No matter what year it is, people always ask the question, “What’s better for growing my audience? Blogging or social media?”
And it’s a good question, given the MYRIAD of options we have out there for content creation!
In this post, I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of both blogging and social media and give you some questions to figure out the best platform for YOUR unique business.
(Cause that’s what matters, right??)
So, first up, let’s start with blogging.
What we cover:
What Is Blogging?
Well, blogging simply involves the regular publishing of long-form content on your website.
A blog is not a personal journal. The intention of a blog is to create content that answers your ideal reader or customer’s questions so when they search for those questions on Google, YOU are what shows up in the results.
And people often ask, why should I bother having a blog when I can just focus on social media and get tons and tons of followers? Or, what is the benefit of starting a blog if I’m already killing it on social media?
But unfortunately, this can be short-term thinking. So let’s walk through some of the pros and cons of blogging as a business or marketing strategy.
Pros of Blogging
Let’s review the pros of blogging. (There’s a lot!)
1. Great For People Who Love to Write
Blogging is great for people who love to write. You can sit at home in your pajamas with no makeup on, in the zone, having fun, and creating content that you know will attract people to your brand every single day.
By creating content that answers your ideal client’s questions, you become the expert and the trusted resource, which is really helpful for gaining a loyal following, growing your email list, getting eyeballs on your brand, and gaining customers (if you’re selling something.)
2. You Can Create Content Based On Data
Another pro of blogging is that you don’t have to guess at all what to write about. There are tried and true tested strategies to find topics that are worth your time.
You can use actual data to figure out how many people search for different topics every month and how steep the competition is for ranking for those topics.
This allows you to figure out exactly what to write about in your niche so that your content has a good chance to appear on the first page of the Google search results (and thus get a lot of visibility and clicks.)
3. Blogging is Evergreen
Basically, you’re trying to turn your website into a resource hub for your ideal reader or customer. You want to be the go-to place for them to find answers to their questions around whatever topics you help people with.
This means that you’re putting in the time to create an evergreen resource for your business.
So unlike social media, where posts have a somewhat limited lifespan, your blog content can work for you for years, even decades to come. Of course, it might need a little refresh during that time period, depending on what you’re writing about, but that’s a great return on your initial investment, right?
4. Blogging Grows Your Audience
Contrary to how social media works, blogs don’t really have “followers” or “subscribers.”
Your website is not simply designed to just serve your existing audience.
The main goal of blogging is for your content to attract NEW people to your ecosystem. It’s designed to attract anyone on the internet looking for information related to what you write about.
In short, a blog is an audience-building mechanism.
So let’s flesh this out with an example.
Let’s pretend you are a dietitian and you specialize in digestive health and you’re looking up some topics to write about.
That process is called keyword research. (Keywords are just what people literally type into the Google search bar, and you’re simply doing research on them.)
So let’s say you’re using a tool to do that.
One tool that I recommend for beginners is called KeySearch, and it’s a relatively low-cost tool.
[This link is my affiliate link. If you sign up through the link, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.]
You can use the coupon code KSDISC to get 20% off and bring the cost to under $15 per month.
KeySearch is a tool that you can use to figure out what your ideal clients are searching for on Google so that you can create content to match those queries.
So let’s say you find that the keyword “MCT oil diarrhea” is searched 1,000 times per month and has a low difficulty score. That could be something you could possibly write about on your site!
Maybe that’s a question that comes up from your clients a lot, or you think it would be a great article in the diarrhea category on your website, for example.
So you can create that post and in a few weeks or months, if your content is created with a great optimization strategy behind it (also known as SEO, search engine optimization), it will probably start ranking on the first page.
And the higher you can get that post to climb up the first page, the more of those 1,000 people searching every single month will see your result and click over to your website.
And if you can get to the number one spot in Google, you can probably expect at least a few hundred clicks to your website per month, just from people searching for that one phrase, “MCT oil diarrhea.”
5. It Builds On Itself With Time
But guess what?
Well-written articles will also rank for many more related search terms. So your actual traffic will be even higher than that!
Now imagine that you publish new, highly optimized content like that week after week after week, it’s easy to see how the momentum builds over time and can turn into something really significant.
In fact, this strategy is exactly how I grew my own nutrition-focused blog to more than 20,000 monthly visitors every single month, in just 10 months, with just 10 blog posts.
So this stuff honestly really works if you understand how to do it correctly.
6. You Can Make Money Without Being “Salesy”
If you’re an introvert and love writing, you can make money just from creating content.
So for example, you could put ads on your site and earn anywhere from $15 to $35 per 1,000 people who visit your site every month.
You’re also building up an evergreen stockpile of content that will continue to bring you more visitors, and therefore more income, year after year after year.
7. You Don’t Have to Be So “On” All The Time
One of my favorite things about blogging is that you don’t have to be so “on” all the time, pressured to show up and show your face online.
You can publish something once a week, and if you are following a solid SEO strategy, feel pretty good about the results that you’re going to get for your business and your brand.
8. You Can Go More In-Depth Into Topics
Blogging also gives you the opportunity to go way more in-depth on topics in a very clear, structured way that you just can’t really do on social media. And that really allows you to highlight your expertise and get your readers the results and answers that they’re looking for.
9. It’s Easier to Take Time Off
Another thing I love is that if something happens in life and you need to take some time off, you totally can, without a huge negative shift in your business.
For example, my old food blog, still to this day, gets around 10,000 people coming to the site every single month and I haven’t posted on it in six years.
And I did the majority of that work before I knew anything about SEO! Towards the end of that blog’s life, I went through and tried to slightly optimize some of the posts, which is how I got to that 10K/month mark, but there’s still so much I could do.
If I really tried, I could probably get that blog on the ad network Mediavine without much effort. But the point is, I have not posted anything on it in six years and the traffic is just kind of sitting there steady at just under 10,000 visitors a month.
So, wherever you’re at, if you need to take a step back, that might be okay. Your audience might stop growing, but you probably won’t see a huge drop if you stop publishing new content for a month or two.
10. You Can Sell A Blog (for good money!)
Also, blogging has a natural exit strategy. People out there buy profitable blogs all the time.
And it’s not unusual to get paid like 30x your monthly profit when you sell a blog.
So for example, if you have a blog that generates $5,000 a month in ad revenue and affiliate income, you could potentially sell that site to a buyer for about $150,000 and move on to start something new.
In fact, there’s a whole sub-industry of people who do just that. They start and build up niche blogs to a certain level, and then they sell them off to people who would rather buy a solid, validated introductory site than put in the time and effort to start their own from scratch.
11. You Actually Own Your Website and Content
And most importantly, everything you’re building on your blog and your own website is your own.
You are actually in control of your own website. The look, the feel, the features, the content, any changes that happen or that you want to make.
So unlike social media where, God forbid you got banned or the whole platform shut down and you’d lose it all, that doesn’t really happen with websites.
It’s your own content that you have complete control over and can do what you’d like.
Cons of Blogging
And I know all those pros sound great. And they are great. But of course, there are cons to blogging as well. So let’s talk about some of those.
1. Not Everyone Likes Writing
Let’s face it. Not everyone likes writing.
DO NOT force yourself to blog if it doesn’t speak to you. You will just grow to resent it.
(But if you do see the value in blogging and you just don’t want to create the content yourself, you can always hire out the writing and still reap the benefits for your business.)
2. Blogging Takes Time
It will probably take you longer to create a really great blog post than it will to create social media posts for the week.
But remember, blog posts keep working for you for years. So it’s not sunken time.
3. It Costs Money to Start
Unlike social media, it’s not free to start a blog.
Setting up a self-hosted website does cost some money upfront.
Depending on how fancy you want to get, you’ll need to spend at the very, very, very minimum, $50 to $100 upfront to get started. And if you want someone else to build your whole entire site for you, it might be a couple thousand dollars.
4. You Are Still At The Mercy of Google’s Algorithms
If your strategy for getting people to your website includes SEO, you are still at the mercy of Google’s ranking algorithms.
So it’s important to get people onto your email list as much as possible once they arrive at your blog so that you have an ongoing direct connection with them.
Technically Google could change its ranking algorithms at any time, and they do usually make pretty significant updates a few times a year.
As SEOs, we generally know what you need to do to rank well, but there is an algorithm controlling the search results. So best practices can and do change with time. So you have to keep up and possibly adjust your content over time to maintain your rankings.
5. Blogging Moves More Slowly Than Social Media
Blogging also moves a lot more slowly than social media.
It takes some time for Google to find and rank your content after you publish it for most sites.
It’s not like you publish something and it shows up on page one, like an hour later. It can take weeks or even months for a new post to slowly climb its way up in the rankings and bring you more traffic.
Blogging is definitely a long-term game, but if you understand what you’re doing and what your end goals are, that can actually be a good thing for long term success.
6. It Can Be Harder to Outsource
Blogging can also be harder to outsource. Writing great content is a skill that not everyone inherently has, and those who are great at it have probably put a lot of time and effort into honing that skill.
So hiring other people to write for you will always be more expensive than hiring someone to whip up a few social media posts.
Additionally, if you create content around “Your Money, Your Life” topics, which include health and nutrition, you’ll need that content to at least be reviewed and vouched for by someone with formal expertise in that space. AKA, you can’t just hire your best friend to casually create nutrition articles for you.
You would need to either hire a writer with expertise in that space or hire a reviewer with expertise in that space to look over the article that your friend wrote and vouch for it publicly on your site. (Or potentially be the reviewer yourself, if you have the appropriate expertise.)
The Bottom Line on Blogging
To summarize the pros, blogging is a wonderful way, if you love writing and content creation, to create an evergreen resource on your website that’s fully under your own control and attracts people to your brand and your business.
And then once you’ve built that audience, you can choose to monetize in whatever way that you’d like.
For some people, their blog is their entire business and they monetize pretty passively through things like ad revenue, affiliate links, selling digital goods, etc.
Other people use their blogs to attract customers. So maybe they’re not really doing a lot of display advertising or affiliate marketing. What they’re trying to do is attract their ideal person to their website to then potentially work with them or buy an online course.
Either of those monetization models work, but the goal of the blog is really to build your audience and then it’s up to you how you want to monetize from that.
And to summarize the cons….
Blogging may not be a great fit if you hate writing.
And it’s critical to understand that blogging is a long-term game. We’re talking probably one to two years to get enough traffic to be eligible for an ad network like Mediavine, where you can start earning thousands of dollars a month in ad revenue, for example.
And if you’re starting a site brand new from scratch, probably around six months for Google to start picking up what you’re putting down and rank some of your content on the first page of the search results.
So blogging is definitely not an instant or overnight thing, but it’s incredibly valuable and has huge payoffs, long-term.
And of course, if you build it and then decide you want to pivot, you can also always sell it!
Next, let’s talk about social media.
What is Social Media?
For the purpose of this post, when I’m talking about social media, I’m talking about social networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, et cetera, where you create a profile, post content, and hopefully grow an audience of engaged followers.
And if you’re running a business, you are then probably going to market to those followers, and hopefully, sell something and earn an income.
Pros of Social Media
So what are the pros of social media?
1. It’s Free to Start
You can create an account on the social media platform of your choice and just start posting.
It’s very simple and has a very low barrier to entry.
2. The Content Is More Short-Form
You can create content for social media in smaller bite-sized chunks.
And this fits some people’s personalities better! They prefer to offer smaller tidbits of information more frequently over time, versus creating long-form content for their audience.
So it’s great for people who don’t really love writing or who are really into graphic design or video, since those things perform well on a lot of social media platforms.
3. Social Media is Great for Paid Advertising
If you’re thinking about eventually dabbling in paid ads, where you pay a platform to display an advertisement of yours to a certain group of people, social media does have powerful targeting and retargeting options.
(Although, I will say this is changing rapidly with all the new privacy regulations that have been going into effect recently… but currently, if you’re interested in doing paid advertising, there’s more targeted opportunity on social media than you would get through just organic content creation on a blog.)
4. It’s Easier to Automate
Social media can also be more automatable.
It’s really easy to create content in batches and schedule that out in advance.
You can even schedule stuff to repost at certain preset intervals automatically so that you’re not running out of engaging content to post for your audience.
5. Social Media May Be Easier to Outsource
You can generally hire people really easily to help you create and publish nice-looking content on social media.
Unlike writing, it does not take as much experience and formal expertise to create short-form content for social.
The caveat here is that some platforms (like Instagram and TikTok) are heavily video-centric, so people with personal brands may not be able to escape showing their face and doing at least some of the content production work themselves.
6. Social Media Moves Faster Than Blogging
Social media also moves a lot faster than blogging.
You post something, people see it, and you start getting engagement and feedback almost immediately.
And depending on what you’re posting about and why, getting that initial feedback might be really important to you. Especially if you’re still trying to validate your niche or your idea.
7. You Can Go Viral On Social Media
And of course, there is an opportunity to go viral on social media that doesn’t really exist in the blogging world.
On social media, if you create a post that suddenly becomes super, super popular, you could be exposed to thousands or even millions of new people on that platform and gain a lot of new followers.
Of course, you don’t really have a lot of control over whether you go viral, but if it happens, that’s a huge perk and that just doesn’t really exist in the blogging world.
8. Social Media Is Great for Networking
Social media is also great for networking. It’s a great place to show off your brand’s personality and connect with other people in your space.
It’s also usually much easier to connect directly with people on social media than it might be through a blog. On a blog, you’re kind of limited to leaving a comment or sending an email and hoping it gets read.
But on social media, it’s much more fast-paced and interactive. Conversations are happening, and oftentimes the person who runs the brand is the one that you’re directly reaching out to and potentially communicating with, so it feels a little more personal.
9. It Quickly Builds Know-Like-Trust
And because social media feels a little more personal, it may help shorten how much time someone needs between when they find you and when they’re ready to buy from you.
Depending on the platform you choose, your followers will likely get to know you, see your face, hear your voice and your personality on video, et cetera. This really helps to build the know-like-trust factor a lot faster than just reading the text you wrote on your website.
So if you really need money and you need to make sales now, social media will probably get you faster results than just creating content on a blog.
Cons of Social Media
So let’s talk about some of the cons of social media.
1. It Can Be Tough to Stand Out
Because it is so easy to be on social media, the competition to stand out can be fierce. Especially now, with some of the platforms being around for as long as they have.
(Oftentimes it was easier for influencers to gain traction when organic reach was better or when the algorithms are more simplistic. So it can be tough out there these days to get started on a social media platform absolutely from scratch.)
2. Social Media Is Not Very Evergreen
Another con is that social media is not as evergreen as blogging. The content is much more “of the now”.
Something you posted two years ago on a social media platform is probably not going to be driving you a bunch of eyeballs today. Things move really quickly on social media and what’s popular today may not be trendy next month, either!
3. Social Media Is Generally More Visual-Focused
There’s also a much larger focus on the visual aspect of things on social media. So video, pictures, snappy, graphic design, dancing, even.
Whether this is good news or not for you, depends on how your brain works and what type of content you enjoy creating!
4. It’s Less Easily Searched
Another con is that, as of the current moment, social media content is not as easily searchable as blog content.
To find blog content, you use powerful search engines, like Google.
With social media, sure, you can search natively on the platforms, but the search capabilities are so much more rudimentary in comparison.
Because of this, you’re not really able to reverse engineer successful content based on what people are looking for in the same way that you can with blogging.
There’s not really “keyword research” for social media, where you can figure out how many people search for key phrases every month or how difficult the competition is.
5. Algorithms Can Change Drastically On A Whim
Social media algorithms also tend to change more frequently and significantly than Google.
If you’ve been on social media for the last decade or so, you may remember when Facebook killed organic reach for pages.
Back in the day, having a Facebook page was all the rage and it was like free publicity. If someone followed your page, they’d see your stuff.
But when Facebook started introducing paid advertising, that dropped away. Now it’s very difficult to get organic reach through your Facebook page and that’s not really where people are focusing as much.
More recently, Instagram is now favoring video over pictures, which could be a really big deal for certain brands, depending on the type of content they were creating and focusing on.
And of course, other things have changed a lot since Instagram first came on the scene with the emergence of stories and reels, et cetera.
These changes can require big shifts in your strategy, which could significantly impact your reach and engagement. And they can happen at any time, without warning, and are completely out of your control.
6. Social Media Doesn’t Drive As Much Website Traffic
Social media is great for connection and audience building, but it may not be that great for driving traffic to your website.
There’s often a very low correlation between the number of followers you have on a platform, and how many people are actually clicking over to your website and viewing your content.
So if one of your monetization goals is to get thousands of people to your website so you can earn ad revenue, focusing on a platform like Instagram is going to be like, pennies in the bucket compared to focusing on a platform like Google.
I’m not saying that social media can’t bring you some traffic, it just usually pales in comparison to the power of organic search with Google.
7. Social Media Requires More of Your Personal Time
Social media may also require more of your personal time and connection. Things like responding to comments and DMs, interacting with other accounts, creating reels or videos with your face in them, et cetera.
Depending on your personality, you may absolutely love this type of work or you may absolutely dread it.
8. It’s Harder to Take Time Off
Having a drop in engagement and content publishing can wreck you in the algorithms, so it’s much harder to temporarily step away from these platforms without seeing a negative impact on your business.
9. You’re Building a Business on Rented Land
The biggest con to be aware of is that you are building a business on rented land and there’s no guarantee that any of these social media platforms will be around forever or around in their current existing form.
There are plenty of platforms that have come and gone over the years. Probably one of the biggest ones was Vine, which was a video platform.
There were Vine superstars who were making tons of money being on Vine, but they were only on Vine. They didn’t build an email list. They had no other way that they were connecting with their audience or another place that they were publishing their content.
When Vine shut down years ago, those people were like, oh shoot, I’m screwed. And so you just never know.
Another example… in the last few years, Facebook groups have been a trending thing, but most likely Facebook will eventually throttle the organic reach of groups as well.
So you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, really ever, in business. Just something to be aware of.
It’s absolutely not a waste of time to have a social media presence. But just know that you’re always at the whim of the actual platform owner’s decisions, not necessarily your choices.
The Bottom Line on Social Media
So to recap the pros and cons of social media….
The biggest pro of social media is that it’s incredibly easy to get started.
A lot of people find the smaller, bite-sized content creation to be a little easier either for them to do themselves or to outsource. For people who are just getting started and still validating their idea, that can be easier to do.
You get more feedback more quickly on social media and it’s really personal and builds connection.
So if you’re trying to sell something, having that personal connection with people and letting them know your personality and things like that can go a long way in eventually having someone sign up to buy something from you or work with you.
But it does require more of you and your personal time. It moves quickly. You’ve got to stay on it. You can’t ghost social media for three months and expect things to stay the same.
This can be a lot of pressure for people and maybe not something that you want to get yourself into, potentially. (Although, of course, there are ways to outsource or work ahead to keep it going, which I would recommend for sure.)
And social media is just more “of the now”. So you’re not really creating an evergreen permanent resource that you own and control in the same way that you are with a blog and website.
You’re building a connection and a community on a social networking platform, but you are at the whim of those platforms and you just never know.
You just never know what’s going to change with those algorithms or what they’re going to prioritize on their platforms. So always, always have a backup plan so that your entire business isn’t dependent on someone else’s decisions and choices.
So Should I Focus on Blogging or Social Media?
The bottom line here is that you’ve got to do what makes sense for YOUR overall business goals.
The truth is, there is no magic bullet in online business.
As you’ve probably noticed if you listen to my podcast, there are successful people utilizing social media to drive almost their entire business and who rarely post anything on their websites.
Likewise, there are hugely successful bloggers and online business owners whose main focus is their blog and they’re hardly present at all on social media.
So there’s no ONE right answer. You can make it work either way.
Get Clear on Your Business Goals
But where I see a lot of people getting into trouble is lacking clarity around what their unique online business goals are, what type of content creation they actually enjoy (and will therefore actually stick to), and how they plan to monetize their business.
For example, the content creation strategy for a one-on-one health coach trying to market services will probably look pretty different from the content creation strategy for a food blogger trying to make ad revenue, grow a large audience to work with sponsors and earn affiliate income.
And if you don’t know where you’re ultimately trying to head, it’s very difficult to weed through the mountains of potential advice and create a clear plan to get there.
And lack of clarity is how you end up listening to 500 different online business gurus, getting overwhelmed by all the different tactics and strategies, trying to implement 20 of them at once, and understandably getting nowhere with any of them.
And that is going to equal burnout, resentment, and a whole lot of unnecessary stress.
So bottom line, regardless of whether you choose to pursue blogging or social media as your initial primary audience growth strategy, you need a plan.
Winging it is NOT going to cut it for either type of platform these days.
Answer the Following Questions:
#1: Who are you speaking to / who do you serve within your business?
Nail it down to be as specific as you can. For example, you want to work with women in their twenties with IBS.
#2: What problems are you solving for them?
For example, you teach them how to follow a low FODMAP diet and re-introduction plan to find a long-term way of eating that reduces their symptoms.
#3: What kind of content creation do you enjoy?
Writing, video, audio, or short-form copy?
#4: Where do you want to create the core content in your business?
And this kind of ties into the last question…
If you like writing, maybe a blog.
If you like video, maybe YouTube.
If you like audio, maybe a podcast.
If you like short-form content, probably social media.
#5: How do you want to get compensated to solve problems for people?
Do you want to do one-on-one work? Do you want to create an online course? Do you want to run a membership site? Do you want to create free content on your blog and monetize with ads, sponsors, and affiliate links?
You can eventually create more than one of these income streams, but I urge you to focus on just ONE stream to start. Build it up until it’s steady and then expand.
Once you have the answers to these questions, especially the last two (platform of choice and monetization goals), you can find the correct mentors to help you accomplish your goals.
Interested in Blogging? You’re in the Right Place!
If your ultimate dream form of content creation is writing and blogging to attract and grow your audience, then you don’t have to look any further.
You are in the right place to learn all about building a thriving blog.
Whether you plan for your blog to BE your business, or you want your blog to serve as an attractive mechanism to bring buyers to you, I can teach you exactly how to do that from step A to Z.
It outlines the four-step framework you’ll need to create content that attracts thousands of people to your website and your brand every single month.
Long Term: Use Both!
Social media is fab, but for the ultimate one-two punch, it really should be linked to something like a website or an email list to help guide people from that rented land that you’re running your platform on, to your own ecosystem.
So I like to start with evergreen content. It could be a blog post, it could be a YouTube video, it could be a podcast episode, and then repurpose that onto social media and other platforms to reach more people and connect.
Basically, don’t reinvent the wheel. Make that content work for you!
So again, if you are interested in learning more about blogging as a business strategy, grab my FREE blogging training to understand exactly what it takes to build a thriving and profitable blog.
Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.