As you probably already know, you can use the internet to make money, but there are many different things to consider when trying to build an online business.
This post will help you weight out the pros and cons of trying to grow your income with a blog vs a vlog.
Some people find success with YouTube, and other people profitably write post after post for their blog.
But, understand that at the end of the day, there really is no rule of thumb, and you really need to test different things out and see what works the best for you.
Understanding the Difference between a Blog and Vlog
Before I get into the pros and cons, you first need to understand the difference between these two different formats.
The term blog is nothing more than the shortened version of the phrase “web log.” The concept was simple; when someone makes a post, the old posts are saved and can still be read. The format became extremely popular and is now used for many different types of websites. A vlog is similar, except that the content is a video, rather than articles.
Generally, most people don’t consider the website or channel they follow to be a blog or a vlog unless it focuses on the life of the creator of the content.
As an example: news sites typically use blogging software to manage their content, and the format is very similar to blogs, but almost everyone considers them to be a “news website.”
It’s the same for vlogs, most people consider a channel about fitness to be a “channel about fitness” rather than a vlog.
The lines are somewhat blurry, but people typically consider a website or YouTube channel that is about a topic, to be precisely that.
This gets confusing since some YouTube channels are considered to be shows, but it’s important to understand that the differences between the different types of channels are more about viewer perception, the format, and the topic(s) of the content.
It would be bizarre if a video that is about a topic started discussing the personal life of the creator in the video.
To demonstrate why this is important, here is a fictional example: Imagine a person typing into Google “How to get rid of car window streaks”. They find a video that starts out with a video of a person talking about the date they had last night, who then goes on to talk about what they are going to get for lunch, and while they are out they need to stop at the store to get some window cleaner for their car windows. Three-quarters of the way through the video they demonstrate a way to clean car windows that leaves them streak free, but then start talking about what they are going to attempt to make a video of tomorrow.
The fictional example provides an abysmal user experience to people who are researching a topic. They are likely searching for a channel that focuses on the subject of automotive detailing, rather than a vlog about a person’s life that happens to mention the topic.
Pros of Blogging:
The software that most bloggers use is free for the most part, but they need a web host, a domain name, and an ESP (email service provider) is highly recommended. Other software such as image editing tools, grammar checking software, and access tools that provide data about search engine results are all highly recommended.
So, the software required to start and maintain blog starts out being extremely cheap but can get much more expensive, depending on the quality and popularity of the site.
Many different options to make money:
Bloggers can earn income by running advertisements on their site or promoting products for other people or companies and earn commissions through affiliate networks. They can also use their blog to promote their own physical or digital products or to promote their other online businesses.
Cons of Blogging:
Blogs are Kind of Boring.
It’s a bunch of boring and repetitive work to produce content and do the research. Then when you’re finally done creating the perfect piece of content, people are rarely excited about hearing about your blog.
>Many people who get into blogging think that it will be very easy to do since they remember being forced to write paper after paper in high school/college. The problem with that is, bloggers aren’t forced to write anything, and you don’t have any rigid structure to follow so it can be much more difficult to write blog content. People have a tendency to forget that writing is a skill and it’s not one of those skills that work like riding a bicycle.
If you stop writing regularly for a few years, it’s challenging to get back into the flow and be able to regularly produce high-quality content that your readers want to read. Most people forget that you’re not writing a paper to get a grade, you’re trying to create content that is better than your competitors in a crowded space that is filled with professional writers.
Bloggers Need to Understand the Basics of How Search Engines *Currently* Work.
A little bit of a story here; I was once showing a friend that one of the pieces of content that I wrote was #1 in Google for a keyword that gets searched approximately 1,000 times a month in the US. Now I admit, it was kind of an odd keyword, and the content certainly wasn’t the best that I’ve ever created, but my friend was completely unimpressed by my ranking.
They just did not understand that just because they knew what to type into Google to find the content they were looking for, that doesn’t mean they know how to create a piece of content that will rank well on a keyword that they are targeting. There’s a lot more that goes into this than just suggesting that you “create a piece of content for the keyword.”
What makes this even more complicated is the fact that search engines are frequently changing their algorithms and the reality that content has a lifespan.
The number one thing that is critically important is to know how to evaluate the difficulty of a keyword.
Once you understand keyword difficulty (not the competition displayed in Google Ads/AdWords), you begin to realize that the topics that are worth creating content for, are actually quite limited. This is because the difficulty needs to be at a level where you can actually compete on that keyword and those keywords are usually quite difficult to write content for as they are typically unusual topics where there’s not much known about them.
You actually have to sit down and research the topic out, or buy the product to do a review, or try the process described in the topic out yourself. This takes time, and the writing is a lot more difficult than writing content for topics that are “common knowledge.”
Another thing that is important is to pick the right niche for your blog’s topics to be focused on. If you actually do some research and count the number of blogs that discuss “Raising Chickens” you will find that there are a surprisingly large number of blogs that discuss the topic. Now compare that to the number of blogs that discuss weight loss. There are probably over a million so don’t bother trying to count them all.
In a perfect world, you would want to have a blog that has less than 10 competitors. Good luck finding a niche with that little competition and isn’t so obscure that it’s virtually impossible to write content about. Then realize that you need a way to make money from this blog or you are just effectively donating your time to the internet. Even a niche like “underwater basket weaving” is surprisingly competitive and I’m not sure how you would make money from that. Uh, maybe ads for scuba equipment? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Bloggers Really Need to Do Social Media *Marketing* to be Successful.
There is a big difference between posting to social media and doing social media marketing. Social media is a popularity contest and mastering the art of creating content for your specific social media accounts that will resonate with your audience is absolutely critical to your success.
Also, many people will think that “hey well, it can’t be that hard, I have 500 friends on my Facebook page”, but let’s be realistic about this, how many of those people are going to be interested in your blog?
So not only do you have to build an audience of people that is interested in your content, but you have created content which they will like, and this takes time.
I always recommend to people to focus on one social media account at a time, but you really should work on multiple accounts, so it’s a lot of time being invested in learning social media marketing, creating the content, and test things out.
The Income of a Blogger is Largely Determined by their Popularity
This is the hard part for most bloggers. You can sit there and write articles all day long if you want to, become a master at SEO, market your content on social media until your fingers bleed, and you won’t really make money if you or your blog is not popular.
This is definitely the biggest hurdle to overcome. This is where thinking hard and working smart becomes absolutely critical, you need a good plan to increase your popularity and authoritativeness, or all of your hard work isn’t going to worth it.
I’m not suggesting that blogging doesn’t make any money at all if the blog isn’t popular, I’m just suggesting that it doesn’t make an amount of money that’s the worth the time invested.
What makes this fact even worse is that many of the popular sites have multiple authors or large teams of content producers and editors.
This is definitely the most significant problem a blogger has to overcome to become successful. It’s almost like trying to solve the “Chicken and the Egg” problem; “How does one become popular if nobody knows about them in the first place?”
Pros of Vlogging:
The biggest advantage of vlogging is that there are fewer people producing video content, so it becomes much easier to get discovered simply because fewer people are doing it.
I’m not suggesting that there’s not a bunch of vloggers because there is, I’m just saying that when you look at a specific niche or topic and compare the number of blogs to vlogs, there’s usually way fewer vlogs.
Higher Demand for Video Content in Certain Niches:
For some niches and some topics, the truth is that people don’t really want to read about a topic. This is especially true with how to videos, reviews, and tutorials. Why would anybody want to read something when they can just sit there and have somebody explain it to them?
It’s much easier to understand something for most people when they see a video of somebody actually doing it.
Video content is also much more entertaining, and people would generally prefer to be entertained than sit there and be actively reading. This makes the videos much more engaging, and it’s been found that video content performs relatively well on social media as well.
Unless you are trying to promote your YouTube channel on Facebook and since Google and Facebook are competitors, Facebook doesn’t really give much organic reach to YouTube videos. Now, this isn’t going to be the case if you decide to re-upload the videos to Facebook itself.
Much Easier to Get Discovered Once Your Channel is Somewhat Popular
YouTube is specifically designed to show videos to viewers to keep them on the platform. The reason for this is simple, the more videos people watch, the more advertising revenue YouTube can generate. So YouTube has multiple systems in place to recommend videos that are performing well to the viewers.
The only problem with this is that it can be challenging to get the initial subscribers so that your videos generate enough views so that Youtube can start recommending them.
Google also gives videos a big boost in its search engine, which makes it much easier to do SEO for YouTube videos. Now it’s true that it seems like Google has turned the benefit down a little bit over time, but it’s still easier to rank a video than an article in Google.
Cons of Vlogging:
Difficult to Build an Email List
One of the things that bloggers really need to do if they want to be successful, is creating an email list and focus on generating email subscribers.
The problem with YouTube is that it has its own subscriber system in place, and there’s no effective way to direct people to an email collection form. Obviously, you could direct viewers to the description section, but it’s nothing like on a blog where you can perfectly time opt-in forms to pop-up with a message that is specifically designed to maximize opt-ins.
Most experienced internet marketers will tell you that the money is in the list and they are absolutely right. Your email list is a traffic source that you own and costs basically nothing to promote content to your email list.
You Still Have to Do Social Media Marketing to Get Your Channel Started
It’s easier to get on the road of building a popular YouTube channel compared to a blog, but you still need to do social media marketing to build your initial subscribers.
You could use paid advertising instead but, yikes, I wouldn’t recommend that to a beginner. The ads can become very expensive very quickly, and if you don’t know exactly what you are doing, you could be wasting almost 100% of the money you are spending on ads.
Cost and Time Required to Create Videos
Now it’s true that you could use any camera that you have available to produce videos, but if you are serious about producing quality content, you are going to need quality equipment.
You’re going to need a camera, lights, video editing software, and there’s a lot of other things that are not required but are really helpful, like having somebody to actually operate the camera, tripods, camera lenses, and things like sound dampening foam.
Editing video is also quite time-consuming and technically difficult. Some people get college degrees in video production so producing quality video is by no means an easy task.
I don’t even want to get into mentioning things like frame rates, video encoding, and resolutions on this page because it’s such a massive topic.
The Advertising Revenue is Basically Garbage
Your options from making money from the videos are relatively limited. The advertising revenue is pretty poor for most people, and your videos need to get hundreds of thousands of views for you to be able to create videos profitably.
Alternatively, there are other ways to make money from your videos, such as including affiliate links in the description, or allowing people to sponsor videos, but these things are much easier said than done.
Should I do Both a Vlog and Blog?
Now that I’ve gone over the pros and cons, one thing that people seem to realize is that the pros and cons seem at different ends of the spectrum and it seems like doing both would be the best option.
I’m going to warn you about attempting to do this: Both require experience that comes from testing things and learning from what happens.
They’re both difficult to master, and if you think you’re going to master both at the same time (at least without help), then you are probably setting yourself up for a mountain of work that never amounts to anything significant.
I would highly recommend that you pick one, master it, then think about whether or not it would be worth it to try to incorporate the other into your existing business.
I admit, having a blog where you have your own Youtube videos embedded on the site is extremely beneficial to both audiences, but it is much more difficult to pull off.
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