Beehiiv vs. Substack vs. WordPress vs. Ghost: What’s the best pick for you?

Beehiiv vs. Substack vs. WordPress vs. Ghost

Newsletters, once humble dispatches of thoughts, have transformed into potent vehicles for creators to share, influence, and monetize. The recent surge – 62% of users immersing in digital newsletters daily – has spotlighted not just the content but also the platforms propelling them into inboxes worldwide.

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As choices swell, from the versatile WordPress Newsletter terrain to the refined corridors of Ghost, the decision maze becomes intricate. How do you select a platform that aligns with your vision, audience, and growth trajectory? What’s the best pick from Beehiiv vs. Substack vs. WordPress vs. Ghost?

This comprehensive guide on Beehiiv vs. Substack vs. WordPress vs. Ghost endeavors to be your compass, meticulously comparing today’s leading platforms and laying bare their strengths, quirks, and unique offerings.

We’ve distilled the essence of each, ensuring that whether you’re charting an ambitious publishing empire or seeking intimate engagements with a niche audience, you’re well-equipped to make a decision that resonates. Your perfect newsletter partner awaits; let’s find out who it is from Beehiiv vs. Substack vs. WordPress vs. Ghost!

But first,

Substack: An overview

Substack has quickly become the darling of the modern newsletter world. It’s a haven for independent writers looking to build a connection with their audience and earn directly from their craft. How did Substack become such a sought-after platform in a crowded space? In this Beehiiv vs. Substack guide, it’s critical to answer this question first.

The answer lies in its simplicity. Writers can easily share their thoughts, stories, and expertise while subscribers get direct access to content they value. What sets Substack apart is its emphasis on building genuine writer-reader relationships.

It’s not just about newsletters; it’s about creating a community. The platform’s user-friendly approach, combined with its transparent revenue model, has made it the go-to choose for many.

At its core, Substack champions the essence of writing, making it a favourite for those looking to find their voice and audience in the digital age. The platform’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric, but what makes Substack the go-to choose for many? How does it fare in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle? Let’s dissect.

Why Substack Could Be Your Next Writing Home?

How Substack Could Be Your Next Writing Home
How Substack Could Be Your Next Writing Home?

If you are an author, who:

  • Values Direct Subscriber Relationships: Substack provides an avenue where you can cultivate a direct rapport with your readers. No intermediaries. No hassles.
  • Wants a Ready-to-Use Platform: Without the need for complex setups, Substack is plug-and-play. There is no need for web design or development skills; you write, and they handle the rest.
  • Appreciates Revenue Transparency: Substack takes a straightforward 10% cut from your subscriptions, leaving the lion’s share for you.
  • Seeks Engagement and Interaction: The built-in commenting feature allows for robust discussions, fostering a community around your content.
  • Craves Writing Freedom: No stringent content guidelines or editorial interference; you own your voice and narrative.
  • Understands the Power of Simplicity: Their minimalist design ensures readers focus on what’s important – your content.

Substack Points of Consideration

Substack Points of Consideration
Substack Points of Consideration
  • No Native Advertising System: Unlike some platforms, Substack doesn’t inherently offer ad networks or sponsorships.
  • Relatively Basic Analytics: Compared to some advanced ESPs, the analytics suite can feel a tad limited.
  • Pricing Tied to Subscriber Count: As your audience grows, so does the fee you pay to Substack, potentially eating into profits at larger scales.

The Cost Factor

In a Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, Substack has emerged as a dominant force in the newsletter landscape, designed for independent writers craving a direct income stream from subscribers. This platform’s ascent can be credited to its simplicity and emphasis on fostering genuine connections.

Beyond just dispatching newsletters, it cultivates the community. The freemium model is the icing on the cake. While basic features come without a price tag, monetization sees Substack claiming a 10% share.

This transparent approach, combined with an intuitive interface, has solidified Substack’s position as a top pick for writers navigating. In short, when it comes to Beehiiv vs. Substack, Substack gives tough competition.

Our Judgment

When it comes to the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, Substack, in its minimalist approach, may come across as too simple for the more tech-savvy or those accustomed to feature-rich platforms.

However, it is this very simplicity that has become its unique selling proposition in a Beehiiv vs. Substack battle. This ease of use has particularly appealed to writers who prefer an uninterrupted, clean interface that allows them to focus on their craft.

Its user interface (UI) hits the sweet spot between platforms like Ghost and traditional blogging systems, giving it a good edge in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle.

Substack’s UI offers a streamlined experience, eliminating unnecessary frills but still retaining essential functionalities, ensuring that writers can seamlessly pen down their thoughts and engage with their audience without getting bogged down by technical intricacies. A tough competition in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, right?

However, it’s not without its shortcomings. Content organization, for instance, could use some refining. So when it comes to Beehiiv vs. Substack, Substack might have to face a little bit of competition.

While it offers basic categorization, writers with a vast array of topics might find themselves wishing for more advanced sorting and filtering tools. Clearly, while Substack excels in many areas in Beehiiv vs. Substack, there’s still room for growth and enhancement.

Facing the Giants

The newsletter domain is a fiercely competitive space, especially in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle. Platforms like the Ghost have set high benchmarks with their exhaustive list of features, catering to both beginners and advanced users.

On the other hand, newcomers like Beehiiv are turning heads with alluring offers like taking zero percent of the writers’ revenue. Yet, amidst these giants and the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, Substack stands tall and confident. Its strength doesn’t just lie in its features, but in its vast community.

With thousands of writers and even more readers, Substack has built a trust factor that’s hard to replicate. This community-centric approach, where both writers and readers engage and grow together, gives Substack a competitive edge. So, is it a winner in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle? Wait for a moment.

A Personal Perspective

Watching Substack’s journey unfold has been nothing short of inspirational. From its inception to becoming a platform endorsed by globally recognized authors and journalists, its growth trajectory is commendable.

In a Beehiiv vs. Substack war, Substack’s commitment to elevating the writer’s voice and providing them a platform to monetize their skills is genuinely empowering. While there are certain nuances and tweaks that can enhance the user experience further, the core ethos of Substack remains intact: to champion and empower writers.

This, combined with its ever-growing community, ensures that Substack’s position in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle is not just prominent but also enduring.

A Quick Look at Substack

PurposePublishing + Newsletter
Custom DomainYes
MonetizationBuilt-in Paid Subscriptions
Entry For MonetizationNo limit
Email CustomizationModerate
Engagement ToolsBasic
Unique FeaturesSimple, Straightforward
Pricing ModelFreemium
A Quick Look at Substack Features

Ghost: A quick look

We live in a digital landscape where countless Email Service Providers (ESPs) are vying for attention; Ghost emerges as a distinct and holistic solution for independent creators. Unlike standard ESPs, which primarily focus on sending out email newsletters, Ghost transcends that limited scope.

It is an all-encompassing publishing tool tailored for the individual who aspires to more than fleeting newsletters. Ghost caters to the “indie operator,” a term that encapsulates the spirit of independent thinkers, writers, and creators.

These individuals don’t just seek to share periodic updates; they aim to establish a comprehensive digital publication. With its integrated features and user-friendly interface, Ghost empowers these visionaries, allowing them to transform their passion into a full-fledged digital presence.

Ghost is not just another name in the long list of ESPs; it’s the dawn of a new era in digital publishing for independent creators.

Why Ghost May Be the Right Choice for Your Needs

If you’re a writer, who:

  • Seeks Comprehensive Publishing Tools: Ghost isn’t just about sending newsletters. Originating as a traditional CMS tool, it has evolved over time, adding advanced email features and setting it apart from platforms like Beehiiv and Substack. It is perfect for those looking for an all-in-one publishing tool similar to WordPress.
  • Wants Full Control Over Revenues: Ghost takes no cut off your subscription or membership revenues, allowing you to retain the full amount, minus Stripe fees.
  • Desires Customization: Ghost offers customizable templates and designs and even has a marketplace offering a variety of designs, both free and Premium. It also has a network of professionals available for hire for further customization.
  • Needs Advanced Integrations: With integrations to tools like Zapier, Google Analytics, Discourse, and Shopify, Ghost serves as a hub connecting various essential services.
  • Is Tech-savvy: Especially for those who understand self-hosting, Ghost is an open-source tool. This means you can modify its code according to your needs, giving you unparalleled flexibility.

Highlights of Ghost’s Features

Highlights of Ghost's features.
Highlights of Ghost’s features.

Robust Publishing Capabilities: Ghost offers flexibility similar to WordPress. It’s suitable for those publishing frequently on a site, possibly having multiple newsletters under a single umbrella. Additionally, it provides growth tools like sign-up boxes, landing pages, and commenting capabilities.

  • Open-source Platform: Ghost’s open-source nature is a big draw for developers. It’s not for sale, ensuring that it will remain available for years.
  • Ease of Writing: Ghost’s editor is user-friendly, making newsletter creation a breeze. Plus, integration with Grammarly ensures high-quality writing
  • Advanced Segmenting: Ghost allows you to segment readers based on open rates and other criteria, allowing for targeted newsletters.
  • No Email Tracking (If Desired): For those wanting to offer privacy, Ghost allows you to turn off email tracking.
  • Migration Assistance: Ghost helps with the migration of existing email lists, provided you pay for a year upfront.

A Few Areas of Caution

  • Lack of Automation: Ghost doesn’t support setting up automation natively. External tools like Zapier can be used for this, but it requires additional effort and costs.
  • Reliance on Third-party for Sending Emails: Ghost uses Mailgun to send newsletters, meaning they don’t have their in-house email-sending domain.
  • Support Limitations: Ghost offers no phone or chat support. All customer support queries are addressed via email.

A Glimpse into Ghost’s Pricing

Ghost’s pricing is multi-tiered and slightly complex. There are two primary plans suitable for indie publishers:

  • Creator Plan: Pricing based on members, ranging from $300/year for up to 500 members to $1,980/year for up to 25,000 members.
  • Team Plan: Pricing is based on members, ranging from $600/year for up to 500 members to $2,784/year for up to 25,000 members.

Ghost does not offer a free tier, but there’s a two-week trial. For those considering self-hosting, the Ghost provides a detailed guide on its differences from Ghost(Pro).

Self-hosting can be more technical and might require additional costs for sending out emails via Mailgun.

The Final Take on Ghost

Ghost, with its rich features and flexibility, stands out as an unparalleled platform for those aiming to build a publication. Its open-source nature, customization options, and comprehensive publishing tools make it a strong competitor.

However, there are areas where it might require extra effort, such as setting up automation or opting for self-hosting. But for those who are tech-savvy and want an all-in-one solution, Ghost can be a game-changer.

Comparing to the Competition

In the realm of ESPs, Ghost occupies a unique position. While platforms like Beehiiv and Substack offer simple publishing, Ghost’s origins as a CMS set it apart. It provides more extensive features akin to WordPress, making it suitable for those wanting a comprehensive platform.

Personal Opinion

Ghost’s journey from a CMS tool to a combined CMS + ESP is commendable. Its open-source nature ensures longevity and adaptability. While there are areas for improvement, especially in automation and support, its strengths in publishing and customization make it a strong contender in the market.

PurposeProfessional Publishing + Membership
Custom DomainYes
MonetizationBuilt-in Membership
Entry For MonetizationDirect memberships
Email CustomizationExtensive
Engagement ToolsLimited
SupportCommunity + Paid Support
Unique FeaturesClean, Fast Content Delivery
Pricing ModelFreemium + Self-hosting
Ghost CMS Features

Beehiiv: A Closer Look

In the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, Beehiiv is the fresh entrant in the arena of the Email Service Providers (ESP). It’s tailor-made for writers and publishers who seek a seamless combination of subscription-based revenue models and advertising without having to make sacrifices in terms of revenue cuts.

But what exactly is it about Beehiiv that’s catching the eyes of many and making it a tough competitor in Beehiiv vs. Substack? Let’s delve deeper.

Why Beehiiv Might Just Be the Winner in Beehiiv vs. Substack?

Beehiiv is a perfect fit for you if you are a writer who:

Beehiiv is a perfect fit for you if you are a writer.
Beehiiv is a perfect fit for you if you are a writer.
  • Prefers Simplicity in Publishing: Beehiiv offers a unified place where you can both send and publish your content. He’s a good competitor in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle. The bonus is that you don’t even need a standalone website for it. Buy a domain, configure it with Beehiiv, and you’re set to publish and send newsletters.
  • Aims for Ad Revenue without the Hassle: The platform is taking strides in rolling out an advertising network, allowing you to earn without the headache of selling ads yourself. With a threshold of 1,000 subscribers, you can be part of this network.
  • Wants Full Subscription Revenue: Unlike other platforms that might take a percentage cut from your subscriptions, Beehiiv assures a 0% cut, allowing you to maximize your profit margins.
  • Desires Advanced Analytics: Their analytics dashboard offers a plethora of data points, from the basics like opens and clicks to audience segmentation and source.
  • Appreciates Built-in Engagement Tools: Whether it’s their unique referral program or the feature to conduct polls directly in the newsletters, Beehiiv promises to keep your readers engaged.
  • Anticipates Rapid Features Update: With their agility in matching features offered by other prominent ESPs and a roadmap promising to beef up their offerings like A/B testing, automation, and API functionalities, they are a force to be reckoned with.

A Few Caution Points

  • Limited Integrations: Beehiiv doesn’t yet offer the myriad of integrations available with some established platforms in Beehiiv vs. Substack. However, they do provide sign-up boxes that can be embedded on your own website.
  • Use of Third-Party for Sending Emails: Instead of an in-house email-sending platform, they rely on SendGrid. They do, however, emphasize maintaining deliverability.
  • Smaller Team: Their compact team size might raise eyebrows, but their prompt response on platforms like Twitter suggests they are agile and hands-on.

A Peek at the Pricing

Pricing can be a decisive factor in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle. Beehiiv is breaking the mold by not charging based on the number of subscribers or emails. Their two-tier model, “Grow” and “Scale,” is designed to cater to both beginners and pros with prices at $504/year and $1,008/year, respectively.

The Final Verdict

Beehiiv, although relatively new in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, is making its presence felt in the ESP world. Its design is arguably more refined than Substack in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle and just a tad lesser than Ghost. It offers customization, aesthetic appeal, and branding options.

However, potential users should be aware of some user experience issues that might require multiple navigations for basic functions when it comes to the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle.

Competitive Landscape

With stalwarts like Ghost and Substack in the scene, Beehiiv finds itself in a peculiar position, fitting snugly between the two in terms of offerings.

Ghost’s expansive feature set (with added costs) and Substack’s lighter footprint present formidable competition, but in the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle, Beehiiv’s unique value propositions give it a distinct edge.

Personal Take

Beehiiv’s trajectory is certainly commendable when it comes to the Beehiiv vs. Substack battle. The founder’s direct engagement with new users is indicative of a platform that takes user feedback and growth seriously.

The platform does have its quirks when it comes to Beehiiv vs. Substack. But with user experience improvements and the cards they’re playing, they might just outshine their competitors in the long run.

PurposeBlend of Subscription & Advertising
Custom DomainYes
MonetizationBuilt-in Ad Network + Subscriptions
Entry For Monetization1,000 Subscribers
Email CustomizationYes
Engagement ToolsReferral & Polling Tools
SupportEmail Support
Unique FeaturesBuilt-in Ad Network & Polling
Pricing ModelTier-based
Beehiiv Features

WordPress Newsletter

The world of Email Service Providers (ESP) has long been acquainted with WordPress, given its immense popularity as a comprehensive content management system. But when it comes to newsletters, WordPress doesn’t operate alone.

Through plugins, it transforms itself into a powerhouse for publishing and email campaigns. So, what’s the buzz about WordPress Newsletter capabilities? Let’s uncover.

Why WordPress Newsletter Plugins May Just Be Your Go-To

WordPress Newsletter could be the right choice for you if you are someone who:

WordPress Jetpack Newsletter could be the right choice
WordPress Jetpack Newsletter could be the right choice.
  • Values Complete Customization: WordPress’s open-source nature means infinite possibilities. Pair it with newsletter plugins, and you can tailor every aspect of your emails to your liking.
  • Loves Integration: WordPress supports a myriad of plugins. Whether you need CRM integrations, e-commerce features, or social media links, it’s all available.
  • Seeks Robustness and Reliability: Being an established platform, many WordPress Newsletter plugins have undergone extensive testing and iterations, ensuring reliability.
  • Desires Scalability: Start with a few subscribers and grow into thousands or even millions. WordPress can handle it all.
  • Appreciates Cost-Effectiveness: Many newsletter plugins offer free basic versions with the option to upgrade as you expand.
  • Wants Full Control: From data ownership to design choices, you’re in the driver’s seat.

Points To Remember

  • A Learning Curve: New users might face a slight initial hurdle in navigating the WordPress ecosystem and the plugins.
  • Maintenance Required: Regular updates, backups, and some troubleshooting are a part of the WordPress journey.
  • Plugin Reliance: The core WordPress doesn’t handle newsletters. Dependence on plugins is a must.

A Glimpse Into Costs

While WordPress itself is free, costs can emerge from hosting, premium themes, and advanced plugin functionalities. For newsletters, plugins like MailPoet and Newsletter have free tiers, with premium features coming at varied costs.

The Overall Assessment

WordPress’s adaptability is its strength. With the right plugins, you get an ESP experience intertwined with the power of a robust CMS. The interface matured over the years might not have the minimalist allure of Beehiiv or Ghost, but its sheer functionality is unmatched.

Still, it’s essential to acknowledge the occasional complexity that might arise from its expansiveness.

The Competitive Scene

In a world with streamlined platforms like Beehiiv and content-centric Ghost, WordPress stands as a juggernaut, offering a holistic website and newsletter solution. It might not be a dedicated ESP, but its versatility sets it apart.

Personal Insight

Having seen WordPress evolve over the years, it’s evident that its Newsletter capabilities, enhanced by plugins, can compete with dedicated ESPs. While it does demand a hands-on approach, the returns in terms of customization, control, and integrations are worth the investment.

It’s a platform that can grow with you, adapting and reshaping as your needs change.

PurposeCMS + Email Marketing
Custom DomainYes
MonetizationVia Plugins
Entry For MonetizationVaries (Plugin-based)
Email CustomizationExtensive (via Plugins)
Engagement ToolsPlugin-dependent
SupportCommunity + Plugin-specific
Unique FeaturesPlugin Ecosystem
Pricing ModelFree + Premium Plugins/Hosting
WordPress Newsletter Plugin Features

A Quick Comparison: Beehiiv vs. Substack vs. WordPress vs. Ghost

Features/DetailsWordPress NewsletterSubstackBeehiivGhost
Primary PurposeCMS + Email MarketingPublishing + NewsletterBlend of Subscription & AdvertisingProfessional Publishing + Membership
Custom Domain SupportYesYesYesYes
Monetization MethodsVia PluginsPaid SubscriptionsAd Network + SubscriptionsMemberships
Threshold for MonetizationVaries (Plugin-based)No limit1,000 SubscribersDirect memberships
Email Template CustomizationExtensive (via Plugins)ModerateYesExtensive
Engagement ToolsPlugin-dependentBasicReferral & Polling ToolsLimited
Customer SupportCommunity + Plugin-specificYesEmail SupportCommunity + Paid Support
Standout FeaturesPlugin EcosystemSimplified UIBuilt-in Ad Network & PollingSpeed & Clean Content Delivery
Pricing StructureFree + Premium Plugins/HostingFreemiumTier-basedFreemium + Self-hosting
Comparing WordPress Newsletter, Substack, Beehiiv, and Ghost.

Picking Your Perfect Platform

When it comes to newsletter and content publishing, choosing the right platform is akin to picking the perfect ingredient for a gourmet dish – the choice can either elevate your creation or leave it lacking. Based on the deep dive we took into these platforms, here’s a quick guide to help you make the most informed choice:

  1. For the All-Rounder Creator: If you’re someone who loves the flexibility of an extensive plugin ecosystem and already has a footing in the WordPress universe, WordPress Newsletter is your go-to, especially if you desire the perfect blend of content management and email marketing.
  2. For the Minimalist Writer: If straightforwardness is your mantra, and you desire a platform that lets you write, publish, and monetize without the bells and whistles, Substack is your ally. Its user-friendly interface is perfect for writers wanting to focus purely on their craft and audience.
  3. For the Hybrid Publisher: If you’re looking to blend the world of subscription-based models with advertising seamlessly, Beehiiv is buzzing with promise. It’s especially enticing for those who want to start earning as soon as they hit a threshold of 1,000 subscribers, and its unique engagement tools are a cherry on top.
  4. For the Professional Publisher: If crisp content delivery, aesthetics, and a built-in membership model are your top priorities, Ghost might just be your spirit platform (pun intended). With its focus on a clean user experience and rapid content delivery, it’s ideal for those looking to build a professional publishing house.

Wrapping up

Your Digital Dispatch Journey Awaits. We’ve toured the giants and the upstarts of the Beehiiv vs. Substack newsletter cosmos, but remember: it’s not about the ship, but the captain and the journey. Each platform offers tools and treks—some familiar, others uncharted.

Your voice, your stories, your bond with your audience—that’s what will make waves. Armed with this knowledge, plunge into the newsletter ocean. Find your platform, raise your flag, and chart your own course. The horizon is vast, and your adventures await. For more such information pieces, feel free to visit my website.


I’m new to digital newsletters. Is there a platform you’d recommend for beginners?

Certainly! For those just dipping their toes in, Substack is user-friendly and requires minimal setup. Its intuitive design lets you focus on content creation without getting bogged down by technical intricacies.

I already have a WordPress website. Should I stick to the WordPress Newsletter or explore other platforms?

If you’re well-acquainted with the WordPress ecosystem and prefer seamless integration, the WordPress Newsletter is a solid choice. However, if you’re seeking specialized features or a different user experience, it might be worth exploring options like Ghost or Beehiiv.

Are there platforms that allow me to monetize my content right from the start?

Absolutely! Beehiiv, for instance, lets you tap into their built-in ad network once you hit 1,000 subscribers, allowing for both subscription and ad-based revenue streams.

I prioritize aesthetics and a clean reader experience. Which platform should I lean towards?

Ghost is renowned for its sleek design and emphasis on a clutter-free reader experience. It provides both aesthetics and functionality, making it a go-to for those prioritizing presentations.

How often do these platforms roll out new features? I want a platform that evolves with time.

Most platforms constantly update to stay competitive. Beehiiv, as a newer entrant, has shown agility in rolling out features to match its competitors. But even stalwarts like Ghost regularly introduce enhancements. It’s recommended to check each platform’s update logs or community forums to get a sense of their update frequency.

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