You might be wondering what are some of the best alternatives for Substack. Substack is indeed is free & a platform that gives you the option to monetize through getting paid readers but there are some other potential Substack alternatives that you could use to grow your career. In this article, we will introduce you to some powerful Sites like Substack which could help you grow your business and might be more profitable for you in the future.
When I was a student, life was hard. I have a free Internet connection and a laptop from my brother. I don’t have a phone to record videos for YouTube (free option#1) neither did I know about a platform like Medium or Substack to write and make money. So, I started blogging on a free Blogger blog. Fast forward five years, now I think there are a lot of writing and making money.
Some cons of using Substack:
Substack could be a better platform but there are some of the things that you should know about Substack that make it not a good platform for writing and running a newsletter.
- The loss of revenue if you think long-term: Substack charges 10% of the service charges from you for every transaction that happened between you and your reader on Substack. If you have 100 paid readers or paying members and each of them is paying $5 then this means you are making $450, you are losing $50 every month which results in $600 in total for a year. This is where Ghost.org comes into where you could just pay $350 for a year and boom, you receive the whole pie of your hard work.
- Substack is the same for everyone. There is little edit option for you to change the fonts and color of your Substack newsletter but no freedom to choose the design of the email and the look of your publication itself.
Most of the beginners join Substack but later struggle to shift to other major Substack alternatives like Ghost. If you want to move to Ghost then that is possible.
5 Sites similar to Substack or Substack alternatives
I am sure there will be more possible Substack alternatives but we are here want to discuss potential Substack alternatives where you could start your newsletter and monetize your blog through many possible ways; one such way is to add a paywall to some of your stories and letting people read your stories for a month by paying a fixed fee.
Ghost is one of the powerful and potential Substack alternatives. Ghost gives you the accessibility to create a publication with a custom domain, gives you a fast-loading experience, a custom email address, and has built-in SEO.
I bought Ghost(Pro) and get a 14-day free trial, and started a newsletter. They give you almost every function Substack gives you but with a little twist. You actually get things like having a design of your choice, a branded email address, unlimited email subscribers, and many more. This is what makes Ghost an attractive platform for most of the leaders in the industry as well as influencers like Ali abdaal.
Pros of using Ghost:
- Starting a publication thinking about a brand, Ghost might be the answer.
- You get 100% of your revenue from your newsletter. Substack charges 10% services charges. In the long-term, you lose money being on Substack compared to the $348/year subscription cost of Ghost.
- You can monetize your Ghost blog with multiple streams. Like, if you think to combine your newsletter business with running affiliate marketing, you can have two revenue streams.
- Automation: You can schedule your posts, add a referral program for your newsletter to let other people promote your newsletter using “FirstPromotor” and do other cool stuff.
- Your content on Ghost: When you are in Ghost(Pro) subscription, your account will always be on the Ghost. They don’t suspend accounts like other writing platforms like Medium.
Cons of using Ghost:
- The only con of using Ghost is the cost but if you go to other hosting companies like Hostgator or Bluehost then they will charge an extra $120 to $200 per year based on your requirements and still, you have to pay for another plug-in to make your site a newsletter + letting people pay you to read your stuff and you need technical knowledge in WordPress for that to add Stripe API.
A comparison of Ghost with Substack:
Ghost is probably the №1 potential alternative of Substack, following is the comparison between Ghost with Substack.
- Substack is free. If you don’t have any investment, Substack is the right choice for you but if you are thinking long-term and thinking about when you have 1000 to 2000 paying members, it might be a smart choice to choose Ghost(Pro) because of the loss of revenue being on Substack.
- Custom domain for Substack could charge you a $50 (One-time fee) while when you have a Ghost(Pro) subscription, you can connect a custom domain for free.
- Ghost is a powerful Substack alternative with no transaction cost between you and your reader. You are an independent creator of Ghost.
- Ghost also gives you a chance to edit your theme and add other elements you want to add. Substack doesn’t have such options.
- On Ghost, there are many Apps & Integrations that could help you automate, implement and promote any other elements to your newsletter while Substack doesn’t have any.
Revue is recently acquired by Twitter. With the Twitter acquisition, it will get more people to explore this platform. Revue is more like Substack.
Pros of using Revue
- It charges a 5% transaction fee as compared to 10% of Substack. This might be an upper hand over Substack.
- You can also get a custom domain on Revue.
- With Twitter’s acquisition, they will try to make it boost its reputation. They might integrate it with Twitter so it would give you an extra edge to the publications hosted on Revue.
Cons of using Revue
- 5% transaction fee is still a big chunk of money if you are making $1000 a month as it will charge $50 and it could costs you $600/year.
- Their main blog is hosted on Medium. Which is our point of interest in the next section.
A comparison between Revue Vs Substack:
- If we compared Revue with Substack, Substack charges a 10% transaction fee compared to 5% of Revue transaction fee.
- The branding of Substack is way better than Revue. Any reader might trust Substack more than Revue, in my opinion, this is because the site is
Medium is a very different platform compared to Substack. Medium is a social media site for writers and readers. Medium is more of a cumulative system of getting paid from getting reads from Medium members. The good thing about Medium is that it has a good domain authority which could help you get ranked on Medium. You can also do affiliate marketing on Medium and make money.
Pros of writing on Medium:
- The community is strong and has built-in traffic. Medium is a social media site in which you could build a following and make more money as you write more stories.
- Medium has two programs for readers and writers. Medium membership is for people to read which costs $5 a month, Medium Partner program is for writers to make money. When a Medium member reads your content, the writers get paid based on the read time.
- The good search engine optimization of Medium: Medium has a good SEO which means that you could build a community around a similar Interest and be part of a meaningful conversation.
Cons of using Medium:
- The only cons of writing on Medium is that your Medium account could be suspended if you intentionally or unintentionally violated Medium rules.
A comparison between Medium Vs Substack:
- Comparing Medium with Substack; Substack is a publication-making site where you have to find your own audience, On Medium, they have a system of showing your posts to an interested audience. Medium has a built-in audience while Substack you have no audience.
- The custom domain on Medium and Substack. As of now, you can connect a custom domain on Medium as well as Substack. I think I would go for connecting a custom domain on Medium rather than Substack. This is because Medium has a great design. Creating a custom domain on Substack cost $50 (one-time) while on Medium if you are a Medium member (paying $5/month) you have to create a publication then connect it with a custom domain.
So On Substack, Medium, and Revue, the reader could subscribe to you without paying and you as a writer can publish ‘free’ and ‘paid’ posts. The one that is free can read by everyone and the one that is paid is only for paying subscribers. In Patreon, you can publish content that is only deemed for paying subscribers. If anyone visits your Patreon page, he or she must subscribe to any of your packages in order to read, watch or view your content.
Pros of using Patreon:
- Patreon like other subscription services you can receive a monthly payment.
- Creator content protection is taken very seriously by Patreon. You can’t download any content uploaded to Patreon. Patreon is the 16+ alternative of Onlyfans.
- You can upload a range of content to Patreon including Pictures, text, Pdf, Videos, and other forms of documents.
Cons of using Patreon:
- No organic traffic. In the case of Substack, Ghost, Medium, and Revue, you have the chance of getting discovered on Google but on Patreon, there is no chance that your content will be discovered.
- According to Wikipedia, Patreon charges 5% to 12% depending upon the features or functionality you want to add to your Patreon page.
- You can’t grow your Patreon if you don’t have a big social media page or a blog with consistent traffic.
A comparison between Patreon and Substack:
- Substack charges a 10% transaction fee or you can also call it a service fee, this is how Substack makes money. Patreon charges 5% to 12% depending upon what feature and functions you want to add to your profile.
- One of the thing that Substack overtake on Patreon is SEO. Even though Substack SEO isn’t that good compared to other sites but still if you publish content on your Substack publication, there are some chances that it might be discovered while there is almost no chance of content publish on Patreon getting discovered. That’s why Patreon is mostly used by Influencers and people who have already a big following on social media.
Convertkit is one of the most popular platforms for capturing emails and then turning those email subscribers into buying anything. The good thing; they have the automation. Now, Convertkit is launching a newsletter-based feature to let people monetize their email subscribers by writing a paid newsletter for them.
In my view, having a Convertkit newsletter is no different than any other unless you have hundreds of thousands of email subscribers and want to share tips and tricks to go a little extra mile.
The product is still in beta pace and available to few people to test and try. We will update this article once we have more information.
Substack Alternative: 3 Powerful And Potential Sites Like Substack Where You Can Start a Newsletter
Why I choose Ghost as a newsletter-making platform?
When I was researching about the best Substack alternatives, there were a lot of other options best the best one among them was Ghost. I tried Ghost(Pro) 14-day free trial and take the decision to go with Ghost.
Five reasons why I choose Ghost as a newsletter-making platform?
- Built-in SEO: They have built-in SEO which means you don’t need to install any plugin like WordPress.
- A company that is not-for-profit. Ghost isn’t a for-profit company. It reinvests money into its product development.
- A great Content management system: If you ask me what is the potential WordPress CMS alternative? My answer would be “Ghost” it is a minimalist and beautiful design. It is easy for anyone to make a great blog.
- Stripe integration with Zero service charges: This is probably one of the best things about Ghost. If you want a newsletter-based business model, Ghost could be the ideal platform for you. You don’t have to pay anything. Stripe is free but takes some service charges. It is a one-click install and payment system.
- A Product for everyone: A podcaster, a YouTuber, a writer, or almost anything. Ghost could help you in reaching the right people.
Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you choose to buy anything using these links, I will get a small commission. Also, this will be of no additional cost to you. Thank you!
You can check out my Medium handle here: Aamir Kamal 🚀🚀🚀 and my YouTube channel Aamir Kamal, in both this platform I upload content about Blogging and Marketing and everything connected to it. You can subscribe to my Newsletter where every Sunday I will submit some of the best content related to Blogging, Medium, Ghost, Quora, and Marketing, or anything related to these topics.