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What they don't tell you about blogging (and wish I knew when I started)



I have 2 monetized blogs, and 2 YouTube channels that go with them, one of them monetized (the other channel is fairly recent and on its way too). Both are very different niches. I've come to learn quite a lot about blogging over the years, including from my mistakes. Here's what I've learned and why blogging is better than making videos on YouTube:

If you want views and subscribers on your YouTube channel, start a blog

TravelerTechie and ZenGainz have very different content, and there's already tons of competition in both niches. But as I watch them both grow, through Analytics and otherwise, I've come to notice that blogging will get you more traffic faster than a YouTube channel. Maybe because when someone needs a solution to their problem, they first search on google.com than on youtube.com. Google search indexing is also obviously better when there's a full text article of keywords.

Most of the times the ratio of views between the blog article and the YouTube video is 10:1 for the same post.

A blog to go along with your YouTube channel (by linking your YouTube videos to their corresponding articles) will boost the views, AND have an extra source of income. Which brings me to point number two:

Google ads (Adsense) bring in more money from my blog than my YouTube channel

I've waited for years before crunching the numbers, and I've discovered that the CPM rate is better on my blog than my YouTube channel. That means I get paid more for the same amount of views and clicks from the same source (Google) through my blog articles, NOT my YouTube videos, contrary to popular belief that YouTube pays better. And like I mentioned in my first point, both articles and the YouTube videos deliver the exact same content.

Which is great for me, as I hate doing videos (sorry), I much prefer (and love) writing, and these days, I'm not worried so much about my YouTube channels, as long as I get my content out through writing. Which brings me to my 3rd point:

You don't need to spend a dime to start blogging professionally

When I first started out, I was like "everyone is using WordPress, so I must use WordPress. And I need a professional looking template, and I need plugins, and I need to self-host it, and domain name, need to spend money on advertising, social media managing etc etc". Even though I do have experience in web development and design, going about it with all the items on the list above not only takes a lot of work, but you also need to fork money on some of it. 

To make videos on YouTube, you need a powerful computer to handle the video editing, a NLE editor (like Final Cut, DaVinci or Adobe Premiere etc) which either has a steep price or a deep learning curve (or both), you need a good camera, a suitable place / environment for your videos, a quality microphone, multimedia resources (background music, images / illustrations etc) and lots of time on your hands for the planning, creation, recording, editing, exporting and uploading.

So it can be overwhelming and expensive when you think about it this way. 

I took a different approach.

I decided to go with Blogger (blogspot.com) that is provided free by Google. I didn't buy a domain name nor self-hosted it until it got monetized by Adsense and the blog's earnings paid for the domain name and a paid template later on (at least for Traveler Techie, I'm content with the free template on ZenGainz). They say you should go with WordPress and self-host it, because this way you will own your blog and Google can shut you down if you don't and lose your site and content blah blah blah. 

I've been using Blogger for many years, and this blog goes as far as telling people how to Hackintosh their computers, never had a problem. I do the automated Google TakeOut schedule for backups which includes Blogger, both the theme/settings and the content (and most of the time I have the posts saved on Google Docs or Notion and the videos stored locally and on a cloud service).

The truth is, investing too much (or at all) when you're starting out is completely unnecessary, even though the "gurus" out there will tell you otherwise, probably because they're affiliated with Bluehost, Themeforest and other partners and want you to buy something.

I also noticed that a lot of people find WordPress intimidating for some reason, so Blogger (or any other easy-to-use platform of your preference) can be more user-friendly without having to tinker too much to get going. This way you only have to focus on writing, not stressing out over technical details. Because ultimately, the most important thing is to:

Write quality, truthful content

A lot of new bloggers believe that the best way to get indexed by Google, get monetized and bring in lots of traffic and income quickly is by writing lots and lots of posts every single day. That was so far from the truth for me.

Quality was far more important than quantity. Most of the time, I take weeks and even months to write a new article or upload a new video. Hell I took a whole year off from TravelerTechie because of Covid lockdowns and having to homeschool the kids, and the traffic and income kept coming in every month like clockwork. Didn't lose subscribers on my YouTube channel, and when I restarted, traffic to new content kept coming in the usual amount.

The key here is to find out the current problems in society that match your niche and provide an honest, tried and tested solution that works. Even though you may have started a blog to have an extra, passive income or as a hobby, there's no greater and more fulfilling goal than truly wanting to help people. And for me, that's the very reason I started the ZenGainz project.

Because I've been through all sorts of chronic diseases, with no guidance nor help from the "experts" on how to get out of my misery and pain, I had to figure everything out myself. Hell, I took a 6-month course about the gut microbiome from Wageningen University just to figure out how everything works so I could cure my IBS-C, and that was the least of my worries as I dealt with far more serious issues over the years.

My confidence in helping others find relief and treatment to chronic diseases and obesity brings me to my 5th point:

Write about your life experiences and be yourself

Anyone can express an opinion, or write about something they've read or learned, but nothing beats writing about your own experiences. 

Our personal experiences are indisputable facts and nobody can refute or take that away from us, not the scholars, not the doctors, not the experts, not the gurus, not the Facebook Karens and keyboard warriors, not the scientists... This is by far the best way to deal with negative feedback and keep writing meaningful, quality content.

Since the methods you're sharing worked for you, and you are a human being in a planet with another 7.9 billion human beings (as of November 2021), chances are, there are more people with the same problems or challenges you faced, and your solutions may very well help others as well. 

There's nothing better than experience. Ask any employer worth their salt, they'll tell you.

And you know your writing is gonna be good because you know these experiences by heart. And make sure you stick to YOUR writing style and thought process. One of the things that infuriate me is when I visit different blogs only to read the same stuff with the same delivery over and over. Be different, be unique, and tell it like it is, even if it spikes controversy. Enough with the sugarcoating.

Ditch the social media


A lot of new bloggers think that it is necessary to have an online media presence, which includes (but not limited) to be on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc.

I used to think that as well. I spent a lot of my time trying to update my brand pages with links to my content, as well as trying to engage on other profiles, brands, posts in order to draw some traffic in. Any app / website that had a bio or required me to have an account or profile (like workout apps with social media platforms etc) I had my links on my profile wall, and even try to post something with the occasional link here and there to one of my articles.

WASTE. OF. TIME!

The best traffic is the one that specifically searches for answers that you provide. Those are the people who will appreciate your content and return or subscribe for more. 

Broadcasting on deaf ears was a waste of time for me, as the organic traffic was coming from Google search results 99% of the time, so I deleted most of my social media accounts and no longer bother. The time I wasted on social media, I could have spent it making more content.

Also, social media can be distracting, depressing and even distort your thought process and THAT affects how and what you write (or don't write) about. Instead of pure, unique content coming from your heart and soul, you may find yourself writing about the same old stuff everyone writes about (or avoiding certain subjects that need to be touched upon but no one dares to), and that's not good if you're in a highly competitive niche.

On the other hand, social media can provide an insight of what are the current issues people face today. If you're gonna keep your social media accounts, that insight should be your main reason to consume content as it may sometimes inspire you to write. But for myself, I find I'm doing a lot better by avoiding most of social media and it had no effect on gaining traffic.

So try it both with or without social media and see what works best for you.

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