I registered the domain name for this WordPress blog in 2005 and started my YouTube channel five years later. Doing these two things has enabled me to earn a decent living online.
Not only have I been able to earn enough money online to support myself. But I’ve also been able to help other people do the same thing. Double win!
I have always advised people who wanted to build an audience online to do the same things as me: start blogging, do basic SEO, and forming win-win relationships with others online to get links, interviews and joint ventures.
But there’s a problem with this now: All of this was a lot easier in 2005 than it is now.
What would I do now? Blog or Vlog?
If you would rather watch a video about this than scroll down and read my carefully crafted, well researched and erudite opinions, please press play below:
This isn’t to say that it’s not worthwhile starting your own website, creating content, and working on SEO. It is.
But, perhaps unsurprisingly, it won’t be as immediately effective as it was for me over 10 years ago. (It would have been easier only 5 years ago!)
My YouTube experience
When I look back at my YouTube experience compared to my blogging experience they are like night and day.
I never really took YouTube seriously. I would record a 5 minute video using screen-casting software like Screenflow (affiliate link) and put it up on YouTube because, hey, why not?
The whole experience was quick, easy, and relatively painless.
Yes, there’s video editing. Yes, my videos look shit. But, for me, it was all about the blog. My YouTube channel is called “Rob Cubbon”, my website is RobCubbon.com. It makes sense. It’s like another social media channel.
And yet, it’s much more than that. As the years went by some of my videos were doing quite well. Largely as a result of having good keywords in the titles, a few of my videos gained over 100,000 views! Here are 4 of them:
- How to turn a photo into an illustration
- Importing text from Word to InDesign without having to re-format
- How To Self Publish a Kindle E-book on Amazon’s KDP Select
- Download Protected Images from Browser when Right-Click “Save image As” is Disabled
Don’t watch the above videos! They are unprofessional and not very beautiful. But look at the keywords in the above titles! I made videos about questions that people wanted answered.
Overall my YouTube channel has gathered nearly 2 million video views, and over 75,000 hours watch time (that’s 3125 days, or 8.5 years).
So the point is this: I’ve had my YouTube channel for about 10 years, during that time I only uploaded, on average, 15-20 videos a year, each video took about an hour or two to make. This was not a lot of effort to get a great deal of exposure, traction, and, ultimately, profit for my business.
My blogging experience
I’ve worked hard on my blog – and that’s an understatement!
I would write for years and years, an average of one blog post a week. This is a huge undertaking.
A blog post could be anything from 1,000 to 2,000 words, with images, subtitles, links, etc. It would be edited, re-edited, and worked upon lovingly. I could spend hours on a blog post.
I worked 10 times harder on the blog than I did on the YouTube channel.
But there was a good reason for that. I began ranking for terms like “freelance graphic designer london” back in 2007. I was always getting work which I was happy to do. I loved my business!
I then started making products like video courses and earned what was called “passive income”.
You can see above, I fell foul of a Google algorithm update in 2013 (I never go to the bottom of that). But the traffic has been OK over the last few years. I get around 25,000 page views a month to my website.
It’s funny, it’s roughly the same on YouTube. I get around 25,000 video views a month on YouTube.
So, what’s my point?
I had to put a lot more effort into getting the traffic on my blog than on my YouTube channel. However, the engagement and profit from the YouTube channel remains impressively high.
The engagement and profit from the website is, of course, greater. But the effort that went into creating is was much, much greater as well.
That’s why I’m saying, for me, in my niche, YouTube is easier than blogging!
How I make money from YouTube
I will do more content about this in future.
I do not make much money from the Adsense ads in YouTube. You know those 5 seconds of rubbish you sometimes get when you watch a YouTube video? If they get clicked, the video creator gets some money. But this is only $100-200 a month. It’s nice. But that’s not how I make most of the money.
I make money from YouTube by getting people off YouTube! The two ways that have been most effective:
- Affiliate links in the first line of the description below the YouTube video. If When I make a YouTube video about a certain product (hosting service, WordPress theme or plugin) and I refer to the affiliate link below the video, I will get affiliate commissions (assuming that the video gets decent traffic). Commissions on hosting can be as much as $90 per signup.
- Links to my free and paid courses in the first line of the description below the YouTube video. When I make a YouTube video about one of my courses, or even a video lifted from one of my courses, I will refer to the link below the video. I will get both sign ups to free courses (that may convert later on to premium courses) or, even better, I will get sales of my premium courses directly from YouTube. You can see below a coupon from one of my courses purchased 20 times at $89.
You can do it!
My YouTube channel is ten years old and I have been consistently posting videos. The videos themselves are then linked to from this website. This website has some good links and good “authority” in Google’s eyes. Also, my YouTube channel has this website as its “Associated website” (see below, under “Advanced Settings” in YouTube Studio). So these SEO factors all contribute to the channel’s success.
Having said that, I’m always seeing newbies get some amazing view counts on their videos purely because they are answering questions that people want answered with their videos.
This is massively dependent on the niche you’re in and whether you can create videos that appeal to a fairly large audience that isn’t being adequately served on YouTube at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “do YouTube and forget about the blog”. I’m saying you should do whatever you feel comfortable with. If you want to build an audience online, you should probably do everything! The most important thing would be the website, however, you could see faster results with a YouTube channel.
Please let me know what you think in the comments.