have to be decent at all of them to put out videos people will love to watch.

Youtube Skills

Some people are so compelling that they’ll have massive success on YouTube with lazily produced cell phone videos. But, that’s probably not you. To succeed on the platform, you’re going to have to challenge yourself and pick up some hard skills.

A Successful Blog is More Passive

The nice thing about blogs is that Google doesn’t care at all if you don’t post for several months or even several years. Meanwhile, the common wisdom on YouTube is that you need consistent content to succeed (although that’s debatable).

With a blog, your content will slowly degrade in value after year 3-ish. But, there are plenty of examples of blog posts that are still relevant 10+ years after the publish date. You certainly don’t need weekly content, and Google admits that they don’t care about your publishing schedule.

So blogging provides a better work-life balance once you are successful. You can take a vacation and remain reasonably confident your business won’t die.

Blogs Convert Affiliate Links Significantly Better

For an affiliate sale to count, somebody has to click your link and purchase on the same machine in an agreed-upon time. Amazon only gives you 24 hours and 3% of sales, which is non-ideal.

people wait to shop on amazon

Unfortunately, with YouTube videos, your viewers have to find the link in the description, click it, and complete the purchase. If they were watching your video on a mobile device or Apple TV, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get credit for the sale.

Meanwhile, people reading blogs are easily able to both click the link and convert. There’s still going to be a lot of loss on affiliate links, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it is with YouTube videos.

YouTube Converts Product Sales Better

That logic gets turned on its head if you’re selling your own product or don’t need to get somebody to click a link to make a sale. The common wisdom among Internet marketers is that images convert 10x better than text, and video converts 10x better than images. People trust videos more because they feel like they’re getting a convincing demo or testimonial.

Ads Pay Better On Your Blog

You should be able to get a $10-$30 RPM (revenue per 1,000 impressions) on your blog with a premium ad network (like Mediavine).

However, on YouTube you’d be lucky to see a $10 RPM from their ad program. It’s not completely unheard of if you chose a high-value niche. But, that’s certainly higher than the average. Meaning ads are likely to pay 3-5x per visitor when compared to YouTube traffic.

Conclusion: Start a YouTube Channel Over a Blog

I know it’s ironic telling you to focus on a YouTube channel from my blog. Particularly when I focused on my blog over the YouTube channel when I first got started. And I don’t even regret owning this blog, it’s been a reasonably successful endeavor.

That said, I feel like you can get more traffic, faster, with YouTube. Plus you’ll convert product sales better and obtain a more valuable skillset that you can market. And a high subscriber count will make you appear more authoritative when you finally do get around to starting your blog!

If you’re deciding between the two, focus on YouTube.

Shaun Poore worked as a professional software developer for 15 years before transitioning into content creation and digital product businesses. Shaun's currently focused on providing as many people as possible with actionable advice and tools they can use to succeed online, without the fluff or BS that too often plagues this industry.