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Substack vs Blogging: A Simple Comparison

While Substack and blogging platforms, like WordPress, hold many similarities there are key elements to consider before choosing which one works best.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between Substack and traditional blogging platforms, highlighting their features, customization options, ease of use, costs, data portability, and scalability.

Features of WordPress and Substack

WordPress, a self-hosted platform, offers greater customization options for bloggers, including themes, templates, and plugins. It can be used to create various types of websites such as blogs, business sites, and online stores. On the other hand, Substack is a subscription-based platform specifically designed for newsletter publishing. It offers a streamlined experience with basic customization features and is ideal for writers who want to monetize their content through paid subscriptions.

Customization Options

WordPress users have access to thousands of themes, templates, and plugins, allowing them to create unique and visually appealing websites. They can fully customize the look and feel of their blogs and add additional functionalities as per their requirements. In contrast, Substack offers limited customization options, allowing users to customize the appearance of their newsletter with predefined templates, but with fewer functionality choices beyond the basics.

Ease of Use

WordPress, while offering extensive customization options, has a steeper learning curve compared to Substack. However, once users become familiar with the platform, they can easily create and manage their content. Substack, on the other hand, is designed to be user-friendly, even for beginners. Its simple and intuitive interface allows writers to focus on creating content without worrying about technical aspects.


WordPress is a free platform, but users need to pay for web hosting and domain registration. Additionally, premium themes and plugins may require additional investments. Substack, however, operates on a subscription-based model. While a free version is available with limited features, users need to pay based on the number of subscribers they have.

Data Portability

WordPress is well-known for its flexibility and data portability. Users can easily export their content and migrate it to other platforms if desired. In contrast, Substack offers limited data portability options. While users can export their subscriber data and content, migrating to another platform without losing customization and subscriber data can be challenging.


When it comes to scalability, WordPress excels with its ability to handle large amounts of traffic and content. With the right hosting provider, optimizations, and tools, WordPress is capable of accommodating extensive growth. Substack, however, has limited scalability and is primarily designed for individual writers and small publications.

My Substack Experience

Email marketing is a key component to monetizing most online platforms. The appeal of Substack for me was in its simplicity and blended approach to creating a monthly newsletter and audience engagement. It seemed like a lay hack to email campaigns.

While I enjoyed the ease of use that came with Substack, some of the other features made me feel like it was just another social platform for me to master. Considering I know SEO and already blog via WordPress , it made more sense to seek a more traditional email marketing solution.

For me , less is typically more.

I think Substack is great if you want to collect emails and build connection without a website or automated email campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions About Substack

Substack is a platform that allows individuals, writers, and publishers to monetize their content through paid newsletters. It provides tools for creating and distributing newsletters, handling subscriptions, and connecting with readers.

Substack offers a simple and user-friendly interface to create and publish newsletters. Writers can set a subscription fee, and readers can choose to subscribe. Substack handles the payment processing and provides tools for managing subscribers, sending newsletters, and engaging with the audience.

While Substack offers a free version that allows writers to create and distribute newsletters, they charge a percentage of revenue generated from subscriptions. They also offer premium features and additional support for a fee.

Yes, Substack allows you to create and distribute newsletters for free without charging subscribers. However, they will still take a percentage of any revenue generated through paid subscriptions.

Substack currently takes a 10% cut from paid subscriptions. This means that if you charge $10 per month for your newsletter, Substack will keep $1 as their fee.

Yes, Substack provides the option to use a custom domain for your newsletter. This allows you to have a branded website, such as yournewsletter.com, instead of the default yournewsletter.substack.com URL.

Yes, Substack allows you to import your existing subscriber list from other platforms. However, the import feature may be limited to certain formats or platforms, so it’s recommended to check Substack’s documentation for specific instructions.

Yes, Substack provides the ability to export your subscriber list and content. This allows you to have a backup or migrate to another platform if needed. However, it’s worth noting that Substack’s export options may have some limitations compared to self-hosted platforms.

As of now, Substack does not natively support advertisements within newsletters. They primarily focus on providing a platform for paid subscriptions and monetization through reader support. However, you may mention or promote sponsors within your newsletter content.

While Substack is often associated with individual writers, it can also be used by businesses that want to create and distribute newsletters to engage with their audience. However, the platform’s features and suitability may differ based on specific business requirements.


In the comparison between Substack and traditional blogging platforms like WordPress, key factors such as customization options, ease of use, costs, data portability, and scalability should be considered. WordPress offers greater customization and scalability, making it an ideal choice for users who value extensive options. Substack, on the other hand, provides a streamlined and user-friendly experience for writers focused on growing a dedicated audience through paid newsletters. Ultimately, the choice between Substack and blogging platforms depends on your specific needs, goals, and level of technical expertise.


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