Substack Vs. Ghost: Best Place to Create a Newsletter or Blog?
In this article, we will talk about two platforms, Ghost Vs Substack. So, if you are a writer and want to create your own audience, both software is good options. Although Substack and Ghost have similar feature sets, the newsletter, kinds of content, and blog creation approach differ.
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So keep reading this article because it is essential to know that you are choosing the right platform to meet your needs, budget, and knowledge level. But first, let’s learn a little more about the business model of Substack and Ghost.
Substack is a platform developed to enable content creators to earn money by monetizing their audience with paid email newsletter subscriptions. And it provides writers with online software to publish their work.
The software is relatively current. It was released in 2017 by its creators, Hamish McKenzie and Jairaj Sethi. The main goal was to make a somewhat different blogging platform than the traditional, one available to everyone, open-source software.
So, the goal behind Substack is that there are ways to make money with email marketing. If you get a lot of subscribers to your email newsletter, you will be able to make money fast.
Because Substack profits along with you. So your goals are aligned with the platform’s goals. And you will be able to drive people to social media platforms through your Substack newsletter.
The Performance of Substack
With Substack, you can build a paid newsletter with subscribers. In this sense, subscribers will pay a certain monthly amount to be able to access your content. Substack is an email marketing and writing software.
So, if you want to pay less for software like Mailchimp, Substack can be a great choice. In that sense, the email marketing platform is one of the strongest available. Members can access the paywall content publications to see their information on the platform for publishing their work.
Also, if you use Substack, you can brand yourself with your custom domain. So you will be able to plug a unique environment into your publication with Substack, which is a great feature. You will need to pay a $50 fee, and then you can host your website through the technology you can access with the platform.
Because it is complex to rank in Google traditionally using a subdomain, the custom, personalized domain feature of Substack is critical. Plus, you’ll be able to generate a lot of traffic with your email newsletter in Substack by referring them to your website. You can be sure that this will help you build a very influential brand.
Suppose you really want to write a popular newsletter and are looking for a way to increase the subscriber list in your email. In that case, Substack is an excellent option to do.
And you will be the one to decide how much you charge for your email newsletters. In that sense, you will make good money with this tool.
It is a software that is open source and is maintained by a non-profit organization. Ghost is said to be an “alternative, powerful and independent tool from Substack.”
It was created in 2013 after a Kickstarter campaign was run by John O’Nolan. The goal was for the platform to enable writers, content creators, and journalists to make a living online.
With Ghost, it can manage a newsletter, membership sites, podcasts, vocal media, and blogs. The platform is more flexible regarding changing designers, integrating third-party services, and adding new features and advanced options.
The platform has many customization options. You can still download and install it on a self-hosted server if you prefer to directly avoid a more expensive route with the company. Ghost is geared towards helping writers and creators produce newsletters and blogs.
Ghost has its Pro version. If you choose to host your site with Ghost, you can use the 14-day free trial. After the trial period, it will cost approximately $9 per month. The software will only charge you for hosting, so all the income generated by your site is yours.
You need to take out the payment processor part. You will save a few monthly dollars if you choose to self-host a Ghost site.
The platform is a complete package. It has plenty of resources if you want an alternative to Substack. It features a very easy-to-use site administrator, email newsletter, SEO-compliant publishing tools, customizable membership tools, and many pre-built themes.
- Customizable web domains and email addresses
- Writing experience similar to what you already know
- Hundreds of integrations with other applications
- Features a referral program that rewards your community by recruiting new subscribing members
- Member management
In Substack, you will be able to accept paid or free subscribers. So when you publish content, you can choose whether to make it available to everyone or only to paid subscribers. And you can send it as a newsletter to your paid or free subscribers.
But you will not be able to change the site designer, you will not be able to make simple color changes, and you also cannot make your own changes.
Ghost Will Have the Same Functions as Substack
- Newsletter support
- Integrated member management, which includes payment tools
However, Ghost has two main areas:
- Themes – you can use the platform’s themes to get control of your site designers. There are many pre-made themes, or you can pay a developer to create a specific designer.
- Integrations – The platform will integrate with many third-party services. There is an integration with Zapier, which means you can connect with all Zapier applications to make them automated.
These integrations that Ghost enables you to do can open up many possibilities. Like adding Google AdSense so you can monetize your content with ads, in addition to the value of subscriptions, this allows you to diversify your money streams.
There are even more exciting features, such as the possibility to connect Ghost to Patreon so you can automatically grant Patreon subscribers exclusive access to member content. So the platform is much more flexible than Substack because of the embedded options.
User Experience and Configuration
When it comes to configuration, Substack is simpler. However, when using Ghost Pro services, Ghost Software is similar to Substack.
On the platform, it is easy to get started. You will need to create your account. After that, you can manage your newsletter with a simple dashboard. For content creation, you can use a simple text editor that will work very well with Microsoft Word/Google Docs.
And when publishing your content, you can choose whether to make it available to paid members or everyone. And you will have other areas to manage your statistics and your subscribers.
Since the platform is open source and free, you have two ways of using it:
- You can pay a Ghost team for hosting and Ghost Pro service. This is the simplest option and the closest to Substack.
- You can install the software on your web hosting. This may be complex and require more technical knowledge, but it does put you in total control of your platform.
So if you are not technical, use Ghost Pro so that you don’t have to worry about installing the software.
With Ghost Pro, you get an integration wizard to configure the main details. And then, you will be launched into a platform dashboard, which will provide an easy way to manage all aspects of the site.
You can use a particular Ghost theme to control the blog’s designer. For creating content, you have the Ghost editor, which offers you an excellent, distraction-free interface.
Besides adding text, you will be able to use the plus icon to be able to insert more elements, such as:
- Image gallery and gallery
- Restricted content for email
- Source embeddings such as Youtube, Twitter, Spotify, and more
- Public views
When you post something, you can choose to:
- Not emailing
- Send an email to paid members
- Send an email to free members
With the Substack platform, you will also have areas to manage your statistics and members. In short, Ghost’s setup method is pretty user-friendly as long as you are prepared to pay for the Ghost Pro.
The publications in Substack are straightforward. They are geared towards writing and sending newsletters like email clients. In short, you write your newsletter and paste it into Substack or write it directly in your editor.
The Ghost publishing experience surpasses that of Substack. In it, you can add images for free using access codes. It offers additional features like forms, videos, podcasts, image galleries, and more.
The Ghostwriter experience is similar to the Medium. It integrates with some writing applications. Many people often write articles in IA Writer or Ulysses. What’s more, you’ll be able to publish by formatting them correctly.
Ghost publishing within those apps. This cannot be done in Substack yet.
Ghost also has support for creating a membership program. This will allow subscribers to subscribe to premium and closed content. You can even launch a referral program.
Both platforms support podcasters. However, we recommend investing in podcast hosting if you rely on Substack to distribute because you will have greater control of podcast reviews. In that case, you’ll need to do that anyway with Ghost.
So Substack and Ghost are very efficient tools for content creators and writers. And in choosing one of the two, you will go right if you are starting out.
You can start for free if you are a new writer and need more money to buy online tools or a platform to publish content. In this sense, Substack is the most straightforward and user-friendly platform today.
With Substack, you can relax about fees once you activate paid membership programs and convert readers into subscribers. You can always migrate later if you wish.
But if you already have an audience, run a membership program, or value your content ranking in Google’s search feature, do this with Ghost.
We hope this article clears up your doubts and that you can make the best choice. If you need more content like this to decide, head over to our ecommerce knowledge hub.
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Paul Martinez is the founder of EcomSidekick.com. He is an expert in the areas of finance, real estate, eCommerce, traffic and conversion.
Join him on EcomSidekick.com to learn how to improve your financial life and excel in these areas. Before starting this media site, Paul built from scratch and managed two multi-million dollar companies. One in the real estate sector and one in the eCommerce sector.