Are you comparing Substack vs WordPress and can’t decide which is better?
Both Substack and WordPress are publishing platforms that make it simple to publish content and sell membership subscriptions online.
We’ll compare Substack and WordPress in this article to see which one is the better platform.
Here’s a quick table of contents for this detailed Substack vs WordPress comparison:
- What to Look for in a Subscription Management System
- Operating a Paid Subscription Service: How Much Does It Cost?
- There are a variety of integrations available to help you grow your subscriber base.
- Portability of data
Substack vs. WordPress (Overview)
Before we get into our in-depth comparison of the two most popular subscription platforms on the internet, let’s go over the basics and see what makes these platforms unique.
What exactly is Substack?
Substack is a platform for creating and publishing online newsletters. It allows you to send newsletter emails to your subscribers quickly and easily.
Substack gets a cut of all paid subscription fees, so you can have both paid and free subscriptions. Aside from newsletters, you get a basic website, podcast hosting, and free web hosting.
What exactly is WordPress?
WordPress is the most widely used website builder on the planet. It enables you to easily create any type of website you desire. It sends newsletter emails in a seamless manner with almost all popular email newsletter services.
You can subscribe to both free and paid newsletters. You can also use it to create a podcasting website, an eCommerce store, a membership site, and other things.
Note that when we say WordPress, we’re referring to a self-hosted WordPress.org website, not a WordPress.com website. See our article on the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com for more information.
What to Look for in a Subscription Management System
The most crucial decision you’ll make is which platform to use for your subscription service. It will be more difficult to switch platforms as you grow, and you may lose users in the process.
When it comes to selecting a subscription platform, there are a few basic considerations to keep in mind.
- Ease of Use – How simple it is to get up and running on your own.
- Costs – How much would it set you back?
- Can you connect it to other apps to increase your subscriber base?
- Data Portability – Is it possible to move your data elsewhere?
With these considerations in mind, let’s compare Substack and WordPress in depth.
The majority of publishers aren’t web designers or marketers by trade. Choosing an easy-to-use platform allows you to concentrate on what you do best while leaving the technical details to the professionals.
Ease of Use (Substack)
Even for complete beginners, Substack is incredibly simple to use. Simply register and you will be able to begin working on your content right away.
Substack is primarily concerned with writers and making publishing simple. It includes a simple editor that allows you to create newsletter emails, articles, and podcast episodes.
On a post-by-post basis, you can choose whether an article should go to paid subscribers or everyone.
Despite the fact that writing a post is incredibly simple. In the default substack editor, there isn’t much room for creativity.
Ease of Use WordPress
Because WordPress is open-source software, you can install it and manage updates and backups yourself. While this may appear to be a bit technical, WordPress is extremely simple to set up and use.
To install WordPress, you’ll need a domain name and a hosting account.
We recommend Bluehost, which is one of the largest hosting companies in the world and a WordPress hosting provider that is officially recommended.
They’re giving WPExpertproEditor for stack readers a free domain name and a big discount on hosting. Essentially, you can begin for $2.75 per month.
Bluehost will install WordPress for you automatically, and you can access your WordPress dashboard through your account.
WordPress comes with a block editor that is both simple to use and powerful. This gives you complete control over the content and design of your website.
You’ll need MemberPress to put your premium content behind a paywall. It’s the best WordPress membership plugin, and it makes it simple to limit content based on a user’s subscription plan.
You can create multiple subscription levels with different benefits, unlike Substack, where you can only have one subscription plan for all users.
Substack is the winner.
Operating a Paid Subscription Service: How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of running a paid subscription service is the next important factor to consider. Higher costs and low profitability may make scaling your business difficult as it expands.
The Real Cost of a Paid Newsletter Subscription
To your free subscribers, you can send the free newsletter. This aids in the expansion of your audience and the development of a subscriber base. Having only free subscribers, on the other hand, is not very profitable in the long run.
You can fix this by allowing people to subscribe to your newsletter for a fee. This allows you to send paid subscribers exclusive content.
Substack allows you to accept payments through Stripe. Stripe is only available in a few countries, so if you’re not in one of them, you won’t be able to receive payments.
Substack and Stripe both take a percentage of each transaction. On each transaction, Substack charges 10% and Stripe charges 2.9 percent + 30 cents.
This means that if each subscriber costs $10, the Substack + Stripe fee will be 1.59.
This may not seem like much, but imagine you have 100 paid subscribers who each pay $10 per month. You’ll have to pay $159 per month and $1908 per year.
The price of a WordPress-based paid newsletter
You have complete control over your email platform, website hosting, plugins, and tools with WordPress. This gives you cost control and allows you to decide how much you want to spend on a paid newsletter subscription.
Bluehost offers website hosting with a free domain name for only $2.75 per month.
Email platforms come in a variety of price ranges. Constant Contact, for example, offers plans starting at $20 per month and varying in price depending on the number of contacts.
Similarly, Sendinblue offers a free trial that allows you to send up to 300 emails per day. You can then upgrade to their lite plan for $25, which allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per day.
You’ll need MemberPress to sell subscriptions in addition to email marketing, which costs $179 for their basic plan.
As a payment gateway, you can use Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.net. These payment gateways will charge fees of their own.
In the long run, WordPress provides you with more flexibility to reduce costs and increase profits.
WordPress comes out on top.
There are a variety of integrations available to help you grow your subscriber base.
You’ll want to use third-party tools to promote your paid newsletter and grow your business. Let’s compare the performance of Substack and WordPress in this category.
Integrations in the Substack
Substack is a comprehensive platform with few, if any, integrations.
It has a limited number of SEO features built into the platform. From the settings page, you can connect your own custom domain name, Google Analytics tracking ID, and social media profiles.
You’ll need to promote your Substack on social media platforms to increase your subscriber count. It’s a little more difficult for new writers to start earning money right away because of this.
Your ability to access other tools that may help you convert more visitors into paying subscribers is also limited due to limited integrations.
Integrations with WordPress
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system with thousands of third-party integrations. This makes it simple to increase the number of subscribers to your paid newsletter.
WordPress gives you the freedom to use any tool you want to grow your business, with over 59,000 free plugins and thousands more paid integrations.
Some of the most popular integrations and add-ons to help you grow your paid newsletter are listed below.
- All in One SEO for WordPress – A comprehensive SEO solution for WordPress websites that helps you improve your website’s SEO and attract more free search engine traffic.
- OptinMonster is the most effective conversion optimization software on the market for converting website visitors into paying subscribers.
- WPForms – The best form builder plugin for easily creating newsletter signup forms, contact forms, and payment and email marketing integrations with its own payment and email marketing integrations.
- MonsterInsights is a WordPress Google Analytics plugin that is simple to use. It displays the origins of your visitors and tracks how they interact with your website.
WordPress comes out on top.
Portability of data
You can download your data from both WordPress and Substack and use it elsewhere.
Data Portability in the Substack
Substack makes downloading all of your posts, pages, and email list subscribers a breeze. Simply go to the Settings page and scroll down to the section titled “Export your data.”
You can download all of your Substack data to your computer from here.
The CSV format of your newsletter email subscribers list allows you to easily import subscribers into other email services. Most email services, however, will require users to opt-in again, and many users may choose not to do so.
You can import post data into a WordPress website using the Substack importer for WordPress.
Data portability in WordPress
Using the built-in export tools in WordPress, you can export all of your data. This includes all of your articles, pages, comments, users, and other content. To download your export file, simply go to Tools » Export.
Your third-party email service provider stores your newsletter subscriber data safely. Almost all reputable email providers make it simple to export your email list for use elsewhere.
If you import your email list into a new email service, you may be asked to re-opt-in your subscribers.
Winner is a tie.
Conclusion: Which is better, WordPress or Substack?
In terms of flexibility, scalability, and profitability, WordPress outperforms Substack. It allows you to grow your newsletter in a variety of ways and gives you access to much better tools and extensions to help you do so.
Substack, on the other hand, is preferable if you only want to send newsletters to non-paying subscribers.
You won’t have the same flexibility as WordPress, and if you want to switch to a paid newsletter, you’ll have to pay Substack a significant sum.
If you don’t want to use WordPress but still want a Substack alternative, look no further. ConvertKit is a program that we recommend. It has all of the powerful features of Substack without the predatory pricing that takes 10% of your newsletter revenue.
We hope this article has assisted you in deciding between Substack and WordPress.