Don't know whether to start a blog or a vlog? Thankfully, both options have made money for creators in the last year — and both are continuing to boom. But which is the better option?
According to Tubics, the number of YouTube channels in 2022 grew by 36% — that's more than 51 million channels. But how many of those channels are getting enough views to make a steady income?
As for blogging — last year alone, the number of bloggers in the U.S. increased by half a million, with WordPress reporting 77 million new comments posted to blogs every month. But does all that engagement translate into profit?
Let's jump right in.
Should You Start a Blog or YouTube Channel in 2023? The Factual Answer:
In the short term, YouTube may be the more lucrative option in 2023. However, blogs have the potential to grow over time. Here are some quick stats:
According to ZipRecruiter, the average amount earned as a YouTuber is $60,000 per year, while bloggers make an average of $45,000 per year.
Starting a YouTube channel takes only a few minutes, while a blog takes much longer to set up.
Filming and uploading a quick video can take minutes, whereas writing a blog can average a couple of hours.
HubSpot found that the majority of consumers (54%) prefer to see a video over newsletters, social media images, and blog posts.
Blogs often take time to generate a steady amount of money as you grow a library of content and a steady list of subscribers. Bloggers earn money by adding affiliate links and ads, sponsorships, and selling their own products or services. You can add these things to your blog right away, but until you have a decent following, you may not earn much.
You can potentially earn money more quickly with a YouTube channel because you have a built-in audience via YouTube’s platform. However, YouTube has requirements you'll need to meet before you can start earning ad money (more on that below). If you can capitalize on YouTube’s current trends for 2023, you might gain a following quicker and earn money faster.
“YouTube is going all in on Shorts, Google's answer to TikTok and IG Reels,” says A. Lee, a content video expert at a digital marketing agency.
“Shorts are designed to reach the widest audience, which, in turn, should theoretically net you some subscribers.”
While YouTube may be the more profitable platform, the real answer to blog vs. vlog has more to do with your personal strengths, interests, and talents.
5 Reasons to Start a Blog vs. a YouTube Channel
Have you always wanted to be a blogger? Here are five compelling reasons to start a blog instead of a YouTube channel in 2023:
You Love to Write and Have the Time to Do It
Even if you're an avid writer, be prepared — blogs take time to write. In fact, experts recommend writing blog posts with 1,760-2,400 words each. You'll need to research topics you want to discuss and make sure your writing is top-notch.
If you don't have the time to write or aren't a strong writer, you won't find yourself standing out from other bloggers. However, if you love to write and can do it quickly, this is an excellent platform to excel in. Think you can beat the competition? Consider why people read blogs in the first place:
The truth about YouTube: You have to love the camera to really succeed at the platform. If you're the type to shy away from selfies and don’t like the sound of your own recorded voice, then a blog might be the more natural fit for you.
Yes, there are plenty of YouTube creators who get around this by creating moving avatars and using computer-generated voices. However, showing your real face and/or using your real voice guarantees a more authentic experience for your viewers. If you aren't prepared to do this, you might want to stick to blogging.
Website SEO Matters to You
If you are hoping to boost SEO for your own website, then a blog will be your best tool. Popular YouTube channels only boost SEO for YouTube. With a blog, you own the platform. Remember, 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic. Take advantage of this by creating a blog within your niche.
You Don’t Have a Lot of Money to Invest Upfront
A blog shouldn’t cost much money to start up. You'll need to pay some money for web hosting and a domain name, but then, you can write your own copy without spending a dime. Many free blog templates have a polished quality that will give your blog a professional look without breaking the bank. On the other hand, vloggers must invest in high-end recording equipment and cameras to give their content that same level of professionalism.
You Are an Expert in Finance, Travel, or Home Decor (To Name a Few)
Got a great idea for a YouTube channel? Here are five reasons you should start a vlog instead of a blog in 2023:
You Want to Get Started Quickly
Creating a YouTube channel requires only a few steps, and your videos can be live in an instant. Filming and editing a short video can take far less time than writing a blog post. Plus, it takes much longer to establish a blog, whereas a YouTube video can go viral quickly. Bloggers don't report making considerable earnings until a year after launching. However, you will most likely get a quicker ROI with YouTube than with blogging.
You Enjoy Spending Time Recording and Editing Videos
If you are new to recording and editing videos, then the learning curve can be steep at first. You'll need to edit your content if you want to put out a polished, professional vlog. This can be second nature if you have a background or some education in video editing and recording. If not, don't worry — it doesn't take long to learn the basics. Any level of skill can help you create a polished product that stands out from the competition.
You Love the Camera
Some people are just cut out for the limelight. Maybe you love to act or have always dreamed of being on the big screen. A vlog could be the path to help you live out those dreams. You'll have a much greater chance of success if you create content where you show your face or use your real voice, which viewers prefer over blogging by a long shot.
You Are an Expert in Video Gaming, Love to Cook, or Enjoy Comedy
While it’s true that YouTube has channels on literally every topic known to man, some topics are more popular than others.
“There is more content than ever flooding YouTube,” says Lee. “Your best bet is to always stay true to yourself, make the content you want to see, and stay consistent. Everything else is up to the algorithm to get your content in front of the people who want it.”
You Want to Branch Out to Blogs Next
If you plan to take your content creation business to the next level and want to crossover between videos and blogs, then it’s a good idea to start with videos. “It's much easier and more efficient from my experience to adapt a video to a blog and not the other way around,” says Lee.
Blogging vs. YouTube: Which Is More Profitable in the Long Run?
A YouTube channel may be more profitable in the short term. However, remember that a blog will boost your website’s SEO, while a YouTube channel will gain subscribers — but will only benefit YouTube’s SEO. If your business model depends on SEO, then a blog might be a more profitable long-term solution.
How to Decide Which One to Start
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. As we’ve covered above, your ability to succeed as a blogger or a vlogger depends on a number of factors, including your comfort in front of a camera, experience with video editing programs, and skills as a writer — not to mention your area of expertise.
However, there is one important, practical question to ask yourself: Do you want to make money right away, or can you put in some time right now to make money in the long term?
Let's take a look at the possible earnings.
How Much Money Can You Make With Blogging?
Indeed reports that blogging income ranges from $26,000-$92,000/year. The range depends on how long you’ve been blogging, the number of people who read your blog, and what you write about.
Most bloggers report that it can take a year to earn a reliable income. Blogs take time to build a backlog of informative content, their email list and audience grow steadily, and it takes longer to establish a trusted voice in a given field. Bloggers may see a more immediate boost in earnings if they sell a product or develop a targeted strategy.
Here's a list of ways to make money with a blog in 2023:
The amount of money you can make on YouTube depends on your acceptance into the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), viewer count, and viewer engagement.
Let's start with YPP. Acceptance into this program is required to monetize a YouTube channel, and you can only be accepted if you meet several eligibility requirements:
Follow all YouTube monetization policies
Live in a place where YPP is available
Have more than 4,000 hours of watch time in the last year
Have over 1,000 subscribers
Have a linked Google AdSense account
Once you've been accepted into YPP, you can place ads in your videos and start earning money from AdSense. It has a standard payout rate of 68% for all types of content, so if your channel earns $100 in ad revenue, then you'll receive $68 total.
The amount of ad revenue you receive will be based on each video's number of views. Most advertisers pay an average of $0.18 per ad view, so for every 1,000 video views, you can earn about $18. That's a cost per 1,000 views (CPM) of $3 to $5.
To quickly estimate how much money your channel could theoretically earn, you can try using a tool like Social Blade's YouTube Money Calculator. There, you can either import a YouTube channel or manually enter the details yourself to see an estimated earnings range:
Even if you don't have the raw viewer count necessary to generate significant ad revenue, you can still make money with YouTube by becoming an influencer and creating sponsored content. Some YouTubers even sell their own branded merchandise or get support directly from viewers via platforms like Patreon.
Should You Incorporate Your Blog?
If you are serious about making a business out of your blog, then consider incorporating your blog as an LLC. When you incorporate a blog or any other business, you protect yourself personally from any claims or debts that are brought up against your blog or said business. This can be a very smart move early on in your blogging journey.
Most blogs are created around the blogger’s personal perspective or story, making it difficult to separate the blogger from the business. Having the added protection that an LLC affords will provide peace of mind that will give you more freedom in what you write and share. It can also add a level of credibility and legitimacy to your business. The LLC will give your blog a more professional image, which will help your readers and your potential affiliate sponsors take you more seriously.
An LLC will also make it easier for you to separate your business and personal finances, making things much easier come tax season.
Should You Incorporate Your YouTube Channel?
Starting an LLC for a YouTube channel will grant you certain benefits when tax season rolls around. For example, you'll be able to write off any applicable purchases, such as:
Items purchased to create videos
The computer you use to edit and upload videos
Video editing software
Home office expenses
Starting an LLC can also be beneficial because if your YouTube channel gets sued for something (such as copyright infringement), then only the LLC will be responsible, not you as an individual. In other words, a lawsuit might put your channel and its earnings at risk, but it won't jeopardize your house or car.
Starting a blog or YouTube channel in 2023 will ultimately depend on your interests and skills. When you’re ready to start your blog or vlog, it pays to invest in authentic, quality content and to set yourself up as a business. Incfile can form your LLC for free — just pay your state fee.
Nicole Bowman is a freelance writer who thinks turning research into stories is the best gig ever. She started writing billboards back in 2002, worked in book publishing in New York for many years and now she creates all sorts of engaging content for the web. Nicole lives in Rehoboth Beach, DE, with her husband, two sons and their poodle, Tootsie. She loves the great outdoors, bookstores and tennis.