Substack vs WordPress: A Detailed Comparison For Creators

Are you curious about Substack vs WordPress for your blog, content website, or email newsletter? Discover what’s the right choice in our comparison.

Do you create, write and publish content frequently? Do you have an online newsletter as a part of your business? You need to use the right platform. Substack and WordPress are two of the most popular options available. You might have read or watched Substack tutorials and thought about building a WordPress blog. Which content management systems can help you with an online newsletter? How can you drive traffic to your blog?

Take a look at a comparison of the two platforms below, and find the right one to meet your needs!

What Is Substack?

Substack vs WordPress

Substack is a platform that has been specifically designed to help people build an email newsletter. If you want to create an email list with plenty of subscribers, this is one of the best platforms from which to choose. Even though the platform is marketed as a newsletter platform, it can still be an effective login platform. It has an email newsletter feature built into it that automatically helps you publish blog posts directly to your newsletter subscribers. Then, there is a built-in feature that can automatically collect revenue from your subscribers.

Importantly, this is not a platform that you can use to create a website. It is a platform that helps you create a blog or newsletter. At the same time, this is also a hosted tool. That means you don’t have to worry about building your own website. It is very easy to get started, creating an appealing option for those who would rather focus on writing instead of dealing with the technicalities behind building a website. 

The Benefits of Substack

It is still helpful to take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of Substack. A few of the biggest benefits to keep in mind include:

  • Ease of Use: This is a very easy platform to use. There are drag and drop features that make it easy for you to not only write your newsletter but also add images and audio files. It doesn’t take you any more than a few minutes to create a professional newsletter.
  • Experience: You don’t need to have any experience to create a newsletter. The only people you have to worry about convincing are those who read your newsletter. They can subscribe and unsubscribe at will. If people want to read your newsletter, you can generate a significant income. 
  • Flexibility: You can write about anything you want! As long as it is attractive to the reader, it doesn’t matter! You can write about magic, technology, business, and more.

There are lots of people who have started a newsletter business on Substack. Examples include The Pomp Letter by Anthony Pompliano and Welcome to Hell World by Luke O’Neill. Read our guide to the best Substack newsletters

The Drawbacks of Substack

At the same time, there are a few drawbacks to Substack as well. These include:

  • You Need an Audience: It can take a lot of work to build an email list from the ground up. If there isn’t an audience for your work, you don’t make any money.
  • Fees: There are a lot of fees you need to pay. For example, Substack takes 10 percent of your money, Stripe might charge three percent per credit card transaction, and Substack might charge another $0.30 per transaction. Then, you need to pay income taxes. This adds up quickly.
  • Minimum Subscription Fee: If someone wants to read your newsletter, the minimum fee is $5 per month, which can be a significant barrier for the reader.

Think about the benefits and drawbacks before you decide if this is the right platform for you.

Substack Costs

Substack is free to use. However, once you’re ready to turn on paid subscriptions, they charge 10% of what you earn. That’s can work out to quite a large amount if you have a significant amount of paying subscribers and is one reason why some have left for Ghost.

To find out more, read our Substack vs Ghost comparison 

What Is WordPress?

Substack vs WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms available for building a website. It gives you access to a wide variety of styles, fonts, integrations, extensions, and more. You don’t need to have any coding knowledge to build a website, and you can still create an online store, online classes, blogs, newsletters, and anything your heart desires.

Furthermore, this is a self-hosted tool. That means that you can take WordPress software and install it on top of your own web hosting. Even though you need to publish content on your website on your own, you have a greater degree of flexibility than you do with other platforms, as you are in control of everything. 

WordPress gives you full ownership of your website. You control what goes on it, you can take it down if you want, and you can run whatever website your heart desires.

WordPress Costs

We use WordPress on Become a Writer Today and also for several other websites. It’s far more powerful than Substack. However, it’s also more expensive. Once your website attracts traffic, you’ll need to pay for premium hosting and email newsletter software.

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of WordPress themes and plugins. Read our guide to the best WordPress themes for writers. All all of that can cost several thousand dollars a year for website with significant traffic.

The Benefits of WordPress

There are several significant benefits you will enjoy if you decide to go with WordPress. These include:

  • User-Friendly: This is one of the easiest content management systems to use. You can edit existing pages, upload new content, and change the layout of your site as often as you want. 
  • Plugin Options: There are tens of thousands of plugins available for a WordPress website. For example, you may want to take advantage of the Yoast SEO program to help you drive traffic and increase online visibility. 
  • Open-Source Platform: This is an open-source software program. That means that anyone can redistribute, change, or alter the source code. Importantly, you don’t need to have any coding knowledge to use the platform, but you can change it if you’d like. 
  • Cheap to start with: Any blogger can get started with WordPress for a few dollars per year. However, don’t expect costs to stay that low for long. 

If you want to take advantage of these benefits, you may want to use WordPress.

The Drawbacks of WordPress

If you decide to use WordPress, there are a few drawbacks as well. These include:

  • Cybersecurity: Because this is an open-source platform, it is an attractive target for hackers. Therefore, make sure you are careful with your extensions and integration. Protect yourself against potential cybersecurity issues. 
  • Speed Problems: Even though you have access to a wide variety of themes and templates, some of them can slow down your website. This can impact your user experience, harming your online visibility. 
  • Overwhelming Customization: The customization features are excellent, but they can also make it hard to decide what to do next. It can take some time to learn about all of these features.
  • Gets expensive: Once your website attracts traffic, you’ll need to pay for better hosting. If you want to email posts to readers, you’ll also need to pay for dedicated email software. This can add up if you’re not earning an income from your website via digital courses or display ads.

Consider the benefits and drawbacks before deciding if this is the right option. 

Final Word on Substack vs WordPress

Substack and WordPress are attractive if you want to start an online blog or paid newsletter. Substack is generally simpler, more straightforward, and easier to use. If you already have a lot of subscribers, you might not want to pay the fees on Substack. In this case, you might want to go with WordPress, which is more flexible. That said, it can prove more expensive unless you have a clear plan for generating income from your content website. Think carefully about the pros and cons of each option before you decide which is suitable for you. 

FAQs About Substack vs WordPress 

When should I decide to use Substack?

If you want to get started as quickly as possible while also taking advantage of email marketing, then Substack is properly the better option.

When should I decide to use WordPress?

If you want to create forums, a free blog, or a landing page, then you may want the variety and monetization features of WordPress.

Does Substack Work With WordPress?

Substack and WordPress are two different content publishing tools. They don’t work together and some would say they are competitors. However, you can migrate content or cross-publish from one to the other.


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